The iron gate attained and locked--but not before Durdles has tumbled twice, and cut an eyebrow open once--they descend into the crypt again, with the intent of issuing forth as they entered. But, while returning among those lanes of light, Durdles becomes so very uncertain, both of foot and speech, that he half drops, half throws himself down, by one of the heavy pillars, scarcely less heavy than itself, and indistinctly appeals to his companion for forty winks of a second each.
'If you will have it so, or must have it so,' replies Jasper, 'I'll not leave you here. Take them, while I walk to and fro.'
Durdles is asleep at once; and in his sleep he dreams a dream.
It is not much of a dream, considering the vast extent of the domains of dreamland, and their wonderful productions; it is only remarkable for being unusually restless and unusually real. He dreams of lying there, asleep, and yet counting his companion's footsteps as he walks to and fro. He dreams that the footsteps die away into distance of time and of space, and that something touches him, and that something falls from his hand. Then something clinks and gropes about, and he dreams that he is alone for so long a time, that the lanes of light take new directions as the moon advances in her course. From succeeding unconsciousness he passes into a dream of slow uneasiness from cold; and painfully awakes to a perception of the lanes of light--really changed, much as he had dreamed--and Jasper walking among them, beating his hands and feet.
'Holloa!' Durdles cries out, unmeaningly alarmed.
'Awake at last?' says Jasper, coming up to him. 'Do you know that your forties have stretched into thousands?'
'They have though.'
'What's the time?'
'Hark! The bells are going in the Tower!'
They strike four quarters, and then the great bell strikes.
'Two!' cries Durdles, scrambling up; 'why didn't you try to wake me, Mister Jarsper?'
'I did. I might as well have tried to wake the dead--your own family of dead, up in the corner there.'
'Did you touch me?'
'Touch you! Yes. Shook you.'
As Durdles recalls that touching something in his dream, he looks down on the pavement, and sees the key of the crypt door lying close to where he himself lay.
'I dropped you, did I?' he says, picking it up, and recalling that part of his dream. As he gathers himself up again into an upright position, or into a position as nearly upright as he ever maintains, he is again conscious of being watched by his companion.
'Well?' says Jasper, smiling, 'are you quite ready? Pray don't hurry.'
'Let me get my bundle right, Mister Jarsper, and I'm with you.' As he ties it afresh, he is once more conscious that he is very narrowly observed.
'What do you suspect me of, Mister Jarsper?' he asks, with drunken displeasure. 'Let them as has any suspicions of Durdles name 'em.'
'I've no suspicions of you, my good Mr. Durdles; but I have suspicions that my bottle was filled with something stiffer than either of us supposed. And I also have suspicions,' Jasper adds, taking it from the pavement and turning it bottom upwards, 'that it's empty.'
Durdles condescends to laugh at this. Continuing to chuckle when his laugh is over, as though remonstrant with himself on his drinking powers, he rolls to the door and unlocks it. They both pass out, and Durdles relocks it, and pockets his key.
'A thousand thanks for a curious and interesting night,' says Jasper, giving him his hand; 'you can make your own way home?'
'I should think so!' answers Durdles. 'If you was to offer Durdles the affront to show him his way home, he wouldn't go home.
Durdles wouldn't go home till morning; And THEN Durdles wouldn't go home,
Durdles wouldn't.' This with the utmost defiance.
'Good-night, Mister Jarsper.'
Each is turning his own way, when a sharp whistle rends the silence, and the jargon is yelped out:
Widdy widdy wen! I--ket--ches--Im--out--ar--ter--ten. Widdy widdy wy! Then--E--don't --go--then--I--shy - Widdy Widdy Wake-cock warning!'
Instantly afterwards, a rapid fire of stones rattles at the Cathedral wall, and the hideous small boy is beheld opposite, dancing in the moonlight.