When Mrs Flintwinch dreamed, she usually dreamed, unlike the son of her old mistress, with her eyes shut. She had a curiously vivid dream
that night, and before she had left the son of her old mistress many hours. In fact
it was not at all like a dream
; it was so very real in every respect
. It happened in this wise
The bed-chamber occupied by Mr and Mrs Flintwinch was within a few paces of that to which Mrs Clennam had been so long confined
. It was not on the same floor, for it was a room at the side of the house, which was approached by a steep descent
of a few odd steps, diverging from the main staircase nearly opposite
to Mrs Clennam's door. It could scarcely
be said to be within call, the walls, doors, and panelling of the old place were so cumbrous; but it was within easy reach, in any undress, at any hour of the night, in any temperature
. At the head of the bed and within a foot of Mrs Flintwinch's ear, was a bell, the line of which hung ready to Mrs Clennam's hand. Whenever this bell rang, up started Affery, and was in the sick room before she was awake.
Having got her mistress into bed, lighted her lamp, and given her good night, Mrs Flintwinch went to roost
as usual, saving that her lord had not yet appeared. It was her lord himself who became-unlike the last theme
in the mind
to the observation
of most philosophers-the subject
of Mrs Flintwinch's dream
It seemed to her that she awoke after sleeping some hours, and found Jeremiah not yet abed. That she looked at the candle she had left burning, and, measuring the time like King Alfred the Great, was confirmed by its wasted state
in her belief
that she had been asleep for some considerable period
. That she arose thereupon, muffled
herself up in a wrapper, put on her shoes, and went out on the staircase, much surprised, to look for Jeremiah.
The staircase was as wooden and solid
be, and Affery went straight
down it without any of those deviations peculiar
to dreams. She did not skim
over it, but walked down it, and guided herself by the banisters on account
of her candle having died out. In one corner
of the hall, behind the house-door, there was a little waiting-room, like a well-shaft, with a long narrow
window in it as if it had been ripped up. In this room, which was never used, a light was burning.
Mrs Flintwinch crossed the hall, feeling its pavement cold to her stockingless feet, and peeped in between the rusty
hinges on the door, which stood a little open. She expected
to see Jeremiah fast asleep or in a fit
, but he was calmly seated in a chair, awake, and in his usual health
. But what-hey?-Lord forgive us!-Mrs Flintwinch muttered some ejaculation to this effect
, and turned giddy
For, Mr Flintwinch awake, was watching Mr Flintwinch asleep. He sat on one side of the small table
, looking keenly at himself on the other side with his chin sunk on his breast, snoring. The waking Flintwinch had his full front face presented to his wife; the sleeping Flintwinch was in profile
. The waking Flintwinch was the old original
; the sleeping Flintwinch was the double, just as she might
between a tangible object
and its reflection
in a glass, Affery made out this difference
with her head going round and round.
If she had had any doubt
which was her own Jeremiah, it would have been resolved by his impatience
. He looked about him for an offensive weapon
, caught up the snuffers, and, before applying them to the cabbage-headed candle, lunged at the sleeper
as though he would have run him through
'Who's that? What's the matter
?' cried the sleeper
Mr Flintwinch made a movement
with the snuffers, as if he would have enforced silence
on his companion
by putting them down his throat; the companion
, coming to himself, said, rubbing his eyes, 'I forgot where I was.'
'You have been asleep,' snarled Jeremiah, referring to his watch, 'two hours. You said you would be rested enough if you had a short nap.'
'I have had a short nap,' said Double.
And all friends round St Paul's.' He emptied and put down the wine-glass half-way through
this ancient civic
toast, and took up the box. It was an iron
box some two feet square, which he carried under his arms pretty easily. Jeremiah watched his manner of adjusting it, with jealous
eyes; tried it with his hands, to be sure that he had a firm hold of it; bade him for his life be careful
what he was about; and then stole
out on tiptoe to open the door for him. Affery, anticipating the last movement
, was on the staircase. The sequence
of things was so ordinary
, that, standing there, she could hear the door open, feel the night air, and see the stars outside.
But now came the most part of the dream
. She felt so afraid of her husband
, that being on the staircase, she had not the power
to her room (which she might
easily have done before he had fastened the door), but stood there staring. Consequently when he came up the staircase to bed, candle in hand, he came full upon her. He looked astonished
, but said not a word. He kept his eyes upon her, and kept advancing; and she, completely
under his influence
, kept retiring
before him. Thus, she walking backward
and he walking forward
, they came into their own room. They were no sooner shut in there, than Mr Flintwinch took her by the throat, and shook her until she was black in the face.
'Why, Affery, woman-Affery!' said Mr Flintwinch. 'What have you been dreaming of? Wake up, wake
up! What's the matter
, Jeremiah?' gasped Mrs Flintwinch, rolling her eyes.
'Why, Affery, woman-Affery! You have been getting out of bed in your sleep, my dear! I come up, after having fallen
asleep myself, below, and find you in your wrapper here, with the nightmare. Affery, woman,' said Mr Flintwinch, with a friendly grin on his expressive countenance
, 'if you ever have a dream
of this sort again, it'll be a sign of your being in want of physic
. And I'll give you such a dose, old woman-such a dose!'
Mrs Flintwinch thanked him and crept into bed.