THE OLD STREET LAMP 353
and the council that he might keep the Street Lamp. The\ laughed at his request, but the Lamp was "given to him, and now it lay in the great arm-chair by the warm stove. It seemed as if the Lamp had grown bigger, now that it occupied the chair all alone.
The old people sat at supper, and looked kindly at the old Lamp, to whom they would willingly have granted a place at their table.
Their dwelling was certainly only a cellar two yards below the footway, and one had to cross a stone passage to get into the room. But within it was very comfortable and warm, and strips of list had been nailed to the door. Everything looked clean and neat, and there were curtains round the bed and the little windows. On the window-sill stood two curious flower-pots, which sailor Christian had brought home from the East or West Indies. They were only of clay, and represented two elephants. The backs of these creatures were wanting ; and instead of them there bloomed from within the earth with which one elephant was filled, some very excellent leeks, and that was the old folk's kitchen garden ; out of the other grew a great geranium, and that was their flower garden. On the wall hung a great coloured print representing the Congress of Vienna. There you had all the Kings and Emperors at once. A Grandfather's clock with heavy weights went ' tick ! tick !' and in fact it always went too fast; but the old people declared this was far better than if it went too slow. They ate their supper, and the Street Lamp lay, as I have said, in the arm-chair close beside the stove. It seemed to the Lamp as if the whole world had been turned round. But when the old watchman looked at it, and spoke of all that they two had gone through in rain and in fog, in the bright short nights of summer and in the long winter nights, when the snow beat down, and one longed to be at home in the cellar, then the old Lamp found its wits again. It saw everything as clearly as if it was happening then ; yes, the Wind had kindled a capital light for it.
The old people were very active and industrious ; not a single hour was wasted in idleness. On Sunday afternoon some book or other was brought out; generally a book