CHAPTER I. WHEN I was a little boy of about six years old, I was standing with a maid servant in the balcony of one of the upper rooms of my father’s house in London It was the evening of the first day that I had ever been in London, and my senses had been excited, and almost exhausted, by the vast variety of objects that were new to me. It was dusk, and I was growing sleepy, but my attention was wakened by a fresh wonder. As I stood peeping between the bars of the balcony, I saw star after star of light appear in quick succession, at a certain height and distance, and in a regular line, approach- ing nearer and nearer. I twitched the skirt of my maid’s gown repeatedly, but she was talking to some acquaintance at the window of a neighbouring house, and she did not attend to me. I pressed my forehead more closely against the bars of the balcony, and strained my eyes more eagerly towards the objects of my curio- sity. Presently the figure of the lamp- lighter with his blazing torch in one hand, and his ladder in the other, became visible j and, with as much delight as philosopher ever enjoyed in discovering the cause of a new and grand phenome- non, I watched his operations. I saw him fix and mount his ladder with his little black pot swinging from his arm, and his red smoking torch waving with astonishing velocity, as he ran up and down the ladder. Just when he reached the ground, bei,ng then within a few yards of our house, his torch flared on the face and figure of an old man with a long white beard and a dark visage, who, holding a great bag slung over one shoulder, walked slowly on, repeating in a low, abrupt, mysterious tone, the cry of “Old-clothes!” I could not understand the words he said, but as he looked up at our balcony he saw me smiled and I remember thinking, that he had a good-natured countenance.