“Hello, Splidge!” a voice called.
Splidge looked up and spotted a scruffy boy of similar age to him clinging precariously to the top of a lamppost on the other side of the square. He crossed over to him and stared up at the lad with mild amusement.
“What are you doing up there, Snotty?”
“I’m snuffing it,” the lamp-boy said matter-of-factly, and he thrust a small conical brass instrument over the flame and put it out. He slid down the lamppost to join his friend.
“I’ve got a new job, I’m a Lighter ‘n Snuffer now,” he proclaimed proudly. “The lamps of Gud City are my responsibility, you know.”
“Blimey,” Splidge said, impressed. “That’s a good job.”
Splidge was small, but Snotty was smaller. No one had measured him, yet he could only muster four feet, even in his boots and battered top hat. A mixture of lamp oil, candle wax, soot and ash covered his ragged jacket and trousers. His cheery face exhibited a ruddy complexion and his nose constantly dribbled, not helped by his habit of thrusting his little finger into his encrusted nostrils and mining for bogeys.
“Yeah, it’s a good job, but with all that shimmying up and down these poles, it’s wearing stinkin’ great ‘oles in me trousers.” Snotty slapped the lamppost.
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