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place to a respectable, well-conducted, but
utterly lifeless somethinga mixture of the
stoker and the supercargo?

I am a passive instrument in the hands of
fate, and I may add in the hands of science;
and on the morning of that drizzling, cheerless
November day, heedless, even ignorant
of the importance of the occasion at which
I am about to assist, I follow the stream
of expectant sight-seers, and find myself, in
due time, upon the dismal Islandthe Isle
of Dogs. Over the trembling wooden bridge
that divides us from London, properly so-
called, and on through the mist and steamy
exhalations, and along the sides of the
green ditches that skirt the roadway, tip
the crowded, noisy, bustling street, hung
with a few dingy flags, and I approach the
long, silent monster, stretching along above
the house-topsabove the tree-topsand
standing in impressive calmness, like some
huge cathedral. As I enter Mr. Scott
Russell's yard, I contrast the calm of the
great vesselthe sullen silence of inert
matterwith the eager bustle and hurry
of the two thousand workpeople who are
employed to assist in the launch.

I am in the empire of mud. I am assisting
at a festival in which mud forms the prevailing
element. I am surrounded by muddy navigators,
muddy engineers, muddy policemen,
muddy clerks of works, muddy, reckless, ladies,
muddy directors, muddy secretaries; and I
become muddy myself. Mudsoft clayey mud
is the distinguishing feature in this Island of
dirty Dogs. Not to be muddy is to argue yourself
unknown, and to be confounded with
the unimportant rank and file of visitors,
who number in and around the yard, and
upon the river, and the opposite coast, full
one hundred thousand souls.

The birthplace of the Leviathan presents
rather a chaotic picture. Lying about in the
clay, like plums in a pudding, are large
screws, crowbars, broken hammers, bits of
iron, cogwheels, sheets of metal, scaffold
poles and blocks of timber, big spike-nails,
felled trees, iron girderspieces of cable,
chain, pulleys, and boilers, into which
people creep out of the rain.

There is the hum of many voices upon
land, and the shouts from the river, the
music and ringing of the bells on the opposite
shore, the hissing of steam, and the
clatter of the engines. Careworn officials
pass me, who have been hard and
anxiously at work for many weeks, and who
have been up all night. They look at me
with a sorry welcome, wondering how I and
so many persons can take an interest in what
appears to them an irksome task. There are
groups of stout, powerful navvies, Lancashire
and Yorkshire, who are not occupied to-day
in the work of the yard, and different classes
of lounging workpeople, some in blue jackets,
and some in clayey brown shirts, and some
in fustian suits, and very greasy caps. These
are the men who have been working for so
many weary months upon the great ship's
shell; and they are there with their wives
and their childrenbabies in armsto
witness the success or failure of their handiwork.
Some of the women have brought
their husbands' dinners, and they wait,
looking curiously at the arrangements around
them, until the repast is finished upon a piece
of old iron, or inside a boiler. Some of the
dinner-bearers are not so fortunate in finding
their husbands in the crowd at the exact
moment when they want them, and they run
about bewildered in the general din,
bemoaning the fact that the dinner is getting
cold. The sparrows seem to be aware that
something is going on of far more interest
to them than the gigantic launch, and they
assemble in great force, chirruping for the
crumbs that may fall from the poor man's
table. One very clean, neat old widow, after
some difficulty, finds her son, a very greasy,
muddy lad, with a good deal of lamp-black
about his face. To the old lady's great concern
he does not seem to care about his
dinner, and she is sure that he must want
something after being up all night about the
yard. The lad has been stimulated by some
fellow-workmen with a large allowance of
beer, and this, together with the exciting
event of the day, had made him so indifferent
to food, that the old lady, very unwillingly,
is compelled to leave the carefully
prepared comforts to take their chance in
the course of the afternoon. Such domestic
events go on, no matter what great interests
are hanging in the balance. Dinners were
brought to workmen by careful wives and
mothers at the building of the Tower of
Babel, and why not at the launch of the
Leviathan? The welfare of her greasy,
muddy son, was of more moment to the clean,
old, widowed mother, than the great, sullen
carcase which one hundred thousand people
were so anxious to see floating on the

On all occasions of this kind you meet
with a good deal of character, brought out
by the surrounding circumstances. There is
the practical man, bloated with all the traditions
of the past, but a hopeless blank as
to the future; who would rather cling to the
inventions and appliances that we have,
than fly to others that he knows not of. He
is, at the present time, a good representative
of those men, laughed at now, who
backed a Margate hoy against the first
locomotive engine that ever ran on rails, and who
considered the man who first proposed to
light London with gas a dangerous lunatic of
the Guy Fawkes' breed, against whom every
man's hand ought to be turned who did not
wish to see his home in flames, and his
children calcined.

Such men as these were very plentiful on
the morning of the third of November,
standing in the centre of a little attentive

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