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strongly constructed, to be defended from the
constant concussions against the lock-gates,
and the constant wear and tear caused by
friction against the lock-walls. At the stern
of the boat is the smallest conceivable cabin,
in which the four mencaptain and crew
contrive to sleep, to live, and to cook. It
runs up shelvingly from the sides of the
boat to nearly the height of the tarpaulin's
back-bone; and is covered with a flat deck;
making it like a box. As you stand up in the
little cabin doorwaywhich runs in a short
distance, leaving part of this deck on each side
of youyou can place your elbows comfortably
upon the top, or drop a coal down into
the cabin-fire through the chimney, which
rises to the height of two feet, close to the
left side of your nose. Between the cabin-
door, and the small, raised fan-shaped
platform, upon which stand the steersman and
the tiller, there is a little passage, across the
boat, so narrow that it looks like a plank
ribbon. This completes the size and outline
of the Stourport, Captain Randle, which, in
every important respect, is a model of its
sister fly-boats. Seen at some little distance,
from a bridge, as they glide slowly and silently
along the waters, these boats look very like
the pictures of attenuated hippopotami floating
down the African rivers.

We glide and bump, and bump and glide
away from the lofty, hollow, buildings of the
company, amidst the sound of echoing men's
voices, and the splashing of poles in the water;
slowly past the wharves, and factories, and
tile and whitening stores that line the sides
of the basin; plenty of time being allowed
for observation, as our pace is very slowas
it will be all through the journey; for
we have gone at one bound a century back
in the history of conveyance, and must be
satisfied with an uniform and almost
imperceptible rate of from two to two and a half
miles an hour. Our progress is the result of the
poling of the two boatmen who stand on the
top of the tarpaulin structure; upon the ridge
of the boards which continually oscillate over
the water. Herewith a pole several yards
long, and of the thickness of a child's arm,
with a hook and spike at the end, which is
planted in the bed of the canal, and with the
other end fixed under the armthe boatman
leans over the water at a very dangerous angle,
and impels the Stourport with its precious
cargo, by a strong muscular walking-pressure
of the feet upon the tarpaulin's backbone.

About one o'clock in the morning we
reached the Islington tunnel, and here we
are enlightened as to another process of
barge propulsion, called legging. A couple
of strong thick boards, very like in shape to
tailors' sleeve-boards, but twice the size, are
hooked on to places formed on each side of
the barge, near the head, from which they
project like two raised oars. On these two
narrow, insecure platforms, the two venturesome
boatmen lie on their backs, holding on
by grasping the board underneath, and with
their legs, up to the waist, hanging over the
water. A lantern, placed at the head of the
barge, serves to light the operation which
consists in moving the Stourport through
the black tunnel, by a measured side-step
against the slimy, glistening walls; the
right foot is first planted in a half-slanting
direction, and the left foot is constantly
brought over with a sweep to take the
vacated place, until the right can recover its
footing; like the operation known as "hands
over" by young ladies who play upon the
piano in a showy and gymnastic manner.
The Stourport, steered by its commander,
Captain Randle, walks through the tunnel in
the dead of the night, by the aid of its four
stout legs, and its four heavily hob-nailed
boots, that make a full echoing sound upon
the walls like the measured clapping of
hands, but disturb not the sleeping inmates
of houses and kitchens under which they pass;
many of whom, perhaps, are utterly ignorant
of the black and barge-loaded Styx that flows
beneath them.

We emerge from the tunnel, at last, and
tackle to our horse. Our progress is then
slow and steady, between the silent houses
of Camden Town; past the anything but
silent railway carrying establishment of the
Messrs. Pickford; round the outskirts of
the Regent's Park; under the overhanging
trees of the Zoological Gardens; and through
Saint John's Wood, to the termination of
the Regent's Canal, and the commencement
of the Grand Junction Canal, near the
Harrow Road, at Paddington. About this
time my friend and companion, Cuddy, who
is remarkable for an appetite that requires
satisfying at the most extraordinary times
and seasons, could be restrained no longer
from attacking the great meat-pie. A large
watchman's lantern was handed down the
hold; and, by its rather dim light, at
exactly two A.M., the frugal meal began. The
picture formed was of a mixed character;
the pie, a bottle, and the grouping being
suggestive of Teniers, while the lantern light,
and its effects, were decidedly Rembrandtish.
The picture struck the astonished gaze of a
Paddington lock-keeper, who had been man
and boy at that lock for five-and-twenty
years, and who had never seen anything like
it in the hold of a fly-bargealways devoted
to bales, boxes, and casksduring the whole
course of his long experience. He gazed in
silence, and went away while the lock was
filling with water, only to return, and to
indulge in another gaze. No one connected
with the boat volunteered to enlighten him
as to the cause of the very unusual spectacle;
and, after a time which the junction of two
locks allowed him for rumination, he came
up to the side of the boat, close to the opening
in the tarpaulin, and delivered himself
of a few words to myself and Cuddy. It

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