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may be that he had been solacing the solitude
of his hut with something of a comforting
nature, and had issued with an over-
developed sense of dignity and authority. It
may be that his temper was a little soured
by seeing the bottle, and receiving no invitation
from the eccentric passengers and owners
to partake of its contents. Anyway, his tone
was thick, and his meaning unfriendly.

"I don't know who you may be," he began,
you may be all right, and you may not; but
I'm here to do my duty."

Cuddy explained to him the very confined
limits of that duty, which consisted in opening
and shutting the lock-gates, and seeing
that no one threw dead dogs or cats in the
water, to obstruct the channel. This remark,
had an irritating effect.

"Sir," he resumed, addressing himself
particularly to Cuddy, who maddened him by
drinking out of the bottle: "I don't know
who you may be, but I know my duty; if I
didn't, I hadn't ought to be here."

Something called him away at this point,
for a moment; but he returned immediately
to the attack.

"I see a party in the barge," he resumed,
"and how do I know who they are?"

"How, indeed?" replied Cuddy.

"Very well; I know my duty. I don't
know who you may be—"

Our barge had, by this time, cleared the
locks, and the argumentative, but language-
limited lock-keeper was left behind upon a
brickwork promontory, struggling with his
frozen eloquence, and with many conflicting
emotions. He probably thought that Captain
Randle was harbouring visitors without
the knowledge of the Company; or that a
secret mission of observance, a surveying
expedition, or a pleasure-party of eccentric
directors was floating on the canal; and, while
he was anxious to assert his official existence,
and to show himself in the eyes of the great
unknown as a highly vigilant and
meritorious officer, he was mad with curiosity
to know the meaning of the unusual group
in the hold of the Stourport; and careful not
to say anything that might be offensive to
the ears of probable authority, travelling in
disguise. No one had the charity to
enlighten his ignorance, and he was left to pass
the short remainder of the night, tossing
uneasily upon his couch under the heavy load
of a deep, dark mystery.

Before we leave the Regent's Canal, and
join the Paddington branch of the Grand
Junction Canal, to proceed in the direction
of Brentford, we are received in the gauging-
house of the Grand Junction Company, and
the weight of luggage which we carry on
board is measured by a barometer, which
is dipped in the canal close to the sides of
the vessel, fore and aft, and the results
entered in a book, from which we are
rated. This necessary examination is made
in the interest of canal proprietors at every
junction where a barge passes from one
property to another. The Grand Junction
Company charge tolls to their own barges, the
same as to others, the accounts of the carrying
trade, and the canal trade, being kept
distinct. This ordeal concluded, we are
fairly launched upon the inland canals, and
our regular round of canal life begins. ln
front of us is our butty-barge (butty being
a Staffordshire term for foreman), destined to
be our companion through the journey, and
undertake the duty of sending a man in
advance with a key, to get the water prepared
in the locks. This is done by the driver
of the horse, and is no inconsiderable task,
when we know that there are nearly a
hundred locks upon the Grand Junction
property. The barges of all the large
proprietors travel in tandem-pairs; and the
task of lock-opening falls to the lot of the
foremost barge. Each boat has a captain and
three men, who work in lengths, or distances
of from six to ten miles; one man steering
while the other drives, and attends to the
locks; the other two sleeping or resting
until their turns came to work the boat. The
captain is responsible to the company for the
barge and the goods; and he receives a
certain fixed payment in pounds sterling for the
voyage. The crew of three men is employed,
paid, and fed by the captain. The victualling
of the vessel consists in shipping a sack
of potatoes, a quantity of inferior tea, and
about fifty pounds of meat at the beginning
of the voyage; while large loaves of
bread, weighing upwards of eight pounds,
are got at certain places on the line of canal.
If our pace is slow, it has the advantage of
being incessant; for night or day we never
stop, but keep on the even tenor of two
and a-half miles an hour, except when, for
about two minutes, we are delayed at each lock.

By degrees the novelty of our situation
subsides a little, and we settle down for a few
hours upon our straw bed. Cuddy is restless;
and, having the weight of much historical
information concerning canals upon
his mind, which he has hastily crammed
from cyclopaedias, and such books, in
anticipation of our journey, he suddenly finds it
necessary that he should communicate to me
an account of early Chinese, Assyrian, and
Roman claims to the introduction and
improvement of this very useful, agreeable, and
economical mode of conveyance. Finding
that I do not feel a proper and intelligent
interest in the early origin and struggles of
canals; that I do not care how the Chinese
dug them; what the Egyptians thought of
them, or what the early Greeks called them;
knowing that I am familiar with every step
in the noble history of the energetic, single-
minded Duke of Bridgewater, and his worthy
engineer and companion, Brindley, and all
they did for canal extension in England,—
Cuddy (who is not a bore, or he would

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