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injustice was all that remained to be
committed for that day. The unfortunate girl
was placed at once in solitary confinement.



FURTHER sleep that night or morning,
sound or unsound, on board the Stourport
was impossible. We had experienced the
effect of passing through our first night-
lock; and, while comparing notes, we passed
through a second, and then a third, until
we decided that a bargeman's life was one
continual bump.

Cuddy was aloft at half-past four, A.M.,
standing outside the opening in the
tarpaulin upon the edge of the boat, holding on
to the side ropes, examining the slow moving
panorama of country, exchanging salutations
with Captain Randle at the tiller,
chirping popular airs from the Barber of
Seville, and glancing ravenously down at the
great meat-pie. I arose, took my place at the
opening on the other side, and found the
morning fresh and cloudy; though giving
promise of a fine day. Captain Randle's son
was standing upon the narrow roof of the
little cabins, beginning his toilet for the day,
by combing his straw-coloured hair, turned
to that colour by much exposure to the air
and sun. He was a light-eyed, full-blooded,
red-cheeked, good-tempered, clean-looking
young man of twenty-three. Presently he
dipped a mop into the canal; drawing
it carefully round the edges of a pair
of remarkably heavy boots, that had never
known brush or blacking in this world,
and never would. A bargeman's boot looks
more as if it had been turned out of a
blacksmith's forge, than a shoe-maker's stall. It
differs from a navvy's boot in being very
loose. The navvy's boot is a laced-up article
binding itself very close round the ancles
so close, in fact, that it seems a marvel how
such powerful and gigantic bodies can be
supported upon such frails props, without
causing them to snap short off like pieces of
tobacco-pipe. The bargeman's boot is an
easy, full-sized blucher: with upper leather as
thick as a moderate slice of bread and butter,
and with soles like those worn by short
performers who personate giants upon the
stage. There is none of that finish, none of
that rounding off, none of that dandy coarseness
about them, which distinguishes the
shooting-boots displayed for show in Regent
Street windows, or which gentlemen drag
after them when they go upon the moors.
Rude, uncultivated strength is the main
feature of the bargeman's-boot. The sole
absolutely bristles with a plantation of
gooseberry-headed hob-nails; the toe and
heel heavily strengthened with massive
bandages of iron. Twelve shillings a pair is
paid to makers, who reside upon the canal
banks, for these boots, and they must be dirt-
cheap, if only to sell for old metal. The
bargeman's stocking is another peculiar
manufacture, worsted in material, bright,
clear blue in colour, ribbed and knitted by
village hands. It is twice the thickness of
domestic worsted; serving perhaps as a shield
to protect the foot from the attacks of the
heavy boot. In other respects the bargeman
dresses chiefly in fustian. His trousers are
always loose, short, and Dutch built, and his
jacket is a red or brown plush waistcoat
with fustian sleeves. He wears a cap, a
sailor's leather hat, or a brown hair structure,
with a cloth top and a bright peak.

Captain Randle, who is still steering the
Stourport, is a short man between fifty and
sixty years of age, with brown hands, a brown
honest-looking face, scanty light hair, small
twinkling eyes, and a round lump of a nose.
He looks fresh and clean, although he is yet
unwashed, and has been up nearly all the
night. Fifty years of his life have been spent
upon the canals of his native land; and, fifty
years of a boatman's life, means fifty years
of boat. His land-home is in Stoke, in
Staffordshire; and, although his chief line of
route is now from London to Birmingham,
and from Birmingham to Manchester, he
does not leave his boat-home to pay it a visit
above three times a year. When he arrives
at his destination he unships one load of
goods, and takes in another, to return without
stopping, along the same road he came.
Every tree, every bridge, every lock or
house on the line of march is familiar to
him as his own hands, and his reflections
are not disturbed by the dangerous and
troublesome gifts of reading and writing.
His son, the straw-haired young man, has
been taught to steer through a printed book;
but the old man constantly laments the fact
that he is not, "a scollard." Like many wiser
and greater men, Captain Handle has a strong
tendency to overrate that which lie does not
possess; and he fully believes that, grant him
but the mysterious, and to him unknown arts
of reading and writing, and there would have
been nothing to prevent him, when he was
a younger man, from becoming the Lord
Mayor of London.

The other boatman, who is sleeping in the
cabin, and the youth who is driving the
horse, are hearty creatures, with cheerful
dispositions, large appetites, and little else to
distinguish them.

After making a rough toilet with a bowl
of water, a piece of yellow soap, and a
coarse towel, we manage, with some dexterity,
much exertion, and a little danger of falling
overboard, to reach the small deck of the
little cabin. This limited platform, is the
breakfast-table, dinner-table, tea-table, and
sitting-room of the bargemen and their
visitors during the summer mouths. If size
is sometimes a luxury, smallness is
sometimes a convenience; and as we take our
breakfasts upon this Poop,—as Captain

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