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whip, and made useful to their thoughtless
parents, by night and day, as drivers of the
horse that tows the boat. There are little
tender girls, in heavy boots, slouched sun-
bonnets, and dusty clothes, running on either
side of the rope, or under the horse's legs;
tugging at the harness; maddening the
animal with all a child's impatience; and
imitating the coarseness and violence of a
boatman's voice and gesture, with all a
child's exaggeration and power of mimicry.
Not a week passes, but what one of these
canal-children is drowned in the silent by-
way upon which they were born; and,
painful as the incident is, it is too common to
excite much observation.

Captain Randle shakes his head
mournfully when we talk of these things.



THE man behind my chair, the man in
livery, the gaudy bondsman, the stiff, silent,
watchful changer of plates and wine-glasses:
footman, flunkey, lacquey, valet, call him by
what name you will, to me he is an incubus
in plusha powdered Mephistopheles, a
sword of Damocles, hanging by the frail
silken cord of wages, food, and clothing at
my side. I may command his bodily
movements; he is bound to minister to my
mechanical wants; he contracts to attend to the
slightest manifestations of my alimentary
desires; his every look and gesture are
rendered as per agreement. I hold no conversation
with him, nor he with me. I am
instructed to ignore his intellectual existence.
He conveys to me gently the delicacies of
the season. He enlivens me with sparkling
champagne. He tones me down to calmness
with fine, old, crusted port. I thank him not
by word or sign; and, so far, he appears to be
my helpless, hopeless slave. But, if the thin
veil that hides my mental sufferings is lifted
off, it will be found that he is the master, and
that I am the bondsman; that although I
am allowed to direct his physical movements,
I cannot touch that impalpable essence
of his that is termed the mind; yet he
possesses the power to influence my every
thought, my every word, my every gesture.
Train myself as I will, I cannot forget that a
human (not very powerful it may be, but still
human) intellect, is going deliberately over
every word of my conversation, criticising to
the best of its ability, my opinions, my prejudices,
my selfishness, my frivolity, and even
the very language in which I express them.

Perchance it may happen that the Kaleidoscope
of society has, in its revolutions,
deposited me next to one of those men at the
dinner-table, whose names would look well
in the prospectus of a public company, and
whose capital would be useful in developing
that company. It does not matter how, to
what extent, or in what manner I am
interested in the progress of that company. I
advocate its commercial and other
advantages to the best of my ability, checked,
as I am, by the stern, unbending guard kept
over me by the liveried sentinel of fashion,.
There is a secret and painful understanding
between the watchful footman and myself.
He is familiar with all my arguments in
favour of Welsh slate as a perfect El Dorado
of remunerative enterprise; he has heard
them so frequently in the pauses between
the courses, that he could repeat them
mechanically as glibly as I do, and probably with
about an equal result. He knows how I regulate
my remarks to suit the character, the
experience, the supposed strength or weakness of my
listener; he learns how one man is governed
by the mere greed of quiet, unostentatious
gain in the shape of excessive dividends; how
another is led on by the pictures of unbounded
patronage, social dignity, and power
of command which I dangle before his eyes.
Much there is that the observing flunkey
cannot fail to learn from what he hears;
more there would be if his presence did not
act as a restraining influence, impairing my
force, and limiting my means of

It is not only in affairs that chiefly concern
the pocket that the influence of the man
behind my chair is felt. The social kaleidoscope
may place me by the side of one of
those fair, young, gentle creatures who seem
like angelic beings of another world,
condescending for a brief period to grace by
their presence the festive boards of this. I
may be emboldened by the absence of the
legally constituted guardian of the lovely
beingseparated from us as she is, by a
dozen intervening table-ornamentsto pour
into her ear a conversation more tender than
I should have done, had the eagle-eye of
that guardian been fixed upon us from an
opposite chair.

But what avails it that I am favoured by
fortune in the front, when I am cursed by an
adverse fate from behind? Every word that
I utter has to be filtered through the listening
ear of the man behind my chair; every
word that I received in reply is modified by
that maiden-modesty which shrinks from the
rude contact of another and an uncongenial
soul. Between me and the object of my heart's
dearest affections stands the full-blooded
bodily barrier of a pampered menial. He has
eyes to see; he has ears to hear; but he has
no tongue wherewith to speak. His silence
is awful. I have no means of judging what
thoughts are coursing each other through that
busy, feeble brain. Such thoughts are secrets
that we carry to the grave.

It may be that I am shuffled down beside
a distant relative, whose property in the
funds is something fabulous; whose tottering
frame is nearly ready for the family vault
whose tremulous hand can scarcely perform

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