Chapter 6.48 Albany to Niagara (continued)
Continued from 6.47- “First rate table! All for 2 cents a mile!” Could not resist the temptation of the novelty - so stepped on board a fine boat which proceed immediately “West.” This mode of travelling quite new to us all.
Every “packet boat” is drawn by three horses - all other line boats by 2 & sometimes by only 1 poor wretch. The two last never trot, but the packet boats move at the rate of 4 miles an hour. The poor horses lead a hard life of it, which however is not long for they are soon worn out in the service. We saw two of them jerked into the canal by the towrope and saved with difficulty.
It interested us much to see how they managed the boat. The steersman keeps the boat in the middle of the canal, while the horses trot (tandem) along the “tow path”. This narrow road is only on one side of the canal, the name of which I could not at first comprehend especially after hearing one of the men calling out to the drivers “keep along the heel path!”-- Soon found he had given the names only in fun. These people, as Eliza says, are more like amphibious animals than men. Now on Land - on the boat - and all without the boat stopping one moment, they often give desperate leaps and it is only wonderful they do not slip into the canal - I have...continues on 6.49