Part 2 - Black Beauty Audiobook by Anna Sewell (Chs 20-36)

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Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 20.
Joe Green
Joe Green went on very well; he learned quickly, and was so attentive and careful
that John began to trust him in many things; but as I have said, he was small of
his age, and it was seldom that he was
allowed to exercise either Ginger or me; but it so happened one morning that John
was out with Justice in the luggage cart, and the master wanted a note to be taken
immediately to a gentleman's house, about
three miles distant, and sent his orders for Joe to saddle me and take it, adding
the caution that he was to ride steadily. The note was delivered, and we were quietly
returning when we came to the brick-field.
Here we saw a cart heavily laden with bricks; the wheels had stuck fast in the
stiff mud of some deep ruts, and the carter was shouting and flogging the two horses
Joe pulled up. It was a sad sight.
There were the two horses straining and struggling with all their might to drag the
cart out, but they could not move it; the sweat streamed from their legs and flanks,
their sides heaved, and every muscle was
strained, while the man, fiercely pulling at the head of the fore horse, swore and
lashed most brutally.
"Hold hard," said Joe; "don't go on flogging the horses like that; the wheels
are so stuck that they cannot move the cart."
The man took no heed, but went on lashing.
"Stop! pray stop!" said Joe. "I'll help you to lighten the cart; they
can't move it now." "Mind your own business, you impudent young
rascal, and I'll mind mine!"
The man was in a towering passion and the worse for drink, and laid on the whip
Joe turned my head, and the next moment we were going at a round gallop toward the
house of the master brick-maker.
I cannot say if John would have approved of our pace, but Joe and I were both of one
mind, and so angry that we could not have gone slower.
The house stood close by the roadside.
Joe knocked at the door, and shouted, "Halloo!
Is Mr. Clay at home?" The door was opened, and Mr. Clay himself
came out.
"Halloo, young man! You seem in a hurry; any orders from the
squire this morning?" "No, Mr. Clay, but there's a fellow in your
brick-yard flogging two horses to death.
I told him to stop, and he wouldn't; I said I'd help him to lighten the cart, and he
wouldn't; so I have come to tell you. Pray, sir, go."
Joe's voice shook with excitement.
"Thank ye, my lad," said the man, running in for his hat; then pausing for a moment,
"Will you give evidence of what you saw if I should bring the fellow up before a
"That I will," said Joe, "and glad too." The man was gone, and we were on our way
home at a smart trot. "Why, what's the matter with you, Joe?
You look angry all over," said John, as the boy flung himself from the saddle.
"I am angry all over, I can tell you," said the boy, and then in hurried, excited words
he told all that had happened.
Joe was usually such a quiet, gentle little fellow that it was wonderful to see him so
roused. "Right, Joe! you did right, my boy, whether
the fellow gets a summons or not.
Many folks would have ridden by and said it was not their business to interfere.
Now I say that with cruelty and oppression it is everybody's business to interfere
when they see it; you did right, my boy."
Joe was quite calm by this time, and proud that John approved of him, and cleaned out
my feet and rubbed me down with a firmer hand than usual.
They were just going home to dinner when the footman came down to the stable to say
that Joe was wanted directly in master's private room; there was a man brought up
for ill-using horses, and Joe's evidence was wanted.
The boy flushed up to his forehead, and his eyes sparkled.
"They shall have it," said he.
"Put yourself a bit straight," said John. Joe gave a pull at his necktie and a twitch
at his jacket, and was off in a moment.
Our master being one of the county magistrates, cases were often brought to
him to settle, or say what should be done.
In the stable we heard no more for some time, as it was the men's dinner hour, but
when Joe came next into the stable I saw he was in high spirits; he gave me a good-
natured slap, and said, "We won't see such things done, will we, old fellow?"
We heard afterward that he had given his evidence so clearly, and the horses were in
such an exhausted state, bearing marks of such brutal usage, that the carter was
committed to take his trial, and might
possibly be sentenced to two or three months in prison.
It was wonderful what a change had come over Joe.
John laughed, and said he had grown an inch taller in that week, and I believe he had.
He was just as kind and gentle as before, but there was more purpose and
determination in all that he did--as if he had jumped at once from a boy into a man.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 21.
The Parting
Now I had lived in this happy place three years, but sad changes were about to come
over us. We heard from time to time that our
mistress was ill.
The doctor was often at the house, and the master looked grave and anxious.
Then we heard that she must leave her home at once, and go to a warm country for two
or three years.
The news fell upon the household like the tolling of a deathbell.
Everybody was sorry; but the master began directly to make arrangements for breaking
up his establishment and leaving England.
We used to hear it talked about in our stable; indeed, nothing else was talked
about. John went about his work silent and sad,
and Joe scarcely whistled.
There was a great deal of coming and going; Ginger and I had full work.
The first of the party who went were Miss Jessie and Flora, with their governess.
They came to bid us good-by.
They hugged poor Merrylegs like an old friend, and so indeed he was.
Then we heard what had been arranged for us.
Master had sold Ginger and me to his old friend, the Earl of W----, for he thought
we should have a good place there.
Merrylegs he had given to the vicar, who was wanting a pony for Mrs. Blomefield, but
it was on the condition that he should never be sold, and that when he was past
work he should be shot and buried.
Joe was engaged to take care of him and to help in the house, so I thought that
Merrylegs was well off.
John had the offer of several good places, but he said he should wait a little and
look round.
The evening before they left the master came into the stable to give some
directions, and to give his horses the last pat.
He seemed very low-spirited; I knew that by his voice.
I believe we horses can tell more by the voice than many men can.
"Have you decided what to do, John?" he said.
"I find you have not accepted either of those offers."
"No, sir; I have made up my mind that if I could get a situation with some first-rate
colt-breaker and horse-trainer, it would be the right thing for me.
Many young animals are frightened and spoiled by wrong treatment, which need not
be if the right man took them in hand.
I always get on well with horses, and if I could help some of them to a fair start I
should feel as if I was doing some good. What do you think of it, sir?"
"I don't know a man anywhere," said master, "that I should think so suitable for it as
You understand horses, and somehow they understand you, and in time you might set
up for yourself; I think you could not do better.
If in any way I can help you, write to me.
I shall speak to my agent in London, and leave your character with him."
Master gave John the name and address, and then he thanked him for his long and
faithful service; but that was too much for John.
"Pray, don't, sir, I can't bear it; you and my dear mistress have done so much for me
that I could never repay it.
But we shall never forget you, sir, and please God, we may some day see mistress
back again like herself; we must keep up hope, sir."
Master gave John his hand, but he did not speak, and they both left the stable.
The last sad day had come; the footman and the heavy luggage had gone off the day
before, and there were only master and mistress and her maid.
Ginger and I brought the carriage up to the hall door for the last time.
The servants brought out cushions and rugs and many other things; and when all were
arranged master came down the steps carrying the mistress in his arms (I was on
the side next to the house, and could see
all that went on); he placed her carefully in the carriage, while the house servants
stood round crying. "Good-by, again," he said; "we shall not
forget any of you," and he got in.
"Drive on, John."
Joe jumped up, and we trotted slowly through the park and through the village,
where the people were standing at their doors to have a last look and to say, "God
bless them."
When we reached the railway station I think mistress walked from the carriage to the
waiting-room. I heard her say in her own sweet voice,
"Good-by, John.
God bless you." I felt the rein twitch, but John made no
answer; perhaps he could not speak.
As soon as Joe had taken the things out of the carriage John called him to stand by
the horses, while he went on the platform. Poor Joe! he stood close up to our heads to
hide his tears.
Very soon the train came puffing up into the station; then two or three minutes, and
the doors were slammed to, the guard whistled, and the train glided away,
leaving behind it only clouds of white smoke and some very heavy hearts.
When it was quite out of sight John came back.
"We shall never see her again," he said-- "never."
He took the reins, mounted the box, and with Joe drove slowly home; but it was not
our home now.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 22.
The next morning after breakfast Joe put Merrylegs into the mistress' low chaise to
take him to the vicarage; he came first and said good-by to us, and Merrylegs neighed
to us from the yard.
Then John put the saddle on Ginger and the leading rein on me, and rode us across the
country about fifteen miles to Earlshall Park, where the Earl of W---- lived.
There was a very fine house and a great deal of stabling.
We went into the yard through a stone gateway, and John asked for Mr. York.
It was some time before he came.
He was a fine-looking, middle-aged man, and his voice said at once that he expected to
be obeyed.
He was very friendly and polite to John, and after giving us a slight look he called
a groom to take us to our boxes, and invited John to take some refreshment.
We were taken to a light, airy stable, and placed in boxes adjoining each other, where
we were rubbed down and fed.
In about half an hour John and Mr. York, who was to be our new coachman, came in to
see us.
"Now, Mr. Manly," he said, after carefully looking at us both, "I can see no fault in
these horses; but we all know that horses have their peculiarities as well as men,
and that sometimes they need different treatment.
I should like to know if there is anything particular in either of these that you
would like to mention."
"Well," said John, "I don't believe there is a better pair of horses in the country,
and right grieved I am to part with them, but they are not alike.
The black one is the most perfect temper I ever knew; I suppose he has never known a
hard word or a blow since he was foaled, and all his pleasure seems to be to do what
you wish; but the chestnut, I fancy, must
have had bad treatment; we heard as much from the dealer.
She came to us snappish and suspicious, but when she found what sort of place ours was,
it all went off by degrees; for three years I have never seen the smallest sign of
temper, and if she is well treated there is
not a better, more willing animal than she is.
But she is naturally a more irritable constitution than the black horse; flies
tease her more; anything wrong in the harness frets her more; and if she were
ill-used or unfairly treated she would not be unlikely to give tit for tat.
You know that many high-mettled horses will do so."
"Of course," said York, "I quite understand; but you know it is not easy in
stables like these to have all the grooms just what they should be.
I do my best, and there I must leave it.
I'll remember what you have said about the mare."
They were going out of the stable, when John stopped and said, "I had better
mention that we have never used the check- rein with either of them; the black horse
never had one on, and the dealer said it
was the gag-bit that spoiled the other's temper."
"Well," said York, "if they come here they must wear the check-rein.
I prefer a loose rein myself, and his lordship is always very reasonable about
horses; but my lady--that's another thing; she will have style, and if her carriage
horses are not reined up tight she wouldn't look at them.
I always stand out against the gag-bit, and shall do so, but it must be tight up when
my lady rides!"
"I am sorry for it, very sorry," said John; "but I must go now, or I shall lose the
He came round to each of us to pat and speak to us for the last time; his voice
sounded very sad.
I held my face close to him; that was all I could do to say good-by; and then he was
gone, and I have never seen him since. The next day Lord W---- came to look at us;
he seemed pleased with our appearance.
"I have great confidence in these horses," he said, "from the character my friend Mr.
Gordon has given me of them.
Of course they are not a match in color, but my idea is that they will do very well
for the carriage while we are in the country.
Before we go to London I must try to match Baron; the black horse, I believe, is
perfect for riding." York then told him what John had said about
"Well," said he, "you must keep an eye to the mare, and put the check-rein easy; I
dare say they will do very well with a little humoring at first.
I'll mention it to your lady."
In the afternoon we were harnessed and put in the carriage, and as the stable clock
struck three we were led round to the front of the house.
It was all very grand, and three or four times as large as the old house at
Birtwick, but not half so pleasant, if a horse may have an opinion.
Two footmen were standing ready, dressed in drab livery, with scarlet breeches and
white stockings.
Presently we heard the rustling sound of silk as my lady came down the flight of
stone steps.
She stepped round to look at us; she was a tall, proud-looking woman, and did not seem
pleased about something, but she said nothing, and got into the carriage.
This was the first time of wearing a check- rein, and I must say, though it certainly
was a nuisance not to be able to get my head down now and then, it did not pull my
head higher than I was accustomed to carry it.
I felt anxious about Ginger, but she seemed to be quiet and content.
The next day at three o'clock we were again at the door, and the footmen as before; we
heard the silk dress rustle and the lady came down the steps, and in an imperious
voice she said, "York, you must put those
horses' heads higher; they are not fit to be seen."
York got down, and said very respectfully, "I beg your pardon, my lady, but these
horses have not been reined up for three years, and my lord said it would be safer
to bring them to it by degrees; but if your
ladyship pleases I can take them up a little more."
"Do so," she said.
York came round to our heads and shortened the rein himself--one hole, I think; every
little makes a difference, be it for better or worse, and that day we had a steep hill
to go up.
Then I began to understand what I had heard of.
Of course, I wanted to put my head forward and take the carriage up with a will, as we
had been used to do; but no, I had to pull with my head up now, and that took all the
spirit out of me, and the strain came on my back and legs.
When we came in Ginger said, "Now you see what it is like; but this is not bad, and
if it does not get much worse than this I shall say nothing about it, for we are very
well treated here; but if they strain me up tight, why, let 'em look out!
I can't bear it, and I won't."
Day by day, hole by hole, our bearing reins were shortened, and instead of looking
forward with pleasure to having my harness put on, as I used to do, I began to dread
Ginger, too, seemed restless, though she said very little.
At last I thought the worst was over; for several days there was no more shortening,
and I determined to make the best of it and do my duty, though it was now a constant
harass instead of a pleasure; but the worst was not come.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 23.
A Strike for Liberty
One day my lady came down later than usual, and the silk rustled more than ever.
"Drive to the Duchess of B----'s," she said, and then after a pause, "Are you
never going to get those horses' heads up, York?
Raise them at once and let us have no more of this humoring and nonsense."
York came to me first, while the groom stood at Ginger's head.
He drew my head back and fixed the rein so tight that it was almost intolerable; then
he went to Ginger, who was impatiently jerking her head up and down against the
bit, as was her way now.
She had a good idea of what was coming, and the moment York took the rein off the
terret in order to shorten it she took her opportunity and reared up so suddenly that
York had his nose roughly hit and his hat
knocked off; the groom was nearly thrown off his legs.
At once they both flew to her head; but she was a match for them, and went on plunging,
rearing, and kicking in a most desperate manner.
At last she kicked right over the carriage pole and fell down, after giving me a
severe blow on my near quarter.
There is no knowing what further mischief she might have done had not York promptly
sat himself down flat on her head to prevent her struggling, at the same time
calling out, "Unbuckle the black horse!
Run for the winch and unscrew the carriage pole!
Cut the trace here, somebody, if you can't unhitch it!"
One of the footmen ran for the winch, and another brought a knife from the house.
The groom soon set me free from Ginger and the carriage, and led me to my box.
He just turned me in as I was and ran back to York.
I was much excited by what had happened, and if I had ever been used to kick or rear
I am sure I should have done it then; but I never had, and there I stood, angry, sore
in my leg, my head still strained up to the
terret on the saddle, and no power to get it down.
I was very miserable and felt much inclined to kick the first person who came near me.
Before long, however, Ginger was led in by two grooms, a good deal knocked about and
bruised. York came with her and gave his orders, and
then came to look at me.
In a moment he let down my head. "Confound these check-reins!" he said to
himself; "I thought we should have some mischief soon.
Master will be sorely vexed.
But there, if a woman's husband can't rule her of course a servant can't; so I wash my
hands of it, and if she can't get to the duchess' garden party I can't help it."
York did not say this before the men; he always spoke respectfully when they were
Now he felt me all over, and soon found the place above my hock where I had been
It was swelled and painful; he ordered it to be sponged with hot water, and then some
lotion was put on.
Lord W---- was much put out when he learned what had happened; he blamed York for
giving way to his mistress, to which he replied that in future he would much prefer
to receive his orders only from his
lordship; but I think nothing came of it, for things went on the same as before.
I thought York might have stood up better for his horses, but perhaps I am no judge.
Ginger was never put into the carriage again, but when she was well of her bruises
one of the Lord W----'s younger sons said he should like to have her; he was sure she
would make a good hunter.
As for me, I was obliged still to go in the carriage, and had a fresh partner called
Max; he had always been used to the tight rein.
I asked him how it was he bore it.
"Well," he said, "I bear it because I must; but it is shortening my life, and it will
shorten yours too if you have to stick to it."
"Do you think," I said, "that our masters know how bad it is for us?"
"I can't say," he replied, "but the dealers and the horse-doctors know it very well.
I was at a dealer's once, who was training me and another horse to go as a pair; he
was getting our heads up, as he said, a little higher and a little higher every
A gentleman who was there asked him why he did so.
'Because,' said he, 'people won't buy them unless we do.
The London people always want their horses to carry their heads high and to step high.
Of course it is very bad for the horses, but then it is good for trade.
The horses soon wear up, or get diseased, and they come for another pair.'
That," said Max, "is what he said in my hearing, and you can judge for yourself."
What I suffered with that rein for four long months in my lady's carriage it would
be hard to describe; but I am quite sure that, had it lasted much longer, either my
health or my temper would have given way.
Before that, I never knew what it was to foam at the mouth, but now the action of
the sharp bit on my tongue and jaw, and the constrained position of my head and throat,
always caused me to froth at the mouth more or less.
Some people think it very fine to see this, and say, "What fine spirited creatures!"
But it is just as unnatural for horses as for men to foam at the mouth; it is a sure
sign of some discomfort, and should be attended to.
Besides this, there was a pressure on my windpipe, which often made my breathing
very uncomfortable; when I returned from my work my neck and chest were strained and
painful, my mouth and tongue tender, and I felt worn and depressed.
In my old home I always knew that John and my master were my friends; but here,
although in many ways I was well treated, I had no friend.
York might have known, and very likely did know, how that rein harassed me; but I
suppose he took it as a matter of course that it could not be helped; at any rate,
nothing was done to relieve me.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 24.
The Lady Anne, or a Runaway Horse
Early in the spring, Lord W---- and part of his family went up to London, and took York
with them.
I and Ginger and some other horses were left at home for use, and the head groom
was left in charge.
The Lady Harriet, who remained at the hall, was a great invalid, and never went out in
the carriage, and the Lady Anne preferred riding on horseback with her brother or
She was a perfect horsewoman, and as gay and gentle as she was beautiful.
She chose me for her horse, and named me "Black Auster".
I enjoyed these rides very much in the clear cold air, sometimes with Ginger,
sometimes with Lizzie.
This Lizzie was a bright bay mare, almost thoroughbred, and a great favorite with the
gentlemen, on account of her fine action and lively spirit; but Ginger, who knew
more of her than I did, told me she was rather nervous.
There was a gentleman of the name of Blantyre staying at the hall; he always
rode Lizzie, and praised her so much that one day Lady Anne ordered the side-saddle
to be put on her, and the other saddle on me.
When we came to the door the gentleman seemed very uneasy.
"How is this?" he said.
"Are you tired of your good Black Auster?" "Oh, no, not at all," she replied, "but I
am amiable enough to let you ride him for once, and I will try your charming Lizzie.
You must confess that in size and appearance she is far more like a lady's
horse than my own favorite."
"Do let me advise you not to mount her," he said; "she is a charming creature, but she
is too nervous for a lady.
I assure you, she is not perfectly safe; let me beg you to have the saddles
"My dear cousin," said Lady Anne, laughing, "pray do not trouble your good careful head
about me.
I have been a horsewoman ever since I was a baby, and I have followed the hounds a
great many times, though I know you do not approve of ladies hunting; but still that
is the fact, and I intend to try this
Lizzie that you gentlemen are all so fond of; so please help me to mount, like a good
friend as you are."
There was no more to be said; he placed her carefully on the saddle, looked to the bit
and curb, gave the reins gently into her hand, and then mounted me.
Just as we were moving off a footman came out with a slip of paper and message from
the Lady Harriet. "Would they ask this question for her at
Dr. Ashley's, and bring the answer?"
The village was about a mile off, and the doctor's house was the last in it.
We went along gayly enough till we came to his gate.
There was a short drive up to the house between tall evergreens.
Blantyre alighted at the gate, and was going to open it for Lady Anne, but she
said, "I will wait for you here, and you can hang Auster's rein on the gate."
He looked at her doubtfully.
"I will not be five minutes," he said. "Oh, do not hurry yourself; Lizzie and I
shall not run away from you." He hung my rein on one of the iron spikes,
and was soon hidden among the trees.
Lizzie was standing quietly by the side of the road a few paces off, with her back to
me. My young mistress was sitting easily with a
loose rein, humming a little song.
I listened to my rider's footsteps until they reached the house, and heard him knock
at the door.
There was a meadow on the opposite side of the road, the gate of which stood open;
just then some cart horses and several young colts came trotting out in a very
disorderly manner, while a boy behind was cracking a great whip.
The colts were wild and frolicsome, and one of them bolted across the road and
blundered up against Lizzie's hind legs, and whether it was the stupid colt, or the
loud cracking of the whip, or both
together, I cannot say, but she gave a violent kick, and dashed off into a
headlong gallop. It was so sudden that Lady Anne was nearly
unseated, but she soon recovered herself.
I gave a loud, shrill neigh for help; again and again I neighed, pawing the ground
impatiently, and tossing my head to get the rein loose.
I had not long to wait.
Blantyre came running to the gate; he looked anxiously about, and just caught
sight of the flying figure, now far away on the road.
In an instant he sprang to the saddle.
I needed no whip, no spur, for I was as eager as my rider; he saw it, and giving me
a free rein, and leaning a little forward, we dashed after them.
For about a mile and a half the road ran straight, and then bent to the right, after
which it divided into two roads. Long before we came to the bend she was out
of sight.
Which way had she turned? A woman was standing at her garden gate,
shading her eyes with her hand, and looking eagerly up the road.
Scarcely drawing the rein, Blantyre shouted, "Which way?"
"To the right!" cried the woman, pointing with her hand, and away we went up the
right-hand road; then for a moment we caught sight of her; another bend and she
was hidden again.
Several times we caught glimpses, and then lost them.
We scarcely seemed to gain ground upon them at all.
An old road-mender was standing near a heap of stones, his shovel dropped and his hands
raised. As we came near he made a sign to speak.
Blantyre drew the rein a little.
"To the common, to the common, sir; she has turned off there."
I knew this common very well; it was for the most part very uneven ground, covered
with heather and dark-green furze bushes, with here and there a scrubby old thorn-
tree; there were also open spaces of fine
short grass, with ant-hills and mole-turns everywhere; the worst place I ever knew for
a headlong gallop.
We had hardly turned on the common, when we caught sight again of the green habit
flying on before us. My lady's hat was gone, and her long brown
hair was streaming behind her.
Her head and body were thrown back, as if she were pulling with all her remaining
strength, and as if that strength were nearly exhausted.
It was clear that the roughness of the ground had very much lessened Lizzie's
speed, and there seemed a chance that we might overtake her.
While we were on the highroad, Blantyre had given me my head; but now, with a light
hand and a practiced eye, he guided me over the ground in such a masterly manner that
my pace was scarcely slackened, and we were decidedly gaining on them.
About halfway across the heath there had been a wide dike recently cut, and the
earth from the cutting was cast up roughly on the other side.
Surely this would stop them!
But no; with scarcely a pause Lizzie took the leap, stumbled among the rough clods
and fell. Blantyre groaned, "Now, Auster, do your
He gave me a steady rein. I gathered myself well together and with
one determined leap cleared both dike and bank.
Motionless among the heather, with her face to the earth, lay my poor young mistress.
Blantyre kneeled down and called her name: there was no sound.
Gently he turned her face upward: it was ghastly white and the eyes were closed.
"Annie, dear Annie, do speak!" But there was no answer.
He unbuttoned her habit, loosened her collar, felt her hands and wrist, then
started up and looked wildly round him for help.
At no great distance there were two men cutting turf, who, seeing Lizzie running
wild without a rider, had left their work to catch her.
Blantyre's halloo soon brought them to the spot.
The foremost man seemed much troubled at the sight, and asked what he could do.
"Can you ride?"
"Well, sir, I bean't much of a horseman, but I'd risk my neck for the Lady Anne; she
was uncommon good to my wife in the winter."
"Then mount this horse, my friend--your neck will be quite safe--and ride to the
doctor's and ask him to come instantly; then on to the hall; tell them all that you
know, and bid them send me the carriage, with Lady Anne's maid and help.
I shall stay here."
"All right, sir, I'll do my best, and I pray God the dear young lady may open her
eyes soon."
Then, seeing the other man, he called out, "Here, Joe, run for some water, and tell my
missis to come as quick as she can to the Lady Anne."
He then somehow scrambled into the saddle, and with a "Gee up" and a clap on my sides
with both his legs, he started on his journey, making a little circuit to avoid
the dike.
He had no whip, which seemed to trouble him; but my pace soon cured that
difficulty, and he found the best thing he could do was to stick to the saddle and
hold me in, which he did manfully.
I shook him as little as I could help, but once or twice on the rough ground he called
out, "Steady! Woah!
On the highroad we were all right; and at the doctor's and the hall he did his errand
like a good man and true. They asked him in to take a drop of
"No, no," he said; "I'll be back to 'em again by a short cut through the fields,
and be there afore the carriage." There was a great deal of hurry and
excitement after the news became known.
I was just turned into my box; the saddle and bridle were taken off, and a cloth
thrown over me.
Ginger was saddled and sent off in great haste for Lord George, and I soon heard the
carriage roll out of the yard.
It seemed a long time before Ginger came back, and before we were left alone; and
then she told me all that she had seen. "I can't tell much," she said.
"We went a gallop nearly all the way, and got there just as the doctor rode up.
There was a woman sitting on the ground with the lady's head in her lap.
The doctor poured something into her mouth, but all that I heard was, 'She is not
dead.' Then I was led off by a man to a little
After awhile she was taken to the carriage, and we came home together.
I heard my master say to a gentleman who stopped him to inquire, that he hoped no
bones were broken, but that she had not spoken yet."
When Lord George took Ginger for hunting, York shook his head; he said it ought to be
a steady hand to train a horse for the first season, and not a random rider like
Lord George.
Ginger used to like it very much, but sometimes when she came back I could see
that she had been very much strained, and now and then she gave a short cough.
She had too much spirit to complain, but I could not help feeling anxious about her.
Two days after the accident Blantyre paid me a visit; he patted me and praised me
very much; he told Lord George that he was sure the horse knew of Annie's danger as
well as he did.
"I could not have held him in if I would," said he, "she ought never to ride any other
I found by their conversation that my young mistress was now out of danger, and would
soon be able to ride again. This was good news to me and I looked
forward to a happy life.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 25.
Reuben Smith
Now I must say a little about Reuben Smith, who was left in charge of the stables when
York went to London.
No one more thoroughly understood his business than he did, and when he was all
right there could not be a more faithful or valuable man.
He was gentle and very clever in his management of horses, and could doctor them
almost as well as a farrier, for he had lived two years with a veterinary surgeon.
He was a first-rate driver; he could take a four-in-hand or a tandem as easily as a
pair. He was a handsome man, a good scholar, and
had very pleasant manners.
I believe everybody liked him; certainly the horses did.
The only wonder was that he should be in an under situation and not in the place of a
head coachman like York; but he had one great fault and that was the love of drink.
He was not like some men, always at it; he used to keep steady for weeks or months
together, and then he would break out and have a "bout" of it, as York called it, and
be a disgrace to himself, a terror to his
wife, and a nuisance to all that had to do with him.
He was, however, so useful that two or three times York had hushed the matter up
and kept it from the earl's knowledge; but one night, when Reuben had to drive a party
home from a ball he was so drunk that he
could not hold the reins, and a gentleman of the party had to mount the box and drive
the ladies home.
Of course, this could not be hidden, and Reuben was at once dismissed; his poor wife
and little children had to turn out of the pretty cottage by the park gate and go
where they could.
Old Max told me all this, for it happened a good while ago; but shortly before Ginger
and I came Smith had been taken back again.
York had interceded for him with the earl, who is very kind-hearted, and the man had
promised faithfully that he would never taste another drop as long as he lived
He had kept his promise so well that York thought he might be safely trusted to fill
his place while he was away, and he was so clever and honest that no one else seemed
so well fitted for it.
It was now early in April, and the family was expected home some time in May.
The light brougham was to be fresh done up, and as Colonel Blantyre was obliged to
return to his regiment it was arranged that Smith should drive him to the town in it,
and ride back; for this purpose he took the
saddle with him, and I was chosen for the journey.
At the station the colonel put some money into Smith's hand and bid him good-by,
saying, "Take care of your young mistress, Reuben, and don't let Black Auster be
hacked about by any random young prig that wants to ride him--keep him for the lady."
We left the carriage at the maker's, and Smith rode me to the White Lion, and
ordered the hostler to feed me well, and have me ready for him at four o'clock.
A nail in one of my front shoes had started as I came along, but the hostler did not
notice it till just about four o'clock.
Smith did not come into the yard till five, and then he said he should not leave till
six, as he had met with some old friends. The man then told him of the nail, and
asked if he should have the shoe looked to.
"No," said Smith, "that will be all right till we get home."
He spoke in a very loud, offhand way, and I thought it very unlike him not to see about
the shoe, as he was generally wonderfully particular about loose nails in our shoes.
He did not come at six nor seven, nor eight, and it was nearly nine o'clock
before he called for me, and then it was with a loud, rough voice.
He seemed in a very bad temper, and abused the hostler, though I could not tell what
The landlord stood at the door and said, "Have a care, Mr. Smith!" but he answered
angrily with an oath; and almost before he was out of the town he began to gallop,
frequently giving me a sharp cut with his whip, though I was going at full speed.
The moon had not yet risen, and it was very dark.
The roads were stony, having been recently mended; going over them at this pace, my
shoe became looser, and as we neared the turnpike gate it came off.
If Smith had been in his right senses he would have been sensible of something wrong
in my pace, but he was too drunk to notice.
Beyond the turnpike was a long piece of road, upon which fresh stones had just been
laid--large sharp stones, over which no horse could be driven quickly without risk
of danger.
Over this road, with one shoe gone, I was forced to gallop at my utmost speed, my
rider meanwhile cutting into me with his whip, and with wild curses urging me to go
still faster.
Of course my shoeless foot suffered dreadfully; the hoof was broken and split
down to the very quick, and the inside was terribly cut by the sharpness of the
This could not go on; no horse could keep his footing under such circumstances; the
pain was too great. I stumbled, and fell with violence on both
my knees.
Smith was flung off by my fall, and, owing to the speed I was going at, he must have
fallen with great force.
I soon recovered my feet and limped to the side of the road, where it was free from
The moon had just risen above the hedge, and by its light I could see Smith lying a
few yards beyond me. He did not rise; he made one slight effort
to do so, and then there was a heavy groan.
I could have groaned, too, for I was suffering intense pain both from my foot
and knees; but horses are used to bear their pain in silence.
I uttered no sound, but I stood there and listened.
One more heavy groan from Smith; but though he now lay in the full moonlight I could
see no motion.
I could do nothing for him nor myself, but, oh! how I listened for the sound of horse,
or wheels, or footsteps!
The road was not much frequented, and at this time of the night we might stay for
hours before help came to us. I stood watching and listening.
It was a calm, sweet April night; there were no sounds but a few low notes of a
nightingale, and nothing moved but the white clouds near the moon and a brown owl
that flitted over the hedge.
It made me think of the summer nights long ago, when I used to lie beside my mother in
the green pleasant meadow at Farmer Grey's.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 26.
How it Ended
It must have been nearly midnight when I heard at a great distance the sound of a
horse's feet. Sometimes the sound died away, then it grew
clearer again and nearer.
The road to Earlshall led through woods that belonged to the earl; the sound came
in that direction, and I hoped it might be some one coming in search of us.
As the sound came nearer and nearer I was almost sure I could distinguish Ginger's
step; a little nearer still, and I could tell she was in the dog-cart.
I neighed loudly, and was overjoyed to hear an answering neigh from Ginger, and men's
They came slowly over the stones, and stopped at the dark figure that lay upon
the ground. One of the men jumped out, and stooped down
over it.
"It is Reuben," he said, "and he does not stir!"
The other man followed, and bent over him. "He's dead," he said; "feel how cold his
hands are."
They raised him up, but there was no life, and his hair was soaked with blood.
They laid him down again, and came and looked at me.
They soon saw my cut knees.
"Why, the horse has been down and thrown him!
Who would have thought the black horse would have done that?
Nobody thought he could fall.
Reuben must have been lying here for hours! Odd, too, that the horse has not moved from
the place." Robert then attempted to lead me forward.
I made a step, but almost fell again.
"Halloo! he's bad in his foot as well as his knees.
Look here--his hoof is cut all to pieces; he might well come down, poor fellow!
I tell you what, Ned, I'm afraid it hasn't been all right with Reuben.
Just think of his riding a horse over these stones without a shoe!
Why, if he had been in his right senses he would just as soon have tried to ride him
over the moon. I'm afraid it has been the old thing over
Poor Susan! she looked awfully pale when she came to my house to ask if he had not
come home.
She made believe she was not a bit anxious, and talked of a lot of things that might
have kept him. But for all that she begged me to go and
meet him.
But what must we do? There's the horse to get home as well as
the body, and that will be no easy matter."
Then followed a conversation between them, till it was agreed that Robert, as the
groom, should lead me, and that Ned must take the body.
It was a hard job to get it into the dog- cart, for there was no one to hold Ginger;
but she knew as well as I did what was going on, and stood as still as a stone.
I noticed that, because, if she had a fault, it was that she was impatient in
Ned started off very slowly with his sad load, and Robert came and looked at my foot
again; then he took his handkerchief and bound it closely round, and so he led me
I shall never forget that night walk; it was more than three miles.
Robert led me on very slowly, and I limped and hobbled on as well as I could with
great pain.
I am sure he was sorry for me, for he often patted and encouraged me, talking to me in
a pleasant voice.
At last I reached my own box, and had some corn; and after Robert had wrapped up my
knees in wet cloths, he tied up my foot in a bran poultice, to draw out the heat and
cleanse it before the horse-doctor saw it
in the morning, and I managed to get myself down on the straw, and slept in spite of
the pain.
The next day after the farrier had examined my wounds, he said he hoped the joint was
not injured; and if so, I should not be spoiled for work, but I should never lose
the blemish.
I believe they did the best to make a good cure, but it was a long and painful one.
Proud flesh, as they called it, came up in my knees, and was burned out with caustic;
and when at last it was healed, they put a blistering fluid over the front of both
knees to bring all the hair off; they had
some reason for this, and I suppose it was all right.
As Smith's death had been so sudden, and no one was there to see it, there was an
inquest held.
The landlord and hostler at the White Lion, with several other people, gave evidence
that he was intoxicated when he started from the inn.
The keeper of the toll-gate said he rode at a hard gallop through the gate; and my shoe
was picked up among the stones, so that the case was quite plain to them, and I was
cleared of all blame.
Everybody pitied Susan. She was nearly out of her mind; she kept
saying over and over again, "Oh! he was so good--so good!
It was all that cursed drink; why will they sell that cursed drink?
Oh Reuben, Reuben!"
So she went on till after he was buried; and then, as she had no home or relations,
she, with her six little children, was obliged once more to leave the pleasant
home by the tall oak-trees, and go into that great gloomy Union House.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 27.
Ruined and Going Downhill
As soon as my knees were sufficiently healed I was turned into a small meadow for
a month or two; no other creature was there; and though I enjoyed the liberty and
the sweet grass, yet I had been so long used to society that I felt very lonely.
Ginger and I had become fast friends, and now I missed her company extremely.
I often neighed when I heard horses' feet passing in the road, but I seldom got an
answer; till one morning the gate was opened, and who should come in but dear old
The man slipped off her halter, and left her there.
With a joyful whinny I trotted up to her; we were both glad to meet, but I soon found
that it was not for our pleasure that she was brought to be with me.
Her story would be too long to tell, but the end of it was that she had been ruined
by hard riding, and was now turned off to see what rest would do.
Lord George was young and would take no warning; he was a hard rider, and would
hunt whenever he could get the chance, quite careless of his horse.
Soon after I left the stable there was a steeplechase, and he determined to ride.
Though the groom told him she was a little strained, and was not fit for the race, he
did not believe it, and on the day of the race urged Ginger to keep up with the
foremost riders.
With her high spirit, she strained herself to the utmost; she came in with the first
three horses, but her wind was touched, besides which he was too heavy for her, and
her back was strained.
"And so," she said, "here we are, ruined in the prime of our youth and strength, you by
a drunkard, and I by a fool; it is very hard."
We both felt in ourselves that we were not what we had been.
However, that did not spoil the pleasure we had in each other's company; we did not
gallop about as we once did, but we used to feed, and lie down together, and stand for
hours under one of the shady lime-trees
with our heads close to each other; and so we passed our time till the family returned
from town. One day we saw the earl come into the
meadow, and York was with him.
Seeing who it was, we stood still under our lime-tree, and let them come up to us.
They examined us carefully. The earl seemed much annoyed.
"There is three hundred pounds flung away for no earthly use," said he; "but what I
care most for is that these horses of my old friend, who thought they would find a
good home with me, are ruined.
The mare shall have a twelve-month's run, and we shall see what that will do for her;
but the black one, he must be sold; 'tis a great pity, but I could not have knees like
these in my stables."
"No, my lord, of course not," said York; "but he might get a place where appearance
is not of much consequence, and still be well treated.
I know a man in Bath, the master of some livery stables, who often wants a good
horse at a low figure; I know he looks well after his horses.
The inquest cleared the horse's character, and your lordship's recommendation, or
mine, would be sufficient warrant for him." "You had better write to him, York.
I should be more particular about the place than the money he would fetch."
After this they left us.
"They'll soon take you away," said Ginger, "and I shall lose the only friend I have,
and most likely we shall never see each other again.
'Tis a hard world!"
About a week after this Robert came into the field with a halter, which he slipped
over my head, and led me away.
There was no leave-taking of Ginger; we neighed to each other as I was led off, and
she trotted anxiously along by the hedge, calling to me as long as she could hear the
sound of my feet.
Through the recommendation of York, I was bought by the master of the livery stables.
I had to go by train, which was new to me, and required a good deal of courage the
first time; but as I found the puffing, rushing, whistling, and, more than all, the
trembling of the horse-box in which I stood
did me no real harm, I soon took it quietly.
When I reached the end of my journey I found myself in a tolerably comfortable
stable, and well attended to. These stables were not so airy and pleasant
as those I had been used to.
The stalls were laid on a slope instead of being level, and as my head was kept tied
to the manger, I was obliged always to stand on the slope, which was very
Men do not seem to know yet that horses can do more work if they can stand comfortably
and can turn about; however, I was well fed and well cleaned, and, on the whole, I
think our master took as much care of us as he could.
He kept a good many horses and carriages of different kinds for hire.
Sometimes his own men drove them; at others, the horse and chaise were let to
gentlemen or ladies who drove themselves.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 28.
A Job Horse and His Drivers
Hitherto I had always been driven by people who at least knew how to drive; but in this
place I was to get my experience of all the different kinds of bad and ignorant driving
to which we horses are subjected; for I was
a "job horse", and was let out to all sorts of people who wished to hire me; and as I
was good-tempered and gentle, I think I was oftener let out to the ignorant drivers
than some of the other horses, because I could be depended upon.
It would take a long time to tell of all the different styles in which I was driven,
but I will mention a few of them.
First, there were the tight-rein drivers-- men who seemed to think that all depended
on holding the reins as hard as they could, never relaxing the pull on the horse's
mouth, or giving him the least liberty of movement.
They are always talking about "keeping the horse well in hand", and "holding a horse
up", just as if a horse was not made to hold himself up.
Some poor, broken-down horses, whose mouths have been made hard and insensible by just
such drivers as these, may, perhaps, find some support in it; but for a horse who can
depend upon his own legs, and who has a
tender mouth and is easily guided, it is not only tormenting, but it is stupid.
Then there are the loose-rein drivers, who let the reins lie easily on our backs, and
their own hand rest lazily on their knees.
Of course, such gentlemen have no control over a horse, if anything happens suddenly.
If a horse shies, or starts, or stumbles, they are nowhere, and cannot help the horse
or themselves till the mischief is done.
Of course, for myself I had no objection to it, as I was not in the habit either of
starting or stumbling, and had only been used to depend on my driver for guidance
and encouragement.
Still, one likes to feel the rein a little in going downhill, and likes to know that
one's driver is not gone to sleep.
Besides, a slovenly way of driving gets a horse into bad and often lazy habits, and
when he changes hands he has to be whipped out of them with more or less pain and
Squire Gordon always kept us to our best paces and our best manners.
He said that spoiling a horse and letting him get into bad habits was just as cruel
as spoiling a child, and both had to suffer for it afterward.
Besides, these drivers are often careless altogether, and will attend to anything
else more than their horses.
I went out in the phaeton one day with one of them; he had a lady and two children
He flopped the reins about as we started, and of course gave me several unmeaning
cuts with the whip, though I was fairly off.
There had been a good deal of road-mending going on, and even where the stones were
not freshly laid down there were a great many loose ones about.
My driver was laughing and joking with the lady and the children, and talking about
the country to the right and the left; but he never thought it worth while to keep an
eye on his horse or to drive on the
smoothest parts of the road; and so it easily happened that I got a stone in one
of my fore feet.
Now, if Mr. Gordon or John, or in fact any good driver, had been there, he would have
seen that something was wrong before I had gone three paces.
Or even if it had been dark a practiced hand would have felt by the rein that there
was something wrong in the step, and they would have got down and picked out the
But this man went on laughing and talking, while at every step the stone became more
firmly wedged between my shoe and the frog of my foot.
The stone was sharp on the inside and round on the outside, which, as every one knows,
is the most dangerous kind that a horse can pick up, at the same time cutting his foot
and making him most liable to stumble and fall.
Whether the man was partly blind or only very careless I can't say, but he drove me
with that stone in my foot for a good half- mile before he saw anything.
By that time I was going so lame with the pain that at last he saw it, and called
out, "Well, here's a go! Why, they have sent us out with a lame
What a shame!"
He then chucked the reins and flipped about with the whip, saying, "Now, then, it's no
use playing the old soldier with me; there's the journey to go, and it's no use
turning lame and lazy."
Just at this time a farmer came riding up on a brown cob.
He lifted his hat and pulled up.
"I beg your pardon, sir," he said, "but I think there is something the matter with
your horse; he goes very much as if he had a stone in his shoe.
If you will allow me I will look at his feet; these loose scattered stones are
confounded dangerous things for the horses."
"He's a hired horse," said my driver.
"I don't know what's the matter with him, but it is a great shame to send out a lame
beast like this."
The farmer dismounted, and slipping his rein over his arm at once took up my near
foot. "Bless me, there's a stone!
I should think so!"
At first he tried to dislodge it with his hand, but as it was now very tightly wedged
he drew a stone-pick out of his pocket, and very carefully and with some trouble got it
Then holding it up he said, "There, that's the stone your horse had picked up.
It is a wonder he did not fall down and break his knees into the bargain!"
"Well, to be sure!" said my driver; "that is a queer thing!
I never knew that horses picked up stones before."
"Didn't you?" said the farmer rather contemptuously; "but they do, though, and
the best of them will do it, and can't help it sometimes on such roads as these.
And if you don't want to lame your horse you must look sharp and get them out
quickly. This foot is very much bruised," he said,
setting it gently down and patting me.
"If I might advise, sir, you had better drive him gently for awhile; the foot is a
good deal hurt, and the lameness will not go off directly."
Then mounting his cob and raising his hat to the lady he trotted off.
When he was gone my driver began to flop the reins about and whip the harness, by
which I understood that I was to go on, which of course I did, glad that the stone
was gone, but still in a good deal of pain.
This was the sort of experience we job horses often came in for.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 29.
Then there is the steam-engine style of driving; these drivers were mostly people
from towns, who never had a horse of their own and generally traveled by rail.
They always seemed to think that a horse was something like a steam-engine, only
At any rate, they think that if only they pay for it a horse is bound to go just as
far and just as fast and with just as heavy a load as they please.
And be the roads heavy and muddy, or dry and good; be they stony or smooth, uphill
or downhill, it is all the same--on, on, on, one must go, at the same pace, with no
relief and no consideration.
These people never think of getting out to walk up a steep hill.
Oh, no, they have paid to ride, and ride they will!
The horse?
Oh, he's used to it! What were horses made for, if not to drag
people uphill? Walk!
A good joke indeed!
And so the whip is plied and the rein is chucked and often a rough, scolding voice
cries out, "Go along, you lazy beast!"
And then another slash of the whip, when all the time we are doing our very best to
get along, uncomplaining and obedient, though often sorely harassed and down-
This steam-engine style of driving wears us up faster than any other kind.
I would far rather go twenty miles with a good considerate driver than I would go ten
with some of these; it would take less out of me.
Another thing, they scarcely ever put on the brake, however steep the downhill may
be, and thus bad accidents sometimes happen; or if they do put it on, they often
forget to take it off at the bottom of the
hill, and more than once I have had to pull halfway up the next hill, with one of the
wheels held by the brake, before my driver chose to think about it; and that is a
terrible strain on a horse.
Then these cockneys, instead of starting at an easy pace, as a gentleman would do,
generally set off at full speed from the very stable-yard; and when they want to
stop, they first whip us, and then pull up
so suddenly that we are nearly thrown on our haunches, and our mouths jagged with
the bit--they call that pulling up with a dash; and when they turn a corner they do
it as sharply as if there were no right side or wrong side of the road.
I well remember one spring evening I and Rory had been out for the day.
(Rory was the horse that mostly went with me when a pair was ordered, and a good
honest fellow he was.)
We had our own driver, and as he was always considerate and gentle with us, we had a
very pleasant day. We were coming home at a good smart pace,
about twilight.
Our road turned sharp to the left; but as we were close to the hedge on our own side,
and there was plenty of room to pass, our driver did not pull us in.
As we neared the corner I heard a horse and two wheels coming rapidly down the hill
toward us.
The hedge was high, and I could see nothing, but the next moment we were upon
each other. Happily for me, I was on the side next the
Rory was on the left side of the pole, and had not even a shaft to protect him.
The man who was driving was making straight for the corner, and when he came in sight
of us he had no time to pull over to his own side.
The whole shock came upon Rory.
The gig shaft ran right into the chest, making him stagger back with a cry that I
shall never forget. The other horse was thrown upon his
haunches and one shaft broken.
It turned out that it was a horse from our own stables, with the high-wheeled gig that
the young men were so fond of.
The driver was one of those random, ignorant fellows, who don't even know which
is their own side of the road, or, if they know, don't care.
And there was poor Rory with his flesh torn open and bleeding, and the blood streaming
They said if it had been a little more to one side it would have killed him; and a
good thing for him, poor fellow, if it had.
As it was, it was a long time before the wound healed, and then he was sold for
coal-carting; and what that is, up and down those steep hills, only horses know.
Some of the sights I saw there, where a horse had to come downhill with a heavily
loaded two-wheel cart behind him, on which no brake could be placed, make me sad even
now to think of.
After Rory was disabled I often went in the carriage with a mare named Peggy, who stood
in the next stall to mine.
She was a strong, well-made animal, of a bright dun color, beautifully dappled, and
with a dark-brown mane and tail.
There was no high breeding about her, but she was very pretty and remarkably sweet-
tempered and willing.
Still, there was an anxious look about her eye, by which I knew that she had some
The first time we went out together I thought she had a very odd pace; she seemed
to go partly a trot, partly a canter, three or four paces, and then a little jump
It was very unpleasant for any horse who pulled with her, and made me quite fidgety.
When we got home I asked her what made her go in that odd, awkward way.
"Ah," she said in a troubled manner, "I know my paces are very bad, but what can I
do? It really is not my fault; it is just
because my legs are so short.
I stand nearly as high as you, but your legs are a good three inches longer above
your knee than mine, and of course you can take a much longer step and go much faster.
You see I did not make myself.
I wish I could have done so; I would have had long legs then.
All my troubles come from my short legs," said Peggy, in a desponding tone.
"But how is it," I said, "when you are so strong and good-tempered and willing?"
"Why, you see," said she, "men will go so fast, and if one can't keep up to other
horses it is nothing but whip, whip, whip, all the time.
And so I have had to keep up as I could, and have got into this ugly shuffling pace.
It was not always so; when I lived with my first master I always went a good regular
trot, but then he was not in such a hurry.
He was a young clergyman in the country, and a good, kind master he was.
He had two churches a good way apart, and a great deal of work, but he never scolded or
whipped me for not going faster.
He was very fond of me. I only wish I was with him now; but he had
to leave and go to a large town, and then I was sold to a farmer.
"Some farmers, you know, are capital masters; but I think this one was a low
sort of man. He cared nothing about good horses or good
driving; he only cared for going fast.
I went as fast as I could, but that would not do, and he was always whipping; so I
got into this way of making a spring forward to keep up.
On market nights he used to stay very late at the inn, and then drive home at a
"One dark night he was galloping home as usual, when all of a sudden the wheel came
against some great heavy thing in the road, and turned the gig over in a minute.
He was thrown out and his arm broken, and some of his ribs, I think.
At any rate, it was the end of my living with him, and I was not sorry.
But you see it will be the same everywhere for me, if men must go so fast.
I wish my legs were longer!" Poor Peggy!
I was very sorry for her, and I could not comfort her, for I knew how hard it was
upon slow-paced horses to be put with fast ones; all the whipping comes to their
share, and they can't help it.
She was often used in the phaeton, and was very much liked by some of the ladies,
because she was so gentle; and some time after this she was sold to two ladies who
drove themselves, and wanted a safe, good horse.
I met her several times out in the country, going a good steady pace, and looking as
gay and contented as a horse could be.
I was very glad to see her, for she deserved a good place.
After she left us another horse came in her stead.
He was young, and had a bad name for shying and starting, by which he had lost a good
place. I asked him what made him shy.
"Well, I hardly know," he said.
"I was timid when I was young, and was a good deal frightened several times, and if
I saw anything strange I used to turn and look at it--you see, with our blinkers one
can't see or understand what a thing is
unless one looks round--and then my master always gave me a whipping, which of course
made me start on, and did not make me less afraid.
I think if he would have let me just look at things quietly, and see that there was
nothing to hurt me, it would have been all right, and I should have got used to them.
One day an old gentleman was riding with him, and a large piece of white paper or
rag blew across just on one side of me. I shied and started forward.
My master as usual whipped me smartly, but the old man cried out, 'You're wrong!
you're wrong!
You should never whip a horse for shying; he shies because he is frightened, and you
only frighten him more and make the habit worse.'
So I suppose all men don't do so.
I am sure I don't want to shy for the sake of it; but how should one know what is
dangerous and what is not, if one is never allowed to get used to anything?
I am never afraid of what I know.
Now I was brought up in a park where there were deer; of course I knew them as well as
I did a sheep or a cow, but they are not common, and I know many sensible horses who
are frightened at them, and who kick up
quite a shindy before they will pass a paddock where there are deer."
I knew what my companion said was true, and I wished that every young horse had as good
masters as Farmer Grey and Squire Gordon.
Of course we sometimes came in for good driving here.
I remember one morning I was put into the light gig, and taken to a house in Pulteney
Two gentlemen came out; the taller of them came round to my head; he looked at the bit
and bridle, and just shifted the collar with his hand, to see if it fitted
"Do you consider this horse wants a curb?" he said to the hostler.
"Well," said the man, "I should say he would go just as well without; he has an
uncommon good mouth, and though he has a fine spirit he has no vice; but we
generally find people like the curb."
"I don't like it," said the gentleman; "be so good as to take it off, and put the rein
in at the cheek.
An easy mouth is a great thing on a long journey, is it not, old fellow?" he said,
patting my neck. Then he took the reins, and they both got
I can remember now how quietly he turned me round, and then with a light feel of the
rein, and drawing the whip gently across my back, we were off.
I arched my neck and set off at my best pace.
I found I had some one behind me who knew how a good horse ought to be driven.
It seemed like old times again, and made me feel quite gay.
This gentleman took a great liking to me, and after trying me several times with the
saddle he prevailed upon my master to sell me to a friend of his, who wanted a safe,
pleasant horse for riding.
And so it came to pass that in the summer I was sold to Mr. Barry.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 30.
A Thief
My new master was an unmarried man. He lived at Bath, and was much engaged in
His doctor advised him to take horse exercise, and for this purpose he bought
He hired a stable a short distance from his lodgings, and engaged a man named Filcher
as groom.
My master knew very little about horses, but he treated me well, and I should have
had a good and easy place but for circumstances of which he was ignorant.
He ordered the best hay with plenty of oats, crushed beans, and bran, with
vetches, or rye grass, as the man might think needful.
I heard the master give the order, so I knew there was plenty of good food, and I
thought I was well off. For a few days all went on well.
I found that my groom understood his business.
He kept the stable clean and airy, and he groomed me thoroughly; and was never
otherwise than gentle.
He had been an hostler in one of the great hotels in Bath.
He had given that up, and now cultivated fruit and vegetables for the market, and
his wife bred and fattened poultry and rabbits for sale.
After awhile it seemed to me that my oats came very short; I had the beans, but bran
was mixed with them instead of oats, of which there were very few; certainly not
more than a quarter of what there should have been.
In two or three weeks this began to tell upon my strength and spirits.
The grass food, though very good, was not the thing to keep up my condition without
corn. However, I could not complain, nor make
known my wants.
So it went on for about two months; and I wondered that my master did not see that
something was the matter.
However, one afternoon he rode out into the country to see a friend of his, a gentleman
farmer, who lived on the road to Wells.
This gentleman had a very quick eye for horses; and after he had welcomed his
friend he said, casting his eye over me:
"It seems to me, Barry, that your horse does not look so well as he did when you
first had him; has he been well?"
"Yes, I believe so," said my master; "but he is not nearly so lively as he was; my
groom tells me that horses are always dull and weak in the autumn, and that I must
expect it."
"Autumn, fiddlesticks!" said the farmer. "Why, this is only August; and with your
light work and good food he ought not to go down like this, even if it was autumn.
How do you feed him?"
My master told him. The other shook his head slowly, and began
to feel me over.
"I can't say who eats your corn, my dear fellow, but I am much mistaken if your
horse gets it. Have you ridden very fast?"
"No, very gently."
"Then just put your hand here," said he, passing his hand over my neck and shoulder;
"he is as warm and damp as a horse just come up from grass.
I advise you to look into your stable a little more.
I hate to be suspicious, and, thank heaven, I have no cause to be, for I can trust my
men, present or absent; but there are mean scoundrels, wicked enough to rob a dumb
beast of his food.
You must look into it." And turning to his man, who had come to
take me, "Give this horse a right good feed of bruised oats, and don't stint him."
"Dumb beasts!"
Yes, we are; but if I could have spoken I could have told my master where his oats
went to.
My groom used to come every morning about six o'clock, and with him a little boy, who
always had a covered basket with him.
He used to go with his father into the harness-room, where the corn was kept, and
I could see them, when the door stood ajar, fill a little bag with oats out of the bin,
and then he used to be off.
Five or six mornings after this, just as the boy had left the stable, the door was
pushed open, and a policeman walked in, holding the child tight by the arm; another
policeman followed, and locked the door on
the inside, saying, "Show me the place where your father keeps his rabbits' food."
The boy looked very frightened and began to cry; but there was no escape, and he led
the way to the corn-bin.
Here the policeman found another empty bag like that which was found full of oats in
the boy's basket.
Filcher was cleaning my feet at the time, but they soon saw him, and though he
blustered a good deal they walked him off to the "lock-up", and his boy with him.
I heard afterward that the boy was not held to be guilty, but the man was sentenced to
prison for two months.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 31.
A Humbug
My master was not immediately suited, but in a few days my new groom came.
He was a tall, good-looking fellow enough; but if ever there was a humbug in the shape
of a groom Alfred Smirk was the man.
He was very civil to me, and never used me ill; in fact, he did a great deal of
stroking and patting when his master was there to see it.
He always brushed my mane and tail with water and my hoofs with oil before he
brought me to the door, to make me look smart; but as to cleaning my feet or
looking to my shoes, or grooming me
thoroughly, he thought no more of that than if I had been a cow.
He left my bit rusty, my saddle damp, and my crupper stiff.
Alfred Smirk considered himself very handsome; he spent a great deal of time
about his hair, whiskers and necktie, before a little looking-glass in the
When his master was speaking to him it was always, "Yes, sir; yes, sir"--touching his
hat at every word; and every one thought he was a very nice young man and that Mr.
Barry was very fortunate to meet with him.
I should say he was the laziest, most conceited fellow I ever came near.
Of course, it was a great thing not to be ill-used, but then a horse wants more than
I had a loose box, and might have been very comfortable if he had not been too indolent
to clean it out.
He never took all the straw away, and the smell from what lay underneath was very
bad; while the strong vapors that rose made my eyes smart and inflame, and I did not
feel the same appetite for my food.
One day his master came in and said, "Alfred, the stable smells rather strong;
should not you give that stall a good scrub and throw down plenty of water?"
"Well, sir," he said, touching his cap, "I'll do so if you please, sir; but it is
rather dangerous, sir, throwing down water in a horse's box; they are very apt to take
cold, sir.
I should not like to do him an injury, but I'll do it if you please, sir."
"Well," said his master, "I should not like him to take cold; but I don't like the
smell of this stable.
Do you think the drains are all right?" "Well, sir, now you mention it, I think the
drain does sometimes send back a smell; there may be something wrong, sir."
"Then send for the bricklayer and have it seen to," said his master.
"Yes, sir, I will."
The bricklayer came and pulled up a great many bricks, but found nothing amiss; so he
put down some lime and charged the master five shillings, and the smell in my box was
as bad as ever.
But that was not all: standing as I did on a quantity of moist straw my feet grew
unhealthy and tender, and the master used to say:
"I don't know what is the matter with this horse; he goes very fumble-footed.
I am sometimes afraid he will stumble."
"Yes, sir," said Alfred, "I have noticed the same myself, when I have exercised
Now the fact was that he hardly ever did exercise me, and when the master was busy I
often stood for days together without stretching my legs at all, and yet being
fed just as high as if I were at hard work.
This often disordered my health, and made me sometimes heavy and dull, but more often
restless and feverish.
He never even gave me a meal of green food or a bran mash, which would have cooled me,
for he was altogether as ignorant as he was conceited; and then, instead of exercise or
change of food, I had to take horse balls
and draughts; which, beside the nuisance of having them poured down my throat, used to
make me feel ill and uncomfortable.
One day my feet were so tender that, trotting over some fresh stones with my
master on my back, I made two such serious stumbles that, as he came down Lansdown
into the city, he stopped at the farrier's,
and asked him to see what was the matter with me.
The man took up my feet one by one and examined them; then standing up and dusting
his hands one against the other, he said:
"Your horse has got the 'thrush', and badly, too; his feet are very tender; it is
fortunate that he has not been down. I wonder your groom has not seen to it
This is the sort of thing we find in foul stables, where the litter is never properly
cleaned out.
If you will send him here to-morrow I will attend to the hoof, and I will direct your
man how to apply the liniment which I will give him."
The next day I had my feet thoroughly cleansed and stuffed with tow soaked in
some strong lotion; and an unpleasant business it was.
The farrier ordered all the litter to be taken out of my box day by day, and the
floor kept very clean.
Then I was to have bran mashes, a little green food, and not so much corn, till my
feet were well again.
With this treatment I soon regained my spirits; but Mr. Barry was so much
disgusted at being twice deceived by his grooms that he determined to give up
keeping a horse, and to hire when he wanted one.
I was therefore kept till my feet were quite sound, and was then sold again.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 32.
A Horse Fair
No doubt a horse fair is a very amusing place to those who have nothing to lose; at
any rate, there is plenty to see.
Long strings of young horses out of the country, fresh from the marshes; and droves
of shaggy little Welsh ponies, no higher than Merrylegs; and hundreds of cart horses
of all sorts, some of them with their long
tails braided up and tied with scarlet cord; and a good many like myself, handsome
and high-bred, but fallen into the middle class, through some accident or blemish,
unsoundness of wind, or some other complaint.
There were some splendid animals quite in their prime, and fit for anything; they
were throwing out their legs and showing off their paces in high style, as they were
trotted out with a leading rein, the groom running by the side.
But round in the background there were a number of poor things, sadly broken down
with hard work, with their knees knuckling over and their hind legs swinging out at
every step, and there were some very
dejected-looking old horses, with the under lip hanging down and the ears lying back
heavily, as if there were no more pleasure in life, and no more hope; there were some
so thin you might see all their ribs, and
some with old sores on their backs and hips.
These were sad sights for a horse to look upon, who knows not but he may come to the
same state.
There was a great deal of bargaining, of running up and beating down; and if a horse
may speak his mind so far as he understands, I should say there were more
lies told and more trickery at that horse
fair than a clever man could give an account of.
I was put with two or three other strong, useful-looking horses, and a good many
people came to look at us.
The gentlemen always turned from me when they saw my broken knees; though the man
who had me swore it was only a slip in the stall.
The first thing was to pull my mouth open, then to look at my eyes, then feel all the
way down my legs, and give me a hard feel of the skin and flesh, and then try my
It was wonderful what a difference there was in the way these things were done.
Some did it in a rough, offhand way, as if one was only a piece of wood; while others
would take their hands gently over one's body, with a pat now and then, as much as
to say, "By your leave."
Of course I judged a good deal of the buyers by their manners to myself.
There was one man, I thought, if he would buy me, I should be happy.
He was not a gentleman, nor yet one of the loud, flashy sort that call themselves so.
He was rather a small man, but well made, and quick in all his motions.
I knew in a moment by the way he handled me, that he was used to horses; he spoke
gently, and his gray eye had a kindly, cheery look in it.
It may seem strange to say--but it is true all the same--that the clean, fresh smell
there was about him made me take to him; no smell of old beer and tobacco, which I
hated, but a fresh smell as if he had come out of a hayloft.
He offered twenty-three pounds for me, but that was refused, and he walked away.
I looked after him, but he was gone, and a very hard-looking, loud-voiced man came.
I was dreadfully afraid he would have me; but he walked off.
One or two more came who did not mean business.
Then the hard-faced man came back again and offered twenty-three pounds.
A very close bargain was being driven, for my salesman began to think he should not
get all he asked, and must come down; but just then the gray-eyed man came back
I could not help reaching out my head toward him.
He stroked my face kindly. "Well, old chap," he said, "I think we
should suit each other.
I'll give twenty-four for him." "Say twenty-five and you shall have him."
"Twenty-four ten," said my friend, in a very decided tone, "and not another
sixpence--yes or no?"
"Done," said the salesman; "and you may depend upon it there's a monstrous deal of
quality in that horse, and if you want him for cab work he's a bargain."
The money was paid on the spot, and my new master took my halter, and led me out of
the fair to an inn, where he had a saddle and bridle ready.
He gave me a good feed of oats and stood by while I ate it, talking to himself and
talking to me.
Half an hour after we were on our way to London, through pleasant lanes and country
roads, until we came into the great London thoroughfare, on which we traveled
steadily, till in the twilight we reached the great city.
The gas lamps were already lighted; there were streets to the right, and streets to
the left, and streets crossing each other, for mile upon mile.
I thought we should never come to the end of them.
At last, in passing through one, we came to a long cab stand, when my rider called out
in a cheery voice, "Good-night, governor!"
"Halloo!" cried a voice. "Have you got a good one?"
"I think so," replied my owner. "I wish you luck with him."
"Thank you, governor," and he rode on.
We soon turned up one of the side streets, and about halfway up that we turned into a
very narrow street, with rather poor- looking houses on one side, and what seemed
to be coach-houses and stables on the other.
My owner pulled up at one of the houses and whistled.
The door flew open, and a young woman, followed by a little girl and boy, ran out.
There was a very lively greeting as my rider dismounted.
"Now, then, Harry, my boy, open the gates, and mother will bring us the lantern."
The next minute they were all standing round me in a small stable-yard.
"Is he gentle, father?"
"Yes, Dolly, as gentle as your own kitten; come and pat him."
At once the little hand was patting about all over my shoulder without fear.
How good it felt!
"Let me get him a bran mash while you rub him down," said the mother.
"Do, Polly, it's just what he wants; and I know you've got a beautiful mash ready for
"Sausage dumpling and apple turnover!" shouted the boy, which set them all
I was led into a comfortable, clean- smelling stall, with plenty of dry straw,
and after a capital supper I lay down, thinking I was going to be happy.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 33.
A London Cab Horse
Jeremiah Barker was my new master's name, but as every one called him Jerry, I shall
do the same. Polly, his wife, was just as good a match
as a man could have.
She was a plump, trim, tidy little woman, with smooth, dark hair, dark eyes, and a
merry little mouth.
The boy was twelve years old, a tall, frank, good-tempered lad; and little
Dorothy (Dolly they called her) was her mother over again, at eight years old.
They were all wonderfully fond of each other; I never knew such a happy, merry
family before or since. Jerry had a cab of his own, and two horses,
which he drove and attended to himself.
His other horse was a tall, white, rather large-boned animal called "Captain".
He was old now, but when he was young he must have been splendid; he had still a
proud way of holding his head and arching his neck; in fact, he was a high-bred,
fine-mannered, noble old horse, every inch of him.
He told me that in his early youth he went to the Crimean War; he belonged to an
officer in the cavalry, and used to lead the regiment.
I will tell more of that hereafter.
The next morning, when I was well-groomed, Polly and Dolly came into the yard to see
me and make friends.
Harry had been helping his father since the early morning, and had stated his opinion
that I should turn out a "regular brick".
Polly brought me a slice of apple, and Dolly a piece of bread, and made as much of
me as if I had been the "Black Beauty" of olden time.
It was a great treat to be petted again and talked to in a gentle voice, and I let them
see as well as I could that I wished to be friendly.
Polly thought I was very handsome, and a great deal too good for a cab, if it was
not for the broken knees.
"Of course there's no one to tell us whose fault that was," said Jerry, "and as long
as I don't know I shall give him the benefit of the doubt; for a firmer, neater
stepper I never rode.
We'll call him 'Jack', after the old one-- shall we, Polly?"
"Do," she said, "for I like to keep a good name going."
Captain went out in the cab all the morning.
Harry came in after school to feed me and give me water.
In the afternoon I was put into the cab.
Jerry took as much pains to see if the collar and bridle fitted comfortably as if
he had been John Manly over again. When the crupper was let out a hole or two
it all fitted well.
There was no check-rein, no curb, nothing but a plain ring snaffle.
What a blessing that was!
After driving through the side street we came to the large cab stand where Jerry had
said "Good-night".
On one side of this wide street were high houses with wonderful shop fronts, and on
the other was an old church and churchyard, surrounded by iron palisades.
Alongside these iron rails a number of cabs were drawn up, waiting for passengers; bits
of hay were lying about on the ground; some of the men were standing together talking;
some were sitting on their boxes reading
the newspaper; and one or two were feeding their horses with bits of hay, and giving
them a drink of water. We pulled up in the rank at the back of the
last cab.
Two or three men came round and began to look at me and pass their remarks.
"Very good for a funeral," said one.
"Too smart-looking," said another, shaking his head in a very wise way; "you'll find
out something wrong one of these fine mornings, or my name isn't Jones."
"Well," said Jerry pleasantly, "I suppose I need not find it out till it finds me out,
eh? And if so, I'll keep up my spirits a little
Then there came up a broad-faced man, dressed in a great gray coat with great
gray cape and great white buttons, a gray hat, and a blue comforter loosely tied
round his neck; his hair was gray, too; but
he was a jolly-looking fellow, and the other men made way for him.
He looked me all over, as if he had been going to buy me; and then straightening
himself up with a grunt, he said, "He's the right sort for you, Jerry; I don't care
what you gave for him, he'll be worth it."
Thus my character was established on the stand.
This man's name was Grant, but he was called "Gray Grant", or "Governor Grant".
He had been the longest on that stand of any of the men, and he took it upon himself
to settle matters and stop disputes.
He was generally a good-humored, sensible man; but if his temper was a little out, as
it was sometimes when he had drunk too much, nobody liked to come too near his
fist, for he could deal a very heavy blow.
The first week of my life as a cab horse was very trying.
I had never been used to London, and the noise, the hurry, the crowds of horses,
carts, and carriages that I had to make my way through made me feel anxious and
harassed; but I soon found that I could
perfectly trust my driver, and then I made myself easy and got used to it.
Jerry was as good a driver as I had ever known, and what was better, he took as much
thought for his horses as he did for himself.
He soon found out that I was willing to work and do my best, and he never laid the
whip on me unless it was gently drawing the end of it over my back when I was to go on;
but generally I knew this quite well by the
way in which he took up the reins, and I believe his whip was more frequently stuck
up by his side than in his hand. In a short time I and my master understood
each other as well as horse and man can do.
In the stable, too, he did all that he could for our comfort.
The stalls were the old-fashioned style, too much on the slope; but he had two
movable bars fixed across the back of our stalls, so that at night, and when we were
resting, he just took off our halters and
put up the bars, and thus we could turn about and stand whichever way we pleased,
which is a great comfort.
Jerry kept us very clean, and gave us as much change of food as he could, and always
plenty of it; and not only that, but he always gave us plenty of clean fresh water,
which he allowed to stand by us both night
and day, except of course when we came in warm.
Some people say that a horse ought not to drink all he likes; but I know if we are
allowed to drink when we want it we drink only a little at a time, and it does us a
great deal more good than swallowing down
half a bucketful at a time, because we have been left without till we are thirsty and
Some grooms will go home to their beer and leave us for hours with our dry hay and
oats and nothing to moisten them; then of course we gulp down too much at once, which
helps to spoil our breathing and sometimes chills our stomachs.
But the best thing we had here was our Sundays for rest; we worked so hard in the
week that I do not think we could have kept up to it but for that day; besides, we had
then time to enjoy each other's company.
It was on these days that I learned my companion's history.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 34.
An Old War Horse
Captain had been broken in and trained for an army horse; his first owner was an
officer of cavalry going out to the Crimean war.
He said he quite enjoyed the training with all the other horses, trotting together,
turning together, to the right hand or the left, halting at the word of command, or
dashing forward at full speed at the sound of the trumpet or signal of the officer.
He was, when young, a dark, dappled iron- gray, and considered very handsome.
His master, a young, high-spirited gentleman, was very fond of him, and
treated him from the first with the greatest care and kindness.
He told me he thought the life of an army horse was very pleasant; but when it came
to being sent abroad over the sea in a great ship, he almost changed his mind.
"That part of it," said he, "was dreadful!
Of course we could not walk off the land into the ship; so they were obliged to put
strong straps under our bodies, and then we were lifted off our legs in spite of our
struggles, and were swung through the air
over the water, to the deck of the great vessel.
There we were placed in small close stalls, and never for a long time saw the sky, or
were able to stretch our legs.
The ship sometimes rolled about in high winds, and we were knocked about, and felt
bad enough.
"However, at last it came to an end, and we were hauled up, and swung over again to the
land; we were very glad, and snorted and neighed for joy, when we once more felt
firm ground under our feet.
"We soon found that the country we had come to was very different from our own and that
we had many hardships to endure besides the fighting; but many of the men were so fond
of their horses that they did everything
they could to make them comfortable in spite of snow, wet, and all things out of
order." "But what about the fighting?" said I, "was
not that worse than anything else?"
"Well," said he, "I hardly know; we always liked to hear the trumpet sound, and to be
called out, and were impatient to start off, though sometimes we had to stand for
hours, waiting for the word of command; and
when the word was given we used to spring forward as gayly and eagerly as if there
were no cannon balls, bayonets, or bullets.
I believe so long as we felt our rider firm in the saddle, and his hand steady on the
bridle, not one of us gave way to fear, not even when the terrible bomb-shells whirled
through the air and burst into a thousand pieces.
"I, with my noble master, went into many actions together without a wound; and
though I saw horses shot down with bullets, pierced through with lances, and gashed
with fearful saber-cuts; though we left
them dead on the field, or dying in the agony of their wounds, I don't think I
feared for myself.
My master's cheery voice, as he encouraged his men, made me feel as if he and I could
not be killed.
I had such perfect trust in him that while he was guiding me I was ready to charge up
to the very cannon's mouth. I saw many brave men cut down, many fall
mortally wounded from their saddles.
I had heard the cries and groans of the dying, I had cantered over ground slippery
with blood, and frequently had to turn aside to avoid trampling on wounded man or
horse, but, until one dreadful day, I had
never felt terror; that day I shall never forget."
Here old Captain paused for awhile and drew a long breath; I waited, and he went on.
"It was one autumn morning, and as usual, an hour before daybreak our cavalry had
turned out, ready caparisoned for the day's work, whether it might be fighting or
The men stood by their horses waiting, ready for orders.
As the light increased there seemed to be some excitement among the officers; and
before the day was well begun we heard the firing of the enemy's guns.
"Then one of the officers rode up and gave the word for the men to mount, and in a
second every man was in his saddle, and every horse stood expecting the touch of
the rein, or the pressure of his rider's
heels, all animated, all eager; but still we had been trained so well that, except by
the champing of our bits, and the restive tossing of our heads from time to time, it
could not be said that we stirred.
"My dear master and I were at the head of the line, and as all sat motionless and
watchful, he took a little stray lock of my mane which had turned over on the wrong
side, laid it over on the right, and
smoothed it down with his hand; then patting my neck, he said, 'We shall have a
day of it to-day, Bayard, my beauty; but we'll do our duty as we have done.'
He stroked my neck that morning more, I think, than he had ever done before;
quietly on and on, as if he were thinking of something else.
I loved to feel his hand on my neck, and arched my crest proudly and happily; but I
stood very still, for I knew all his moods, and when he liked me to be quiet, and when
"I cannot tell all that happened on that day, but I will tell of the last charge
that we made together; it was across a valley right in front of the enemy's
By this time we were well used to the roar of heavy guns, the rattle of musket fire,
and the flying of shot near us; but never had I been under such a fire as we rode
through on that day.
From the right, from the left, and from the front, shot and shell poured in upon us.
Many a brave man went down, many a horse fell, flinging his rider to the earth; many
a horse without a rider ran wildly out of the ranks; then terrified at being alone,
with no hand to guide him, came pressing in
among his old companions, to gallop with them to the charge.
"Fearful as it was, no one stopped, no one turned back.
Every moment the ranks were thinned, but as our comrades fell, we closed in to keep
them together; and instead of being shaken or staggered in our pace our gallop became
faster and faster as we neared the cannon.
"My master, my dear master was cheering on his comrades with his right arm raised on
high, when one of the balls whizzing close to my head struck him.
I felt him stagger with the shock, though he uttered no cry; I tried to check my
speed, but the sword dropped from his right hand, the rein fell loose from the left,
and sinking backward from the saddle he
fell to the earth; the other riders swept past us, and by the force of their charge I
was driven from the spot.
"I wanted to keep my place by his side and not leave him under that rush of horses'
feet, but it was in vain; and now without a master or a friend I was alone on that
great slaughter ground; then fear took hold
on me, and I trembled as I had never trembled before; and I too, as I had seen
other horses do, tried to join in the ranks and gallop with them; but I was beaten off
by the swords of the soldiers.
Just then a soldier whose horse had been killed under him caught at my bridle and
mounted me, and with this new master I was again going forward; but our gallant
company was cruelly overpowered, and those
who remained alive after the fierce fight for the guns came galloping back over the
same ground.
Some of the horses had been so badly wounded that they could scarcely move from
the loss of blood; other noble creatures were trying on three legs to drag
themselves along, and others were
struggling to rise on their fore feet, when their hind legs had been shattered by shot.
After the battle the wounded men were brought in and the dead were buried."
"And what about the wounded horses?"
I said; "were they left to die?"
"No, the army farriers went over the field with their pistols and shot all that were
ruined; some that had only slight wounds were brought back and attended to, but the
greater part of the noble, willing
creatures that went out that morning never came back!
In our stables there was only about one in four that returned.
"I never saw my dear master again.
I believe he fell dead from the saddle. I never loved any other master so well.
I went into many other engagements, but was only once wounded, and then not seriously;
and when the war was over I came back again to England, as sound and strong as when I
went out."
I said, "I have heard people talk about war as if it was a very fine thing."
"Ah!" said he, "I should think they never saw it.
No doubt it is very fine when there is no enemy, when it is just exercise and parade
and sham fight.
Yes, it is very fine then; but when thousands of good brave men and horses are
killed or crippled for life, it has a very different look."
"Do you know what they fought about?" said I.
"No," he said, "that is more than a horse can understand, but the enemy must have
been awfully wicked people, if it was right to go all that way over the sea on purpose
to kill them."
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 35.
Jerry Barker
I never knew a better man than my new master.
He was kind and good, and as strong for the right as John Manly; and so good-tempered
and merry that very few people could pick a quarrel with him.
He was very fond of making little songs, and singing them to himself.
One he was very fond of was this:
"Come, father and mother, And sister and brother, Come, all of you, turn
to And help one another."
And so they did; Harry was as clever at stable-work as a much older boy, and always
wanted to do what he could.
Then Polly and Dolly used to come in the morning to help with the cab--to brush and
beat the cushions, and rub the glass, while Jerry was giving us a cleaning in the yard,
and Harry was rubbing the harness.
There used to be a great deal of laughing and fun between them, and it put Captain
and me in much better spirits than if we had heard scolding and hard words.
They were always early in the morning, for Jerry would say:
"If you in the morning Throw minutes away, You can't pick them up
In the course of a day.
You may hurry and scurry, And flurry and worry, You've lost them
forever, Forever and aye."
He could not bear any careless loitering and waste of time; and nothing was so near
making him angry as to find people, who were always late, wanting a cab horse to be
driven hard, to make up for their idleness.
One day two wild-looking young men came out of a tavern close by the stand, and called
"Here, cabby! look sharp, we are rather late; put on the steam, will you, and take
us to the Victoria in time for the one o'clock train?
You shall have a shilling extra."
"I will take you at the regular pace, gentlemen; shillings don't pay for putting
on the steam like that."
Larry's cab was standing next to ours; he flung open the door, and said, "I'm your
man, gentlemen! take my cab, my horse will get you there all right;" and as he shut
them in, with a wink toward Jerry, said,
"It's against his conscience to go beyond a jog-trot."
Then slashing his jaded horse, he set off as hard as he could.
Jerry patted me on the neck: "No, Jack, a shilling would not pay for that sort of
thing, would it, old boy?"
Although Jerry was determinedly set against hard driving, to please careless people, he
always went a good fair pace, and was not against putting on the steam, as he said,
if only he knew why.
I well remember one morning, as we were on the stand waiting for a fare, that a young
man, carrying a heavy portmanteau, trod on a piece of orange peel which lay on the
pavement, and fell down with great force.
Jerry was the first to run and lift him up. He seemed much stunned, and as they led him
into a shop he walked as if he were in great pain.
Jerry of course came back to the stand, but in about ten minutes one of the shopmen
called him, so we drew up to the pavement.
"Can you take me to the South-Eastern Railway?" said the young man; "this unlucky
fall has made me late, I fear; but it is of great importance that I should not lose the
twelve o'clock train.
I should be most thankful if you could get me there in time, and will gladly pay you
an extra fare."
"I'll do my very best," said Jerry heartily, "if you think you are well
enough, sir," for he looked dreadfully white and ill.
"I must go," he said earnestly, "please to open the door, and let us lose no time."
The next minute Jerry was on the box; with a cheery chirrup to me, and a twitch of the
rein that I well understood.
"Now then, Jack, my boy," said he, "spin along, we'll show them how we can get over
the ground, if we only know why."
It is always difficult to drive fast in the city in the middle of the day, when the
streets are full of traffic, but we did what could be done; and when a good driver
and a good horse, who understand each
other, are of one mind, it is wonderful what they can do.
I had a very good mouth--that is I could be guided by the slightest touch of the rein;
and that is a great thing in London, among carriages, omnibuses, carts, vans, trucks,
cabs, and great wagons creeping along at a
walking pace; some going one way, some another, some going slowly, others wanting
to pass them; omnibuses stopping short every few minutes to take up a passenger,
obliging the horse that is coming behind to
pull up too, or to pass, and get before them; perhaps you try to pass, but just
then something else comes dashing in through the narrow opening, and you have to
keep in behind the omnibus again; presently
you think you see a chance, and manage to get to the front, going so near the wheels
on each side that half an inch nearer and they would scrape.
Well, you get along for a bit, but soon find yourself in a long train of carts and
carriages all obliged to go at a walk; perhaps you come to a regular block-up, and
have to stand still for minutes together,
till something clears out into a side street, or the policeman interferes; you
have to be ready for any chance--to dash forward if there be an opening, and be
quick as a rat-dog to see if there be room
and if there be time, lest you get your own wheels locked or smashed, or the shaft of
some other vehicle run into your chest or shoulder.
All this is what you have to be ready for.
If you want to get through London fast in the middle of the day it wants a deal of
Jerry and I were used to it, and no one could beat us at getting through when we
were set upon it.
I was quick and bold and could always trust my driver; Jerry was quick and patient at
the same time, and could trust his horse, which was a great thing too.
He very seldom used the whip; I knew by his voice, and his click, click, when he wanted
to get on fast, and by the rein where I was to go; so there was no need for whipping;
but I must go back to my story.
The streets were very full that day, but we got on pretty well as far as the bottom of
Cheapside, where there was a block for three or four minutes.
The young man put his head out and said anxiously, "I think I had better get out
and walk; I shall never get there if this goes on."
"I'll do all that can be done, sir," said Jerry; "I think we shall be in time.
This block-up cannot last much longer, and your luggage is very heavy for you to
carry, sir."
Just then the cart in front of us began to move on, and then we had a good turn.
In and out, in and out we went, as fast as horseflesh could do it, and for a wonder
had a good clear time on London Bridge, for there was a whole train of cabs and
carriages all going our way at a quick
trot, perhaps wanting to catch that very train.
At any rate, we whirled into the station with many more, just as the great clock
pointed to eight minutes to twelve o'clock.
"Thank God! we are in time," said the young man, "and thank you, too, my friend, and
your good horse. You have saved me more than money can ever
pay for.
Take this extra half-crown." "No, sir, no, thank you all the same; so
glad we hit the time, sir; but don't stay now, sir, the bell is ringing.
Here, porter! take this gentleman's luggage--Dover line twelve o'clock train--
that's it," and without waiting for another word Jerry wheeled me round to make room
for other cabs that were dashing up at the
last minute, and drew up on one side till the crush was past.
"'So glad!' he said, 'so glad!' Poor young fellow!
I wonder what it was that made him so anxious!"
Jerry often talked to himself quite loud enough for me to hear when we were not
On Jerry's return to the rank there was a good deal of laughing and chaffing at him
for driving hard to the train for an extra fare, as they said, all against his
principles, and they wanted to know how much he had pocketed.
"A good deal more than I generally get," said he, nodding slyly; "what he gave me
will keep me in little comforts for several days."
"Gammon!" said one.
"He's a humbug," said another; "preaching to us and then doing the same himself."
"Look here, mates," said Jerry; "the gentleman offered me half a crown extra,
but I didn't take it; 'twas quite pay enough for me to see how glad he was to
catch that train; and if Jack and I choose
to have a quick run now and then to please ourselves, that's our business and not
yours." "Well," said Larry, "you'll never be a rich
"Most likely not," said Jerry; "but I don't know that I shall be the less happy for
I have heard the commandments read a great many times and I never noticed that any of
them said, 'Thou shalt be rich'; and there are a good many curious things said in the
New Testament about rich men that I think
would make me feel rather queer if I was one of them."
"If you ever do get rich," said Governor Gray, looking over his shoulder across the
top of his cab, "you'll deserve it, Jerry, and you won't find a curse come with your
As for you, Larry, you'll die poor; you spend too much in whipcord."
"Well," said Larry, "what is a fellow to do if his horse won't go without it?"
"You never take the trouble to see if he will go without it; your whip is always
going as if you had the St. Vitus' dance in your arm, and if it does not wear you out
it wears your horse out; you know you are always changing your horses; and why?
Because you never give them any peace or encouragement."
"Well, I have not had good luck," said Larry, "that's where it is."
"And you never will," said the governor.
"Good Luck is rather particular who she rides with, and mostly prefers those who
have got common sense and a good heart; at least that is my experience."
Governor Gray turned round again to his newspaper, and the other men went to their
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell CHAPTER 36.
The Sunday Cab
One morning, as Jerry had just put me into the shafts and was fastening the traces, a
gentleman walked into the yard. "Your servant, sir," said Jerry.
"Good-morning, Mr. Barker," said the gentleman.
"I should be glad to make some arrangements with you for taking Mrs. Briggs regularly
to church on Sunday mornings.
We go to the New Church now, and that is rather further than she can walk."
"Thank you, sir," said Jerry, "but I have only taken out a six-days' license,* and
therefore I could not take a fare on a Sunday; it would not be legal."
"Oh!" said the other, "I did not know yours was a six-days' cab; but of course it would
be very easy to alter your license.
I would see that you did not lose by it; the fact is, Mrs. Briggs very much prefers
you to drive her."
"I should be glad to oblige the lady, sir, but I had a seven-days' license once, and
the work was too hard for me, and too hard for my horses.
Year in and year out, not a day's rest, and never a Sunday with my wife and children;
and never able to go to a place of worship, which I had always been used to do before I
took to the driving box.
So for the last five years I have only taken a six-days' license, and I find it
better all the way round."
"Well, of course," replied Mr. Briggs, "it is very proper that every person should
have rest, and be able to go to church on Sundays, but I should have thought you
would not have minded such a short distance
for the horse, and only once a day; you would have all the afternoon and evening
for yourself, and we are very good customers, you know."
"Yes, sir, that is true, and I am grateful for all favors, I am sure; and anything
that I could do to oblige you, or the lady, I should be proud and happy to do; but I
can't give up my Sundays, sir, indeed I can't.
I read that God made man, and he made horses and all the other beasts, and as
soon as He had made them He made a day of rest, and bade that all should rest one day
in seven; and I think, sir, He must have
known what was good for them, and I am sure it is good for me; I am stronger and
healthier altogether, now that I have a day of rest; the horses are fresh too, and do
not wear up nearly so fast.
The six-day drivers all tell me the same, and I have laid by more money in the
savings bank than ever I did before; and as for the wife and children, sir, why, heart
alive! they would not go back to the seven days for all they could see."
"Oh, very well," said the gentleman. "Don't trouble yourself, Mr. Barker, any
I will inquire somewhere else," and he walked away.
"Well," says Jerry to me, "we can't help it, Jack, old boy; we must have our
"Polly!" he shouted, "Polly! come here." She was there in a minute.
"What is it all about, Jerry?" "Why, my dear, Mr. Briggs wants me to take
Mrs. Briggs to church every Sunday morning.
I say I have only a six-days' license. He says, 'Get a seven-days' license, and
I'll make it worth your while;' and you know, Polly, they are very good customers
to us.
Mrs. Briggs often goes out shopping for hours, or making calls, and then she pays
down fair and honorable like a lady; there's no beating down or making three
hours into two hours and a half, as some
folks do; and it is easy work for the horses; not like tearing along to catch
trains for people that are always a quarter of an hour too late; and if I don't oblige
her in this matter it is very likely we shall lose them altogether.
What do you say, little woman?"
"I say, Jerry," says she, speaking very slowly, "I say, if Mrs. Briggs would give
you a sovereign every Sunday morning, I would not have you a seven-days' cabman
We have known what it was to have no Sundays, and now we know what it is to call
them our own.
Thank God, you earn enough to keep us, though it is sometimes close work to pay
for all the oats and hay, the license, and the rent besides; but Harry will soon be
earning something, and I would rather
struggle on harder than we do than go back to those horrid times when you hardly had a
minute to look at your own children, and we never could go to a place of worship
together, or have a happy, quiet day.
God forbid that we should ever turn back to those times; that's what I say, Jerry."
"And that is just what I told Mr. Briggs, my dear," said Jerry, "and what I mean to
stick to.
So don't go and fret yourself, Polly" (for she had begun to cry); "I would not go back
to the old times if I earned twice as much, so that is settled, little woman.
Now, cheer up, and I'll be off to the stand."
Three weeks had passed away after this conversation, and no order had come from
Mrs. Briggs; so there was nothing but taking jobs from the stand.
Jerry took it to heart a good deal, for of course the work was harder for horse and
man. But Polly would always cheer him up, and
say, "Never mind, father, never, mind.
"'Do your best, And leave the rest, 'Twill all come right
Some day or night.'"
It soon became known that Jerry had lost his best customer, and for what reason.
Most of the men said he was a fool, but two or three took his part.
"If workingmen don't stick to their Sunday," said Truman, "they'll soon have
none left; it is every man's right and every beast's right.
By God's law we have a day of rest, and by the law of England we have a day of rest;
and I say we ought to hold to the rights these laws give us and keep them for our
"All very well for you religious chaps to talk so," said Larry; "but I'll turn a
shilling when I can.
I don't believe in religion, for I don't see that your religious people are any
better than the rest." "If they are not better," put in Jerry, "it
is because they are not religious.
You might as well say that our country's laws are not good because some people break
If a man gives way to his temper, and speaks evil of his neighbor, and does not
pay his debts, he is not religious, I don't care how much he goes to church.
If some men are shams and humbugs, that does not make religion untrue.
Real religion is the best and truest thing in the world, and the only thing that can
make a man really happy or make the world we live in any better."
"If religion was good for anything," said Jones, "it would prevent your religious
people from making us work on Sundays, as you know many of them do, and that's why I
say religion is nothing but a sham; why, if
it was not for the church and chapel-goers it would be hardly worth while our coming
out on a Sunday. But they have their privileges, as they
call them, and I go without.
I shall expect them to answer for my soul, if I can't get a chance of saving it."
Several of the men applauded this, till Jerry said:
"That may sound well enough, but it won't do; every man must look after his own soul;
you can't lay it down at another man's door like a foundling and expect him to take
care of it; and don't you see, if you are
always sitting on your box waiting for a fare, they will say, 'If we don't take him
some one else will, and he does not look for any Sunday.'
Of course, they don't go to the bottom of it, or they would see if they never came
for a cab it would be no use your standing there; but people don't always like to go
to the bottom of things; it may not be
convenient to do it; but if you Sunday drivers would all strike for a day of rest
the thing would be done."
"And what would all the good people do if they could not get to their favorite
preachers?" said Larry.
"'Tis not for me to lay down plans for other people," said Jerry, "but if they
can't walk so far they can go to what is nearer; and if it should rain they can put
on their mackintoshes as they do on a week- day.
If a thing is right it can be done, and if it is wrong it can be done without; and a
good man will find a way.
And that is as true for us cabmen as it is for the church-goers."