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-**- J^ ;- -&-S-
~ .*:( -" .I
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A HORSE
RECOMMENDED BY THE "ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A HORSE
ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SEVENTH THOUSAND
JARROLD AND SONS, io & II, WARWICK LANE, E.C.
(All Rights Resoefed]
MY DEAR AND HONOURED
WHOSE LIFE, NO LESS THAN HER PEN,
HAS BEEN DEVOTED TO THE WELFARE OE OTHERS,
THIS LITTLE BOOK
"He was a perfect horseman, and never lost his temper with his horse,
talking to and reasoning with it if it shyed or bolted, as if it had been a
rational being, knowing that from the fine organization of the animal, a horse,
like-a child, will get.confused by panic fear, which is only increased by
punishment."-From the Life of Charles Kingsley, vol. ii. p. 9.
MY EARLY HOME.
MY BREAKING IN.
BIRTWICK PARK .. 17
A FAIR START .. 20
GINGER .. .......28
GINGER'S STORY CONTINUED 33
A TALK IN THE ORCHARD .
PLAIN SPEAKING .
A STORMY DAY .
THE DEVIL'S TRADE MARK
JAMES HOWARD .
THE OLD OSTLER
THE FIRE .
JOHN MANLY'S TALK
GOING FOR TIHE DOCTOR
JOE GREEN .
CHAPTER XXII. PAGE
A STRIKE FOR LIBERTY 103
THE LADY ANNE, OR A RUNAWAY HORSE 107
REUBEN SMITH 115
HOW IT ENDED 120
RUINED, AND GOING DOWN-HILL 123
A JoB HORSE AND HIS DRIVERS 127
A THIEF 137
A HUMBUG 140
A HORSE FAIR 143
A LONDON CAB HORSE 149
AN OLD WAR HORSE .
JERRY BARKER .
THE SUNDAY CAB .
THE GOLDEN RULE .
DOLLY AND A REAL GENTLEMAN
SEEDY SAM .
POOR GINGER .
THE BUTCHER .
THE ELECTION .
A FRIEND IN NEED .
OLD CAPTAIN AND HIS SUCCESSOR .
JERRY'S NEW YEAR ,
CHAPTER XLVI. PA;E
JAKES AND THE LADY 212
HARD TIMES 216
FARMER THOROUGHGOOD AND HIS GRANDSON WILLIE 221
MY LAST HOME 225
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Portrait of Authoress Frontisfiece
" My early home" .
" Well, old Pet, and how is your little Darkie?" 3
" Making straight for our meadow" 7
"The black horse moved no more 9
"My master went with me to the smith's forge" 13
"And there I stood snorting with astonishment and fear" 15
" My coat was brushed every day" 17
" One of those travelling carts hung all over with baskets 21
"Liberty" .. 26
"As we stood together under the chestnut tree" 27
" Come along, lassie, come along" 29
"The bearing rein. It was enough to drive one mad" 33
"We were often driven about in the paik" .34
" Sent up to London and sold at Tattersall's 35
"Merrylegs" .. .. 40
"The master on Ginger, the mistress on me 43
"A talk in the orchard 45
" Russian trotter, trained by the human voice" 47
"' Sawyer,' he cried 'is that pony made of flesh and blood?'" 52
" That was a very near touch,' said my master" 55
"' The bridge is broken in the middle,' said John", 58
"James and the old man left the stable together" 68
"Coaxing, he led me out of the stable". 72
"'Tis the fire engine" 73
"Now, John, ride for your life .82
"The air was frosty, the moon was bright" 83
" Only ignorance, only ignorance 86
"There is a fellow flogging two horses to death". 9
"The breaking up" 93
" The first of the party who went were Miss Jessie and Flora" 94
xvi List of Illustrations.
"They came to bid us good-bye .95
"' God bless you, John,' she said" 96
" She was a perfect horsewoman" .. 108
" My lady's hat was gone, and her long brown hair was streaming
behind her" .
I uttered no sound but stood there and listened 18
"Obliged to leave the pleasant home" 119
"They were throwing out their legs and showing off their paces" 145
"Into the great London thoroughfare". 146
"A comfortable clean-smelling stall with plenty of dry straw 147
"A horse down" 151
"We were lifted off our legs and swung through the air" 155
"By the force of their charge I was driven from the spot where he fell" 159
". .. On purpose to kill them" .. 16o
"Jerry Barker" ... 166
"Sunday rest" .. 169
Or roll over on my back" 176
"Seedy Sam" 182
"The head hung out of the cart-tail" .186
"At last after.a terrible struggle, I threw him off backwards" 19
Six or eight men leaped their horses clean over" 197
"He sponged my sides a good while so tenderly" .. 207
I was sufficiently recovered to be led back to Skinner's stables 219
"When we returned, the other sisters came out to hear how I had
behaved myself" .. 227
MY EARLY HOME.
HE first place that I can
well remember; was a
large pleasant meadow
.. f with a pond of clear
'the water in it. Some shady
trees leaned over it, and
rushes and water-lilies
Grew at the deep end.
Over the hedge on one
side we looked into a
ploughed field, and on
Sthe other we looked over
.,, a gate at our master's
i: 'house, which stood by the
Roadside; at the top of
4 the meadow was a plant,
tion of fir trees, and at
-the bottom a running brook overhung by a steep bank;
Whilst I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I
could not eat grass. In the day time I ran by her -side, and
at night I lay down close by her. When it was hot, we used to
MY EARLY HOME.
HE first place that I can
well remember; was a
large pleasant meadow
.. f with a pond of clear
'the water in it. Some shady
trees leaned over it, and
rushes and water-lilies
Grew at the deep end.
Over the hedge on one
side we looked into a
ploughed field, and on
Sthe other we looked over
.,, a gate at our master's
i: 'house, which stood by the
Roadside; at the top of
4 the meadow was a plant,
tion of fir trees, and at
-the bottom a running brook overhung by a steep bank;
Whilst I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I
could not eat grass. In the day time I ran by her -side, and
at night I lay down close by her. When it was hot, we used to
".MY EARLY HOME."
stand by the pond in the shade of the trees, and when it was
cold, we had a nice warm shed near the plantationh.
As soon as I was old enough to eat grass, my 'mother used
to go out to work in the day time, and came back in the even-
There were six young colts in the meadow besides me; they
were older than I was; some were nearly as large as grown-
up horses. I used to run with them, and had great fun; we
used to gallop all together round and round the field, as hard
as we could go. Sometimes we had rather rough play, for they
would frequently bite and kick as well as gallop.
One day, when there was a good deal of kicking, my mother
whinnied to me to come to her, and then she said,-
I wish you to pay attention to what I am going to say to
you. The colts who live here are very good colts, but they are
cart-horse colts, and, of course, they have* not learned
manners. You have been well bred and well born; your
WELL, OD P, AND HOW IS YOUR LITTLE DARKIE
"WELI., OI.D PET, AND HOW IS YOUR I.ITTLE DARKIE?"
h. **b *-
father has a great name in these parts, and your grandfather
won the cup two years at the Newmarket races; your grand-
mother had the sweetest temper of any-horse I ever knew,
and I think you have never seen me kick or bite. I hope you
will grow up gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do
your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot,
and never bite or kick even in play."
I have never forgotten my mother's advice; I knew she was
a wise old horse, and our master thought a great deal of her.
Her name was Duchess, but he often called her Pet.
Our master was a good, kind man. He gave us good food,
good lodging, and kind words; he spoke as kindly to us as he
did to his little children. We were all fond of him, and my
mother loved him very much. When she saw him at the gate,
she would neigh with joy, and trot up to him. He would pat
and stroke her and say, Well, old Pet, and how is your little
Darkie ? I was a dull black, so he called me Darkie; then
he would give me a piece of bread, which was very good, and
sometimes he brought a carrot for my mother. All the
horses would come to him, but I think we were his favourites.
My mother always took him to the town on a market day in a
There was a ploughboy, Dick, who sometimes came into our
field to pluck blackberries from the hedge. When he had
eaten all he wanted, he would have, what he called, fun with
the colts, throwing stones and sticks at them to make them
gallop. We did not much mind him, for we could gallop off;
but sometimes a stone would hit and hurt us.
One day he was at this game, and did not know that the
master was in the next field; but he was there, watching what
was going on: over the hedge he jumped in a snap, and
catching Dick by the arm, he gave him such a box on the
ear as made him roar with the pain and surprise. As soon
as we saw the master, we trotted up nearer to see what
Bad boy he said, "bad boy! to chase the colts. This
My Early Home. 5
is not the first time, nor the second, but it shall be the last-
there-take your money and go home, I shall not want you
on my farm again." So we never saw Dick any more. Old
Daniel, the man who looked after the horses, was just as gentle
as our master, so we were well off.
S : WAS two years old, when a circum-
stance happened which I have never
I forgotten. It was early in the
spring; there had been a little
-- frost in the night, and a light mist
still hung over the plantations and
meadows. I and the other colts
were feeding at the lower part of
i .. the field when we heard, quite in
". i the distance, what sounded like the
cry of dogs. The oldest of the
colts raised his head, pricked his ears, and said, There are
the hounds and immediately cantered off, followed by the
rest of us to the upper part of the field, where we could look
over the hedge and see several fields beyond. My mother and
an old riding horse of our master's were also standing near,
and seemed to know all about it.
They have found a hare," said my mother, "and if they
come this way, we shall see the hunt."
And soon the dogs were all tearing down the field of young
wheat next to ours. I never heard such a noise as they made.
They did not bark, nor howl, nor whine, but kept on a yo!
yo, o, o! yo! yo, o, o!" at the top of their voices. After
them came a number of men on horseback, some of them in
green coats, all galloping as fast as they could. The old horse
snorted and looked eagerly after them, and we young colts
*T~.'-GH FOR '
AI "IGHT FO U'; .M ^"
.. ,, ,. ....
"~~~~~~~~~ |KN sRIHTFROU M,.O
wanted to be galloping with them, but they were soon away
into the fields lower down; here it seemed as if they had
come to a stand; the dogs left off barking, and ran about every
way with their noses to the ground.
"They have lost the scent," said the old horse; "perhaps
the hare will get off."
What hare ? I said.
Oh! I don't know what hare; likely enough it may be one
of our own hares out of the plantation; any hare they can
find will do for the dogs and men to run after;" and before
long the dogs began their "yo! yo, o, o!" again, and back
they came all together at full speed, making straight for our
meadow at the part where the high bank and hedge overhang
Now we shall see the hare," said my mother; and just
then a hare, wild with fright, rushed by, and made for the
plantation. On came the dogs, they burst over the bank,
leapt the stream, and came dashing across the field, followed
by the huntsmen. Six or eight men leaped their horses
clean over, close upon the dogs. The hare tried to get
through the fence; it was too thick, and she turned sharp
round to make for the road, but it was too late; the dogs
were upon her with their wild cries; we heard one shriek, and
that was the end of her. One of the huntsmen rode up and
whipped off the dogs, who would soon have torn her to pieces.
He held her up by the leg torn and bleeding, and all the gentle-
men seemed well pleased.
As for me, I was so astonished that I did not at first see
what was going on by the brook; but when I did look, there
was a sad sight; two fine horses were down, one was strug-
gling in the stream, and the other was groaning on the grass.
One of the riders was getting out of the water covered with
mud, and the other lay quite still.
His neck is broke," said my mother.
And serve him right too," said one of the colts.
I thought the same, but my mother did not join with us.
The Hunt. 9
"Well! no," she said, "you must not say that; but though
I am an old horse, and have seen and heard a great deal, I
never yet could make out why men are so fond of this sport;
they often hurt themselves, often spoil good horses, and tear
up the fields, and all for a hare or a fox, or a stag, that they
could get more easily some other way; but we are only horses,
and don't know."
.., mother was say-
and looked on.
.Many of the
"tfHE BLACK HORSE MOVED NO MORE."
riders had gone to the young man; but my master, who
had been watching what was going on, was the first to raise
him. His head fell back and his arms hung down, and every-
one looked very serious. There was no noise now; even the
dogs were quiet, and seemed to know that something was
wrong. They carried him to our master's house. I heard
afterwards that it was young George Gordon, the squire's only
son, a fine, tall young man, and the pride of his family.
There was now riding off in all directions to the doctor's, to
the farrier's, and no doubt to Squire Gordon's, to let him
know about his son. When Mr. Bond, the farrier, came to
look at the black horse that lay groaning on the grass, he felt
him all over, and shook his head; one of his legs was broken.
Then some one ran to our master's house and came back with
a gun; presently there was a loud bang and a dreadful shriek,
and then all was still; the black horse moved no more.
My mother seemed much troubled; she said she had known
that horse for years, and that his name was Rob Roy; he
was a good bold horse, and there was no -vice in him. She
never would go to that part of the field afterwards.
Not many days after, we heard the church bell tolling for a
long time; and looking over the gate we saw a long strange
black coach that was covered with black cloth and was drawn
by black horses; after that came another and another and
another, and all were black, while the bell kept tolling, tolling.
They were carrying young Gordon to the churchyard to bury
him. He would never ride again. What they did with Rob
Roy I never knew; but 'twas all for one little hare.
MY BREAKING IN.
WAS now beginning to grow handsome;
my coat had grown fine and soft, and
was bright black. I had one white foot,
i ,and a pretty white star on my fore-
S head. I was thought very handsome;
my master would not sell me till I was
four years old; he said. lads ought not
to work like men, and colts ought not to work like horses till
they were quite grown up.
When I was four years old, Squire Gordon came to look
at me. He examined my eyes, my mouth, and my legs; he
felt them all down; and then I had to walk and trot and gallop
before him; he seemed to like me, and said, When he has
been well broken in, he will do very well." My master said he
would break me in himself, as he should not like me to be
frightened or hurt, and he lost no time about it, for the next
day he began.
Every one may not know what breaking in is, therefore I
will describe it. It means to teach a horse to wear a saddle
and bridle and to carry on his back a man, woman, or child;
to go just the way they wish, and to go quietly. Besides this,
he has to learn to wear a collar, a crupper, and a breeching,
and to stand still whilst they are put on ; then to have a cart
or a chaise fixed behind him, so that he cannot walk or trot
without dragging it after him: and he must go fast or slow,
just as his driver wishes. He must never start at what he
sees, nor speak to other horses, nor bite, nor kick, nor have
any will of his own; but always do his master's will, even
though he may be very tired or hungry; but the worst of all
is, when his harness is once on, he may neither jump for joy
nor lie down for weariness. So you see this breaking in is a
I had of course long been used to a halter and a headstall,
and to be led about in the fields and lanes quietly, but now I
was to have a bit and bridle ; my master gave me some oats
as usual, and after a good deal of coaxing, he got the bit into
my mouth, and the bridle fixed, but it was a nasty thing!
Those who have never had a bit in their mouths cannot think
how bad it feels; a great piece of cold hard steel as thick as a
man's finger to be pushed into one's mouth, between one's
teeth and over one's tongue, with the ends coming out at the
corner of your mouth, and held fast there by straps over your
head, under your throat, round your nose, and under your
chin; so that no way in the world can you get rid of the
nasty hard thing; it is very bad! yes, very bad! at least I
thought so; but I knew my mother always wore one when she
went out, and all horses did when they were grown up; and
so, what with the nice oats, and what with my master's pats,
kind words, and gentle ways, I got to wear my bit and bridle.
Next came the saddle, but that was not half so bad; my
master put it on my back very gently, whilst old Daniel held
my head; he then made the girths fast under my body,
patting and talking to me all the time ; then I had a few oats,
then a little leading about, and this he did every day till I
began to look for the oats and the saddle. At length one
morning, my master got on my back and rode me round the
meadow on the soft grass. It certainly did feel queer; but I
must say I felt rather proud to carry my master, and as he
continued to ride me a little every day, I soon became accus-
tomed to it.
The next unpleasant business was putting on the iron shoes;
that too was very hard at first. My master went with me to
the smith's forge, to see that I was not hurt or got any fright.
[ MATRWE \III E10Tl SIfI ; Ot
The blacksmith took my feet in his hand one after the other
and cut away some of the hoof. It did not pain me, so I
stood still on three legs till he had done them all. Then he
took a piece of iron the shape of my foot, and clapped it on,
and drove some nails through the shoe quite into my hoof, so
that the shoe was firmly on. My feet felt very stiff and heavy,
but in time I got used to it.
And now having got so far, my master went on to break me
to harness ; there were more new things to wear. First, a stiff
heavy collar just on my neck, and a bridle with great side-
pieces against my eyes called blinkers, and blinkers indeed
they were, for I could not see on either side, but only straight
in front of me; next there was a small saddle with a nasty stiff
strap that went right under my tail; that was the crupper. I
hated the crupper-to have my long tail doubled up and
poked through that strap was almost as bad as the bit. I
never felt more like kicking, but of course I could not kick
such a good master, and so in time I got used to everything,
and could do my work as well as my mother.
I must not forget to mention one part of my training, which
I have always considered a very great advantage. My master
sent me for a fortnight to a neighboring farmer's, who had a
meadow which was skirted on one side by the railway. Here
were some sheep and cows, and I was turned in amongst them.
I shall never forget the first train that ran by. I was feed-
ing quietly near the pales which separated the meadow from
the railway, when I heard a strange sound at a distance, and
before I knew whence it came-with a rush and a clatter, and
a puffing out of smoke-a long black train of something flew
by, and was gone almost before I could draw my breath. I
turned, and galloped to the further side of the meadow as fast
as I could go, and there I stood snorting with astonishment
and fear. In the course of the day many other trains went by,
some more slowly; these drew up at the station close by, and
sometimes made an awful shriek and groan before they
stopped. I thought it very dreadful, but the cows went on
- ~i '
-p~- i ,..
"AND THERE I STOOD SNORTING WITH ASTONISHMENT AND FEAR."
' .: -'*''
-- i--t~ I
eating very quietly, and hardly raised their heads as the black
frightful thing came puffing and grinding past.
SFor the first few days I could not feed in peace; but as I
found that this terrible creature never came into the field, or
did me any harm, I began to disregard it, and very soon I
cared as little about the passing of a train as the cows and
Since then I have seen many horses much alarmed and
restive at the sight or sound of a steam engine; but thanks to
my good master's care, I am as fearless at railway stations as
in my own stable.
Now if any one wants to break in a young horse well, that
is the way.
My master often drove me in double harness with my
mother, because she was steady, and could teach me how to
go better than a strange horse. She told me the better I be-
haved, the better I should be treated, and that it was wisest
always to do my best to please my master; but," said she,
"there are a great inany kinds of men; there are good,
thoughtful men like our master, that any horse may be proud
to serve; but there are bad, cruel men, who never ought to
have a horse or dog to call their own. Beside, there are a
great many foolish men, vain, ignorant, and careless, who
never trouble themselves to think; these spoil more horses
than all, just for want of sense; they don't mean it, but they
do it for all that. I hope you will fall into good hands; but
a horse never knows who may buy him, or who may drive him;
it is all a chance for us, but still I say, do your best wherever
it is, and keep up your good name."
X 1 .- ---
.;..y .- .._
. .. *- ;,."
_ k i'
"MY COAT WAS BRUSHED EVERY DAY."
T this time I used to
Stand in the stable, and
my coat was brushed
every day till it shone
like a rook's wing. It
Swas early in May, when
there came a man from
Squire Gordon's, who
took me away to the
Hall. My master said,
Good bye, Darkie;
be a good horse, and
always do your best.",
I could not say "good-
bye," so I put my nose
into his hand; he patted
me kindly, and I left
my first home. As I
lived some years with
Squire Gordon, I may
as well tell something about the place.
Squire Gordon's Park skirted the village of Birtwick. It
was entered by a large iron gate, at which stood the first lodge,
and then you trotted along on a smooth road between clumps
of large old trees; then another lodge and another gate, which
brought you to the house and the gardens. Beyond this lay
the home paddock, the old orchard and the stables. There
was accommodation for many horses and carriages; but I
need only describe the stable into which I was taken; this
was very roomy, with four good stalls; a large swinging
window opened into the yard, which made it pleasant and airy.
The first stall was a large square one, shut in behind with
a wooden gate; the others were common stalls, good stalls,
but not nearly so large; it had a low rack for hay and a low
manger for corn; it was called a loose box, because the horse
that was put into it was not tied up, but left loose, to do as he
liked. It is a great thing to have a loose box.
Into this fine box the groom put me; it was clean, sweet,
and airy. I never was in a better box than that, and the sides
were not so high but that I could see all that went on through
the iron rails that were at the top.
He gave me some very nice oats, he patted me, spoke kindly,
and then went away.
When I had eaten my corn, I looked round. In the stall
next to mine, stood a little fat grey pony, with a thick mane
and tail, a very pretty head, and a pert little nose.
I put my head up to the iron rails at the top of my box, and
said, How do. you do? what is your name? "
He turned round as far as his halter would allow, held up his
head, and said, My name is Merrylegs: I am very handsome,
I carry the young ladies on my back, and sometimes I take
our mistress out in the low chair. They think a great deal of
me, and so does James. Are you going to live next door to
me in the box ? "
I said Yes."
"Well, then," he said, I hope you are good-tempered; I
do not like any one next door who bites."
Just then a horse's head looked over from the stall beyond;
the ears were laid back, and the eye looked rather ill-tempered.
This was a tall chestnut mare, with a long handsome neck
she looked across to me and said,-
So it is you who have turned me out of my box; it is a very
strange thing for a colt like you, to come and turn a lady out of
her own home."
I beg your pardon," I said, I have turned no one out;
the man who brought me put me here, and I had nothing to
do with it ; and as to my being a colt, I am turned four years
old, and am a grown-up horse: I never had words yet with
horse or mare, and it is my wish to live at peace."
"Well," she said, "we shall see ; of course I do not want
to have words with a young thing like you." I said no more.
In the afternoon when she went out, Merrylegs told me all
The thing is this," said Merrylegs, Ginger has a bad
habit of biting and snapping; that is why they call her Ginger,
and when she was in the loose box, she used to snap very
much. One day she bit James in the arm and made it bleed,
and so Miss Flora and -Miss Jessie, who are very fond of me,
were afraid to come into the stable, They used to bring me
nice things to eat, an apple or a carrot, or a piece of bread,
but after Ginger stood in that box, they dare not come, and I
missed them very much. I hope they will now come again, if
you do not bite or snap."
I told him I never bit anything but grass, hay, and corn,
and could not think what pleasure Ginger found in it.
Well, I don't think she does find pleasure," says Merry-
legs; it is just a bad habit; she says no one was ever kind
to her, and why should she not bite ? Of course it is a very
bad habit; but I am sure, if all she says be true, she must
have been very ill-used before she came here. John does all
he can to please her, and James does all he can, and our
master never uses a whip if a horse acts right; so I think she
might be good-tempered here; you see," he said with a wise
look, I am twelve years old; I know a great deal, and I can tell
you there is not a better place for a horse all round the country
than this. John is the best groom that ever was, he has been
here fourteen years; and you never saw such a kind boy as
James is, so that it is all Ginger's own fault that she did not
stay in that box,"
A FAIR START.
HE name of the coachman was John Manly;
She had a wife and one little child, and they
lived in the coachman's cottage, very near the
The next morning he took me into the
yard and gave me a good grooming, and just
as I was going into my box with my coat soft
and bright, the Squire came in to look at me,
and seemed pleased. "John," he said, "I
meant to have tried the new horse this morning, but I have other
business. You may as well take him a round after breakfast;
go by the common and the Highwood, and back by the
watermill and the river; that will show his paces."
I will, sir," said John. After breakfast he came and fitted
me with a bridle. He was very particular in letting out and
taking in the straps, to fit my head comfortably; then he
brought the saddle, that was not broad enough for my back;
he saw it in a minute and went for another, which fitted
nicely. He rode me first slowly, then a trot, then a canter,
and when we were on the common he gave me a light touch
with his whip, and we had a splendid gallop.
Ho, ho! my boy," he said, as he pulled me up, "you
would like to follow the hounds, I think."
As we came back through the Park we met the Squire and
Mrs. Gordon walking; they stopped, and John jumped off.
A Fair Start.
Well, John, how does he go ? "
First-rate, sir," answered John, he is as fleet as a deer,
and has a fine spirit, too ; but the lightest touch of the rein will
guide him. Down at the end of the common we met one of
those travelling carts hung all over with baskets, rugs, and such
like; you know, sir, many horses will not pass those carts
quietly; he just took a good look at it, and then went on as
"ONE OF THOSE TRAVELLING CARTS HUNG ALL OVER WITH BASKETS."
quiet and pleasant as could be. They were shooting rabbits
near the Highwood, and a gun went off close by; he pulled up
a little and looked, but did not stir a step to right or left. I
just held the rein steady and did not hurry him, and it's my
opinion he has not been frightened or ill-used while he was
"That's well," said the Squire, "I will try him myself to-
The next day I was brought up, for my master. I remem-
bered my mother's counsel and my good old master's, and I
tried to do exactly what he wanted me to do. I found he
was a very good rider, and thoughtful for his horse, too.
When he came home, the lady was at the hall door as he
Well, my dear," she said, how do you like him ? "
He is exactly what John said," he replied; a pleasanter
creature I never wish to mount. What shall we call
him ? "
Would you like Ebony? said she, "he is as black as
No, not Ebony."
Will you call him Blackbird,' like your uncle's old
No, he is far handsomer than old Blackbird ever was."
Yes," she said, he is really quite a beauty, and he has
such a sweet good-tempered face and such a fine intelligent
eye-what do you say to calling him Black Beauty'? "
Black Beauty-why, yes, I think that is a very good name.
If you like, it shall be his name," and so it was.
When John went into the stable, he told James that master
and mistress had chosen a good sensible English name for
me, that meant something, not like Marengo, or Pegasus, or
Abdallah. They both laughed, and James said, If it was
not for bringing back the past, I should have named him
'Rob Roy,' for I never saw two horses more alike."
"That's no wonder," said John, "didn't you know that
farmer Grey's old Duchess was the mother of them both ? "
I had never heard that before, and so poor Rob Roy who
was killed at that hunt- was my brother I did not wonder
that my mother was so troubled. It seems that horses have
no relations; at least, they never know each other after they
A Fair Start.
John seemed very proud of me; he used to make my mane
and tail almost as smooth as a lady's hair, and he would talk
to me a great deal; of course I did not understand all he said,
but I learned more and more to know what he meant, and
what he wanted me to do. I grew very fond of him, he was
so gentle and kind, he seemed to know just how a horse feels,
and when he cleaned me, he knew the tender places, and the
ticklish places; when he brushed my head, he went as care-
fully over my eyes as if they were his own, and never stirred up
James Howard, the stable boy, was just as gentle and plea-
sant in his way, so I thought myself well off. There was
another man who helped in the yard, but he had very little to
do with Ginger and me.
A few days after this I had to go out with Ginger in the
carriage. I wondered how we should get on together; but
except laying her ears back when I was led up to her, she
behaved very well. She did her work honestly, and did her
full share, and I never wish to have a better partner in
double harness. When we came to a hill, instead of slacken-
ing her pace, she would throw her weight right into the
collar, and pull away straight up. We had both the same
sort of courage at our work, and John had oftener to hold
us in than to urge us forward; he never had to use the
whip with either of us; then our paces were much the same,
and I found it very easy to keep step with her when trotting,
which made it pleasant, and master always liked it when we
kept step well, and so did John. After we had been out two
or three times together we grew quite friendly and sociable,
which made me feel very much at home.
As for Merrylegs, he and I soon became great friends; he
was such a cheerful, plucky, good-tempered little fellow, that
he was a favourite with every one, and especially with Miss
Jessie and Flora, who used to ride him about in the orchard,
and have fine games with him and their little dog Frisky.
Our master had two other horses that stood in another
24 Black Beauty.
stable. One was Justice, a roan cob, used for riding, or for
the luggage cart; the other was an old brown hunter, named
Sir Oliver; he was past work now, but was a great favourite
with the master, who gave him the run of the park; he some-
times did a little light carting on the estate, or carried one of
the young ladies when they rode out with their father; for he
was very gentle, and could be trusted with a child as well as
Merrylegs. The cob was a strong, well-made, good-tempered
horse, and we sometimes had a little chat in the paddock, but
of course I could not be so intimate with him as with Ginger,
who stood in the same stable.
WAS quite happy in my new place, and if
there was one thing that I missed, it must not
Sbe thought I was discontented; all who had to
Sdo with me were good, and I had a light airy
stable and the best of food. What more could
I want ? Why, liberty! For three years and
a half of my life I had had all the liberty I
could wish for; but now, week after week,
month after month, and no doubt year after
year, I must stand up in a stable night and day
except when I am wanted, and then I must be just as
steady and quiet as any old horse who has worked twenty
years. Straps here and straps there, a bit in my mouth,
and blinkers over my eyes. Now, I am not complaining,
for I know it must be so. I only mean to say that for a
young horse full of strength and spirits, who has been
used to some large field or plain, where he can fling up his
head, and toss up his tail and gallop away at full speed, then
round and back again with a snort to his companions-I say
it is hard never to have a bit more liberty to do as you like.
Sometimes, when I have had less exercise than usual, I have
felt so full of life and spring, that when John has taken me
out to exercise, I really could not keep quiet; do what I
would, it seemed as if I must jump, or dance, or prance, and
26 Black Beauty.
many a good shake I know I must have given him, specially at
the first; but he was always good and patient.
Steady, steady, my boy," he would say; wait a bit, and
we'll have a good swing, and soon get the tickle out of your
feet." Then as soon as we were out of the village, he would
give me a few miles at a spanking trot, and then bring me
back as fresh as before, on'y clear of the fidgets, as he called
them. Spirited horses, when not enough exercised, are often
called skittish, when it is only play; and some grooms will punish
them, but our John did not, he knew it was only high spirits.
Still, he had his own ways of making me understand by the
tone of his voice or the touch of the rein. If he was very
serious and quite determined, I always knew it by his voice,
and that had more power with me than anything else, for I was
very fond of him.
I ought to say that sometimes we had our liberty for a few
hours; this used to be on fine Sundays in the summer-time.
The carriage never went out on Sundays, because the church
was not far off.
It was a great treat to us to be turned out into the home
paddock or the old orchard; the grass was so cool and soft to
"AS WE STOOD TOGETHER UNDER THE CHESTNUT TREE."
our feet, the air so sweet, and the freedom to do as we liked
was so pleasant; to gallop, to lie down, and roll over on our
backs, or to nibble the sweet grass. Then it was a very good
time for talking, as we stood together under the shade of the
large chestnut tree.
NE day when Ginger and I were standing
/ alone in the shade we had a great deal of
talk; she wanted to know all about my
bringing up and breaking in, and I told her.
"'. "Well," said she, "if I had had your
bringing up I might have been as good a
temper as you are, but now I don't believe I
. ,r shall."
Why not? I said.
Because it has been all so different with me,"
she replied. I never had any one, horse or man, that was
kind to me, or that I cared to please, for in the first place
I was taken from my mother as soon as I was weaned, and put
with a lot of other young colts; none of them cared for me,
and I cared for none of them. There was no kind master like
yours to look after me, and talk to me, and bring me nice things
to eat. The man that had the care of us never gave me a kind
word in my life. I do not mean that he ill-used me, but he did
not care for us one bit further than to see that we had plenty
to eat and shelter in the winter. A footpath ran through our
field, and very often the great boys passing through would
fling stones to make us gallop. I was never hit, but one fine
young colt was badly cut in the face, and I should think it
would be a scar for life. We did not care for them, but of
course it made us more wild, and we settled it in our minds
COME ALONG, LASSIE, COME ALONC."
that boys were our enemies. We had very good fun in the
free meadows, galloping up and down and chasing each other
round and round the field; then standing still under the
shade of the trees. But when it came to breaking in, that
was a bad time for me; several men came to catch me, and
when at last they closed me in at one corner of the field, one
caught me by the forelock, another caught me by the nose,
and held it so tight I could hardly draw my breath ; then
another took my under jaw in his hard hand and wrenched my
mouth open, and so by force they got on the halter, and the
7_,, ., ....re Bu whni aet 'eligita
a a ti_. 'o .. ; svealme..' tocac m ,
bar into my mouth; then one dragged me along by the halter,
another flogging behind, and this was the first experience I
had of men's kindness, it was all force; they did not give me
a chance to know what they wanted. I was high bred and
had a great deal of spirit, and was very wild, no doubt, and
gave them, I daresay, plenty of trouble, but then it was dread-
ful to be shut up in a stall day after day instead of having my
liberty, and I fretted and pined and wanted to get loose.
You know yourself, it's bad enough when you have a kind
master and plenty of coaxing, but there was nothing of that
sort for me.
There was one-the old master, Mr. Ryder-who I think
could soon have brought me round, and could have done any-
thing with me, but he had given up all that hard part of the
trade to his son and to another experienced man, and he only
came at times to oversee. His son was a strong, tall, bold
man; they called him Samson, and he used to boast that he
had never found a horse that could throw him. There was
no gentleness in him as there was in his father, but only
hardness, a hard voice, a hard eye, a hard hand, and I felt
from the first that what he wanted was to wear all the spirit
out of me, and just make me into a quiet, humble, obedient
piece of horse-flesh. Horse-flesh! Yes, that is all that he
thought about," and Ginger stamped her foot as if the very
thought of him made her angry. And she went on: "If I
did not do exactly what he wanted, he would get put out, and
make me run round with that long rein in the training field till
he had tired me out. I think he drank a good deal, and I am
quite sure that the oftener he drank the worse it was for me.
One day he had worked me hard in every way he could, and
when I lay down I was tired and miserable, and angry; it all
seemed so hard. The next morning he came for me early,
and ran me round again for a long time. I had scarcely had
an hour's rest, when he came again for me with a saddle and
bridle and a new kind of bit. I could never quite tell how
it came about; he had only just mounted me on the training
ground, when something I did put him out of temper, and he
chucked me hard with the rein. The new bit was very pain-
ful, and I reared up suddenly, which angered him still more,
and he began to flog me. I felt my whole spirit set against
him, and I began to kick, and plunge, and rear as I had never
done before, and we had a regular fight: for a long time he
stuck to the saddle and punished me cruelly with his whip and
spurs, butjny blood was thoroughly up, and I cared for nothing
he could do if only I could get him off. At last, after a terrible
struggle, I threw him off backwards. I heard him fall heavily
on the turf, and without looking behind me, I galloped off to
the other end of the field; there I turned round and saw my
persecutor slowly rising from the ground and going into the
stable. I stood under an oak tree and watched, but no one
came to catch me. The time went on, the sun was very hot,
the flies swarmed round me, and settled on my bleeding flanks
where the spurs had dug in. I felt hungry, for I had not
eaten since the early morning, but there was not enough grass
in that meadow for a goose to live on. I wanted to lie down
and rest, but with the saddle strapped tightly on, there was
no comfort, and there was not a drop of water to drink. The
afternoon wore on, and the sun got low. I saw the other colts
led in, and I knew they were having a good feed.
At last, just as the sun went down, I saw the old master
come out with a sieve in his hand. He was a very fine old
gentleman with quite white hair, but his voice was what I should
know him by amongst a thousand. It was not high, nor yet
low, but full, and clear, and kind, and when he gave orders it
was so steady and decided, that everyone knew, both horses
and men, that he expected to be obeyed. He came quietly
along, now and then shaking the oats about that he had in the
sieve, and speaking cheerfully and gently to me, 'Come along,
lassie, come along, lassie; come along, come along.' I stood
still and let him come up; he held the oats to me, and I began
to eat without fear; his voice took all my fear away. He stood
by, patting and stroking me whilst I was eating, and seeing
32 Black Beauty.
the clots of blood on my side he seemed very vexed; 'Poor
lassie it was a bad business, a bad business then he quietly
took the rein and led me to the stable; just at the door stood
Samson. I laid my ears back and snapped at him. 'Stand
back,' said the master, 'and keep out of her way; you've done a
bad day's work for this filly.' He growled out something about
a vicious brute. Hark ye,' said the father, a bad-tempered
man will never make a good-tempered horse. You've not
learned your trade yet, Samson.' Then he led me into my
box, took off the saddle and bridle with his own hands, and
tied me up; then he called for a pail of warm water and a
sponge, took off his coat, and while the stableman held the
pail, he sponged my sides a good while so tenderly that I was
sure he knew how sore and bruised they were. Whoa my
pretty one,' he said, stand still, stand still.' His very voice
did me good, and the bathing was very comfortable. The skin
was so broken at the corners of my mouth that I could not eat
the hay, the stalks hurt me. He looked closely at it, shook his
head, and told the man to fetch a good bran mash and put
some meal into it. How good that mash was! and so soft
and healing to my mouth. He stood by all the time I was
eating, stroking me and talking to the man. If a high-
mettled creature like this,' said he, can't be broken in by fair
means, she will never be good for anything.'
"After that he often came to see me, and when my mouth
was healed, the other breaker, Job they called him, went on
training me; he was steady and thoughtful, and I soon learned
what he wanted."
"THE BEARING REIN. IT WAS ENOUGH TO DRIVE ONE MAD."
GINGER'S STORY CONTINUED.
HE next time that Ginger and I were together
in the paddock, she told me about her first
"After my breaking in," she said, "I
-. was bought by a dealer to match another
chestnut horse. For some weeks he drove
us together, and then we were sold to a
, *fashionable gentleman, and were sent up to
London. I had been driven with a bearing
rein by the dealer, and I hated it worse than anything '1-. ; but
in this place we were reined far tighter; the ctbichmi-ar arid-
his master thinking we looked more stylish so. We were
often driven about in the Park and other fashionable places.
You who never had a bearing rein on, don't know what it is,
but I can tell you it is dreadful.
I like to toss my head about, and hold it as high as any
horse; but fancy now yourself, if you tossed your head up high
and were obliged to hold it there, and that for hours together,
not able to move it at all, except with a jerk still higher, your
neck aching till you did not know how to bear it. Beside that,
to have two bits instead of one; and mine was a sharp one, it
hurt my tongue and my jaw, and the blood from my tongue
coloured the froth that kept flying from my lips, as I chafed
at the bits
and rein; it
k1, tress at
s o e
Sand if I
N.. the whip
on. It was
S. enough to
WE WERE OFTEN DRIVEN AIOUT IN THE PARK." mad."
t 4;i- .... ^I 1
. -- --A
"SENT UP TO LONDON AND SOLD AT TATTERSA.I-'S."
Did not your master take any thought for you ? I said.
No," said she, he only cared to have a stylish turn-out, as
they call it; I think he knew very little about horses, he left
that to his coachman, who told him I was an irritable temper;
that I had not been well broken to the bearing rein, but I
should soon get used to it; but he was not the man to do it, for
when I was in the stable, miserable and angry, instead of being
soothed and quieted by kindness, I got only a surly word or
a blow. If he had been civil, I would have tried to bear it. I
was willing to work, and ready to work hard too; but to be
tormented for nothing but their fancies angered me. What
right had they to make me suffer like that ? Besides the sore-
ness in my mouth and the pain in my neck, it always made my
windpipe feel bad, and if I had stopped there long, I know it
would have spoiled my breathing; but I grew more and more
restless and irritable, I could not help it; and I began to snap
and kick when any one came to harness me; for this the
groom beat me, and one day, as they had just buckled us into
the carriage, and were straining my head up with that rein, I
began to plunge and kick with all my might. I soon broke a
lot of harness, and kicked myself clear; so that was an end of
After this, I was sent to Tattersall's to be sold; of course
I could not be warranted free from vice, so nothing was said
about that. My handsome appearance and good paces soon
brought a gentleman to bid for me, and I was bought by
another dealer; he tried me in all kinds of ways and with
different bits, and he soon found out what I could not bear. At
last he drove me quite without a bearing rein, and then sold me
as a perfectly quiet horse to a gentleman in the country; he
was a good master, and I was getting on very well, but his old
groom left him and a new one came. This man was as hard-
tempered and hard-handed as Samson; he always spoke in
a rough, impatient voice, and if I did not move in the stall
the moment he wanted me, he would hit me above the hocks
with his stable broom or the fork, whichever he might have in
Ginger's Story Continued.
his hand. Everything he did was rough, and I began to hate
him; he wanted to make me afraid of him, but I was too high-
mettled for that; and one day when he had aggravated me more
than usual, I bit him, which of course put him in a great rage,
and he began to hit me about the head with a riding whip.
After that, he never dared to come into my stall again, either
my heels or my teeth were ready for him, and he knew it. I
was quite quiet with my master, but of course he listened to
what the man said, and so I was sold again.
The same dealer heard of me, and said he thought he knew
one place where I should do well. ''Twas a pity,' he said,
that such a fine horse should go to the bad, for want of a real
good chance,' and the end of it was that I came here not long
before you did; but I had then made up my mind that men
were my natural enemies, and that I must defend myself. Of
course it is very different here, but who knows how long it will
last ? I wish I could think about things as you do; but I
can't after all I have gone through."
Well," I said, I think it would be a real shame if you
were to bite or kick John or James."
I don't mean to," she said, "while they are good to me.
I did bite James once pretty sharp, but John said, 'Try her
with kindness,'- and instead of punishing me as I expected,
James came to me with his arm bound up, and brought me a
bran mash and stroked me; and I have never snapped at him
since, and I won't either."
I was sorry for Ginger, but of course I knew very little then,
and I thought most likely she made the worst of it; however,
I found that as the weeks went on, she grew much more gentle
and cheerful, and had lost the watchful, defiant look that she
used to turn on any strange person who came near her; and
one day James said, I do believe that mare is getting fond of
me, she quite whinnied after me this morning when I had
been rubbing her forehead."
Aye, aye, Jim, 'tis the Birtwick balls," said John, she'll
be as good as Black Beauty by-and-by; kindness is all the
38 Black Beauty.
physic she wants, poor thing! Master noticed the change
too, and one day when he got out of the carriage and came to
speak to us as he often did, he stroked her beautiful neck,
" Well, my pretty one, well, how do things go with you now ?
you are a good bit happier than when you came to us, I
She put her nose up to him in a friendly, trustful way, while
he rubbed it gently.
We shall make a cure of her, John," he said.
Yes, sir, she's wonderfully improved, she's not the same
creature that she was; it's the Birtwick balls, sir," said John,
This was a little joke of John's; he used to say that a
regular course of the Birtwick horse-balls would cure almost
any vicious horse; these balls, he said, were made up of
patience and gentleness, firmness and petting, one pound of
each to be mixed up with half-a-pint of common sense, and
given to the horse every day.
-. ':..i. W
R. BLOMEFIELD, the Vicar, had a large
|'. family of boys and girls; sometimes they
/ used to come and play with Miss Jessie and
S Flora. One of the girls was as old as Miss
S Jessie ; two of the boys were older, and there
were several little ones. When they came,
there was plenty of work for Merrylegs, for nothing pleased
them so much as getting on him by turns and riding him all
about the orchard and the home paddock, and this they
would do by the hour together.
One afternoon he had been out with them a long time, and
when James brought him in and put on his halter, he said,-
"There, you rogue, mind how you behave yourself, or we
shall get into trouble."
What have you been doing, Merrylegs ? I asked.
Oh said he, tossing his little head, I have only been
giving those young people a lesson, they did not know when
they had had enough, nor when I had had enough, so I just
pitched them off backwards, that was the only thing they could
What ? said I, you threw the children off? I thought
you did know better than that! Did you throw Miss Jessie
or Miss Flora ? "
He looked very much offended, and said,-
Of course not, I would not do such a thing for the best
oats that ever came into the stable; why, I am as careful of
our young ladies as the master could be, and as for the little
ones, it is I who teach them to ride. When they seem
frightened or a little unsteady on my back, I go as smooth
and as quiet as old pussy when she is after a bird; and when
they are all right, I go on again faster, you see, just to use
them to it; so don't you trouble yourself preaching to me; I
am the best friend, and the best riding master those children
have. It is not them, it is the boys; boys," said he, shaking
his mane, are quite different; they must be broken in, as
we were broken in when we were colts, and just be taught
what's what. The other children had ridden me about for
nearly two hours, and then the boys thought it was their turn,
and so it was, and I was quite agreeable. They rode me by
turns, and I galloped them about up and down the fields and
all about the orchard for a good hour. They had each cut a
great hazel stick for a riding whip, and laid it on a little too
hard; but I took it in good part, till at last I thought we had
had enough, so I stopped two or three times by way of a hint.
Boys, you see, think a horse or pony is like a steam engine or
a thrashing machine, and can go on as long and as fast as they
please; they never think that a pony can get tired, or have
any feelings; so as the one who was whipping me could not
understand, I just rose up on my hind legs and let him slip
off behind-that was all; he mounted me again, and I did the
same. Then the other boy got up, and as soon as he began
to use his stick I laid him on the grass, and so on, till they
were able to understand, that was all. They are not bad
boys; they don't wish to be cruel. I like them very well;
but you see I had to give them a lesson. When they brought
me to James and told him, I think he was very angry to see
such big sticks. He said they were only fit for drovers or
gipsies, and not for young gentlemen."
If I had been you," said Ginger, "I would have given
those boys a good kick, and that would have given them a
No doubt you would," said Merrylegs, but then I am
not quite such a fool (begging your pardon) as to anger our
master or make James ashamed of me; besides, those children
are under my charge when they are riding; I tell you they
are intrusted to me. Why, only the other day I heard our
master say to Mrs. Blomefield, 'My dear madam, you need
not be anxious about the children, my old Merrylegs will take
as much care of them as you or I could : I assure you I would
not sell that pony for any money, he is so perfectly good-
tempered and trustworthy; and do you think I am such an
ungrateful brute as to forget all the kind treatment I have
had here for five years, and all .the trust they place in me,
and turn vicious because a couple of ignorant boys used me
badly? No! no! you never had a good place where they
were kind to you; and so you don't know, and I'm sorry for
you, but I can tell you good places make good horses. I
wouldn't vex our people for anything; I love them, I do,"
said Merrylegs, and he gave a low "ho, ho, ho," through
42 Black Beauty.
his nose, as he used to do in the morning when he heard
James's footstep at the door.
Besides," he went on, if I took to kicking, where should
I be ? Why, sold off in a jiffy, and no character, and I
might find myself slaved about under a butcher's boy, or
worked to death at some seaside place where no one cared
for me, except to find out how fast I could go, or be flogged
along in some cart with three or four great men in it going
out for a Sunday spree, as I have often seen in the place I
lived in before I came here; no," said he, shaking his head,
" I hope I shall never come to that."
"THE MASTER ON GINGER THE MISTRESS ON ME."
A TALK IN THE ORCHARD.
INGER and I were not of the regular tall
carriage horse breed, we had more of the
racing blood in us. We stood about fifteen
-- and a half hands high; we were therefore just
as good for riding as we were for driving, and
our master used to say that he disliked either
horse or man that could do but one thing;
S and as he did not want to show off in London
- : Parks, he preferred a more active and useful
kind of horse. As for us, our greatest pleasure
was when we were saddled for a riding party; the master on
Ginger, the mistress on me, and the young ladies on Sir Oliver
and Merrylegs. It was so cheerful to be trotting and cantering
all together, that it always put us in high spirits. I had the
best of it, for I always carried the mistress; her weight was
little, her voice was sweet, and her hand was so light on the
rein, that I was guided almost without feeling it.
Oh if people knew what a comfort to horses a light hand
is, and how it keeps a good mouth and a good temper, they
surely would not chuck, and drag, and pull at the rein as they
often do. Our mouths are so tender, that where they have not
been spoiled or hardened with bad or ignorant treatment, they
feel the slightest movement of the driver's hand, and we know
in an instant what is required of us. My mouth had never
been spoiled, and I believe that was why the mistress preferred
me to Ginger, although her paces were certainly quite as good.
She used often to envy me, and said it was all the fault of
breaking in, and the gag bit in London, that her mouth was
not so perfect as mine; and then old Sir Oliver would say,
"There, there! don't vex yourself; you have the greatest
honour; a mare that can carry a tall man of our master's
weight, with all your spring and sprightly action, does not
need to hold her head down because she does not carry
the lady; we horses must take things as they come, and
always be contented and willing so long as we are kindly
I had often wondered how it was that Sir Oliver had such a
very short tail; it really was only six or seven inches long, with
a tassel of hair hanging from it; and on one of our holidays in
the orchard I ventured to ask him by what accident it was that
he had lost his tail, Accident! he snorted with a fierce
look, "it was no accident! it was a cruel, shameful, cold-
blooded act! When I was young I was taken to a place
where these cruel things were done; I was tied up, and made
fast so that I could not stir, and then they came and cut oft
my long beautiful tail, through the flesh and through the bone,
and took it away."
How dreadful !" I exclaimed.
A Talk in the Orchard.
"Dreadful! ah! it was dreadful; but it was not only the
pain, though that was terrible and lasted a long time; it was
'-"" f- .w~- it^ not only the indin;rit\ ofha\ing
.. ', ,n I: 5t orian-i ent taken f'r.:.n i
.'. ,. 1. nme, though that 'o.as bad: but
;i a A-._ it \ .aa this. h:o\ could I ever
S. hru-h the flie: roff my sid,: aind
N 'm h in]d legv an\ minre -? 'Yo
S \h ha' \ tails juit \ 'hisk the
flies cf' \ itliout thinking. about
S '- it, and NV:u cari't tell \%hat a
S- to r, It it is to have th rn,
Settle upF,:' n \,:.u and stinr and
Stini, anld lia \ nothing in the
world to lash them off with. I
"A TALK IN THE ORCHARD."
tell you it is a life-long wrong,
and a life-long loss ; but, thank Heaven! they don't do it now,"
46 Black Beauty.
What did they do it for then ? said Ginger.
For fashion said the old horse with a stamp of his foot;
" for fashion! if you know what that means; there was not
a well-bred young horse in my time that had not his tail
docked in that shameful way, just as if the good God that
made us did not know what we wanted and what looked best."
"I suppose it is fashion that makes them strap our heads
up with those horrid bits-that I was tortured with in London,"
Of course it is," said he ; "to my mind, fashion is one of
the wickedest things in the world. Now look, for instance,
at the way they serve dogs, cutting off their tails to make them
look plucky, and shearing up their pretty little ears to a point
to make them look sharp, forsooth. I had a dear friend once,
a brown terrier; Skye they called her, she was so fond of
me, that she never would sleep out of my stall; she made her
Sbed under the manger, and there she had a litter of five as
pretty little puppies as need be; none were drowned, for they
were a valuable kind, and how pleased she was with them!
and when they got their eyes open and crawled about, it was
a real pretty sight; but one day the man came and took them
all away; I thought he might be afraid I should tread upon
them. But it was not so; in the evening poor Skye brought
them back again, one by one in her mouth; not the happy
little things that they were, but bleeding and crying pitifully;
they had all had a piece of their tails cut off, and the soft
flap of their pretty little ears was cut quite off. How their
mother licked them, and how troubled she was, poor thing!
I never forgot it. They healed in time, and they forgot the
pain, but the nice soft flap that of course was intended to pro-
tect the delicate part of their ears from dust and injury, was
gone for ever. Why don't they cut their own children's ears
into points to make them look sharp ? why don't they cut the
end off their noses to make them look plucky ? one would be
just as sensible as the other. What right have they to torment
and disfigure God's creatures ? "
A Talk in the Orchard.
Sir Oliver, though he was so gentle, was a fiery old fellow,
and what he said was all so new to me and so dreadful, that I
found a bitter feeling toward men rise up in my mind that I
never had before. Of course Ginger was much excited; she
flung up her head with flashing eyes, and distended nostrils,
declaring that men were both brutes and blockheads.
Who talks about blockheads ? said Merrylegs, who just
came up from the old apple tree, where he had been rubbing
himself against the low branch; Who talks about block-
heads ? I believe that is a bad word."
"RUSSIAN TROTTER, TRAINED BY TII HUMAN VOICT."
Bad words were made for bad things," said Ginger, and
she told him what Sir Oliver had said. It is all true," said
Merrylegs sadly, and I've seen that about the dogs over and
over again where I lived first; but we won't talk about it here.
You know that master, and John, and James are always good
to us, and talking against men in such a place as this, doesn't
seem fair or grateful, and you know there are good masters
and good grcoms besides ours, though, of course, ours are the
best." This wise speech of good little Merrylegs, which we
knew was quite true, cooled us all down, especially Sir Oliver,
who was dearly fond of his master; and to turn the subject I
said, Can any one tell me the use of blinkers ? "
"No said Sir Oliver, shortly, "because they are no
"They are supposed," said Justice in his calm way, "to
prevent horses from shying and starting, and getting so fright-
ened as to cause accidents."
Then what is the reason they do not put them on riding
horses; especially on ladies' horses ? said I.
There is no reason at all," said he, quietly, "except the
fashion: they say that a horse would be so frightened to see
the wheels of his own cart or carriage coming behind him,
that he would be sure to run away, although of course when
he is ridden, he sees them all about him if the streets are
crowded. I-admit they do sometimes come too close to be
pleasant, but we don't run away; we are used to it, and
understand it, and if we had never blinkers put on, we should
never want them; we should see what was there, and know
what was what, and be much less frightened than by only
seeing bits of things, that we can't understand."
Of course there may be some nervous horses who have been
hurt or frightened when they were young, and may be
the better for them, but as I never was nervous, I can't
I consider," said Sir Oliver, "that blinkers are dangerous
things in the night; we horses can see much better in the
dark than man can, and many an accident would never have
happened if horses might have had the full use of their eyes.
Some years ago, I remember, there was a hearse with two
horses returning one dark night, and just by farmer Sparrow's
house, where the pond is close to the road, the wheels went
too near the edge, and the hearse was overturned into the
water; both the horses were drowned, and the driver hardly
escaped. Of course after this accident a stout white rail was
put up that might be easily seen, but if those horses had not
been partly blinded, they would of themselves have kept farther
A Talk in the Oircard.
from the edge, and no accident would have happened. When
our master's carriage was overturned, before you came here,
it was said that if the lamp on the left side had not gone out,
John would have seen the great hole that the road-makers had
left; and so he might, but if old Colin had not had blinkers
on, he would have seen it, lamp or no lamp, for he was far too
knowing an old horse to run into danger. As it was, he was
very much hurt, the carriage was broken, and how John
escaped nobody knew."
I should say," said Ginger, curling her nostril, "that these
men, who are so wise, had better give orders, that in future,
all foals should be born with their eyes set just in the middle
of their foreheads, instead of on the side; they always think
they can improve upon nature and mend what God has
Things were getting rather sore again, when Merrylegs held
up his knowing little face and said, I'll tell you a secret; I
believe John does not approve of blinkers, I heard him talking
with master about it one day. The master said, that 'if
horses had been used to them, it might be dangerous in some
cases to leave them off,' and John said he thought it would be
a good thing if all colts were broken in without blinkers, as
was the case in some foreign countries; so let us cheer up,
and have a run to the other end of the orchard; I believe the
wind has blown down some apples, and we might just as well
eat them as the slugs."
Merrylegs could not be resisted, so we broke off our long con-
versation, and got up our spirits by munching some very sweet
apples which lay scattered on the grass.
HE longer I lived at Birtwick, the more
) proud and happy I felt at having such
I.WN a place. Our master and mistress
were respected and beloved by all who
Knew them; they were good and kind
i0 .i to everybody and everything; not
only men and women, but horses and
L.,i. donkeys, dogs and cats, cattle and
birds; there was no oppressed or ill-
-.'; used creature that had not a friend
Sin them, and their servants took the
same tone. If any of the village
children were known to treat any
creature cruelly, they soon heard
about it from the Hall.
The Squire and farmer Grey had worked together, as they
said, for more than twenty years, to get bearing reins on the
cart horses done away with, and in our parts you seldom saw
them; but sometimes if mistress met a heavily-laden horse,
with his head strained up, she would stop the carriage and get
out, and reason with the driver in her sweet serious voice, and
try to show him how foolish and cruel it was.
I don't think any man could withstand our mistress. I wish
all ladies were like her. Our master too, used to come down
very heavy sometimes; I remember he was riding me towards
+. ;"~ '/'
home one morning, when we saw a powerful man driving to-
wards us in a light pony chaise, with a beautiful little bay pony,
with slender legs, and a high-bred sensitive head and face.
Just as he came to the Park gates, the little thing turned to-
wards them; the man, without word or warning, wrenched
the creature's head round with such a force and suddenness,
that he nearly threw it on its haunches; recovering itself, it
was going on when he began to lash it furiously; the pony
plunged forward, but the strong heavy hand held the pretty
creature back with force almost enough to break its jaw,
whilst the whip still cut into him. It was a dreadful sight
to me, for I knew what fearful pain it gave that delicate little
mouth; but master gave me the word, and we were up with
him in a second.
"Sawyer," he cried in a stern voice, is that pony made of
flesh and blood ? "
"Flesh and blood and temper," he said; "he's too fond of
his own will, and that won't suit me." He spoke as if he was
in a strong passion; he was a builder who had often been to
the Park on business.
"And do you think," said master sternly, "that treatment
like this will make him fond of your will ? "
"He had no business to make that turn; his road was
straight on said the man roughly.
"You have often driven that pony up to my place," said
master; it only shows the creature's memory and intelligence;
how did he know that you were not going there again ? but
that has little to do with it. I must say, Mr. Sawyer, that
more unmanly, brutal treatment of a little pony, it was never
my painful lot to witness; and by giving way to such passion,
you injure your own character as much, nay more, than you
injure your horse, and remember, we shall all have to be
judged according to our works, whether they be towards man
or towards beast."
Master rode me home slowly, and I could tell by his voice
how the thing had grieved him. He was just as free to speak
"'SAWYER,' HE CRIED 'IS THAT PONY MADE OF FLESH AND BLOOD?
'i b ?I i.-
Plain Speaking. 53
to gentlemen of his own rank as to those below him; for
another day, when we were out, we met a Captain Langley, a
friend of our master's; he was driving a splendid pair of greys
in a kind of break. After a little conversation the Captain
What do you think of my new team, Mr. Douglas ? you
know, you are the judge of horses in these parts, and I should
like your opinion."
The master backed me a little, so as to get a good view of
them. "They are an uncommonly handsome pair," he said,
and if they are as good as they look, I am sure you need not
wish for anything better; but I see you get hold of that pet
scheme of yours for worrying your horses and lessening their
What do you mean," said the other, "the bearing reins ?
Oh, ah I know that's a hobby of yours; well, the fact is, I
like to see my horses hold their heads up."
"So do I," said master, "as well as any man, but I don't
like to see them held zip ; that takes all the shine out of it.
Now you are a military man, Langley, and no doubt like to
see your regiment look well on parade, 'Heads up,' and all
that; but you would not take much credit for your drill, if all
your men had their heads tied to a backboard It might not
be much harm on parade, except to worry and fatigue them,
but how would it be in a bayonet charge against the enemy,
when they want the free use of every muscle, and all their
strength thrown forward ? I would not give much for their
chance of victory, and it is just the same with horses; you
fret and worry their tempers, and decrease their power; you
will not let them throw their weight against their work, and
so they have to do too much with their joints and muscles,
and of course it wears them up faster. You may depend upon
it, horses were intended to have their heads free, as free as
men's are; and if we could act a little more according to
common sense, and a good deal less according to fashion, we
should find many things work easier; besides, you know as
54 Black Beauty.
well as I, that if a horse makes a false step, he has much less
chance of recovering himself if his head and neck are fastened
back. And now," said the master, laughing, I have given
my hobby a good trot out, can't you make up your mind to
mount him too, Captain ? your example would go a long way."
"I believe you are right in theory," said the other, "and
that's rather a hard hit about the soldiers; but-well-I'll
think about it," and so they parted.
c'THAT WAS A VERY NEAR TOUCH,' SAID iY MASTER."
A STORMY DAY.
SNE day late in the autumn, my master had a
T \" long journey to go on business. I was put
ti' into the dog-cart, and John went with his
L, master. I always liked to go in the dog-cart,
,.. it was so light, and the high wheels ran along
so pleasantly. There had been a great deal
of rain, and now the wind was very high, and
blew the dry leaves across the road in a shower. We went
along merrily till we came to the toll-bar and the low wooden
bridge. The river banks were rather high, and the bridge,
instead of rising, went across just level, so that in the middle
if the river was full, the water would be nearly up to the
woodwork and planks; but as there were good substantial
rails on each side, people did not mind it.
The man at the gate said the river was rising fast, and he
feared it would be a bad night. Many of the meadows were
under water, and in one low part of the road, the water was
half way up to my knees; the bottom was good, and master
drove gently, so it was no matter.
When we got to the town, of course I had a good bait, but
as the master's business engaged him a long time, we did not
start for home till rather late in the afternoon. The wind
was then much higher, and I heard the master say to
John, he had never been out in such a storm; and so I
thought, as ,we went along the skirts of a wood, where the
great branches were swaying about like twigs, and the rushing
sound was terrible.
I wish we were well out of this wood," said my master.
Yes, sir," said John, it would be rather awkward if one
of these branches came down upon us."
The words were scarcely out of his mouth when there was
a groan, and a crack, and a splitting sound, and tearing,
crashing down amongst the other trees, came an oak, torn
up by the roots, and it fell right across the road just before us.
I will never say I was not frightened, for I was. I stopped
still, and I believe I trembled; of course I did not turn round
or run away; I was not brought up to that. John jumped out
and was in a moment at my head.
That was a very near touch," said my master; what's to
be done now ? "
Well, sir, we can't drive over that tree nor yet get round
it; there will be nothing for it, but to go back to the four
cross ways, and that will be a good six miles before we get
round to the wooden bridge again; it will make us late, but
the horse is fresh."
So back we went, and round by the cross roads; but by the
time we got to the bridge, it was very nearly dark, we could
just see that the water was over the middle of it; but as that
happened sometimes when the floods were out, master did not
stop. We were going along at a good pace, but the moment
A Stormy Day.
my feet touched the first part of the bridge, I felt sure there
was something wrong. I dare not go forward, and I made a
dead stop. Go on, Beauty," said my master, and he gave
me a touch with the whip, but I dare not stir; he gave me a
sharp cut, I jumped, but I dare not go forward.
"There's something wrong, sir," said John, and he sprang
out of the dog-cart and came to my head and looked all about.
He tried to lead me forward. Come on, Beauty, what's the
matter ? Of course I could not tell him, but I knew very
well that the bridge was not safe.
Just then the man at the toll-gate on the other side ran out
of the house, tossing a torch about like one mad.
Hoy, hoy, hoy, halloo, stop he cried.
"What's the matter? shouted my master.
The bridge is broken in the middle, and part of it is carried
away; if you come on you'll be into the river."
"Thank God!" said my master. "You Beauty!" said
John, and took the bridle and gently turned me round to the
right-hand road by the river side. The sun had set some
time, the wind seemed to have lulled off after that furious
blast which tore up the tree. It grew darker and darker,
stiller and stiller. I trotted quietly along, the wheels hardly
making a sound on the soft road. For a good while neither
master nor John spoke, and then master began in a serious
voice. I could not understand much of what they said, but I
found they thought, if I had gone on as the master wanted
me, most likely the bridge would have given way under us,
and horse, chaise, master and man would have fallen into the
river; and as the current was flowing very strongly, and there
was no light and no help at hand, it was more than likely we
should all have been drowned. Master said, God had given
men reason, by which they could find out things for them-
selves, but he had given animals knowledge which did not
depend on reason, and which was much more prompt and
perfect in its way, and by which they had often saved the
lives of men. John had many stories to tell of dogs and
" THE BRIDGE IS BROKEN IN THE MIDDLE," SAID JOHN
A Stormy Day.
horses, and the wonderful things they had done; he thought
people did not value their animals half enough, nor make
friends of them as they ought to do. I am sure he makes
friends of them if ever a man did.
At last we came to the Park gates, and found the gardener
looking out for us. He said that mistress had been in a dread-
ful way ever since dark, fearing some accident had happened,
and that she had sent James off on Justice, the roan cob,
towards the wooden bridge to make inquiry after us.
We saw a light at the hall door and at the upper windows,
and as we came up, mistress ran out, saying, "Are you really
safe, my dear? Oh I have been so anxious, fancying all sorts
of things. Have you had no accident ? "
No, my dear; but if your Black Beauty had not been
wiser than we were, we should all have been carried down the
river at the wooden bridge." I heard no more, as they went
into the house, and John took me to the stable. Oh, what a
good supper he gave me that night, a good bran mash and
some crushed beans with my oats, and such a thick bed of
straw and I was glad of it, for I was tired.
9 -_ .
THE DEVIL'S TRADE MARK.
SNE day when John and I had been out on
some business of our master's, and were
.'.. returning gently on a long straight road, at
some distance we saw a boy trying to leap
a pony over a gate; the pony would not take
'" the leap, and the boy cut him with the whip,
but he only turned off on one side. He
whipped him again, but the pony turned off
on the other side. Then the boy got off and gave him a
hard thrashing, and knocked him about the head; then he
got up again and tried to make him leap the gate, kicking
him all the time shamefully, but still the pony refused. When
we were nearly at the spot, the pony put down his head and
threw up his heels and sent the boy neatly over into a broad
quickset hedge, and with the rein dangling from his head he
set off home at a full gallop. John laughed out quite loud:
" Served him right," he said.
"Oh! oh! oh!" cried the boy as he struggled about
amongst the thorns; I say, come and help me out."
"Thank ye," said John, "I think you are quite in the
right place, and maybe a little scratching will teach you not
to leap a pony over a gate that is too high for him," and so
with that John rode off. "It may be," said he to himself,
"that young fellow is a liar as well as a cruel one; we'll just
go home by farmer Bushby's, Beauty, and then if anybody
wants to know, you and I can tell 'em, ye see "; so we turned
The Devil's Trade Mark.
off to the right, and soon came up to the stack yard, and
within sight of the house. The farmer was hurrying out
into the road, and his wife was standing at the gate, looking
Have you seen my boy? said Mr. Bushby, as we came
up; he went out an hour ago on my black pony, and the
creature is just come back without a rider."
I should think, sir," said John, he had better be without
a rider, unless he can bedridden properly."
What do you mean ? said the farmer.
"Well, sir, I saw your son whipping, and kicking, and
knocking that good little pony about shamefully, because he
would not leap a gate that was too high for him. The pony
behaved well, sir, and showed no vice; but at last he just threw
up his heels, and tipped the young gentleman into the thorn
hedge; he wanted me to help him out; but I hope you will
excuse me, sir, I did not feel inclined to do so. There's no
bones broken, sir, he'll only get a few scratches. I love horses,
and it roiles me to see them badly used; it is a bad plan to
aggravate an animal till he uses his heels; the first time is not
always the last."
During this time the mother began to cry, Oh! my poor
Bill, I must go and meet him, he must be hurt."
You had better go into the house, wife," said the farmer;
" Bill wants a lesson about this, and I must see that he gets
it; this is not the first time nor the second that he has ill-
used that pony, and I shall stop it. I am much obliged to you,
Manly. Good evening."
So we went, John chuckling all the way home; then he told
James about it, who laughed and said, Serve him right. I
knew that boy at school; he took great airs on himself
because he was a farmer's son; he used to swagger about and
bully the little boys; of course we elder ones would not have
any of that nonsense, and let him know that in the school
and the playground, farmers' sons and labourers' sons were all
alike. I well remember one day, just before afternoon school,
I found him at the large window catching flies and pulling off
their wings. He did not see me, and I gave him a box on the
ears that laid him sprawling on the floor. Well, angry as I
was, I was almost frightened, he roared and bellowed in such
a style. The boys rushed in from the playground, and the
master ran in from the road to see who was being murdered.
Of course I said fair and square at once what I had done, and
why; then I showed the master the poor flies, some crushed
and some crawling about helpless, and I showed him the wings
on the window sill. I never saw him so angry before; but as
Bill was still howling and whining, like the coward that he
was, he did not give him any more punishment of that
kind, but set him up on a stool for the rest of the afternoon,
and said that he should not go out to play for that week.
Then he talked to all the boys very seriously about cruelty,
and said how hard-hearted and cowardly it was to hurt the
weak and the helpless; but what stuck in my mind was
this, he said that cruelty was the devil's own trade mark,
and if we saw any one who took pleasure in cruelty, we
might know who he belonged to, for the devil was a murderer
from the beginning, and a tormenter to the end. On the other
hand, where we saw people who loved their neighbours, and
were kind to man and beast, we might know that was God's
mark, for 'God is Love.' "
"Your master never taught you a truer thing," said John;
"there is no religion without love, and people may talk as
much as they like about their religion, but if it does not
teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all
a sham-all a sham, James, and it won't stand when things
come to be turned inside out and put down for what they
NE morning, early in December, John had
just led me into my box after my daily
.- exercise, and was strapping my cloth on,
and James was coming in from the corn
'. chamber with some oats, when the master
i.' came into the stable; he looked rather
.- serious, and held an open letter in his hand,
;* John fastened the door of my box, touched
his cap, and waited for orders.
Good morning, John," said the master; I want to know
if you have any complaint to make of James."
Complaint, sir ? No, sir."
Is he industrious at his work and respectful to you ? "
Yes, sir, always."
You never find he slights his work when your back is
turned ? "
That's well; but I must put another question: have you
no reason to suspect when he goes out with the horses to
exercise them, or to take a message, that he stops about
talking to his acquaintances, or goes into houses where he has
no business, leaving the horses outside ? "
No, sir, certainly not, and if anybody has been saying that
about James, I don't believe it, and I don't mean to believe it
unless I have it fairly proved before witnesses; it's not for
me to say who has been trying to take away James' character;
but I will say this, sir, that a steadier, pleasanter, honester,
smarter young fellow I never had in this stable. I can trust his
word and I can trust his work; he is gentle and clever with the
horses, and I would rather have them in charge with him,
than with half the young fellows I know of in laced hats and
liveries; and whoever wants a character of James Howard,"
said John, with a decided jerk of his head, let them come to
The master stood all this time grave and attentive; but as
John finished his speech, a broad smile spread over his face,
and looking kindly across at James, who, all this time had
stood still at the door, he said, James, my lad, set down the
oats and come here; I am very glad to find that John's
opinion of your character agrees so exactly with my own.
John is a cautious man," he said, with a droll smile, "and
it is not always easy to get his opinion about people, so I
thought if I beat the bush on this side the birds would fly
out, and I should learn what I wanted to know quickly; so
now we will come to business. I have a letter from my
brother-in-law, Sir Clifford Williams, of Clifford Hall. He
wants me to find him a trustworthy young groom, about
twenty or twenty-one, who knows his business. His old
coachman, who has lived with him thirty years, is getting
feeble, and he wants a man to work with him and get into
his ways, who would be able, when the old man was pen-
sioned off, to step into his place. He would have eighteen
shillings a week at first, a stable suit, a driving suit, a bed-
room over the coach-house, and a boy under him. Sir Clifford
is a good master, and if you could get the place, it would be a
good start for you. I don't want to part with you, and if
you left us, I know John would lose his right hand."
"That I should, sir," said John, but I would not stand in
his light for the world."
How old are you, James ? said master.
Nineteen next May, sir."
"That's young; what do you think, John? "
Well, sir, it is young: but he is as steady as a man, and
is strong, and well grown, and though he has not had much
experience in driving, he has a light firm hand, and a quick
eye, and he is very careful, and I am quite sure no horse of
his will be ruined for want of having his feet and shoes looked
Your word will go the furthest, John," said the master,
"for Sir Clifford adds in a postscript, If I could find a man
trained by your John, I should like him better than any
other;' so James, lad, think it over, talk to your mother at
dinner time, and then let me know what you wish."
In a few days after this conversation, it was fully settled that
James should go to Clifford Hall, in a month or six weeks, as
it suited his master, and in the meantime he was to get all
the practice in driving that could be given to him. I never
knew the carriage go out so often before: when the mistress'
did not go out, the master drove himself in the two-wheeled
chaise; but now, whether it was master or the young ladies, or
only an errand, Ginger and I were put into the carriage and
James drove us. At the first, John rode with him on the
box, telling him this and that, and after that James drove
Then it was. wonderful what a number of places the master
would go to in the city on Saturday, and what queer streets
we were driven through. He was sure to go to the railway
station just as the train was coming in, and cabs and carriages,
carts and omnibuses were all trying to get over the bridge to-
gether; that bridge wanted good horses and good drivers
when the railway bell was ringing, for it was narrow, and
there was a very sharp turn up to the station, where it would
not have been at all difficult for people to run into each
other, if they did not look sharp and keep their wits about
THE' OLD OSTLER.
\ FTER this, it was decided by my
S master and mistress to pay a visit
to some friends who lived about
/ forty-six miles from our home,
-- and James was to drive them.
The first day we travelled thirty-two miles;
There were some long heavy hills, but James
.1rove so carefully and thoughtfully that
we were not at all harassed. He never
forgot to put on the drag as we went
down hill, nor to take it off at the right
place. He kept our feet on the smoothest
part of the road, and if the uphill was very
S// long, he set the carriage wheels a little
across the road, so as not to run back, and gave us a breathing.
All these little things help a horse very much, particularly if
he gets kind words into the bargain.
We stopped once or twice on the road, and just as the sun
was going down, we reached the town where we were to spend
the night. We stopped at the principal hotel, which was in
the Market Place; it was a very large one; we drove under
an archway into a long yard, at the further end of which were
the stables and coach-houses. Two ostlers came to take us
out. The head ostler was a pleasant, active little man, with a
crooked leg, and a yellow striped waistcoat. I never saw a
man unbuckle harness so quickly as he did, and with a pat and
The Old Ostler.
a good word he led me to a long stable, with six or eight stalls
in it, and two or three horses. The other man brought
Ginger; James stood by whilst we were rubbed down and
I never was cleaned so lightly and quickly as by that little
old man. When he had done, James stepped up and felt me
over, as if he thought I could not be thoroughly done, but he
found my coat as clean and smooth as silk.
Well," he said, I thought I was pretty quick, and our
John quicker still, but you do beat all I ever saw for being
quick and thorough at the same time."
Practice makes perfect," said the crooked little ostler,
"and wouldd be a pity if it didn't; forty years' practice, and
not perfect ha, ha t that would be a pity; and as to being
quick, why, bless you! that is only a matter of habit; if you
get into the habit of being quick, it is just as easy as being
slow; easier, I should say; in fact, it don't agree with my
health to be hulking about over a job twice as long as it need
take. Bless you I couldn't whistle if I crawled over my work
as some folks do You see, I have been about horses ever
since I was twelve years old, in hunting stables, and racing
stables; and being small, ye see, I was jockey for several
years; but at the Goodwood, ye see, the turf was very slippery
and my poor Larkspur got a fall, and I broke my knee, and so
of course I was of no more use there; but I could not live
without horses, of course I couldn't, so I took to the hotels,
and I can tell ye it is a downright pleasure to handle an
animal like this, well-bred, well-mannered, well-cared for;
bless ye! I can tell how a horse is treated. Give me the
handling of a horse for twenty minutes, r.nd I'll tell you what
sort of a groom he has had; look at this one, pleasant, quiet,
turns about just as you want him, holds up his feet to be
cleaned out, or anything else you please to wish; then you'll
find another, fidgety, fretty, won't move the right way, or
starts across the stall, tosses up his head as soon as you come
near him, lays his ears, and seems afraid of you; or else
68 Black Beauty.
squares about at you with his heels. Poor things I know
what sort of treatment they have had. If they are timid, it
makes them start or shy ; if they are high mettled, it makes
them vicious or dangerous; their tempers are mostly made
w hen they are
young. Bless you!
they are like chil-
S.- dren, train 'em up
...--- f in the way they
-.' should go, as the
S-good book says,
.* : -" and when they are
S" 'old they will not
depart from it, if
they have chance,
S"I like to hear
/ .you talk," said
James, that's the
Sway we lay it down
at home, at our
Who is your
Sman? if it be a
I should judge he
is a good one, from
what I see."
S'He is Squire
"JAMES AND THE OLD MAN LEFT THE STABLE Gordon, of Birt-
TOGETHER." wick Park, the
other side the
Beacon Hills," said James.
"Ah so, so, I have heard tell of him; fine judge of horses,
ain't he ? the best rider in the county ? "
The Old Ostler. 69
"I believe he is," said James, but he rides very little now,
since the poor young master was killed."
Ah poor gentleman ; I read all about it in the paper at
the time; a fine horse killed too, wasn't there? "
Yes," said James, he was a splendid creature, brother to
this one, and just like him."
"Pity pity! said the old man, 'twas a bad place to leap,
if I remember; a thin fence at top, a steep bank down to the
stream, wasn't it ? no chance for a horse to see where he is
going. Now, I am for bold riding as much as any man, but
still there are some leaps that only a very knowing old hunts-
man has any right to take; a man's life and a horse's life are
worth more than a fox's tail, at least I should say they ought
During this time the other man had finished Ginger, and
had brought our corn, and James and the old man left the
ATER on in the evening, a traveller's horse
-- was brought in by the second ostler, and
j' whilst he was cleaning him, a young man
S with a pipe in his mouth lounged into the
S.stable to gossip.
"I say, Towler," said the ostler, "just
run up the ladder into the loft and put
some hay down into this horse's rack, will
you ? only lay down your pipe."
All right," said the other, and went up through the trap
door; and I heard him step across the floor overhead and put
down the hay. James came in to look at us the last thing,
and then the door was locked.
I cannot say how long I had slept, nor what time in the
night it was, but I woke up feeling very uncomfortable, though
I hardly knew why. I got up, the air seemed all thick and
choking. I heard Ginger coughing, and one of the other horses
seemed very restless; it was quite dark, and I could see
nothing, but the stable seemed full of smoke and I hardly
knew how to breathe.
The trap door had been left open, and I thought that was the
place it came through. I listened and heard a soft rushing sort of
noise, and a low crackling and snapping. I did not know what
it was, but there was something in the sound so strange, that
it made me tremble all over. The other horses were now all
awake; some were pulling at their halters, others were stamp-
At last I heard steps outside, and the ostler who had put up
the traveller's horse, burst into the stable with a lantern, and
began to untie the horses, and try to lead them out; but he
seemed in such a hurry, and so frightened himself that he
frightened me still more. The first horse would not go with
him; he tried the second and third, they too would not stir.
He came to me next and tried to drag me out of the stall by
force, of course that was no use. He tried us all by turns and
then left the stable.
No doubt we were very foolish, but danger seemed to be all
round, and there was nobody we knew to trust in, and all was
strange and uncertain. The fresh air that had come in through
the open door made it easier to breathe, but the rushing sound
overhead grew louder, and as I looked upward, through the
bars of my empty rack, I saw a red light flickering on the wall.
Then I heard a cry of Fire outside, and the old ostler
quietly and quickly came in; he got one horse out, and went
to another, but the flames were playing round the trap door,
and the roaring overhead was dreadful.
The next thing I heard was James's voice, quiet and cheery,
as it always was.
Come, my beauties, it is time for us to be off, so wake up
and come along." I stood nearest the door, so he came to me
first, patting me as he came in.
Come, Beauty, on with your bridle, my boy, we'll soon be
out of this smother." It was on in no time ; then he took the
scarf off his neck, and tied it lightly over my eyes, and patting
and coaxing he led me out of the stable. Safe in the yard, he
slipped the scarf off my eyes, and shouted, Here somebody !
take this horse while I go back for the other."
A tall broad man stepped forward and took me, and James
darted back into the stable. I set up a shrill whinny as I saw
him go. Ginger told me afterwards, that whinny was the best
"COAXING, HE LED ME OUT OF THE STABLE."
"'TIS THE FIRE ENGINE."
thing I could have done for her, for had she not heard me out-
side, she would never have had courage to come out.
There was much confusion in the yard; the horses being
got out of other stables, and the carriages and gigs being
pulled out of houses and sheds, lest the flames should spread
further. On the other side the yard, windows were thrown up,
and people were shouting all sorts of things; but I kept my
eye fixed on the stable door, where the smoke poured out
thicker than ever, and I could see flashes of red light; presently
I heard above all the stir and din a loud clear voice, which I
knew was master's-
James Howard James Howard are you there ? There
was no answer, but I heard a crash of something falling in the
stable, and the next moment I gave a loud joyful neigh, for I
saw James coming through the smoke, leading Ginger with
him; she was coughing violently and he was not able to
"My brave lad!" said master, laying his hand on his
shoulder, are you hurt ? "
James shook his head, for he could not yet speak.
Aye," said the big man who held me; he is a brave lad,
and no mistake."
And now," said master, when you have got your breath,
James, we'll get out of this place as quickly as we can," and
we were moving towards the entry when from the Market
Place there came a sound of galloping feet and loud rumbling
"'Tis the fire engine! the fire engine! shouted two or
three voices, "stand back, make way! and clattering and
thundering over the stones, two horses dashed into the yard
with the heavy engine behind them. The firemen leaped to
the ground; there was no need to ask where the fire was-it
was torching up in a great blaze from the roof.
We got out as fast as we could into the broad quiet Market
Place; the stars were shining, and except the noise behind us,
all was still. Master led the way to a large Hotel on the
other side, and as soon as the ostler came, he said, "James,
I must now hasten to your mistress I trust the horses entirely
to you, order whatever you think is needed," and with that he
was gone. The master did not run, but I never saw mortal
man walk so fast as he did that night.
There was a dreadful sound before we got into our stalls;
the shrieks of those poor horses that were left burning to death
in the stable-it was very terrible and made both Ginger
and me feel very bad. We, however, were taken in and well
The next morning the master came to see how we were
and to speak to James. I did not hear much, for the ostler
was rubbing me down, but I could see that James looked very
The Fire. 75
happy, and I thought the master was proud of him. Our'
mistress had been so much alarmed in the night, that the
journey was put off till the afternoon, so James had the morn-
ing on hand, and went first to the inn to see about our harness
and the carriage, and then to hear more about the fire.
When he came back, we heard him tell the ostler about it.
At first no one could guess how the fire had been caused, but
at last a man said he saw Dick Towler go into the stable with
a pipe in his mouth, and when he came out he had not one,
and went to the tap for another. Then the under ostler said
he had asked Dick to go up the ladder to put down some hay,
but told him to lay down his pipe first. Dick denied taking
the pipe with him, but no one believed him. I remembered
our John Manly's rule, never to allow a pipe in the stable,
and thought it ought to be the rule everywhere.
James said the roof and floor had all fallen in, and that only
the black walls were standing; the two poor horses that could
not be got out were buried under the burnt rafters and tiles.
JOHN MANLY'S TALK.
--'HE rest of our journey was very easy, and a little
after sunset we reached the house of my master's
S-' friend. We were taken into a clean snug stable;
i'" ,'' there was a kind coachman, who made us very
L-""' comfortable, and who seemed to think a good deal
S of James when he heard about the fire.
"There is one thing quite clear, young man,"
he said, "your horses know who they can trust; it is
one of the hardest things in the world to get horses out
of a stable when there is either; fire or flood. I don't know
why they won't come out, but they won't-not one in
We stopped two or three days at this place and then
returned home. All went well on the journey; we were glad
to be in our own stable again, and John was equally glad to
Before he and James left us for the night, James said, I
wonder who is coming in my place."
Little Joe Green at the Lodge," said John.
Little Joe Green why, he's a child "
He is fourteen and a half," said John.
"' But he is such a little chap "
"Yes, he is small, but he is quick, and willing, and kind-
hearted too, and then he wishes very much to come, and his
_John Manly's Talk.
father would like it; and I know the master would like to
give him the chance. He said, if I thought he would not
do, he would look out for a bigger boy; but I said I was quite
agreeable to try him for six weeks."
"Six weeks!" said James, "why, it will be six months
before he can be of much use it will make you a deal of work,
Well," said John with a laugh, "work and I are very good
friends ; I never was afraid of work yet."
You are a very good man," said James. I wish I may
ever be like you."
I don't often speak of myself," said John, but as you are
going away from us out into the world, to shift for yourself,
I'll just tell you how I look on these things. I was just as
old as Joseph when my father and mother died of the fever,
within ten days of each other, and left me and my crippled
sister Nelly alone in the world, without a relation that we
could look to for help. I was a farmer's boy, not earning
enough to keep myself, much less both of us, and she must
have gone to the workhouse, but for our mistress (Nelly calls
her, her angel, and she has good right to do so). She went
and hired a room for her with old widow Mallet, and she gave
her knitting and needlework, when she was able to do it; and
when she was ill, she sent her dinners and many nice com-
fortable things, and was like a mother to her. Then the
master, he took me into the stable under old Norman, the
coachman that was then. I had my food at the house, and
my bed in the loft, and a suit of clothes and three shillings
a week, so that I could help Nelly. Then there was
Norman; he might have turned round and said, at his age
he could not be troubled with a raw boy from the plough-tail,
but he was like a father to me, and took no end of pains
with me. When the old man died some years after, I stepped
into his place, and now of course I have top wages, and can
lay by for a rainy day or a sunny day as it may happen,
and Nelly is as happy as a bird. So you see, James, I am
not the man that should turn up his nose at a little boy, and
vex a good, kind master. No! no! I shall miss you very
much, James, but we shall pull through, and there's nothing
like doing a kindness when 'tis put in your way, and I ani
glad I can do it."
"Then," said James, "you don't hold with that saying,
'Everybody look after himself, and take care of number
No, indeed," said John, "where should I and Nelly have
been, if master and mistress and old Norman had only taken
care of number one? Why-she in the workhouse and I
hoeing turnips 1 Where would Black Beauty and Ginger have
been if you had only thought of number one ?-why, roasted to
death! No, Jim, no! that is a selfish, heathenish saying,
whoever uses it, and any man who thinks he has nothing to do
but take care of number one, why, it's a pity but what he had
been drowned like a puppy or a kitten, before he got his eyes
open, that's what I think," said John, with a very decided jerk
of his head.
James laughed at this; but there was a thickness in his
voice when he said, "You have been my best friend except my
mother; I hope you won't forget me? "
No, lad, no! said John. And if ever I can do you a
good turn, I hope you won't forget me ? "
The next day Joe came to the stables to learn all he could
before James left. He learned to sweep the stable, to bring in
the new straw and hay; he began to clean the harness, and
helped to wash the carriage. As he was quite too short to do
anything in the way of grooming Ginger and me, James taught
him upon Merrylegs, for he was to have full charge of him;
under John. He was a nice little bright fellow, and always
came whistling to his work.
Merrylegs was a good deal put out, at being mauled about,"
as he said, by a boy who knew nothing; but towards the
end of the second week, he told me confidentially that he
thought the boy would turn out well,
John Manly's Talk.
At last the day came when James had to leave us; cheerful
as he always was, he looked quite down-hearted that morning.
"You see," he said to John, I am leaving a great deal
behind; my mother and Betsy, and you, and a good master
and mistress, and then the horses, and my old Merrylegs. At
the new place there will not be a soul that I shall know. If it
were not that I shall get a higher place, and be able to help
my mother better, I don't think I should have made up my
mind to it; it is a real pinch, John."
"Aye, James, lad, so it is, but I should not think much of
you, if you could leave your home for the first time and not
feel it; cheer up, you'll make friends there, and if you get on
well-as I am sure you will, it will be a fine thing for your
mother, and she will be proud enough that you have got into
such a good place as that."
So John cheered him up, but every one was sorry to lose
James; as for Merrylegs, he pined after him for several days,
and went quite off his appetite. So John took him out several
mornings with a leading rein, when he exercised me, and
trotting and galloping by my side, got up the little fellow's
spirits again, and he was soon all right.
Joe's father would often come in and give a little help, as he
understood the work, and Joe took a great deal of pains to
learn, and John was quite encouraged about him.
.. ..... -- -..- -- .. .
fL -- 7f- :_- -- ^
GOING FOR THE DOCTOR.
NE night, a few days after James had left, I had
eaten my hay and was lying down in my straw
fast asleep, when I was suddenly awoke by the
S--'stable bell ringing very loud. I heard the door
L.'i_ of John's house open, and his feet running up
-' i' .- to the Hall. He was back again in no time; he
unlocked the stable door, and came in, calling
out, "Wake up, Beauty, you must go well
now, if ever you did;" and almost before I could think,
he had got the saddle on my back and the bridle on my
head; he just ran round for his coat, and then took me at a
quick trot up to the Hall door. The Squire stood there with
a lamp in his hand.
"Now John," he said ride for your life, that is, for your
mistress's life; there is not a moment to lose; give this note
to Doctor White; give your horse a rest at the inn, and be
back again as soon as you can."
John said, Yes, sir," and was on my back in a minute.
The gardener who lived at the lodge had, heard the bell ring,
and was ready with the gate open, and away we went through
the Park, and through the village, and down the hill till we
came to the toll-gate. John called very loud and thumped upon
the door: the man was soon out and flung open the gate.
Now," said John, "do you keep the gate open for the
doctor; here's the money," and off we went again.
Goingjor the Doc/or.
There was before us a long piece of level road by the
river side; John said to me, "Now, Beauty, do your best,"
and so I did'; I wanted no whip nor spur, and for two miles
I galloped as fast as I could lay my feet to the ground; I
don't believe that my old grandfather who won the race at New-
market could have gone faster. When we came to the bridge,
John pulled me up a little and patted my neck. Well done,
Beauty! good old fellow," he said. He would have let me go
slower, but my spirit was up, and I was off again as fast as
before. The air was frosty, the moon was bright, it was very
pleasant; we came through a village, then through a dark
wood, then uphill, then downhill, till after an eight miles' run
we came to the town, through the streets and into the Market
Place. It was all quite still except the clatter of my feet on
the stones-everybody was asleep. The church clock struck
three as we drew up at Doctor White's door. John rang the
bell twice, and then knocked at the door like thunder. A
window was thrown up, and Doctor White, in his nightcap,
put his head out and said, What do you want ? "
"Mrs. Gordon is very ill, sir; master wants you to go at once,
he thinks she will die if you cannot get there-here is a note."
Wait," he said, I will come."
He shut the window and was soon at the door.
The worst of it is," he said, that my horse has been out
all day and is quite done up; my son has just been sent for,
and he has taken the other. What is to be done? Can I
have your horse ? "
He has come at a gallop nearly all the way, sir, and I was
to give him a rest here; but I think my master would not be
against it if you think fit, sir."
"All right," he said, "I will soon be ready."
John stood by me and stroked my neck, I was very hot.
The doctor came out with his riding whip.
"You need not take that, sir," said John, Black Beauty
will go till he drops; take care of him, sir, if you can; I
should not like any harm to come to him."
"NOW, JOHN, RIDE FOR YOUR LIFE."