Black Beauty

By Sewell, Anna | The Saturday Evening Post, July/August 1996 | Go to article overview

Black Beauty


Sewell, Anna, The Saturday Evening Post


The first place that I remember was a large, pleasant meadow with a pond. Shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water lilies grew at the deep end.

There were six young colts in the meadow besides me. I used to run with them, and we had great fun.

One day, when there was a lot of kicking, my mother whinnied to me to come to her. "The other colts have no manners," she said. "You have been well-bred; your father has a great name in these parts; your grandfather won the cup two years at the races. I hope you will grow up gentle, do your work with a good will, and never bite or kick even in play." I have never forgotten my mother's advice.

Our master gave us good food and lodging; he spoke as kindly to us as to his children.

As I grew older, my coat grew fine and soft. I had one white foot and a pretty white star on my forehead. A gentleman by the name of Squire Gordon came to examine me. I had to trot and gallop; he seemed to like me.

My master got the bit into my mouth and the bridle fixed. Next came the saddle and iron shoes. A nasty stiff strap went under my tail; that was the crupper. I hated to have my long tail doubled up and poked through that strap.

"Be a good horse and do your best," said my master. I could not say good-by, so I put my nose into his hand; he patted me kindly, and I left my first home.

My next stable was quite roomy; a swinging window opened into the yard opposite an apple orchard. John, who was the coachman, put me into the largest stall.

A chestnut mare looked across from another one; the ears were laid back, and the eyes looked illtempered. "So you have turned me out of my box," she said.

"I beg your pardon. I never had words yet with horse or mare, and it is my wish to live at peace." I said no more.

Ginger and I were not of the carriage horse breed. We had racing blood in us. We stood about 151/2 hands high; we were just as good for riding as for driving.

Squire Gordon was a very good rider and thoughtful for his horse. "A more pleasant creature I never wish to mount," he told Mrs. Gordon. "What shall we call him?"

"He is really quite a beauty-what about calling him Black Beauty?" she said. And so it was.

The stable boy was just as gentle. But he soon went to work for someone else, and Joe Green came to take his place.

One night, a few days afterward, I was lying in my straw fast asleep when John came in, calling out, "Wake up, Beauty. There is not a moment to lose." He got the saddle on my back and the bridle on my head, and away we flew through the gate.

My grandfather could not have gone faster. All was still except the clatter of my feet as we drew up to a door. John rang the bell twice. A window was thrown up, and a gentleman in his nightcap put his head out. "What do you want?"

"Mrs. Gordon is very ill, sir; she needs a doctor. Master wants you to come at once."

The doctor shut the window and was soon at the door. "My horse has been out all day and is quite done in. Can I ride yours?"

"I was to give him a rest here," said John, "but master would not object, if you think fit, sir."

The doctor was not so good a rider as John; however, I did my very best.

When we reached master's door, the doctor went inside, and John led me to the stable. He did not put my warm cloth on me and gave me cold water to drink. I began to tremble. After a while I heard John at the door; he covered me up with warm cloths and ran to the house for hot water.

He nursed me until I was well; my master came often to see me. "My poor Beauty," he said, "you saved your mistress' life!" John told my master he never saw a horse go so fast.

The doctor was often at the house, and the master looked anxious. Then we heard that our mistress must go to a warm country. Master made the arrangements. Before they left, he came to the stable to give his horses a last pat.

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