My Last Home
One day during this summer the groom cleaned and dressed me with such extraordinary care that I thought some new change must be at hand; he trimmed my fetlocks and legs, passed the tarbrush over my hoofs, and even parted my forelock. I think the harness had an extra polish. Willie seemed half- anxious, half-merry, as he got into the chaise with his grandfather.
If the ladies take to him, said the old gentleman, theyll be suited and hell be suited. We can but try.
At the distance of a mile or two from the village we came to a pretty, low house, with a lawn and shrubbery at the front and a drive up to the door. Willie rang the bell, and asked if Miss Blomefield or Miss Ellen was at home. Yes, they were. So, while Willie stayed with me, Mr. Thoroughgood went into the house. In about ten minutes he returned, followed by three ladies; one tall, pale lady, wrapped in a white shawl, leaned on a younger lady, with dark eyes and a merry face; the other, a very stately-looking person, was Miss Blomefield. They all came and looked at me and asked questions. The younger ladythat was Miss Ellentook to me very much; she said she was sure she should like me, I had such a good face. The tall, pale lady said that she should always be nervous in riding behind a horse that had once been down, as I might come down again, and if I did she should never get over the fright.
You see, ladies, said Mr. Thoroughgood, many first-rate horses have had their knees broken through the carelessness of their drivers without any fault of their own, and from what I see of this horse I should say that is his case; but of course I do not wish to influence you. If you incline you can have him on trial, and then your coachman will see what he thinks of him.
You have always been such a good adviser to us about our horses, said the stately lady, that your recommendation would go a long way with me, and if my sister Lavinia sees no objection we will accept your offer of a trial, with thanks.
It was then arranged that I should be sent for the next day.
In the morning a smart-looking young man came for me. At first he looked pleased; but when he saw my knees he said in a disappointed voice:
I didnt think, sir, you would have recommended my ladies a blemished horse like that.
Handsome is that handsome does, said my master; you are only taking him on trial, and I am sure you will do fairly by him, young man. If he is not as safe as any horse you ever drove send him back.
I was led to my new home, placed in a comfortable stable, fed, and left to myself. The next day, when the groom was cleaning my face, he said:
That is just like the star that Black Beauty had; he is much the same height, too. I wonder where he is now.
A little further on he came to the place in my neck where I was bled and where a little knot was left in the skin. He almost started, and began to look me over carefully, talking to himself.
White star in the forehead, one white foot on the off side, this little knot just in that place; then looking at the middle of my backand, as I am alive, there is that little patch of white hair that John used to call Beautys three-penny bit. It must be Black Beauty! Why, Beauty! Beauty! do you know me?little Joe Green, that almost killed you? And he began patting and patting me as if he was quite overjoyed.
I could not say that I remembered him, for now he was a fine grown young fellow, with black whiskers and a mans voice, but I was sure he knew me, and that he was Joe Green, and I was very glad. I put my nose up to him, and tried to say that we were friends. I never saw a man so pleased.
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