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Black Beauty

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."
"Ay, ay, Jim, 'tis `the Birtwick balls'," said John, "she'll be as good as Black Beauty by
and by; kindness is all the 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 think."
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, laughing.
This was a little joke of John's; he used to say that a regular course of "the Birtwick
horseballs" 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.
9. Merrylegs
Mr. Blomefield, the vicar, had a large family of boys and girls; sometimes they used to
come and play with Miss Jessie and Flora. One of the girls was as old as Miss Jessie; two
of the boys were older, and there were several little ones. When they came there was
 
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