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Black Beauty

20. Joe Green
Joe Green went on very well; he learned quickly, and was so attentive and careful that
John began to trust him in many things; but as I have said, he was small of his age, and it
was seldom that he was allowed to exercise either Ginger or me; but it so happened one
morning that John was out with Justice in the luggage cart, and the master wanted a note
to be taken immediately to a gentleman's house, about three miles distant, and sent his
orders for Joe to saddle me and take it, adding the caution that he was to ride steadily.
The note was delivered, and we were quietly returning when we came to the brick-field.
Here we saw a cart heavily laden with bricks; the wheels had stuck fast in the stiff mud of
some deep ruts, and the carter was shouting and flogging the two horses unmercifully.
Joe pulled up. It was a sad sight. There were the two horses straining and struggling with
all their might to drag the cart out, but they could not move it; the sweat streamed from
their legs and flanks, their sides heaved, and every muscle was strained, while the man,
fiercely pulling at the head of the fore horse, swore and lashed most brutally.
"Hold hard," said Joe; "don't go on flogging the horses like that; the wheels are so stuck
that they cannot move the cart."
The man took no heed, but went on lashing.
"Stop! pray stop!" said Joe. "I'll help you to lighten the cart; they can't move it now."
"Mind your own business, you impudent young rascal, and I'll mind mine!" The man was
in a towering passion and the worse for drink, and laid on the whip again. Joe turned my
head, and the next moment we were going at a round gallop toward the house of the
master brick-maker. I cannot say if John would have approved of our pace, but Joe and I
were both of one mind, and so angry that we could not have gone slower.
The house stood close by the roadside. Joe knocked at the door, and shouted, "Halloo! Is
Mr. Clay at home?" The door was opened, and Mr. Clay himself came out.
"Halloo, young man! You seem in a hurry; any orders from the squire this morning?"
"No, Mr. Clay, but there's a fellow in your brick-yard flogging two horses to death. I told
him to stop, and he wouldn't; I said I'd help him to lighten the cart, and he wouldn't; so I
have come to tell you. Pray, sir, go." Joe's voice shook with excitement.
"Thank ye, my lad," said the man, running in for his hat; then pausing for a moment,
"Will you give evidence of what you saw if I should bring the fellow up before a
magistrate?"
"That I will," said Joe, "and glad too." The man was gone, and we were on our way home
at a smart trot.
"Why, what's the matter with you, Joe? You look angry all over," said John, as the boy
flung himself from the saddle.
 
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