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Black Beauty

35. Jerry Barker
I never knew a better man than my new master. He was kind and good, and as strong for
the right as John Manly; and so good-tempered and merry that very few people could
pick a quarrel with him. He was very fond of making little songs, and singing them to
himself. One he was very fond of was this:
"Come, father and mother,
And sister and brother,
Come, all of you, turn to
And help one another."
And so they did; Harry was as clever at stable-work as a much older boy, and always
wanted to do what he could. Then Polly and Dolly used to come in the morning to help
with the cab -- to brush and beat the cushions, and rub the glass, while Jerry was giving
us a cleaning in the yard, and Harry was rubbing the harness. There used to be a great
deal of laughing and fun between them, and it put Captain and me in much better spirits
than if we had heard scolding and hard words. They were always early in the morning,
for Jerry would say:
"If you in the morning
Throw minutes away,
You can't pick them up
In the course of a day.
You may hurry and scurry,
And flurry and worry,
You've lost them forever,
Forever and aye."
He could not bear any careless loitering and waste of time; and nothing was so near
making him angry as to find people, who were always late, wanting a cab horse to be
driven hard, to make up for their idleness.
One day two wild-looking young men came out of a tavern close by the stand, and called
Jerry.
"Here, cabby! look sharp, we are rather late; put on the steam, will you, and take us to the
Victoria in time for the one o'clock train? You shall have a shilling extra."
"I will take you at the regular pace, gentlemen; shillings don't pay for putting on the
steam like that."
Larry's cab was standing next to ours; he flung open the door, and said, "I'm your man,
gentlemen! take my cab, my horse will get you there all right;" and as he shut them in,
with a wink toward Jerry, said, "It's against his conscience to go beyond a jog-trot." Then
slashing his jaded horse, he set off as hard as he could. Jerry patted me on the neck: "No,
Jack, a shilling would not pay for that sort of thing, would it, old boy?"
Although Jerry was determinedly set against hard driving, to please careless people, he
always went a good fair pace, and was not against putting on the steam, as he said, if only
he knew why.
 
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