Black Beauty HTML version
One day when Ginger and I were standing alone in the shade, we had a great deal of talk;
she wanted to know all about my bringing up and breaking in, and I told her.
"Well," said she, "if I had had your bringing up I might have had as good a temper as
you, but now I don't believe I ever shall."
"Why not?" I said.
"Because it has been all so different with me," she replied. "I never had any one, horse or
man, that was kind to me, or that I cared to please, for in the first place I was taken from
my mother as soon as I was weaned, and put with a lot of other young colts; none of them
cared for me, and I cared for none of them. There was no kind master like yours to look
after me, and talk to me, and bring me nice things to eat. The man that had the care of us
never gave me a kind word in my life. I do not mean that he ill-used me, but he did not
care for us one bit further than to see that we had plenty to eat, and shelter in the winter.
A footpath ran through our field, and very often the great boys passing through would
fling stones to make us gallop. I was never hit, but one fine young colt was badly cut in
the face, and I should think it would be a scar for life. We did not care for them, but of
course it made us more wild, and we settled it in our minds that boys were our enemies.
We had very good fun in the free meadows, galloping up and down and chasing each
other round and round the field; then standing still under the shade of the trees. But when
it came to breaking in, that was a bad time for me; several men came to catch me, and
when at last they closed me in at one corner of the field, one caught me by the forelock,
another caught me by the nose and held it so tight I could hardly draw my breath; then
another took my under jaw in his hard hand and wrenched my mouth open, and so by
force they got on the halter and the bar into my mouth; then one dragged me along by the
halter, another flogging behind, and this was the first experience I had of men's kindness;
it was all force. They did not give me a chance to know what they wanted. I was high
bred and had a great deal of spirit, and was very wild, no doubt, and gave them, I dare
say, plenty of trouble, but then it was dreadful to be shut up in a stall day after day
instead of having my liberty, and I fretted and pined and wanted to get loose. You know
yourself it's bad enough when you have a kind master and plenty of coaxing, but there
was nothing of that sort for me.
"There was one -- the old master, Mr. Ryder -- who, I think, could soon have brought me
round, and could have done anything with me; but he had given up all the hard part of the
trade to his son and to another experienced man, and he only came at times to oversee.
His son was a strong, tall, bold man; they called him Samson, and he used to boast that he
had never found a horse that could throw him. There was no gentleness in him, as there
was in his father, but only hardness, a hard voice, a hard eye, a hard hand; and I felt from
the first that what he wanted was to wear all the spirit out of me, and just make me into a
quiet, humble, obedient piece of horseflesh. `Horseflesh'! Yes, that is all that he thought
about," and Ginger stamped her foot as if the very thought of him made her angry. Then
she went on:
"If I did not do exactly what he wanted he would get put out, and make me run round
with that long rein in the training field till he had tired me out. I think he drank a good
deal, and I am quite sure that the oftener he drank the worse it was for me. One day he
had worked me hard in every way he could, and when I lay down I was tired, and