Black Beauty HTML version

8. Ginger's Story Continued
The next time that Ginger and I were together in the paddock she told me about her first
"After my breaking in," she said, "I was bought by a dealer to match another chestnut
horse. For some weeks he drove us together, and then we were sold to a fashionable
gentleman, and were sent up to London. I had been driven with a check-rein by the
dealer, and I hated it worse than anything else; but in this place we were reined far
tighter, the coachman and his master thinking we looked more stylish so. We were often
driven about in the park and other fashionable places. You who never had a check-rein on
don't know what it is, but I can tell you it is dreadful.
"I like to toss my head about and hold it as high as any horse; but fancy now yourself, if
you tossed your head up high and were obliged to hold it there, and that for hours
together, not able to move it at all, except with a jerk still higher, your neck aching till
you did not know how to bear it. Besides that, to have two bits instead of one -- and mine
was a sharp one, it hurt my tongue and my jaw, and the blood from my tongue colored
the froth that kept flying from my lips as I chafed and fretted at the bits and rein. It was
worst when we had to stand by the hour waiting for our mistress at some grand party or
entertainment, and if I fretted or stamped with impatience the whip was laid on. It was
enough to drive one mad."
"Did not your master take any thought for you?" I said.
"No," said she, "he only cared to have a stylish turnout, as they call it; I think he knew
very little about horses; he left that to his coachman, who told him I had an irritable
temper! that I had not been well broken to the check-rein, but I should soon get used to it;
but he was not the man to do it, for when I was in the stable, miserable and angry, instead
of being smoothed and quieted by kindness, I got only a surly word or a blow. If he had
been civil I would have tried to bear it. I was willing to work, and ready to work hard too;
but to be tormented for nothing but their fancies angered me. What right had they to
make me suffer like that? Besides the soreness in my mouth, and the pain in my neck, it
always made my windpipe feel bad, and if I had stopped there long I know it would have
spoiled my breathing; but I grew more and more restless and irritable, I could not help it;
and I began to snap and kick when any one came to harness me; for this the groom beat
me, and one day, as they had just buckled us into the carriage, and were straining my
head up with that rein, I began to plunge and kick with all my might. I soon broke a lot of
harness, and kicked myself clear; so that was an end of that place.
"After this I was sent to Tattersall's to be sold; of course I could not be warranted free
from vice, so nothing was said about that. My handsome appearance and good paces soon
brought a gentleman to bid for me, and I was bought by another dealer; he tried me in all
kinds of ways and with different bits, and he soon found out what I could not bear. At last
he drove me quite without a check-rein, and then sold me as a perfectly quiet horse to a
gentleman in the country; he was a good master, and I was getting on very well, but his
old groom left him and a new one came. This man was as hard-tempered and hard-
handed as Samson; he always spoke in a rough, impatient voice, and if I did not move in
the stall the moment he wanted me, he would hit me above the hocks with his stable
broom or the fork, whichever he might have in his hand. Everything he did was rough,
and I began to hate him; he wanted to make me afraid of him, but I was too high-mettled