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Literature Study GuidesBlack BeautyPart 2 Chapters 28 29 Summary

Black Beauty | Study Guide

Anna Sewell

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Black Beauty | Part 2, Chapters 28–29 | Summary



Chapter 28: A Job Horse and His Drivers

In his new role Black Beauty has many riders and drivers, most of whom don't know how to ride or drive a carriage well. Beauty describes some of the incompetent drivers he must deal with and the ways in which they fail to control or cause harm to the horses. His descriptions include a driver who never noticed Beauty was hurting because of a sharp stone stuck in his shoe. A farmer helps Beauty get the stone out and tells the driver to be gentle with Beauty. Once the farmer drives away, the driver continues to push Beauty hard.

Chapter 29: Cockneys

Beauty complains of "cockneys," who think a horse is like a steam engine and mistreat it accordingly. He recounts the stories of several horses he is teamed with. Rory was seriously injured when an ignorant driver crashed into them. Peggy is frequently whipped because her short legs make her gait rough as she tries to gain speed. A third horse is prone to "shying" away from unexpected sights or sounds because of the blinkers that prevent him from seeing around him. All three suffer because of ignorant humans, either their current drivers or people who trained them earlier.

Then one day a gentleman who knows and cares for horses hires Beauty. He asks the livery stable staff to change Beauty's gear so that Beauty will be more comfortable. Eventually, this man convinces a friend of his to buy Beauty as a private riding horse.


Livery stables worked much like rental car companies today. People who did not own horses, or who did not have their horses with them, could rent a horse for riding or horses and a carriage for driving. These people would be generally be middle class, less well off financially or socially prominent than the Earl of W— or Squire Gordon, but wealthy enough to afford to rent a horse. For Beauty, life there would be very different. He has always appreciated his knowledgeable caretakers, but many people who rent livery horses would be ignorant, and even indifferent, about how to handle horses.

In the livery stable chapters Anna Sewell repeatedly uses the word ignorant or ignorance, recalling John Manly's diatribe against ignorance. Beauty also complains that "cockneys" treat a horse like an engine, just as Merrylegs once said about the young boys riding him. A cockney is typically a working class, low-income resident of London's East End. London natives, particularly those of lower income, might know little about horses, especially if they have no had no contact with them in their urban lives.

Sewell continues to emphasize the ways a single person can make a difference for a horse. In the past Beauty witnessed Squire Gordon, Mrs. Gordon, John, and Joe stand up for proper treatment for other horses. Now total strangers help Beauty when he is struggling: the farmer who gets a stone out of Beauty's horseshoe and the gentleman who asks for gentler tack, or equipment, when riding Beauty. That gentleman does Beauty an even greater service by helping him get a new owner. Beauty's position in the world has deteriorated, and he must rely on strangers' kindness to survive.

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