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Black Beauty | Study Guide

Anna Sewell

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Black Beauty | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Late 1860s

    Beauty lives with his mother in a pasture and is "broken" gently by Farmer Grey.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • Four years later

    Beauty is sold to Squire Gordon, whose grooms, John and James, give the horses excellent care.

    Part 1, Chapter 4
  • Soon after arriving

    Beauty meets Ginger and becomes friends with Merrylegs, the pony in the neighboring stall.

    Part 1, Chapter 4
  • Several days later

    Ginger, temperamental because of previous mistreatment, tells Beauty her story.

    Part 1, Chapter 7
  • December that year

    Joe Green is hired to replace James Howard, who moves to a new job.

    Part 1, Chapter 17
  • Later that winter

    After overexertion to save Mrs. Gordon, Beauty gets sick because of Joe's inexperienced care.

    Part 1, Chapter 18
  • After three years

    When the Gordons have to move away, Beauty and Ginger are sold to the Earl of W—.

    Part 1, Chapter 21
  • Soon after arriving

    At the earl's, Beauty and Ginger must use the checkrein, which both horses detest.

    Part 2, Chapter 22
  • Early April

    Drunken groom Reuben Smith causes Beauty to fall, seriously injuring Beauty and killing himself.

    Part 2, Chapter 25
  • Months later

    After a long recovery, Beauty is permanently scarred but still fit for work.

    Part 2, Chapter 26
  • About a week later

    Beauty is sold to a livery stable, where he is often mishandled by ignorant drivers.

    Part 2, Chapter 27
  • Some time later

    Beauty is sold to Mr. Barry.

    Part 2, Chapter 29
  • Some time later

    Because of two bad grooms, Mr. Barry gives up on keeping a horse and decides to sell Beauty.

    Part 2, Chapter 31
  • Some months later

    Beauty becomes a cab horse for Jerry Barker, one of the best men Beauty ever knows.

    Part 3, Chapter 32
  • About three years later

    Jerry becomes gravely ill with bronchitis.

    Part 3, Chapter 45
  • Soon after New Year's

    Jerry recovers but must give up cab driving and sell Hotspur and Beauty.

    Part 3, Chapter 45
  • Some time later

    Sold to a baker, Beauty works as a cart horse but cannot handle the heavy loads and ill treatment.

    Part 4, Chapter 46
  • Summer

    Beauty is sold to Skinner's cab company and works until he drops while still in his harness.

    Part 4, Chapter 47
  • About 12 days later

    A farmer and his grandson buy Beauty and nurse him back to health; they look for a new home for him.

    Part 4, Chapter 48
  • The next summer

    The Blomefields buy Beauty, who is reunited with Joe Green and lives happily ever after.

    Part 4, Chapter 49

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1, Chapters 1–3 The narrator, later to be named Black Beauty, describes his earliest memories. He lives in an idyllic, pastoral enviro... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 4–6 Black Beauty is sold to Squire Gordon. Kept in a lovely barn, Beauty meets 12-year-old Merrylegs, a fat little pony wh... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 7–9 One day Ginger asks Black Beauty about his upbringing and tells him about hers. She envies Beauty's gentle raising. He... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 10–12 Black Beauty hears the story of Sir Oliver, one of Squire Gordon's other horses, who has an unusually short tail. Sir ... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 13–15 One day John Manly sees young Bill Bushby being cruel to his pony. As a consequence, the pony throws him. After determ... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 16–18 The inn's barn catches on fire because of a lit pipe left there, against the old ostler's warnings. Black Beauty and G... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 19–21 Black Beauty is critically ill. The other horses have been moved from the stable to give Beauty quiet, for his high fe... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 22–24 Black Beauty and Ginger are sent to their new owner, who is not as kind as the squire. The earl's wife insists on usin... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 25–27 Sometimes Reuben Smith is left in charge of the earl's stable. When sober, Smith is an excellent groom—kind, knowledge... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 28–29 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... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 30–31 Black Beauty's new owner, Mr. Barry, is generous but ignorant about horses. Not having his own stable, he hires a plac... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 32–34 Black Beauty is at a horse fair, waiting to be sold. He observes "a horse fair is a very amusing place to those who ha... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 35–37 Black Beauty says he "never knew a better man" than Jerry Barker, again comparing Jerry to John Manly. Jerry is pleasa... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 38–40 Jerry Barker and Black Beauty struggle to stay warm and dry in winter. Cabs often have to wait outside for long period... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 41–43 Black Beauty says much of the trouble people have with horses is preventable if the humans only used "a little common ... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 44–45 Captain is seriously injured when a drunk driver loses control of his wagon and Jerry's cab tips over. Although Jerry ... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 46–47 Black Beauty is sold to a baker. Although he has good intentions, the baker pays little attention to the horses, and t... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 48–49 At the sale Beauty finds himself in the midst of "old, broken-down horses" and potential buyers who "looked not much b... Read More
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