Chapter 31 Summary

A Humbug

A few days after the police arrested Filcher, Alfred Smirk becomes Black Auster’s new groom. He is a tall, good-looking fellow, but he is a “humbug.” He is never unkind to the horse; in fact, when the master is around the man does much patting and stroking of the horse. The rest of the time, however, he is not thorough. He always brushes the horse’s mane and tail with water and his hoofs with oil before the master arrives, so the horse looks shiny and well groomed. The reality is that Smirk never cleans the horse’s feet or takes care of his shoes, and he never grooms him thoroughly. The horse’s bit is allowed to stay rusty, his saddle is always damp, and his crupper is stiff and...

(The entire section is 627 words.)