Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 716
A London Cab Horse
Black Auster’s new master is Jeremiah Barker, though everyone calls him Jerry. His wife Polly is a wonderful woman, tidy and cheerful. Harry, their son, is twelve years old and good-tempered; little Dorothy (called Dolly) is an eight-year-old version of her mother. They are wonderfully fond of one another, and the horse has never, before or since, met such a happy family. Jerry has a cab of his own and two horses which he takes care of himself. The other horse is a tall, white, large-boned animal called Captain. He is old now, but he must have been a splendid horse in his prime. He still bears himself like a proud, noble creature. As a young horse, he belonged to an officer in the cavalry and was in the Crimean War. He used to lead his regiment into battle.
The morning after Black Auster arrives, the entire family comes to spend time with the new horse. They give him treats and fuss over him, and he feels almost as if he is the “Black Beauty” he once was. The horse tries to show them he wants to be friendly, and Polly thinks the horse is much too good for a cab if it were not for his broken knees. Jerry says they will never know what caused the injury, but he intends to give the horse the benefit of the doubt, for his is as fine a horse as he has ever ridden. They name the horse “Jack,” after their former horse.
Captain pulls the cab all morning, and Harry cares for Jack after school. That afternoon Jack is put in a cab, and Jerry takes great care that all the equipment is well suited and comfortable for the animal, just as John Manly would have done. It is a blessing that there is no bearing rein. They drive to the cab stand they saw the night before; it is near a church and some wonderful shops. The men are gathered. Some are reading the paper, and some are giving their horses bits of hay or a drink of water. Several of them gather around the newcomers. One says the black horse is good for funerals; another predicts Jerry will find something terribly wrong with the horse before long. A man arrives, and the crowd parts for him. He is known as “Governor Grant,” and he is the most experienced man on that cab stand. He is a wise and sensible man, and his word carries much weight with these men. His pronouncement is that Jack is worth whatever Jerry paid for him and is the right sort of horse for his master. This establishes Jack’s character for the rest...
(The entire section contains 716 words.)
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