Study Guide

The Other Horses in Black Beauty

By Anna Sewell

The Other Horses

Duchess, Captain, Sir Oliver

Beauty gets to know many other horses in his lifetime, but a few of them stand out. Here's the round-up.

Duchess

Beauty's mom only appears in the first couple of chapters, but she makes a big impression. In her short few years with her son, she tries to teach him all the horse wisdom she knows. She instills a real sense of pride and duty in him, and he always remembers her advice. Also the mother of Rob Roy, who is killed in a hunting accident that she witnesses, she seems to accept the fact that she has very little time with her children, so she uses that time well.

Captain

Captain is Jerry Barker's other cab horse, often partnered with Beauty when Jerry needs two horses at once. He's an actual army veteran, "a noble old fellow and very good company" (44.1), and spends a long time telling Beauty about his experiences in the Crimean War. He rode out in battle with the cavalry, and when they suffered a crushing defeat, his beloved master was killed by a cannonball. Captain survived and made it back to London to work as a cab horse, and Beauty's very fond of him.

Sadly, Captain is injured when a cart driven by a drunk man runs into the cab, rendering him no longer able to work. Jerry is heartbroken, not wanting to sell Captain to a lesser owner, but he can't afford to keep him. He thinks "the kindest thing he could do for the fine old fellow would be to put a sure bullet through his heart" (44.11). So that's what he does, much to Beauty's great sadness. We salute you, Captain.

Sir Oliver

Sir Oliver is another Birtwick horse who accompanies Beauty, Ginger, and Merrylegs to the orchard one day. He's a gentle, older horse, a "fiery old fellow" (10.10) who's had the bad luck of having his tail docked, and he explains how it used to be fashionable to dock the tail of a horse. "To my mind fashion is one of the wickedest things in the world" (10.9), he says. We understand why he'd think so, and appreciate his explanation of the toll fashion can take on animals.

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