Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 11

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 11

Plain Speaking

  • Beauty begins to realize how fantastic Birtwick really is: "Our master and mistress were respected and beloved by all who knew them" (11.1). More than this, though, they're exceptionally kind to animals, and have campaigned to get rid of bearing reins in their immediate area.
  • Beauty recalls a time his master was riding him home when they came across a man driving a cart with a bay pony. The man is whipping the pony roughly, and Beauty's master immediately stops and addresses the man.
  • The man, Sawyer, argues with Squire Gordon, who asks him, "Do you think […] that treatment like this will make him fond of your will?" (11.5). His lecture hits a near-preachy crescendo when he says, "Remember, we shall all have to be judged according to our works, whether they be toward man or toward beast" (11.5).
  • Beauty mentions another similar event: They come across Captain Langley, a friend of Squire Gordon's, and see that Langley is driving a pair of grey horses with bearing reins. Uh-oh… Squire Gordon appeals to Langley's military past, asking him if his men could perform a drill with "their heads tied to a backboard!" (11.12). Another passionate rant about the evil of fashion and how this practice physically hurts horses ensues, until Captain Langley agrees to think about it. Good call, Captain.

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