Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 12

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 12

A Stormy Day

  • One day Beauty is hooked up to the dogcart (a small carriage) to drive his master on a long trip, accompanied by John. He's excited about this and comments on the rain and the high water in the nearby river. When they start back toward home, the storm has gotten worse, becoming more violent until a tree crashes down on the road in front of them, blocking their path. (Beauty doesn't panic because he was brought up so well.)
  • They decide to take another route across a river, but when they get there, Beauty knows something's amiss—"the moment my feet touched the first part of the bridge, I felt sure there was something wrong" (12.9).
  • Squire Gordon and John urge Beauty forward, but he refuses to move. John asks him what's wrong, but unfortunately, as this book often reminds us, horses can't talk.
  • In the nick of time, they're stopped by the man at the tollgate, who tells them the bridge is broken in the middle. What's that saying about good horse sense?
  • They turn around, and Beauty hears Squire Gordon and John talking in the carriage, saying they certainly would have drowned if they'd tried to cross.
  • When they finally arrive home, Squire Gordon tells his wife, "[…] if your Black Beauty had not been wiser than we were, we should all have been carried down the river at the wooden bridge" (12.18). Beauty earns himself a delicious supper as a result.

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