Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 15

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 15

The Old Ostler

  • All right, what's an ostler? If you haven't yet Googled it, an ostler is someone employed at an inn to take care of horses. Now that we've established that, we can let Beauty get on with his story.
  • Squire and Mistress Gordon ask James to drive them to visit some friends who live forty-six miles away. It's a long trip, and they stop at a hotel along the way, where two ostlers come to care for Beauty and Ginger.
  • One of the ostlers really knows how to, er, ostleā€¦ we think: "I never was cleaned so lightly and quickly as by that little old man" (15.3), Beauty says. When James compliments the ostler's work, the ostler says he has forty years of practice, and before that he was a jockey. After an injury he took a job caring for horses, because he couldn't live without them. He thinks Beauty and Ginger are fabulous (15.5).
  • We find out, through James's conversation with the ostler, that Squire Gordon is the "best rider in the county" (15.9), though he hardly rides anymore since his son was killed riding Rob Roy.

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