Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 25

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 25

Reuben Smith

  • The man left in charge of the stables when York goes to London is named Reuben Smith, and Beauty thinks he's fantastic… as long as he isn't drinking, that is.
  • He doesn't drink often, but apparently when he does, it's a total disaster. York almost gets rid of him because of this vice, but Smith is so valuable and talented with horses that he gets another chance.
  • Beauty is chosen to make a journey with Smith to return Colonel Blantyre to his regiment in town. On the way back, Smith stops at an inn with Beauty, where the ostler notices that Beauty has a loose nail in his shoe. Smith says it'll be fine, and Beauty thinks this is kind of unusual, since he's usually so careful. Smith gets angry with the ostler—even more unusual—and takes off with Beauty, whipping him unnecessarily.
  • There's definitely something wrong with Beauty's shoe, and finally it comes off as they're running at top speed, which is super not good. Making things worse, Smith's too drunk to notice that something's wrong with our main stallion.
  • They turn onto a road covered in fresh stones, and Beauty is forced to run full speed ahead while missing a shoe. He breaks his hoof, splitting it to the quick and cutting the inside badly. He stumbles from the pain and falls badly on his knees, accidentally throwing Smith.
  • Beauty limps to the side of the road, but Smith doesn't move. No one comes, and Beauty stands and waits in agonizing pain. It's a lovely night, and Beauty can't help thinking of summer nights spent lying next to his mother. At a moment like this, anyone would miss their mom.

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