At last Beauty hears Ginger approaching in the dogcart, and he neighs to let them know he's there. The men in the dogcart find Reuben Smith, still on the ground and unfortunately dead. They look at Beauty's injured knees and immediately understand that Beauty must have fallen.
When Robert, one of the men, tries to lead Beauty away, Beauty almost falls again, causing Robert to notice Beauty's injured foot. Robert shrewdly concludes that Smith had been drinking again, saying, "I'm afraid it has been the old thing over again" (26.7).
They get the body into the dogcart with difficulty, but Beauty notices that Ginger understands what's happening, and stands still even with no one to hold her. Robert binds Beauty's foot with a cloth and walks him home, a horribly painful trek.
Once back at Earlshall, the farrier examines Beauty's injuries, saying that his knees will recover, but he'll always be badly scarred. Beauty describes the miserable treatments he endures for his knees, including "[…] a blistering fluid over the front of both knees to bring all the hair off" (26.11). We're cringing just thinking about it.
Smith's death is investigated, and people at the inn testify that Smith was drunk that night; when Beauty's shoe is found on the road nearby, the cause of the accident becomes very clear, and Beauty is cleared of blame.
Smith's wife Susan is inconsolable and has to leave their family home with their six children and move to a workhouse.