Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 29

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 29

Cockneys

  • Beauty's not done talking about different types of clueless drivers, so in this chapter we get another one, the "steam-engine" style of driver. Also inexperienced, "They always seemed to think that a horse was something like a steam engine, only smaller. At any rate, they think that if only they pay for it, a horse is bound to go just as far and just as fast and with just as heavy a load as they please" (29.2).
  • Beauty says this type of driving wears out a horse more quickly than any other kind.
  • He calls this type of driver a "cockney," although it's unclear whether he's referring to working-class Londoners in general or people from a very specific part of the city. Beauty goes on to detail the incredibly annoying and often painful way these drivers treat horses.
  • One day Beauty is out with Rory, his usual companion when he has to go out in a pair (and a decent guy). A driver barreling past them in the other direction doesn't pull over, and the two drivers collide, injuring Rory and the other horse. Of course the other driver was one of those steam-engine types. Rory's badly hurt by this, and is sold for coal carting, which sounds like an awful fate.
  • Beauty's next companion is a mare named Peggy, who's "remarkably sweet-tempered and willing" (29.10), but seems anxious, possibly due to poor treatment. Beauty soon finds out that her walking pace is really strange; she basically half-jogs, half-runs, and all very weirdly.
  • When Beauty asks why, she says it's because her legs are so short so she's learned to do what she can to keep up. She had one good master, but was then sold to a farmer who only cared about going fast and kept whipping her. Beauty feels super sorry for her and says he "[…] knew how hard it was upon slow-paced horses to be put with fast ones" (29.17).
  • Luckily for Peggy, she's soon sold to two ladies who treat her well because she's safe and reliable; Beauty feels very happy for her.
  • Peggy's replacement is a young horse who Beauty doesn't name, but who startles very easily and seems anxious. He tells Beauty it's because he was often whipped for startling. One day his rider passes another man who tells his rider, "You should never whip a horse for shying; he shies because he is frightened, and you only frighten him more and make the habit worse" (29.20).
  • Beauty wishes all horses had good masters like Farmer Grey and Squire Gordon, and sadly it's far from the only time he'll make that wish.
  • Beauty does mention that he occasionally gets a good driver, such as the man who requests that the "curb" part of his tack is taken off, because Beauty seems to be obedient and gentle. And then, in a seeming stroke of good luck, this gentleman convinces the livery stable owner to sell Beauty to his friend, a man named Mr. Barry.

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