Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 4

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 4

Birtwick Park

  • At last, Farmer Grey says goodbye to "Darkie" and Black Beauty leaves his childhood home, moving to Birtwick Park, an estate owned by Squire Gordon.
  • Birtwick seems like horse heaven. Beauty tells us that his new box in the stable is "clean, sweet, and airy" (4.3).
  • Beauty has some new roommates at Squire Gordon's, too—Merrylegs, a fat grey pony, and Ginger, a cranky yet beautiful chestnut mare. Merrylegs seems friendly and easygoing, but Ginger's a little peeved because Beauty's taken her place in the best box in the stable: "I do not want to have words with a young thing like you" (4.14), she tells him. Ooh, burn.
  • Merrylegs explains that Ginger's a little bad-tempered and tends to bite and snap. He's hopeful that Beauty isn't a biter, and Beauty assures him that he's not. "It is just a bad habit," Merrylegs says of Ginger. "She says no one was ever kind to her, and why should she not bite?" (4.18). Turns out if you mistreat a young horse like Ginger, they develop habits like biting and kicking.
  • Oh, and according to Merrylegs, who's seen it all at twelve years old, there's "no better place for a horse all round the country" (4.18) than Birtwick Park.

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