Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 43

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 43

A Friend in Need

  • Election day is incredibly busy for Beauty and Jerry since people are rushing all over the city. Jerry's prepared a special portable lunch for Beauty to get them through the busy time, and Beauty again comments on what an outstanding master he is. Beauty eats his lunch and watches the general chaos as people rush about.
  • Before long a young woman carrying a child crosses the street. She asks Jerry for directions to St. Thomas's Hospital. She's from the country, very lost, and had no idea about the election; her child is sick, and needs to go to the hospital.
  • Jerry tells her there's no way she's walking there through the crazy election crowds: "Now look here, just get into this cab, and I'll drive you safe to the hospital" (43.7), he says. We would have expected this from Jerry. The woman argues with him, but Jerry tells her he has a wife and kids at home, and he will take her there for nothing, saying, "I'd be ashamed of myself to let a woman and a sick child run a risk like that" (43.9). The woman bursts into tears of gratitude.
  • As the woman is getting into the cab, two men run up and try to get in also. Jerry tells them the cab is already engaged. They refuse to get out, so Jerry shuts them in and refuses to drive. He laughs and tells the woman that they'll be gone soon. And of course he's right; they leave, calling him bad names, but Jerry could care less. As soon as they're gone, he drives the woman to the hospital.
  • It's pouring by the time they drop the woman off, but as they're leaving, a woman leaving the hospital calls out to them and seems to know Jerry. He agrees to take her to Paddington Station, and the woman talks to Jerry for a long time once they get there. Apparently she was once Polly's mistress.
  • The woman asks how Jerry is dealing with the awful winter weather as a cab driver, and Jerry says he's doing okay, but he does get sick—however, he loves his job working with horses.
  • Polly's mistress tells him that "[…] it would be a great pity that you should seriously risk your health in this work, not only for your own, but for Mary and the children's sake" (43.26). She drops a heavy hint, saying that if Jerry ever decides to give up cab driving, to get in touch. She then leaves them with a hefty tip and good wishes for Jerry's family.

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