Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 5

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 5

A Fair Start

  • Beauty introduces us to his caretaker at Birtwick Park, John Manly. John carefully prepares Beauty for riding and takes him out for the first time. John reports to Squire Gordon that Beauty is "as fleet as a deer, and has a fine spirit, too" (5.7); he thinks Beauty "has not been frightened or ill-used while he was young" (5.7). He'd be right.
  • Squire Gordon rides Beauty next and agrees that he's fantastic. He decides to call him Black Beauty—somehow, we're not surprised.
  • Beauty overhears John and the stable boy, James Howard, saying that Beauty looks just like a horse they remember, Rob Roy, the horse who died in the hunt. John says that Rob Roy's mother was Duchess, too. Beauty is super surprised, but says this explains his mother's sadness at Rob Roy's fate: "I did not wonder that my mother was so troubled" (5.20). He mentions that most horses never know their relatives, since they are sold at a young age.
  • John turns out to be a loving and kind caretaker, and Beauty "grew very fond of him" (5.21).
  • Beauty and Ginger are paired together to pull the carriage, and they get along well. Beauty gives her rave reviews as a partner, saying, "I never wish to have a better partner in double harness" (5.23), and he and Ginger become friends.
  • Beauty thinks highly of Merrylegs too, calling him a "cheerful, plucky, good-tempered little fellow" (5.24) who behaves sweetly with the children on the estate.

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