Study Guide

Black Beauty Part 2, Chapter 22

By Anna Sewell

Part 2, Chapter 22


  • The next morning, Beauty and Ginger say goodbye to Merrylegs, and then John drives them to Earlshall Park, the home of the mysterious Earl of W__. (We guess names have been changed to protect the innocent?)
  • At Earlshall, John meets Mr. York, their new coachman, and Beauty and Ginger are taken to new boxes in a "light, airy stable" (22.2). So far, so good.
  • Mr. York asks John what he should know about Beauty and Ginger, and John gives a very touching review. John goes on to say that Ginger was mistreated before he knew her, but has since become a wonderful horse, "[…] and if she is well treated, there is not a better, more willing animal than she is, but she is naturally of a more irritable constitution than the black horse" (22.4). York says he'll do his best to remember.
  • Before he goes, John mentions that he's never used a bearing rein with either horse, and York says that they have to wear the bearing rein at Earlshall because the lady of the house insists. And then that's it—John leaves: "I held my face close to him; that was all I could do to say good-bye. And then he was gone, and I have never seen him since" (22.10). Um… We'll miss you, John Manly. And if you'll excuse us a moment, we seem to have something in our eyes.
  • Lord W__ (should we call him the Lord Formerly Known As W?) comes to look at the horses the next day. York passes on John's instructions about the bearing rein, and Lord W says he'll inform his wife. Fingers crossed on that one…
  • Beauty and Ginger are harnessed and brought to the house. Beauty confidentially tells us that even though it's fancier than Birtwick, it's not nearly as nice. The lady of the house comes out to see the horses, and of course they're hooked up to a bearing rein. Beauty's not thrilled with it, but they do okay the first time out.
  • The next day, Lady W tells York that the horses' heads must be pulled up even higher, because "[…] they are not fit to be seen" (22.16). Well then. Obeying orders, York tightens the bearing rein, and Beauty starts to see what the problem is with these evil reins. With the rein tightened, Beauty can't put his head forward going uphill, which strains his back and legs. Ouch.
  • Ginger tells him that if they keep tightening the rein, she not only won't be able to bear it, she'll refuse to (22.19). They warned you, Lord W...
  • Regardless, they keep shortening Beauty and Ginger's bearing reins, and Beauty begins to dread pulling the carriage: Making matters even worse, he warns us that "the worst was not yet come" (22.20). That doesn't sound good…

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