Study Guide

Black Beauty Part 4, Chapter 46

By Anna Sewell

Part 4, Chapter 46

Jakes and the Lady

  • Beauty's next owner is a corn dealer and baker, whom Jerry picked thinking Beauty would have "good food and fair work" (46.1). Well, he's… almost right. Beauty's new master is decent enough, but unfortunately the foreman who's around more often is a very harsh taskmaster. Beauty's carter Jakes "often said that it was more than [Beauty] ought to take, but the others always overruled him" (46.1).
  • At this new place, they use a bearing rein. By now, we know all about the torture of bearing reins—and that people who use them are rarely particularly good to their horses.
  • One day Beauty's given a very heavy load and a steep uphill route. He struggles to pull the cart, but it's too much, and his driver starts to whip him. "The pain of that great cart whip was sharp, but my mind was hurt quite as much as my poor sides. To be punished and abused when I was doing my very best was so hard it took the heart out of me" (46.4), Beauty reveals.
  • A passing lady pleads with Jakes, asking him not to flog Beauty. (We love helpful passers-by in this book.) Jakes explains to her that he has no choice, he has to do his job—and he wasn't the one who overloaded the cart.
  • The lady asks Jakes if she can help, and suggests he take off the bearing rein so that Beauty can put his head down. "The rein was taken off, and in a moment I put my head down to my very knees. What a comfort it was" (46.15), Beauty says.
  • The lady suggests that Jakes speak kindly to Beauty (who he calls Blackie), and Beauty responds by putting his head down and pulling with all his might until they make it up the hill.
  • The lady implores Jakes not to put the bearing rein back on, but he says all the carters will laugh at him if he doesn't. She argues with him, saying, "Is it not better […] to lead a good fashion than to follow a bad one?" (46.21). She makes a pretty good point, right?
  • Jakes decides to take off the bearing rein while going uphill, and does loosen it, but unfortunately he doesn't remove it completely. Beauty is quickly worn out by overloaded carts, and a younger horse is brought in to take his place.
  • As an aside, Beauty lets us know that his stable was very poorly lit, which weakened his sight. "I believe, had I stayed there very long, I should have become purblind, and that would have been a great misfortune" (46.24), he says. However, he's no longer any use to the corn dealer, so he's sold to a large cab owner.

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