22 BLACK BEAUTY.
handsome. I carry the young ladies on my back, and sometimes I take our mistress out in the low chaise. They think a great deal of me, and so does James. Are you going to live next door to me in the box ?"
I said, "Yes."
" Well, then," he said, " I hope you are good-tempered ; I do not like any one next door who bites."
Just then a horse's head looked over from the stall beyond ; the ears were laid back and the eyes looked rather ill-tempered. This was a tall chestnut mare, with a long, handsome neck; she looked across to me and said:
" So you have turned me out of my box; it is a very strange thing for a colt like you to come and turn a lady out of her own home."
" I beg your pardon," I said, " I have turned no one out; the man who brought me put me here, and I had nothing to do with it; and as to my being a colt, I am turned four years old and am a grown-up horse. I never had words yet with horse or mare, and it is my wish to live at peace."
" Well," she said, " we shall see; I do not want to have words with a young thing like you." I said no more.
In the afternoon, when she went out, Merrylegs told me all about it.
" The thing is this," said Merrylegs. " Ginger has a habit of biting and snapping; that is why they call her Ginger, and when she was in the loose box she used to snap very much. One day she bit James in the arm and made it oleed, and so Miss Flora and Miss Jessie, who are very fond of me, were afraid to come into the stable. They used to bring me nice things to eat, an apple or a carrot or a piece of bread, but after Ginger stood in that box they dared not come, and I missed them very much. I hope they will now come again, if you do not bite or snap."
I told him I never bit anything but grass, hay and corn, and could not think what pleasure Ginger found in it.