BLACK BEAUTY - online book

The Autobiography Of A Horse, With Fifty Illustrations.

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REUBEN SMITH.
101
box and drive the ladies home. Of course this could not be hidden, and Reuben was at once dismissed. His poor wife and little children had to turn out of the pretty cot­tage by the park gate and go where they could. Old Max told me all this, for it happened a good while ago; but shortly before Ginger and I came Smith had been taken back again. York had interceded for him with the earl, who is very kind-hearted, and the man had promised faithfully that he would never taste another drop as long as he lived there. He had kept his promise so well that York thought he might be safely trusted to fill his place while he was away, and he was so clever and honest that no one else seemed so well fitted for it.
It was now early in April, and the family was expected home some time in May. The light brougham was to be freshly done up, and as Colonel Blantyre was obliged to re­turn to his regiment, it was arranged that Smith should drive him to town in it, and ride back. For this purpose he took the saddle with him, and I was chosen for the journey. At the station the colonel put some money into Smith's hand and bid him good-bye, saying, " Takj care of your young mistress, Reuben, and don't let Black Aus-ter be hacked about by any random young prig that wants to ride him—keep him for the lady."
We left the carriage at the maker's, and Smith rode me to the White Lion, and ordered the ostler to feed me well and have me ready for him at four o'clock. A nail in one of my front shoes had started as I came along, but the ostler did not notice it till just about four o'clock. Smith did not come into the yard till five, and then he said he should not leave till six, as he had met with some old friends. The man then told him of the nail, and asked if he should have the shoe looked to.
"No," said Smith, "that will be all right till we get home."
He spoke in a very loud, off-hand way, and I thought
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