136 BLACK BEAUTY.
" That part of it," said he, " was dreadful! Of course we could not walk off the land into the ship; so they were ultimately obliged to put strong straps under our bodies, and then we were lifted off our legs in spite of our struggles and were swung through the air over the water to the deck of the great vessel. There we were placed in small, close stalls, and never for a long time saw the sky, or were able to stretch our legs. The ship sometimes rolled about in high winds, and we were knocked about, and felt bad enough. However, at last it came to an end, and we were hauled up and swung over again to the land; we were very glad, and snorted and neighed for joy when we once more felt firm ground under our feet.
" We soon found that the country we had come to was very different from our own, and that we had many hardships to endure besides the fighting; but many- of the men were so fond of their horses that they did everything they could to make them comfortable, in spite of snow, wet, and all things out of order."
" But what about the fighting ?" said I; " was not that worse than anything else?"
" Well," said he, " I hardly know; we always liked to hear the trumpet sound, and to be called out, and were impatient to start off, though sometimes we had to stand for hours, waiting for the word of command; and when the word was given, we used to spring forward as gayly and eagerly as if there were no cannon-balls, bayonets, or bullets. I believe so long as we felt our rider firm in the saddle, and his hand steady on the bridle, not one of us gave way to fear, not even when the terrible bombshells whirled through the air and burst into a thousand pieces.
" I, with my noble master, went into many actions together without a wound, and though I saw horses shot down with bullets, pierced through with lances, and gashed with fearful sabre-cuts, though we left them dead