140 BLACK BEAUTY.
had been shattered by shot. Their groans were piteous to hear, and the beseeching look in their eyes as those who escaped passed by, and left them to their fate, I shall never forget. After the battle the wounded men were brought in, and the dead were buried."
" And what about the wounded horses?" I said; " were they left to die?"
" No, the army farriers went over the field with their pistols and shot all that were ruined; some that had only slight wounds were brought back and attended to, but the greater part of the noble, willing creatures that went out that morning never came back 1 In our stables there was only about one in four that returned.
'* I never saw my dear master again. I believe he fell dead from the saddle. I never loved any other master so well. I went into many other engagements, but was only once wounded, and then not seriously ; and when the war was over I came back again to England, as sound and strong as when I went out."
I said, " I have heard people talk about war as if it was a very fine thing."
" Ah !" said he, " I should think they never saw it. No doubt it is very fine when there is no enemy, when it is just exercise and parade, and sham fight. Yes, it is very fine then ; but when thousands of good, brave men and horses are killed or crippled for life, it has a very different look."
" Do you know what they fought about f said I.
" No," he said, " that is more than a horse can understand ; but the enemy must have been awfully wicked people, if it was right to go all that way over the sea on purpose to kill them.*