BLACK BEAUTY - online book

The Autobiography Of A Horse, With Fifty Illustrations.

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piled up inside on the front seat were put in, and three heavy boxes went on the top; that was sixpence; and the fare one and sixpence; then I got a return for a shilling; now that makes eighteen miles for the horse and six shil­lings for me; there's three shillings still for that horse to earn, and nine shillings for the afternoon horse before I touch a penny. Of course it is not always as bad as that, but you know it often is, and I say 'tis a mockery to tell a man that he must not overwork his horse, for when a beast is downright tired there's nothing but the whip that will keep his legs a-going; you can't help yourself—you must put your wife and children before the horse; the master must look to that, we can't. I don't ill-use my horse for the sake of it; none of you can say I do. There's wrong lays somewhere—never a day's rest, never a quiet hour with the wife and children. I often feel like an old man, though I'm only forty-five. You know how quick some of the gentry are to suspect us of cheating and over­charging; why, they stand with their purses in their hands counting it over to a penny, and looking at us as if we were pickpockets. I wish some of 'em had got to sit on my box sixteen hours a day and get a living out of it and eighteen shillings beside, and that in all weathers; they would not be so uncommon particular never to give us a sixpence over, or to cram all the luggage inside. Of course some of 'em tip us pretty handsome now and then, or else we could not live, but you can't depend upon that."
The men who stood round much approved this speech, and one of them said, "It is desperate hard, and if a man sometimes does what is wrong it is no wonder, and if he gets a dram too much, who's to blow him up?"
Jerry had taken no part in this conversation, but I never saw his face look so sad before. The Governor had stood with both his hands in his pockets; now he took his hand­kerchief out of his hat and wiped his forehead.
* You've beaten me, Sam," he said," for it's all true, and
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