180 BLACK BEAUTY.
"Oh, yes, you'll be wanted safe enough," said the man; " you must not go, it will soon be over;" and again Jerry sat down, but his voice was so hoarse I could hardly hear him.
At a quarter-past one the door opened and the two gentlemen came out; they got into the cab without a word and told Jerry where to drive; that was nearly two miles. My legs were numb with cold, and I thought I should have stumbled. When the men got out they never said they were sorry to have kept us waiting so long, but were angry at the charge; however, as Jerry never charged more than was his due, so he never took less, and they had to pay for the two hours and a quarter waiting ; but it was hard-earned money to Jerry.
At last he got home; he could hardly speak, and his cough was dreadful. Polly asked no questions, but opened the door and held the lantern for him.
" Can't I do something?" she said.
"Yes; get Jack something warm, and then boil me some gruel."
This was said in a hoarse whisper; he could hardly get his breath ; but he gave me a rub down, as usual, and even went up into the hayloft for an extra bundle of straw for my bed. Polly brought me a warm mash that made me comfortable, and then they locked the door.
It was late the next morning before any one came, and then it was only Harry. He cleaned us and fed us, and swept out the stalls ; then he put the straw back again as if it was Sunday. He was very still, and neither whistled nor sang. At noon he came again and gave us our food and water; this time Dolly came with him; she was crying, and I could gather from what they said that Jerry was dangerously ill, and the doctor said it was a bad case. So two days passed, and there was great trouble indoors. We only saw Harry, and sometimes Dolly. I think she came for company, for Polly was always with Jerry, and he had to be kept very quiet.