Black Beauty

by Anna Sewell

Black Beauty

Black Beauty is a novel told in the first person (or "first horse") as an autobiographical memoir told by a highbred horse named Black Beauty-beginning with his carefree days as a colt on an English farm, to his difficult life pulling cabs in London, to his happy retirement in the country.

Source: Sewell, A. (1870) Black Beauty New York: F.M. Lupton Publishing Co.

Part 1, Chapter 1: My Early Home
The narrator describes life as a young horse.
Part 1, Chapter 2: The Hunt
The narrator is taken on his first hunt.
Part 1, Chapter 3: My Breaking In
The narrator is taught to wear a saddle.
Part 1, Chapter 4: Birtwick Park
Black Beauty describes his life and surroundings in Birtwick Park.
Part 1, Chapter 5: A Fair Start
Still in pleasant surroundings, Black Beauty learns a few things about his lineage, and meets some of the other horses in the stables.
Part 1, Chapter 6: Liberty
Black Beauty finds that his new duties are somewhat restricting.
Part 1, Chapter 7: Ginger
Ginger tells the story of her life to Black Beauty.
Part 1, Chapter 8: Ginger's Story Continued
Ginger tells more of her life's story to Black Beauty.
Part 1, Chapter 9: Merrylegs
Merrylegs finds the vicar and his family's visits exhausting, and decides to take it upon himself to teach the young lads a lesson in courtesy.
Part 1, Chapter 10: A Talk in the Orchard
Merrylegs, Ginger, and Black Beauty discuss the limitations of being trained with blinders.
Part 1, Chapter 11: Plain Speaking
As time passes at Birtwick, Black Beauty comes to respect and appreciate his master more and more.
Part 1, Chapter 12: A Stormy Day
Black Beauty's intuition proves beneficial to his master while traveling in foul weather.
Part 1, Chapter 13: The Devil's Trade Mark
Having come across a cruel young man mistreating a horse, John ensures that he is taught a proper lesson about kindness towards animals.
Part 1, Chapter 14: James Howard
The master and John discuss the service of James Howard, a young assistant, who is now being offered a new opportunity for advancement.
Part 1, Chapter 15: The Old Hostler
En route to visit friends, the master stops at a local hotel where Black Beauty meets the Old Hostler, a longtime caretaker of horses.
Part 1, Chapter 16: The Fire
A potential tragedy is averted by the lifesaving heroism of James Howard.
Part 1, Chapter 17: John Manly's Talk
A James prepares to depart, a new stable boy is chosen as his replacement.
Part 1, Chapter 18: Going for the Doctor
Abstract: With Mrs. Gordon's health in decline, John and Black Beauty depart on an urgent mission.
Part 1, Chapter 19: Only Ignorance
Having taken ill, Black Beauty receives questionable medical treatment from the local horse doctor.
Part 1, Chapter 20: Joe Green
Joe Green continues to gain the confidence and respect of John and the master, and is eventually allowed to take charge of Black Beauty. Joe attempts to intervene on the behalf of two mistreated horses.
Part 1, Chapter 21: Parting
With the departure of the master's wife, Black Beauty's easy life in Birkshire begins to change dramatically.
Part 2, Chapter 22: Earlshall
Merrylegs and Black Beauty are taken to their new home in Earlshall Park, where they are introduced to Mr. York. John Manley says his final farewell to the pair. Gradually, Black Beauty and Merrylegs are reintroduced to the check rein.
Part 2, Chapter 23: A Strike for Liberty
The use of the check rein has unintended consequences for Ginger and Black Beauty.
Part 2, Chapter 24: The Lady Anne or a Runaway Horse
With the Earl and Mr. York away, Lady Anne and Blantyre decide to take a fateful trip on horseback.
Part 2, Chapter 25: Reuben Smith
Black Beauty describes his experiences with Reuben Smith, Mr. Yorks temporary replacement. Mr. Smith's irresponsibility causes great pain for Black Beauty.
Part 2, Chapter 26: How it Ended
Mr. Smith's actions and death cause a great stir, resulting in a full investigation of the incident. Black Beauty's recovery is slow and painful.
Part 2, Chapter 27: Ruined and Going Downhill
Having sufficiently healed from his injuries, Black Beauty bids farewell to an old friend and finds himself in a tolerable new surrounding.
Part 2, Chapter 28: A Job Horse and His Drivers
Now placed in the position of job horse, Black Beauty gives his account of the various driving styles his subjected to on a regular basis.
Part 2, Chapter 29: Cockneys
Black Beauty tells of another type of driver, the steam-engine style, who's irresponsible handling of a carriage can have grave consequences for a horse. Black Beauty spends some time with the good-natured mare, Peggy, before meeting his new master.
Part 2, Chapter 30: A Thief
A sudden decline in Black Beauty's health leads to the arrest of the stable groom.
Part 2, Chapter 31: A Humbug
Poor care by an irresponsible stable groom, results in an end to Black Beauty's service in Bath.
Part 3, Chapter 32: A Horse Fair
Black Beauty describes his time at the horse fair and introduction to a new master.
Part 3, Chapter 33: A London Cab Horse
After becoming acquainted with the rest of the Barker family, Black Beauty begins his duties as a cab.
Part 3, Chapter 34: An Old War Horse
Captain tells Black Beauty the story of his life, and his time at war.
Part 3, Chapter 35: Jerry Barker
Black Beauty shares some of his experiences with his new master, stable boy and driver.
Part 3, Chapter 36: The Sunday Club
A fortuitous run-in with Mr. Briggs, brings a positive change to Black Beauty's cab duties.
Part 3, Chapter 37: The Golden Rule
A special request is made of Jerry and his cab horses. Black Beauty takes advantage of a rare opportunity.
Part 3, Chapter 38: Dolly and a Real Gentleman
In the course of his duties, Jerry encounters a true gentleman.
Part 3, Chapter 39: Seedy Sam
Black Beauty describes the conditions some less fortunate cab horses endure, and the hardships of the working class cab driver as well.
Part 3, Chapter 40: Poor Ginger
Black Beauty is deeply troubled by an encounter with an old friend.
Part 3, Chapter 41: The Butcher
A visit to the butcher's shop provides Black Beauty with further insight as to the conditions that drivers and horses face in the course of their duties.
Part 3, Chapter 42: The Election
With an election approaching, a special request is made of Jerry by one of the candidates. Jerry discusses the meaning of liberty with Harry.
Part 3, Chapter 43: A Friend in Need
With election day upon them, Jerry and Black Beauty prepare for a very busy day. Jerry's paternal instincts take over when a rider in need arrives.
Part 3, Chapter 44: Old Captain and His Successor
An incident with a brewer's cart badly injures Captain. Black Beauty is introduced to Hotspur.
Part 3, Chapter 45: Jerry's New Year
Part 4, Chapter 46: Jakes and the Lady
Having been sold once again, Black Beauty meets his new master, but finds his time there short lived.
Part 4, Chapter 47: Hard Times
Now in the employment of a large cab company, Black Beauty is subjected to harsh treatment by his new master and drivers.
Part 4, Chapter 48: Farmer Thoroughgood and His Grandson Willie Black Beauty
Black Beauty is sold once more, this time to a much kinder master.
Part 4, Chapter 49: My Last Home
After a long and fruitful life, Black Beauty meets his final masters, and proceeds to spend the rest of his days in comfort.
  • Year Published: 1870
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 4.2
  • Word Count: 62,082
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Keywords: first person narrative, horse, horses
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