Page:Black Beauty (1877).djvu/132

This page has been validated.
128
BLACK BEAUTY.

him she was a little strained, and was not fit for the race. He did not believe it, and on the day of the race, urged Ginger to keep up with the foremost riders. With her high spirit, she strained herself to the utmost; she came in with the first three horses, but her wind was touched, beside which, he was too heavy for her, and her back was strained; "And so," she said, "here we are—ruined in the prime of our youth and strength—you by a drunkard, and I by a fool; it is very hard." We both felt in ourselves that we were not what we had been. However, that did not spoil the pleasure we had in each other's company; we did not gallop about as we once did, but we used to feed, and lie down together, and stand for hours under one of the shady lime trees with our heads close to each other; and so we passed our time till the family returned from town.

One day we saw the Earl come into the meadow, and York was with him. Seeing who it was, we stood still under our lime tree, and let them come up to us. They examined us carefully. The Earl seemed much annoyed. "There is three hundred pounds flung away for no earthly use," said he, "but what I care most for is, that these horses of my old friend, who thought they would find a good home with me, are ruined. The mare shall have a twelve-month's run, and we shall see what that will do for her; but the black one, he must be sold: 'tis a great pity, but I could not have knees like these in my stables."