Page:Black Beauty (1877).djvu/234

This page has been validated.
230
BLACK BEAUTY.

held back as it is with that bearing rein; if you would take it off, I am sure he would do better—do try it," she said persuasively, "I should be very glad if you would."

"Well, well," said Jakes, with a short laugh, "anything to please a lady of course. How far would you wish it down, ma'am?"

"Quite down, give him his head altogether."

The rein was taken off, and in a moment I put my head down to my very knees. What a comfort it was! Then I tossed it up and down several times to get the aching stiffness out of my neck.

"Poor fellow! that is what you wanted," said she, patting and stroking me with her gentle hand; "and now if you will speak kindly to him and lead him on, I believe he will be able to do better."

Jakes took the rein—"Come on, Blackie." I put down my head, and threw my whole weight against the collar; I spared no strength; the load moved on, and I pulled it steadily up the hill, and then stopped to take breath.

The lady had walked along the footpath, and now came across into the road. She stroked and patted my neck, as I had not been patted for many a long day. "You see he was quite willing when you gave him the chance; I am sure he is a fine-tempered creature, and I dare say has known better days; you won't put that rein on again, will you?" for he was just going to hitch it up on the old plan.

"Well, ma'am, I can't deny that having his head has helped him up the hill, and I'll remember it