Page:Black Beauty (1877).djvu/95

This page has been validated.
91
ONLY IGNORANCE.

meals, and he can't smile, he says he knows it was all his fault, though he is sure he did the best he knew, and he says, if Beauty dies, no one will ever speak to him again; it goes to my heart to hear him; I think you might give him just a word, he is not a bad boy."

After a short pause, John said slowly, "You must not be too hard upon me, Tom. I know he meant no harm, I never said he did; I know he is not a bad boy, but you see I am sore myself; that horse is the pride of my heart, to say nothing of his being such a favorite with the master and mistress; and to think that his life may be flung away in this manner, is more than I can bear; but if you think I am hard on the boy, I will try to give him a good word to-morrow—that is, I mean if Beauty is better."

"Well, John! thank you, I knew you did not wish to be too hard, and I am glad you see it was only ignorance."

"John's voice almost startled me as he answered," "Only ignorance! only ignorance! how can you talk about only ignorance? don't you know that it is the worst thing in the world, next to wickedness—and which does the most mischief heaven only knows. If people can say, Oh! I did not know, I did not mean any harm, they think it is all right. I suppose Martha Mulwash did not mean to kill that baby, when she dosed it with Dalby and soothing syrups; but she did kill it, and was tried for manslaughter."

"And serve her right too," said Tom, "a woman should not undertake to nurse a tender little child