Novels Upper-intermediate

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Black Beauty is an 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell. It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she remained in her house as an invalid. The novel became an immediate best-seller, with Sewell dying just five months after its publication, but having lived long enough to see her only novel become a success

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Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

The first place I can remember well was a pleasant field with a pond of clear water in it. Trees made shadows over the pond, and water plants grew at the deep end. On one side was another field, and on the other side we looked over a gate at our master’s house, which stood by the roadside. At the top of our field were more tall trees, and at the bottom was a fast-running stream.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

While I was young, I lived on my mother’s milk, but as soon as I was old enough to eat grass, my mother went out to work during the day and came back in the evening.

There were six other young horses in the field, although they were older than I was. We all galloped together round the field, and had great fun. But sometimes the others would kick and bite.

‘They are young farm horses and haven’t learned how to behave,’ my mother told me. ‘You are different. Your father is well known, and your grandfather twice won the most important race at Newmarket. Your grandmother was quiet and gentle, and you have never seen me kick or bite, have you? I hope you will grow up to be gentle and a willing worker, and never bite or kick.’

I have never forgotten my mother’s advice. She was a clever and sensible old horse. Her name was Duchess, but our master often called her Pet. He was a good, kind man, and my mother loved him very much. Whenever she saw him at the gate, she trotted across. He used to pat her and say, ‘Well, old Pet, and how is your little Darkie?’ I was a dull black colour, so he called me Darkie. He sometimes brought a piece of bread for me, or a carrot for my mother, and I think we were his favourites.

When I was two years old, something happened which I have never forgotten. It was early spring, and there was a light mist over the trees and fields. I and the other young horses were feeding at the lower end of the field when we heard the distant cry of dogs…

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