Chapter 46: Jakes and the Lady
"Yes, yes, too heavy," he said; "but that's not my fault;
the foreman came just as we were starting, and would have
three hundredweight more put on to save him trouble,
and I must get on with it as well as I can."
He was raising the whip again, when the lady said:
"Pray, stop; I think I can help you if you will let me."
The man laughed.
"You see," she said, "you do not give him a fair chance;
he cannot use all his power with his head held back as it is
with that check-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.