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From the Horse’s Mouth

Emphasis below is the author’s.


“Good Morning, Mr. [Jerry] Barker,” said the gentleman. “I should be glad to make some arrangements with you for taking Mrs. Briggs regularly to church on Sunday mornings. We go to the New Church now, and that is rather farther than she can walk.”

“Yes, sir, that is true, and I am grateful for all favors, I am sure, and anything that I could do to oblige you, or the lady, I should be proud and happy to do; but I can’t give up my Sundays, sir, indeed I can’t. I read that God made man, and He made horses and all other beasts, and as soon as He had made them, He made a day of rest, and bade that all should rest one day in seven; and I think, sir, He must have known what was good for them, and I am sure it is good for me; I am stronger and healthier altogether, now that I have a day of rest; the horses are fresh too, and do not wear up nearly so fast. The six-day drivers all tell me the same, and I have laid by more money in the Savings Bank than ever I did before; and as for the wife and children, sir—why, heart alive! They would not go back to the seven days for all they could see.”

It soon became known that Jerry had lost his best customer, and for what reason; most of the men said he was a fool, but two or three took his part.

“If working men don’t stick to their Sunday,” said Truman, “they’ll soon have none left; it is every man’s right and every beasts right.”

“All very well for you religious chaps to talk so,” said Larry, “but I’ll turn a shilling when I can. I don’t believe in religion, for I don’t see that your religious people are any better than the rest.”

“If they are not better,” put Jerry, “it is because they are not religious. You might as well say that our country’s laws are not good because some people break them. If a man gives way to his tempter, and speaks evil of his neighbor, and does not pay his debts, he is not religious; I don’t care how much he goes to church. If some men are shams and humbugs, that does not make religion untrue. Real religion is the best and truest thing in the world; and the only thing that can make a man really happy, or make the world any better.”

“And what would all the good people do, if they could not get to their favorite preachers?” said Larry.

“Tis not for me to lay down plans for other people,” said Jerry, “but if they can’t walk so far, they can go to what is nearer; and if it should rain they can put on their macintoshes as they do on a weekday. If a thing is right, it can be done, and if it is wrong, it can be done without; and a good man will find a way; and that is true for us cabmen as it is for the churchgoers.”

—from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, Ch. 36: The Sunday Cab

NOTE: I just finished reading this book to my two oldest kids and we all enjoyed it very much. I can’t imagine a better book dictated by a horse than this one.

BONUS: The next passage is not necessarily Catholic or Christian or religious, but with the election not far gone, it felt like something. Maybe because it seems that Catholics have never before in our country faced challenges like we have this past year and will likely continue to face in the upcoming year and beyond. I thought I’d include it here as long as I was posting something from Black Beauty anyway.


“…I won’t have any election blackguarding on my premises. There are as many blue blackguards as there are orange, and as many white as there are purple, or any other color, and I won’t have any of my family mixed up with it. Even women and children are ready to quarrel for the sake of a color, and not one in ten of them knows what it is about.”

“Why, Father, I thought blue was for Liberty.”

“My boy, Liberty does not come form colors; they only show party, and all the liberty you can get out of them is liberty to get drunk at other people’s expense, liberty to ride to the poll in a dirty old cab, liberty to abuse anyone that does not wear your color, and to shout yourself hoarse at what you only half understand—that’s your liberty!

Oh, Father, you are laughing.”

“No, Harry, I am serious, and I am ashamed to see how men go on that ought to know better. An election is a very serious thing; at least it ought to be; and every man ought to vote according to his conscience, and let his neighbor do the same.”

—from Ch. 42: The Election


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