out of sheer spirits at being free

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Senior Member
When my harness was taken off I did not know what I should do first -- whether to eat
the grass, or roll over on my back, or lie down and rest, or have a gallop across the
meadow out of sheer spirits at being free; and I did all by turns.

This is Beauty describing himself when in a meadow after years of working as a cab horse. It is Sewell's 'Black Beauty' and I am more than once encountered with such confusing expressions. I guess that he means: 'because of my joy at being free' Could anyone, please confirm my understanding or correct me?
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    Yes you are correct. These days it would be more usual to use the term 'high spirits' meaning joy, happiness. Black Beauty is known for its old fashioned expressions. Even a native speaker would find them strange and sometimes hard to understand.
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