Beautiful Joe
Chapter 3, Page 2


Please be aware that this book was originally published in 1894 and may contain words, descriptions, or other passages that may be considered offensive today.


I had never seen anything like this before, and my wonder at it almost drove the pain away. Mother and I always chased rats and birds, and once we killed a kitten. While I was puzzling over it, one of the boys cried out, "Here is Laura!"

"Take that rag out of the way," said Mr. Harry, kicking aside the old apron I had been wrapped in, and that was stained with my blood. One of the boys stuffed it into a barrel, and then they all looked toward the house.

A young girl, holding up one hand to shade her eyes from the sun, was coming up the walk that led from the house to the stable. I thought then that I never had seen such a beautiful girl, and I think so still. She was tall and slender, and had lovely brown eyes and brown hair, and a sweet smile, and just to look at her was enough to make one love her. I stood in the stable door, staring at her with all my might.

"Why, what a funny dog," she said, and stopped short to looked at me. Up to this, I had not thought what a queer-looking sight I must be. Now I twisted round my head, saw the white bandage on my tail, and knowing I was not a fit spectacle for a pretty young lady like that, I slunk into a corner.

"Poor doggie, have I hurt your feelings?" she said, and with a sweet smile at the boys, she passed by them and came up to the guinea pig's box, behind which I had taken refuge. "What is the matter with your head, good dog?" she said, curiously, as she stooped over me.

"He has a cold in it," said one of the boys with a laugh; "so we put a nightcap on." She drew back, and turned very pale. "Cousin Harry, there are drops of blood on this cotton. Who has hurt this dog?"

"Dear Laura," and the young man coming up, laid his hand on her shoulder, "he got hurt, and I have been bandaging him."

"Who hurt him?"

"I had rather not tell you."

"But I wish to know." Her voice was as gentle as ever, but she spoke so decidedly that the young man was obliged to tell her everything. All the time he was speaking, she kept touching me gently with her fingers. When he had finished his account of rescuing me from Jenkins, she said, quietly:

"You will have the man punished?"

"What is the use? That won't stop him from being cruel."

"It will put a check on his cruelty."

"I don't think it would do any good," said the young man, doggedly.

"Cousin Harry!" and the young girl stood up very straight and tall, her brown eyes flashing, and one hand pointing at me; "will you let that pass? That animal has been wronged, it looks to you to right it. The coward who has maimed it for life should be punished. A child has a voice to tell its wrong — a poor, dumb creature must suffer in silence; in bitter, bitter silence. And," eagerly, as the young man tried to interrupt her, "you are doing the man himself an injustice. If he is bad enough to ill-treat his dog, he will ill-treat his wife and children. If he is checked and punished now for his cruelty, he may reform. And even if his wicked heart is not changed, he will be obliged to treat them with outward kindness, through fear of punishment"

The young man looked convinced, and almost as ashamed as if he had been the one to crop my ears. "What do you want me to do?" he said, slowly, and looking sheepishly at the boys who were staring open-mouthed at him and the young girl.

The girl pulled a little watch from her belt. "I want you to report that man immediately. It is now five o'clock. I will go down to the police station with you, if you like."

"Very well," he said, his face brightening, and together they went off to the house.