Beautiful Joe
Chapter 5, Page 3

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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.


CHAPTER V: MY NEW HOME AND A SELFISH LADY (continued)

But I must return to the conversation I referred to. It was one fine June day, and Mrs. Morris was sewing in a rocking-chair by the window. I was beside her, sitting on a hassock, so that I could look out into the street. Dogs love variety and excitement, and like to see what is going on out-doors as well as human beings. A carriage drove up to the door, and a finely-dressed lady got out and came up the steps.

Mrs. Morris seemed glad to see her, and called her Mrs. Montague. I was pleased with her, for she had some kind of perfume about her that I liked to smell. So I went and sat on the hearth rug quite near her.

They had a little talk about things I did not understand and then the lady's eyes fell on me. She looked at me through a bit of glass that was hanging by a chain from her neck, and pulled away her beautiful dress lest I should touch it.

I did not care any longer for the perfume, and went away and sat very straight and stiff at Mrs. Morris' feet. The lady's eyes still followed me.

"I beg your pardon, Mrs. Morris," she said; "but that is a very queer-looking dog you have there."

"Yes," said Mrs. Morris, quietly; "he is not a handsome dog."

"And he is a new one, isn't he?" said Mrs. Montague.

"Yes."

"And that makes—"

"Two dogs, a cat, fifteen or twenty rabbits, a rat, about a dozen canaries, and two dozen goldfish, I don't know how many pigeons, a few bantams, a guinea pig, and — well, I don't think there is anything more."

They both laughed, and Mrs. Montague said: "You have quite a menagerie. My father would never allow one of his children to keep a pet animal. He said it would make his girls rough and noisy to romp about the house with cats, and his boys would look like rowdies if they went about with dogs at their heels."

"I have never found that it made my children more rough to play with their pets," said Mrs. Morris.

"No, I should think not," said the lady, languidly. "Your boys are the most gentlemanly lads in Fairport, and as for Laura, she is a perfect little lady. I like so much to have them come and see Charlie. They wake him up, and yet don't make him naughty."

"They enjoyed their last visit very much," said Mrs. Morris. "By the way, I have heard them talking about getting Charlie a dog."

"Oh!" cried the lady, with a little shudder, "beg them not to. I cannot sanction that. I hate dogs."

"Why do you hate them?" asked Mrs. Morris, gently.

"They are such dirty things; they always smell and have vermin on them."

"A dog," said Mrs. Morris, "is something like a child. If you want it clean and pleasant, you have got to keep it so. This dog's skin is as clean as yours or mine. Hold still, Joe," and she brushed the hair on my back the wrong way, and showed Mrs. Montague how pink and free from dust my skin was.

Mrs. Montague looked at me more kindly, and even held out the tips of her fingers to me. I did not lick them. I only smelled them, and she drew her hand back again.