Beautiful Joe
Chapter 5, Page 5


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.


While Mrs. Morris was talking, her visitor leaned forward in her chair, and listened attentively. When she finished, Mrs. Montague said, quietly, "Thank you, I am glad that you told me this. I shall get Charlie a dog."

"I am glad to hear you say that," replied Mrs. Morris. "It will be a good thing for your little boy. I should not wish my boys to be without a good, faithful dog. A child can learn many a lesson from a dog. This one," pointing to me, might be held up as an example to many a human being. He is patient, quiet, and obedient. My husband says that he reminds him of three words in the Bible — 'through much tribulation.'"

"Why does he say that?" asked Mrs. Montague, curiously.

"Because he came to us from a very unhappy home." And Mrs. Morris went on to tell her friend what she knew of my early days.

When she stopped, Mrs. Montague's face was shocked and pained. "How dreadful to think that there are such creatures as that man Jenkins in the world. And you say that he has a wife and children. Mrs. Morris, tell me plainly, are there many such unhappy homes in Fairport?"

Mrs. Morris hesitated for a minute, then she said, earnestly: "My dear friend, if you could see all the wickedness, and cruelty, and vileness, that is practised in this little town of ours in one night, you could not rest in your bed."

Mrs. Montague looked dazed. "I did not dream that it was as bad as that," she said. "Are we worse than other towns?"

"No; not worse, but bad enough. Over and over again the saying is true, one-half the world does not know how the other half lives. How can all this misery touch you? You live in your lovely house out of the town. When you come in, you drive about, do your shopping, make calls, and go home again. You never visit the poorer streets. The people from them never come to you. You are rich, your people before you were rich, you live in a state of isolation."

"But that is not right," said the lady in a wailing voice. "I have been thinking about this matter lately. I read a great deal in the papers about the misery of the lower classes, and I think we richer ones ought to do something to help them. Mrs. Morris, what can I do?"

The tears came in Mrs. Morris' eyes. She looked at the little, frail lady, and said, simply "Dear Mrs. Montague, I think the root of the whole matter lies in this. The Lord made us all one family. We are all brothers and sisters. The lowest woman is your sister and my sister. The man lying in the gutter is our brother. What should we do to help these members of our common family, who are not as well off as we are? We should share our last crust with them. You and I, but for God's grace in placing us in different surroundings, might be in their places. I think it is wicked neglect, criminal neglect in us to ignore this fact."

"It is, it is," said Mrs. Montague, in a despairing voice. "I can't help feeling it. Tell me something I can do to help some one."