Beautiful Joe
Chapter 6


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.


When I came to the Morrises, I knew nothing about the proper way of bringing up a puppy, I once heard of a little boy whose sister beat him so much that he said he was brought up by hand; so I think as Jenkins kicked me so much, I may say that I was brought up by foot.

Shortly after my arrival in my new home, I had a chance of seeing how one should bring up a little puppy.

One day I was sitting beside Miss Laura in the parlor, when the door opened and Jack came in. One of his hands was laid over the other, and he said to his sister, "Guess what I've got here."

"A bird," she said.


"A rat."


"A mouse."

"No — a pup."

"Oh, Jack," she said, reprovingly; for she thought he was telling a story.

He opened his hands and there lay the tiniest morsel of a fox terrier puppy that I ever saw. He was white, with black and tan markings. His body was pure white, his tail black, with a dash of tan; his ears black, and his face evenly marked with black and tan. We could not tell the color of his eyes, as they were not open. Later on, they turned out to be a pretty brown. His nose was pale pink, and when he got older, it became jet black.

"Why, Jack!" exclaimed Miss Laura, "his eyes aren't open; why did you take him from his mother?"

"She's dead," said Jack. "Poisoned — left her pups to run about the yard for a little exercise. Some brute had thrown over a piece of poisoned meat, and she ate it. Four of the pups died. This is the only one left. Mr. Robinson says his man doesn't understand raising pups without their mothers, and as he is going away, he wants us to have it, for we always had such luck in nursing sick animals."

Mr. Robinson I knew was a friend of the Morrises, and a gentleman who was fond of fancy stock, and imported a great deal of it from England. If this puppy came from him, it was sure to be good one.

Miss Laura took the tiny creature, and went upstairs very thoughtfully. I followed her, and watched her get a little basket and line it with cotton wool. She put the puppy in it and looked at him. Though it was midsummer, and the house seemed very warm to me, the little creature was shivering, and making a low murmuring noise. She pulled the wool all over him and put the window down, and set his basket in the sun.

Then she went to the kitchen and got some warm milk. She dipped her finger in it, and offered it to the puppy, but he went nosing about it in a stupid way, and wouldn't touch it. "Too young," Miss Laura said. She got a little piece of muslin put some bread in it, tied a string round it, and dipped it in the milk. When she put this to the puppy's mouth, he sucked it greedily. He acted as if he was starving, but Miss Laura only let him have a little.

Every few hours for the rest of the day, she gave him some more milk, and I heard the boys say that for many nights she got up once or twice and heated milk over a lamp for him. One night the milk got cold before he took it, and he swelled up and became so ill that Miss Laura had to rouse her mother and get some hot water to plunge him in. That made him well again, and no one seemed to think it was a great deal of trouble to take for a creature that was nothing but a dog.

He fully repaid them for all his care, for he turned out to be one of the prettiest and most lovable dogs that I ever saw. They called him Billy, and the two events of his early life were the opening of his eyes and the swallowing of his muslin rag. The rag did not seem to hurt him; but Miss Laura said that, as he had got so strong and so greedy, he must learn to eat like other dogs.