Beautiful Joe
Chapter 13, 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.


After I finished my tea, I followed Miss Laura upstairs. She took up a book and sat down in a low chair, and I lay down on the hearth rug beside her.

"Do you know, Joe," she said with a smile, "why you scratch with your paws when you lie down, as if to make yourself a hollow bed, and turn around a great many times before you lie down?"

Of course I did not know, so I only stared at her. "Years and years ago," she went on, gazing down at me, "there weren't any dogs living in people's houses, as you are, Joe. They were all wild creatures running about the woods. They always scratched among the leaves to make a comfortable bed for themselves, and the habit has come down to you, Joe, for you are descended from them."

This sounded very interesting, and I think she was going to tell me some more about my wild forefathers, but just then the rest of the family came in.

I always thought that this was the snuggest time of the day — when the family all sat around the fire — Mrs. Morris sewing, the boys reading or studying, and Mr. Morris with his head buried in a newspaper, and Billy and I on the floor at their feet.

This evening I was feeling very drowsy, and had almost dropped asleep, when Ned gave me a push with his foot. He was a great tease, and he delighted in getting me to make a simpleton of myself. I tried to keep my eyes on the fire, but I could not, and just had to turn and look at him.

He was holding his book up between himself and his mother, and was opening his mouth as wide as he could and throwing back his head, pretending to howl.

For the life of me I could not help giving a loud howl. Mrs. Morris looked up and said, "Bad Joe, keep still."

The boys were all laughing behind their books, for they knew what Ned was doing. Presently he started off again, and I was just beginning another howl that might have made Mrs. Morris send me out of the room, when the door opened, and a young girl called Bessie Drury came in.

She had a cap on and a shawl thrown over her shoulders, and she had just run across the street from her father's house. "Oh, Mrs. Morris," she said, "will you let Laura come over and stay with me to-night? Mamma has just gotten a telegram from Bangor, saying that her aunt, Mrs. Cole, is very ill, and she wants to see her, and papa is going to take her there by to-night's train, and she is afraid I will be lonely if I don't have Laura."

"Can you not come and spend the night here?" said Mrs. Morris.

"No, thank you; I think mamma would rather have me stay in our house."

"Very well," said Mrs. Morris, "I think Laura would like to go."

"Yes, indeed," said Miss Laura, smiling at her friend. "I will come over in half an hour."

"Thank you, so much," said Miss Bessie. And she hurried away.