Beautiful Joe
Chapter 13, 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.


"Hadn't we better go to bed?" said Miss Laura, when the hall clock struck eleven.

"Yes, I suppose we had," said Miss Bessie. "Where is this animal to sleep?" "I don't know," said Miss Laura; "he sleeps in the stable at home, or in the kennel with Jim."

"Suppose Susan makes him a nice bed by the kitchen stove?" said Miss Bessie.

Susan made the bed, but I was not willing to sleep in it. I barked so loudly when they shut me up alone, that they had to let me go upstairs with them.

Miss Laura was almost angry with me, but I could not help it. I had come over there to protect her, and I wasn't going to leave her, if I could help it.

Miss Bessie had a handsomely furnished room, with a soft carpet on the floor, and pretty curtains at the windows. There were two single beds in it, and the two girls dragged them close together, so that they could talk after they got in bed.

Before Miss Bessie put out the light, she told Miss Laura not to be alarmed if she heard any one walking about in the night, for the nurse was sleeping across the hall from them, and she would probably come in once or twice to see if they were sleeping comfortably.

The two girls talked for a long time, and then they fell asleep. Just before Miss Laura dropped off, she forgave me, and put down her hand for me to lick as I lay on a fur rug close by her bed.

I was very tired, and I had a very soft and pleasant bed, so I soon fell into a heavy sleep. But I waked up at the slightest noise. Once Miss Laura turned in bed, and another time Miss Bessie laughed in her sleep, and again, there were queer crackling noises in the frosty limbs of the trees outside, that made me start up quickly out of my sleep.

There was a big clock in the hall, and every time it struck I waked up. Once, just after it had struck some hour, I jumped up out of a sound nap. I had been dreaming about my early home. Jenkins was after me with a whip, and my limbs were quivering and trembling as if I had been trying to get away from him.

I sprang up and shook myself. Then I took a turn around the room. The two girls were breathing gently; I could scarcely hear them. I walked to the door and looked out into the hall. There was a dim light burning there. The door of the nurse's room stood open. I went quietly to it and looked in. She was breathing heavily and muttering in her sleep.

I went back to my rug and tried to go to sleep, but I could not. Such an uneasy feeling was upon me that I had to keep walking about. I went out into the hall again and stood at the head of the staircase. I thought I would take a walk through the lower hall, and then go to bed again.

The Drurys' carpets were all like velvet, and my paws did not make a rattling on them as they did on the oil cloth at the Morrises'. I crept down the stairs like a cat, and walked along the lower hall, smelling under all the doors, listening as I went. There was no night light burning down here, and it was quite dark, but if there had been any strange person about I would have smelled him.

I was surprised when I got near the farther end of the hall, to see a tiny gleam of light shine for an instant from under the dining-room door. Then it went away again. The dining-room was the place to eat. Surely none of the people in the house would be there after the supper we had.

I went and sniffed under the door. There was a smell there; a strong smell like beggars and poor people. It smelled like Jenkins. It was Jenkins.