Beautiful Joe
Chapter 15, Page 2

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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 XV: OUR JOURNEY TO RIVERDALE (continued)

Mr. Drury's friend was so angry. He found the baggage-master, and said to him: "What did you mean, by coming into my car every few hours, to tell me that the dog was fed, and watered, and comfortable? I shall report you."

He went into the office at the station, and complained of the man, and was told that he was a drinking man, and was going to be dismissed.

I was not afraid of suffering like Pluto, because it was only going to take us a few hours to get to Riverdale. I found that we always went slowly before we came in to a station, and one time when we began to slacken speed I thought that surely we must be at our journey's end. However, it was not Riverdale. The car gave a kind of jump, then there was a crashing sound ahead, and we stopped.

I heard men shouting and running up and down, and I wondered what had happened. It was all dark and still in the car, and nobody came in, but the noise kept up outside, and I knew something had gone wrong with the train. Perhaps Miss Laura had got hurt. Something must have happened to her or she would come to me.

I barked and pulled at my chain till my neck was sore, but for a long, long time I was there alone. The men running about outside must have heard me. If ever I hear a man in trouble and crying for help I go to him and see what he wants.

After such a long time that it seemed to me it must be the middle of the night, the door at the end of the car opened, and a man looked in. "This is all through baggage for New York, miss," I heard him say; "they wouldn't put your dog in here."

"Yes, they did — I am sure this is the car," I heard in the voice I knew so well; "and won't you get him out, please? He must be terribly frightened."

The man stooped down and unfastened my chain, grumbling to himself because I had not been put in another car. "Some folks tumble a dog round as if he was a junk of coal," he said, patting me kindly.

I was nearly wild with delight to get with Miss Laura again, but I had barked so much, and pressed my neck so hard with my collar that my voice was all gone. I fawned on her, and wagged myself about, and opened and shut my mouth, but no sound came out of it.

It made Miss Laura nervous. She tried to laugh and cry at the same time, and then bit her lip hard, and said: "Oh, Joe, don't."

"He's lost his bark, hasn't he?" said the man, looking at me curiously.

"It is a wicked thing to confine an animal in a dark and closed car," said Miss Laura, trying to see her way down the steps through her tears.

The man put out his hand and helped her. "He's not suffered much, miss," he said; "don't you distress yourself. Now if you'd been a brakeman on a Chicago train, as I was a few years ago, and seen the animals run in for the stock yards, you might talk about cruelty. Cars that ought to hold a certain number of pigs, or sheep, or cattle, jammed full with twice as many, and half of 'em thrown out choked and smothered to death. I've seen a man running up and down, raging and swearing because the railway people hadn't let him get in to tend to his pigs on the road."

Miss Laura turned and looked at the man with a very white face. "Is it like that now?" she asked.

"No, no," he said, hastily. "It's better now. They've got new regulations about taking care of the stock; but mind you, miss, the cruelty to animals isn't all done on the railways. There's a great lot of dumb creatures suffering all round everywhere, and if they could speak, 'twould be a hard showing for some other people besides the railway men."

He lifted his cap and hurried down the platform, and Miss Laura, her face very much troubled, picked her way among the bits of coal and wood scattered about the platform, and went into the waiting room of the little station.