Beautiful Joe
Chapter 20, 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.


The boy sat down, and the president said: "I think it is time that the whole nation threw off this foolishness of half covering their horses' eyes, just put your hands up to your eyes, members of the band. Half cover them, and see how shut in you will feel; and how curious you will be to know what is going on beside you. Suppose a girl saw a mouse with her eyes half covered, wouldn't she run?"

Everybody laughed, and the president asked some one to tell him who invented blinders.

"An English nobleman," shouted a boy, "who had a wall-eyed horse! He wanted to cover up the defect, and I think it is a great shame that all the American horses have to suffer because that English one had an ugly eye."

"So do I," said the president. "Three groans for blinders, boys."

All the children in the room made three dreadful noises away down in their throats. Then they had another good laugh, and the president became sober again. "Seven more minutes," he said; "this meeting has got to be let out at five sharp."

A tall girl at the back of the room rose, and said. "My little cousin has two stories that she would like to tell the band."

"Very well," said the president; "bring her right along."

The big girl came forward, leading a tiny child that she placed in front of the boys and girls. The child stared up into her cousin's face, turning and twisting her white pinafore through her fingers. Every time the big girl took her pinafore away from her, she picked it up again. "Begin, Nannie," said the big girl, kindly.

"Well, Cousin Eleanor," said the child, "you know Topsy, Graham's pony. Well, Topsy would run away, and a big, big man came out to papa and said he would train Topsy. So he drove her every day, and beat her, and beat her, till he was tired, but still Topsy would run away. Then papa said he would not have the poor pony whipped so much, and he took her out a piece of bread every day, and he petted her, and now Topsy is very gentle, and never runs away."

"Tell about Tiger," said the girl.

"Well, Cousin Eleanor," said the child, "you know Tiger, our big dog. He used to be a bad dog, and when Dr. Fairchild drove up to the house he jumped up and bit at him. Dr. Fairchild used to speak kindly to him, and throw out bits of meat, and now when he comes, Tiger follows behind and wags his tail. Now, give me a kiss."

The girl had to give her a kiss, right up there before every one, and what a stamping the boys made. The larger girl blushed and hurried back to her seat, with the child clinging to her hand.