Beautiful Joe
Chapter 25


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.


For a good while after I went to Dingley Farm I was very shy of the horses, for I was afraid they might kick me, thinking that I was a "bad dog" like Bruno. However, they all had such good faces, and looked at me so kindly, that I was beginning to get over my fear of them.

Fleetfoot, Mr. Harry's colt, was my favorite, and one afternoon, when Mr. Harry and Miss Laura were going out to see him, I followed them. Fleetfoot was amusing himself by rolling over and over on the grass under a tree, but when he saw Mr. Harry, he gave a shrill whinny, and running to him, began nosing about his pockets.

"Wait a bit," said Mr. Harry, holding him by the forelock. "Let me introduce you to this young lady, Miss Laura Morris. I want you to make her a bow." He gave the colt some sign, and immediately he began to paw the ground and shake his head.

Mr. Harry laughed and went on: "Here is her dog Joe. I want you to like him, too. Come here, Joe." I was not at all afraid, for I knew Mr. Harry would not let him hurt me, so I stood in front of him, and for the first time had a good look at him. They called him the colt, but he was really a full-grown horse, and had already been put to work. He was of a dark chestnut color, and had a well-shaped body and a long, handsome head, and I never saw, in the head of a man or beast, a more beautiful pair of eyes than that colt had — large, full, brown eyes they were that he turned on me almost as a person would. He looked me all over as if to say: "Are you a good dog, and will you treat me kindly, or are you a bad one like Bruno, and will you chase me and snap at my heels and worry me, so that I shall want to kick you?"

I looked at him very earnestly and wagged my body, and lifted myself on my hind legs toward him. He seemed pleased and put down his nose to sniff at me, and then we were friends. Friends, and such good friends, for next to Jim and Billy, I have loved Fleetfoot.

Mr. Harry pulled some lumps of sugar out of his pocket, and giving them to Miss Laura, told her to put them on the palm of her hand and hold it out flat toward Fleetfoot. The colt ate the sugar, and all the time eyed her with his quiet, observing glance, that made her exclaim: "What a wise-looking colt!"

"He is like an old horse," said Mr. Harry. "When he hears a sudden noise, he stops and looks all about him to find an explanation."

"He has been well trained," said Miss Laura.

"I have brought him up carefully," said Mr. Harry. "Really, he has been treated more like a dog than a colt. He follows me about the farm and smells everything I handle, and seems to want to know the reason of things.

"Your mother says," replied Miss Laura. "that she found you both asleep on the lawn one day last summer, and the colt's head was on your arm."

Mr. Harry smiled and threw his arm over the colt's neck. "We've been comrades, haven't we, Fleetfoot? I've been almost ashamed of his devotion. He has followed me to the village, and he always wants to go fishing with me. He's four years old now, so he ought to get over those coltish ways. I've driven him a good deal. We're going out in the buggy this afternoon, will you come?"

"Where are you going?" asked Miss Laura.

"Just for a short drive back of the river, to collect some money for father. I'll be home long before tea time."

"Yes, I should like to go," said Miss Laura, "I will go to the house and get my other hat."