Beautiful Joe
Chapter 32


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.


In October, the most beautiful of all the months, we were obliged to go back to Fairport. Miss Laura could not bear to leave the farm, and her face got very sorrowful when any one spoke of her going away. Still, she had gotten well and strong, and was as brown as a berry, and she said that she knew she ought to go home, and get back to her lessons.

Mr. Wood called October the golden month. Everything was quiet and still, and at night and in the morning the sun had a yellow, misty look. The trees in the orchard were loaded with fruit, and some of the leaves were floating down, making a soft covering on the ground.

In the garden there were a great many flowers in bloom, in flaming red and yellow colors. Miss Laura gathered bunches of them every day to put in the parlor. One day when she was arranging them, she said, regretfully, "They will soon be gone. I wish it could always be summer."

"You would get tired of it," said Mr. Harry, who had come up softly behind her. "There's only one place where we could stand perpetual summer, and that's in heaven."

"Do you suppose that it will always be summer there?" said Miss Laura, turning around, and looking at him.

"I don't know. I imagine it will be, but I don't think anybody knows much about it. We've got to wait."

Miss Laura's eyes fell on me. "Harry," she said, "do you think that dumb animals will go to heaven?"

"I shall have to say again, I don't know," he replied. "Some people hold that they do. In a Michigan paper, the other day, I came across one writer's opinion on the subject. He says that among the best people of all ages have been some who believed in the future life of animals. Homer and the later Greeks, some of the Romans and early Christians held this view — the last believing that God sent angels in the shape of birds to comfort sufferers for the faith. St. Francis called the birds and beasts his brothers. Dr. Johnson believed in a future life for animals, as also did Wordsworth, Shelley, Coleridge, Jeremy Taylor, Agassiz, Lamartine, and many Christian scholars. It seems as if they ought to have some compensation for their terrible sufferings in this world. Then to go to heaven, animals would only have to take up the thread of their lives here. Man is a god to the lower creation. Joe worships you, much as you worship your Maker. Dumb animals live in and for their masters. They hang on our words and looks, and are dependent on us in almost every way. For my own part, and looking at it from an earthly point of view, I wish with all my heart that we may find our dumb friends in paradise."

"And in the Bible," said Miss Laura, "animals are often spoken of. The dove and the raven, the wolf and the lamb, and the leopard, and the cattle that God says are his, and the little sparrow that can't fall to the ground without our Father's knowing it."

"Still, there's nothing definite about their immortality," said Mr. Harry. "However, we've got nothing to do with that. If it's right for them to be in heaven, we'll find them there. All we have to do now is to deal with the present, and the Bible plainly tells us that 'a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.'"

"I think I would be happier in heaven if dear old Joe were there," said Miss Laura, looking wistfully at me. "He has been such a good dog. Just think how he has loved and protected me. I think I should be lonely without him."