Beautiful Joe
Chapter 33, Page 3


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 monkeys stood looking at him, and then there was the most awful hullabaloo you ever heard. Such a barking and yelping, and half a dozen dogs rushed on the stage, and didn't they trundle those monkeys about. They nosed them, and pushed them, and shook them, till they all ran away, all but Miss Green, who sat shivering in a corner. After a while, she crept up to the dead dog, pawed him a little, and didn't he jump up as much alive as any of them? Everybody in the room clapped and shouted, and then the curtain dropped, and the thing was over. I wish he'd give another performance. Early in the morning he has to go to Boston."

Jack pushed my paws from his knees and went outdoors, and I began to think that I would very much like to see those performing animals. It was not yet tea time, and I would have plenty of time to take a run down to the hotel where they were staying; so I set out. It was a lovely autumn evening. The sun was going down in a haze, and it was quite warm. Earlier in the day I had heard Mr. Morris say that this was our Indian summer, and that we should soon have cold weather.

Fairport was a pretty little town, and from the principal street one could look out upon the blue water of the bay and see the island opposite, which was quite deserted now, for all the summer visitors had gone home, and the Island House was shut op.

I was running down one of the steep side streets that led to the water when I met a heavily-laden cart coming up. It must have been coming from one of the vessels, for it was full of strange-looking boxes and packages. A fine-looking nervous horse was drawing it, and he was straining every nerve to get it up the steep hill. His driver was a burly, hard-faced man, and instead of letting his horse stop a minute to rest he kept urging him forward. The poor horse kept looking at his master, his eyes almost starting from his head in terror. He knew that the whip was about to descend on his quivering body. And so it did, and there was no one by to interfere. No one but a woman in a ragged shawl who would have no influence with the driver. There was a very good humane society in Fairport, and none of the teamsters dared ill-use their horses if any of the members were near. This was a quiet out-of-the-way street, with only poor houses on it, and the man probably knew that none of the members of the society would be likely to be living in them. He whipped his horse, and whipped him, till every lash made my heart ache, and if I had dared I would have bitten him severely. Suddenly, there was a dull thud in the street. The horse had fallen down. The driver ran to his head, but he was quite dead. "Thank God!" said the poorly-dressed woman, bitterly; "one more out of this world of misery." Then she turned and went down the street. I was glad for the horse. He would never be frightened or miserable again, and I went slowly on, thinking that death is the best thing that can happen to tortured animals.

The Fairport hotel was built right in the centre of the town, and the shops and houses crowded quite close about it. It was a high, brick building, and it was called the Fairport House. As I was running along the sidewalk, I heard some one speak to me, and looking up I saw Charlie Montague. I had heard the Morrises say that his parents were staying at the hotel for a few weeks, while their house was being repaired. He had his Irish setter, Brisk, with him, and a handsome dog he was, as he stood waving his silky tail in the sunlight. Charlie patted me, and then he and his dog went into the hotel. I turned into the stable yard. It was a small, choked-up place, and as I picked my way under the cabs and wagons standing in the yard, I wondered why the hotel people didn't buy some of the old houses near by, and tear them down, and make a stable yard worthy of such a nice hotel. The hotel horses were just getting rubbed down after their day's work, and others were coming in. The men were talking and laughing, and there was no sign of strange animals, so I went around to the back of the yard. Here they were, in an empty cow stable, under a hay loft. There were two little ponies tied up in a stall, two goats beyond them, and dogs and monkeys in strong traveling cages. I stood in the doorway and stared at them. I was sorry for the dogs to be shut up on such a lovely evening, but I suppose their master was afraid of their getting lost, or being stolen, if he let them loose.