Beautiful Joe
Chapter 36, Page 2


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.


"Don't excite yourself," he said, coolly. "Let me get on with my story. When I was a few months old, I began to find the stable yard narrow, and wondered what there was outside of it. I discovered a hole in the garden wall, and used to sneak out nights. Oh, what fun it was. I got to know a lot of street dogs, and we had gay times, barking under people's windows and making them mad, and getting into back yards and chasing cats. We used to kill a cat nearly every night. Policeman would chase us, and we would run and run till the water just ran off our tongues, and we hadn't a bit of breath left. Then I'd go home and sleep all day, and go out again the next night. When I was about a year old, I began to stay out days as well as nights. They couldn't keep me home. Then I ran away for three months. I got with an old lady on Fifth Avenue, who was very fond of dogs. She had four white poodles, and her servants used to wash them, and tie up their hair with blue ribbons, and she used to take them for drives in her phaeton in the park, and they wore gold and silver collars. The biggest poodle wore a ruby in his collar worth five hundred dollars. I went driving, too, and sometimes we met my master. He often smiled, and shook his head at me. I heard him tell the coachman one day that I was a little blackguard, and he was to let me come and go as I liked."

"If they had whipped you soundly," I said, "it might have made a good dog of you."

"I'm good enough now," said Dandy, airily. "The young ladies who drove with my master used to say that it was priggish and tiresome to be too good. To go on with my story: I stayed with Mrs. Judge Tibbett till I got sick of her fussy ways. She made a simpleton of herself over those poodles. Each one had a high chair at the table, and a plate, and they always sat in these chairs and had meals with her, and the servants all called them Master Bijou, and Master Tot, and Miss Tiny, and Miss Fluff. One day they tried to make me sit in a chair, and I got cross and bit Mrs. Tibbett, and she beat me cruelly, and her servants stoned me away from the house."

"Speaking about fools, Dandy," I said, "if it is polite to call a lady one, I should say that that lady was one. Dogs shouldn't be put out of their place. Why didn't she have some poor children at her table, and in her carriage, and let the dogs run behind?"

"Easy to see you don't know New York," said Dandy, with a laugh. "Poor children don't live with rich, old ladies. Mrs. Tibbett hated children, anyway. Then dogs like poodles would get lost in the mud, or killed in the crowd if they ran behind a carriage. Only knowing dogs like me can make their way about." I rather doubted this speech; but I said nothing, and he went on, patronizingly: "However, Joe, thou hast reason, as the French say. Mrs. Judge Tibbett 'didn't' give her dogs exercise enough. Their claws were as long as Chinamen's nails, and the hair grew over their pads, and they had red eyes and were always sick, and she had to dose them with medicine, and call them her poor, little, 'weeny-teeny, sicky-wicky doggies.' Bah! I got disgusted with her. When I left her, I ran away to her niece's, Miss Ball's. She was a sensible young lady, and she used to scold her aunt for the way in which she brought up her dogs. She was almost too sensible, for her pug and I were rubbed and scrubbed within an inch of our lives, and had to go for such long walks that I got thoroughly sick of them. A woman, whom the servants called Trotsey, came every morning, and took the pug and me by our chains, and sometimes another dog or two, and took us for long tramps in quiet streets. That was Trotsey's business, to walk dogs, and Miss Ball got a great many fashionable young ladies who could not exercise their dogs, to let Trotsey have them, and they said that it made a great difference in the health and appearance of their pets. Trotsey got fifteen cents an hour for a dog. Goodness, what appetites those walks gave us, and didn't we make the dog biscuits disappear? But it was a slow life at Miss Ball's. We only saw her for a little while every day. She slept till noon. After lunch she played with us for a little while in the greenhouse, then she was off driving or visiting, and in the evening she always had company, or went to a dance, or to the theatre. I soon made up my mind that I'd run away. I jumped out of a window one fine morning, and ran home. I stayed there for a long time. My mother had been run over by a cart and killed, and I wasn't sorry. My master never bothered his head about me, and I could do as I liked. One day when I was having a walk, and meeting a lot of dogs that I knew, a little boy came behind me, and before I could tell what he was doing, he had snatched me up, and was running off with me. I couldn't bite him, for he had stuffed some of his rags in my mouth. He took me to a tenement house, in a part of the city that I had never been in before. He belonged to a very poor family. My faith, weren't they badly off — six children, and a mother and father, all living in two tiny rooms. Scarcely a bit of meat did I smell while I was there. I hated their bread and molasses, and the place smelled so badly that I thought I should choke.