Beautiful Joe/Chapter 36
He walked into the house one cold, wintry afternoon, and lay calmly down by the fire. He was a brindled bull-terrier, and he had on a silver-plated collar, with "Dandy" engraved on it. He lay all the evening by the fire, and when any of the family spoke to him, he wagged his tail, and looked pleased. I growled a little at him at first, but he never cared a bit, and just dozed off to sleep, so I soon stopped.
He was such a well-bred dog, that the Morrises were afraid that some one had lost him. They made some inquiries the next day, and found that he belonged to a New York gentleman who had come to Fairport in the summer in a yacht. This dog did not like the yacht. He came ashore in a boat whenever he got a chance, and if he could not come in a boat, he would swim. He was a tramp, his master said, and he wouldn't stay long in any place. The Morrises were so amused with his impudence, that they did not send him away, but said every day, "Surely he will be gone to-morrow."
However, Mr. Dandy had gotten into comfortable quarters, and he had no intention of changing them, for a while at least. Then he was very handsome, and had such a pleasant way with him, that the family could not help liking him. I never cared for him. He fawned on the Morrises, and pretended he loved them, and afterward turned around and laughed and sneered at them in a way that made me very angry. I used to lecture him sometimes, and growl about him to Jim, but Jim always said, "Let him alone. You can't do him any good. He was born bad. His mother wasn't good. He tells me that she had a bad name among all the dogs in her neighborhood. She was a thief and a runaway." Though he provoked me so often, yet I could not help laughing at some of his stories, they were so funny.
We were lying out in the sun, on the platform at the back of the house one day, and he had been more than usually provoking, so I got up to leave him. He put himself in my way, however, and said, coaxingly, "Don't be cross, old fellow. I'll tell you some stories to amuse you, old boy. What shall they be about?"
"I think the story of your life would be about as interesting as anything you could make up," I said, dryly.
"All right, fact or fiction, whichever you like. Here's a fact, plain and unvarnished. Born and bred in New York. Swell stable. Swell coachman. Swell master. Jewelled fingers of ladies poking at me, first thing I remember. First painful experience—being sent to vet. to have ears cut."
"What's a vet.?" I said.
"A veterinary—animal doctor. Vet. didn't cut ears enough. Master sent me back. Cut ears again. Summer time, and flies bad. Ears got sore and festered, and flies very attentive. Coachman set little boy to brush flies off, but he'd run out in yard and leave me. Flies awful. Thought they'd eat me up, or else I'd shake out brains trying to get rid of them. Mother should have stayed home and licked my ears, but was cruising about neighborhood. Finally coachman put me in dark place, powdered ears, and they got well."
"Why didn't they cut your tail too?" I said, looking at his long, slim tail, which was like a sewer rat's.
"'Twasn't the fashion, Mr. Wayback, a bull terrier's ears are clipped to keep them from getting torn while fighting."
"You're not a fighting dog," I said.
"Not I. Too much trouble. I believe in taking things easy."
"I should think you did," I said, scornfully. "You never put yourself out for any one, I notice; but speaking of cropping ears. What do you think of it?"
"Well," he said, with a sly glance at my head, "it isn't a pleasant operation; but one might as well be out of the world as out of the fashion. I don't care, now my iars are done.'"
"But," I said, "think of the poor dogs that will come after you.'
"What difference does that make to me?" he said. "I'll be dead and out of the way. Men can cut off their ears, and tails, and legs too, if they want to."
"Dandy," I said, angrily, "you're the most selfish dog that I ever saw."
"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 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. Policemen 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 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