Beautiful Joe/Chapter 7
"Very well, sister," said mischievous Ned; and catching up a stick, he said, "Come out into the garden, dogs."
Though he was brandishing his stick very fiercely, I was not at all afraid of him; and as for Billy, he loved Ned.
The Morris garden was really not a garden, but a large piece of ground with the grass worn bare in many places, a few trees scattered about, and some raspberry and currant bushes along the fence. A lady who knew that Mr. Morris had not a large salary, said one day when she was looking out of the dining-room window, "My dear Mrs. Morris, why don't you have this garden dug up? You could raise your own vegetables. It would be so much cheaper than buying them."
Mrs. Morris laughed in great amusement. "Think of the hens, and cats, and dogs, and rabbits, and above all, the boys that I have. What sort of a garden would there be, and do you think it would be fair to take their playground from them?"
The lady said "No, she did not think it would be fair."
I am sure I don't know what the boys would have done without this strip of ground. Many a frolic and game they had there. In the present case, Ned walked around and around it, with his stick on his shoulder, Billy and I strolling after him. Presently Billy made a dash aside to get a bone. Ned turned around and said firmly, "to heel."
Billy looked at him innocently, not knowing what he meant. "To heel!" exclaimed Ned again. Billy thought he wanted to play, and putting his head on his paws, he began to bark. Ned laughed, still he kept saying "To heel." He would not say another word. He knew if he said "Come here," or "Follow," or "Go behind," it would confuse Billy.
Finally, as Ned kept saying the words over and over, and pointing to me, it seemed to dawn upon Billy that he wanted him to follow him. So he came beside me, and together we followed Ned around the garden, again and again.
Ned often looked behind with a pleased face, and I felt so proud to think I was doing well; but suddenly I got dreadfully confused when he turned around and said, "Hie out!"
The Morrises all used the same words in training their dogs, and I had heard Miss Laura say this, but I had forgotten what it meant. "Good Joe," said Ned, turning around and patting me, "you have forgotten. I wonder where Jim is? He would help us."He put his fingers in his mouth and blew a shrill whistle, and soon Jim came trotting up the lane from the street. He looked at us with his large, intelligent eyes,
"I wonder where Jim is."
and wagged his tail slowly, as if to say, "Well, what do you want of me?"
"Come and give me a hand at this training business, old Sobersides," said Ned, with a laugh. "It's too slow to do it alone. Now, young gentlemen, attention! To heel!" He began to march around the garden again, and Jim and I followed closely at his heels, while little Billy, seeing that he could not get us to play with him, came lagging behind.
Soon Ned turned around and said, "Hie out!" Old Jim sprang ahead, and ran off in front as if he was after something. Now I remembered what "hie out" meant. We were to have a lovely race wherever we liked. Little Billy loved this. We ran and scampered hither and thither, and Ned watched us, laughing at our antics.
After tea, he called us out in the garden again, and said he had something else to teach us. He turned up a tub on the wooden platform at the back door, and sat on it, and then called Jim to him.
He took a small leather strap from his pocket. It had a nice, strong smell. We all licked it, and each dog wished to have it. "No, Joe and Billy," said Ned, holding us both by our collars, "you wait a minute. Here, Jim."
Jim watched him very earnestly, and Ned threw the strap half-way across the garden, and said, "Fetch it." Jim never moved till he heard the words, "Fetch it." Then he ran swiftly, brought the strap, and dropped it in Ned's hand. Ned sent him after it two or three times, then he said to Jim, "Lie down," and turned to me. "Here, Joe, it is your turn."
He threw the strap under the raspberry bushes, then looked at me and said, "Fetch it." I knew quite well what he meant, and ran joyfully after it. I soon found it by the strong smell, but the queerest thing happened when I got it in my mouth. I began to gnaw it and play with it, and when Ned called out, "Fetch it," I dropped it and ran toward him. I was not obstinate, but I was stupid.
Ned pointed to the place where it was, and spread out his empty hands. That helped me, and I ran quickly and got it. He made me get it for him several times. Sometimes I could not find it, and sometimes I dropped it; but he never stirred. He sat still till I brought it to him.
After a while he tried Billy, but it soon got dark, and we could not see, so he took Billy and went into the house.
I stayed out with Jim for a while, and he asked me if I knew why Ned had thrown a strap for us, instead of a bone or something hard.
Of course I did not know, so Jim told me it was on his account. He was a bird dog, and was never allowed to carry anything hard in his mouth, because it would make him hard-mouthed, and he would be apt to bite the birds when he was bringing them back to any person who was shooting with him. He said that he had been so carefully trained that he could even carry three eggs at a time in his mouth.
I said to him, "Jim, how is it that you never go out shooting? I have always heard that you were a dog for that, and yet you never leave home."
He hung his head a little, and said he did not wish to go, and then, for he was an honest dog, he gave me the true reason.