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<- Previous | First | Next -> Digital Library - - Call Of The Wild by Jack London

For the Love of a Man

WHEN JOHN THORNTON FROZE his feet in the previous
December, his partners had made him comfortable and left him to
get well, going on themselves up the river to get out a raft of saw-
logs for Dawson. He was still limping slightly at the time he
rescued Buck, but with the continued warm weather even the
slight limp left him. And here, lying by the river bank through the
long spring days, watching the running water, listening lazily to
the songs of birds and the hum of nature, Buck slowly won back
his strength.

A rest comes very good after one has travelled three thousand
miles, and it must be confessed that Buck waxed lazy as his
wounds healed, his muscles swelled out, and the flesh came back
to cover his bones. For that matter, they were all loafing-Buck,
John Thornton, and Skeet and Nig-waiting for the raft to come that
was to carry them down to Dawson. Skeet was a little Irish setter
who early made friends with Buck, who, in a dying condition, was
unable to resent her first advances. She had the doctor trait which
some dogs possess; and as a mother cat washes her kittens, so she
washed and cleansed Buckís wounds. Regularly, each morning,
after he had finished his breakfast, she performed her self-
appointed task, till he came to look for her ministrations as much
as he did for Thorntonís. Nig, equally friendly, though less
demonstrative, was a huge black dog, half bloodhound and half
deerhound, with eyes that laughed and a boundless good nature.

To Buckís surprise these dogs manifested no jealousy toward him.
They seemed to share the kindliness and largeness of John
Thornton. As Buck grew stronger they enticed him into all sorts of
ridiculous games, in which Thornton himself could not forbear to
join; and in this fashion Buck romped through his convalescence
and into a new existence. Love, genuine passionate love, was his
for the first time. This he had never experienced at Judge Millerís
down in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley. With the Judgeís son,
hunting and tramping, it had been a working partnership; with the
Judgesís grandsons, a sort of pompous guardianship; and with the
Judge himself, a stately and dignified friendship. But love that was
feverish and burning, that was adoration, that was madness, it had
taken John Thornton to arouse.
<- Previous | First | Next -> Digital Library - - Call Of The Wild by Jack London

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