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<- Previous | First | Next -> Digital Library - - Call Of The Wild by Jack London
would pass out of his life as Perrault and Francois and the Scotch
half-breed had passed out. Even in the night, in his dreams, he was
haunted by this fear. At such times he would shake off sleep and
creep through the chill to the flap of the tent, where he would
stand and listen to the sound of his masterís breathing.

But in spite of this great love he bore John Thornton, which seemed
to bespeak the soft civilising influence, the strain of the primitive,
which the Northland had aroused in him, remained alive and
active. Faithfulness and devotion, things born of fire and roof, were
his, yet he retained his wildness and wiliness. He was a thing of
the wild, come in from the wild to sit by John Thorntonís fire,
rather than a dog of the soft Southland stamped with the marks of
generations of civilisation. Because of his very great love, he could
not steal from this man, but from any man, in any other camp, he
did not hesitate an instant; while the cunning with which he stole
enabled him to escape detection.

His face and body were scored by the teeth of many dogs, and he
fought as fiercely as ever and more shrewdly. Skeet and Nig were
too good-natured for quarrelling-besides, they belonged to John
Thornton; but the strange dog, no matter what the breed or valour,
swiftly acknowledged Buckís supremacy or found himself
struggling for life with a terrible antagonist. And Buck was
merciless. He had learned well the law of club and fang, and he
never forewent an advantage or drew back from a foe he had
started on the way to Death. He had lessoned from Spitz, and from
the chief fighting dogs of the police and mail, and knew there was
no middle course. He must master or be mastered; while to show
mercy was a weakness. Mercy did not exist in the primordial life. It
was misunderstood for fear, and such misunderstandings made for
death. Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, was the law; and this
mandate, down out of the depths of Time, he obeyed.

He was older than the days he had seen and the breaths he had
drawn. He linked the past with the present, and the eternity
behind him throbbed through him in a mighty rhythm to which he
swayed as the tides and season swayed. He sat by John Thorntonís
fire, a broad-breasted dog, white-fanged and long-furred; but
behind him were the shades of all manner of dogs, half-wolves and
wild wolves, urgent and prompting, tasting the savour of the meat
he ate, thirsting for the water he drank, scenting the wind with
him, listening with him and telling him the sounds made by the
wild life in the forest, dictating his moods, directing his actions,
lying down to sleep with him when he lay down, and dreaming
<- Previous | First | Next -> Digital Library - - Call Of The Wild by Jack London

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