little evolved from or characteristic of an earlier ancestral type
But in spite of this great love he bore John Thornton, which seemed to bespeak the soft civilizing influence, the strain of the
primitive, which the Northland had aroused in him, remained alive and active.
When Thornton's partners, Hans and Pete, arrived on the long-expected raft, Buck refused to notice them till he learned they were close to Thornton; after that he
tolerated them in a passive sort of way, accepting favors from them as though he favored them by accepting.
Then the crowd was upon Buck, and he was driven off; but while a surgeon checked the bleeding, he prowled up and down, growling furiously, attempting to rush in, and being forced back by an
array of hostile clubs.
They sledded seventy miles up the Yukon, swung to the left into the Stewart River, passed the Mayo and the McQuestion, and held on until the Stewart itself became a streamlet, threading the
upstanding peaks which marked the backbone of the continent.
John Thornton was eating dinner when Buck dashed into camp and sprang upon him in a
frenzy of affection, overturning him, scrambling upon him, licking his face, biting his hand--"playing the general tom-fool," as John Thornton characterized it, the while he shook Buck back and forth and cursed him lovingly.
His cunning was wolf cunning, and wild cunning; his intelligence, shepherd intelligence and St. Bernard intelligence; and all this, plus an experience gained in the fiercest of schools, made him as
formidable a creature as any that intelligence roamed the wild.
enclose or enfold completely with or as if with a covering
Buck multiplied himself, attacking from all sides,
enveloping the herd in a whirlwind of menace, cutting out his victim as fast as it could rejoin its mates, wearing out the patience of creatures preyed upon, which is a lesser patience than that of creatures preying.
total certainty or greater certainty than circumstances warrant
He broke into the long easy lope, and went on, hour after hour, never at loss for the tangled way, heading straight home through strange country with a
certitude of direction that put man and his magnetic needle to shame.
He was oppressed with a sense of
calamity happening, if it were not
calamity already happened; and as he crossed the last watershed and dropped down into the valley toward camp, he proceeded with greater caution.
It left a great
void in him, somewhat akin to hunger, but a
void which ached and ached, and which food could not fill, At times, when he paused to contemplate the carcasses of the Yeehats, he forgot the pain of it; and at such times he was aware of a great pride in himself,--a pride greater than any he had yet experienced.
Here a yellow stream flows from rotted moose-hide sacks and sinks into the ground, with long grasses growing through it and vegetable mould overrunning it and hiding its yellow from the sun; and here he muses for a time, howling once, long and mournfully, ere he departs.