These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to
toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.
having or showing arrogant superiority to
Among the terriers he stalked imperiously, and Toots and Ysabel he utterly ignored, for he was king,-- king over all creeping, crawling, flying things of Judge Miller's place, humans included.
not capable of being split
His father, Elmo, a huge St. Bernard, had been the Judge's
inseparable companion, and Buck bid fair to follow in the way of his father.
the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect
Nevertheless, one hundred and forty pounds, to which was added the
dignity that comes of good living and universal respect, enabled him to carry himself in right royal fashion.
similar in quality or character
kindred outdoor delights had kept down the fat and hardened his muscles; and to him, as to the cold-tubbing races, the love of water had been a tonic and a health preserver.
a relationship less intimate than friendship
But Buck did not read the newspapers, and he did not know that Manuel, one of the gardener's helpers, was an undesirable
an act of deliberate betrayal
The Judge was at a meeting of the Raisin Growers' Association, and the boys were busy organizing an athletic club, on the memorable night of Manuel's
to grip or seize, as in a wrestling match
In quick rage he sprang at the man, who met him halfway,
grappled him close by the throat, and with a deft twist threw him over on his back.
hang loosely or laxly
Then the rope tightened mercilessly, while Buck struggled in a fury, his tongue
lolling out of his mouth and his great chest panting futilely.
irregularly slashed and jagged as if torn
The kidnapper undid the bloody wrappings and looked at his
incapable of being put up with
intolerable pain from throat and tongue, with the life half throttled out of him, Buck attempted to face his tormentors.
not properly maintained or cared for
More tormentors, Buck decided, for they were evil-looking creatures, ragged and
unkempt; and he stormed and raged at them through the bars.
collect or gather
For two days and nights he neither ate nor drank, and during those two days and nights of torment, he
accumulated a fund of wrath that boded ill for whoever first fell foul of him.
change completely the nature or appearance of
His eyes turned blood-shot, and he was
metamorphosed into a raging fiend.
hold back; refuse to hand over or share
The man struck the shrewd blow he had purposely
withheld for so long, and Buck crumpled up and went down, knocked utterly senseless.
become faint or more distant
That was the last he saw of the man in the red sweater, and as Curly and he looked at
receding Seattle from the deck of the Narwhal, it was the last he saw of the warm Southland.
spread or diffuse through
At last, one morning, the propeller was quiet, and the Narwhal was
pervaded with an atmosphere of excitement.
having existed from the beginning
He had been suddenly jerked from the heart of civilization and flung into the heart of things
requiring attention or action
imperative need to be constantly alert; for these dogs and men were not town dogs and men.
get the meaning of something
Buck did not
comprehend that silent intentness, nor the eager way with which they were licking their chops.
someone who attacks
Two minutes from the time Curly went down, the last of her
assailants were clubbed off.
an act or expression of criticism and censure
Spitz was the leader, likewise experienced, and while he could not always get at Buck, he growled sharp
reproof now and again, or cunningly threw his weight in the traces to jerk Buck into the way he should go.
characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion
The day had been long and
arduous, and he slept soundly and comfortably, though he growled and barked and wrestled with bad dreams.
a person from whom you are descended
It was a token that he was harking back through his own life to the lives of his
forebears; for he was a civilized dog, an unduly civilized dog, and of his own experience knew no trap and so could not of himself fear it.
(of e.g. volcanos) permanently inactive
They made good time down the chain of lakes which fills the craters of
extinct volcanoes, and late that night pulled into the huge camp at the head of Lake Bennett, where thousands of goldseekers were building boats against the break-up of the ice in the spring.
force somebody to do something
To remedy this, he ate as fast as they; and, so greatly did hunger
compel him, he was not above taking what did not belong to him.
very unfavorable to life or growth
This first theft marked Buck as fit to survive in the
hostile Northland environment.
make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose
He was fit, that was all, and unconsciously he
accommodated himself to the new mode of life.
physically offensive or sickening
He could eat anything, no matter how
loathsome or indigestible; and, once eaten, the juices of his stomach extracted the last least particle of nutriment; and his blood carried it to the farthest reaches of his body, building it into the toughest and stoutest of tissues.
having existed from the beginning
In vague ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed, to the time the wild dogs ranged in packs through the
primeval forest and killed their meat as they ran it down.