the quality of being suited to the end in view
Other men saw to the welfare of their dogs from a sense of duty and business
expediency; he saw to the welfare of his as if they were his own children, because he could not help it.
lasting a very short time
transient masters since he had come into the Northland had bred in him a fear that no master could be permanent.
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.
marked by skill in deception
Faithfulness and devotion, things born of fire and roof, were his; yet he retained his wildness and
a document giving an official instruction or command
Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, was the law; and this
mandate, down out of the depths of Time, he obeyed.
not allowing contradiction or refusal
peremptorily did these shades beckon him, that each day mankind and the claims of mankind slipped farther from him.
put up with something or somebody unpleasant
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.
having the nature of threatening evil
"Black" Burton, a man evil-tempered and
malicious, had been picking a quarrel with a tenderfoot at the bar, when Thornton stepped good-naturedly between.
an impressive display
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.
a means of arousing or stirring to action
A "miners' meeting," called on the spot, decided that the dog had sufficient
provocation, and Buck was discharged.
prevent the progress or accomplishment of
"I've got a sled standing outside now, with twenty fiftypound sacks of flour on it," Matthewson went on with brutal directness; "so don't let that
a right reserved exclusively by a person or group
O'Brien contended it was Thornton's
privilege to knock the runners loose, leaving Buck to "break it out" from a dead standstill.
move in a twisting or contorted motion
His whole body was gathered compactly together in the tremendous effort, the muscles
writhing and knotting like live things under the silky fur.
made to seem smaller or less, especially in worth
The jerks perceptibly
diminished; as the sled gained momentum, he caught them up, till it was moving steadily along.
without logical or meaningful connection
Men were shaking hands, it did not matter with whom, and bubbling over in a general
meriting respect or esteem
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.
seemingly limitless in amount, number, degree, or extent
To Buck it was
boundless delight, this hunting, fishing, and indefinite wandering through strange places.
not clearly understood or expressed
It caused him to feel a
vague, sweet gladness, and he was aware of wild yearnings and stirrings for he knew not what.
perceptible by the senses especially the sense of touch
Sometimes he pursued the call into the forest, looking for it as though it were a
tangible thing, barking softly or defiantly, as the mood might dictate.
out of the ordinary
Buck stalked into the open, half crouching, body gathered compactly together, tail straight and stiff, feet falling with
But in the end Buck's
pertinacity was rewarded; for the wolf, finding that no harm was intended, finally sniffed noses with him.
state of violent mental agitation
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.
occurring among members of a family usually by heredity
From his St. Bernard father he had
inherited size and weight, but it was his shepherd mother who had given shape to that size and weight.
extremely impressive in strength or excellence
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.
into parts or pieces
Life streamed through him in splendid flood, glad and rampant, until it seemed that it would burst him
asunder in sheer ecstasy and pour forth generously over the world.
unprovoked or without motive or justification
He killed to eat, not from
wantonness; but he preferred to eat what he killed himself.
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.
satisfy, as thirst
Nor did he give the wounded bull opportunity to
slake his burning thirst in the slender trickling streams they crossed.
complete assurance or confidence
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.
an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
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.
seize and take control without authority
For the last time in his life he allowed passion to
usurp cunning and reason, and it was because of his great love for John Thornton that he lost his head.
an empty area or space
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.
move periodically or seasonally
Hunting their living meat, as the Yeehats were hunting it, on the flanks of the
migrating moose, the wolf pack had at last crossed over from the land of streams and timber and invaded Buck's valley.
cause to lose one's composure
And so well did he face it, that at the end of half an hour the wolves drew back
filled with or evoking sadness
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.