But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called -- called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.
The first theft marked Buck as fit to survive in the hostile Northland environment. It marked his adaptability, his capacity to adjust himself to changing conditions, the lack of which would have meant swift and terrible death. It marked, further, the decay or going to pieces of his moral nature, a vain thing and a handicap in the ruthless struggle for existence.
But under it all they were men, penetrating the land of desolation and mockery and silence, puny adventurers bent on colossal adventure, pitting themselves against the might of a world as remote and alien and pulseless as the abysses of space.
They were not half living, or quarter living. They were simply so many bags of bones in which sparks of life fluttered faintly.
For the pride of trace and trail was his, and sick unto death, he could not bear that another dog should do his work.
He felt strangely numb. As though from a great distance, he was aware that he was being beaten. The last sensations of pain left him. He no longer felt anything, though very faintly he could hear the impact of the club upon his body. But it was no longer his body, it seemed so far away.
He had killed man, the noblest game of all, and he had killed in the face of the law of club and fang.
He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.
He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time.
His muscles had wasted away to knotty strings, and the flesh pads had disappeared, so that each rib and every bone in his frame were outlined cleanly through the loose hide that was wrinkled in folds of emptiness. It was heartbreaking, only Buck's heart was unbreakable. The man in the red sweater had proved that.
Love, genuine passionate love, was his for the first time.
No, sir. Go to hell sir. It's the best I can do for you sir.
Sometimes he pursued the call into the forest, looking for it as though it were a tangible thing, barking softly or defiantly... Irresistible impulses seized him. he would be lying in camp, dozing lazily in the heat of the day, when suddenly his head would lift and his ears cock up, intent and listening, and he would spring on his feet and dash away, and on and on, for hours, though the forest aisles.
More Jack London Quotations (Based on Topics)
Man - Life - Dogs - Time - Nature - Law & Regulation - World - Experience - Memory - Instinct - Death & Dying - Fear - Mothers - God - Fire - Animals - Body - Hair - Books - View All Jack London Quotations
More Jack London Quotations (By Book Titles)
- The Call of the Wild
- White Fang
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