The man sprang for his throat, but Buck was too quick for him.
Dazed, suffering intolerable pain from throat and tongue, with the life half throttled out of him, Buck attempted to face his tormentors.
More tormentors, Buck decided, for they were evil-looking creatures, ragged and unkempt; and he stormed and raged at them through the bars.
For two days and nights this express car was dragged along at the tail of shrieking locomotives; and for two days and nights Buck neither ate nor drank.
That was the man, Buck divined, the next tormentor, and he hurled himself savagely against the bars.
And Buck was truly a red-eyed devil, as he drew himself together for the spring, hair bristling, mouth foaming, a mad glitter in his blood-shot eyes.
Buck described a complete circle in the air, and half of another, then crashed to the ground on his head and chest.
The man struck the shrewd blow he had purposely withheld for so long, and Buck crumpled up and went down, knocked utterly senseless.
Answers to the name of Buck,' " the man soliloquized, quoting from the saloon-keeper's letter which had announced the consignment of the crate and contents.
Of this last Buck was never guilty, though he did see beaten dogs that fawned upon the man, and wagged their tails, and licked his hand.
Buck wondered where they went, for they never came back; but the fear of the future was strong upon him, and he was glad each time when he was not selected.
Yet his time came, in the end, in the form of a little weazened man who spat broken English and many strange and uncouth exclamations which Buck could not understand.
Perrault knew dogs, and when he looked at Buck he knew that he was one in a thousand-- "One in ten t'ousand," he commented mentally.
They were a new kind of men to Buck (of which he was destined to see many more), and while he developed no affection for them, he none the less grew honestly to respect them.