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.
Buck's senses came back to him, but not his strength.
" '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.
As he spoke he fearlessly patted the head he had so mercilessly pounded, and though Buck's hair involuntarily bristled at touch of the hand, he endured it without protest.
Again and again, as he looked at each brutal performance, the lesson was driven home to Buck: a man with a club was a lawgiver, a master to be obeyed, though not necessarily conciliated.
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.
"Sacredam!" he cried, when his eyes lit upon Buck. "Dat one dam bully dog!
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.
Buck saw money pass between them, and was not surprised when Curly, a good-natured Newfoundland, and he were led away by the little weazened man.
In the 'tween-decks of the Narwhal, Buck and Curly joined two other dogs.
Day and night the ship throbbed to the tireless pulse of the propeller, and though one day was very like another, it was apparent to Buck that the weather was steadily growing colder.
"Dave" he was called, and he ate and slept, or yawned between times, and took interest in nothing, not even when the Narwhal crossed Queen Charlotte Sound and rolled and pitched and bucked like a thing possessed.