The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories

By Jack London; Earle Labor et al. | Go to book overview

V
The Toil of Trace and Trail

THIRTY days from the time it left Dawson, the Salt Water Mail, with Buck and his mates at the fore, arrived at Skaguay. They were in a wretched state, worn out and worn down. Buck's one hundred and forty pounds had dwindled to one hundred and fifteen. The rest of his mates, though lighter dogs, had relatively lost more weight then he. Pike, the malingerer, who, in his lifetime of deceit, had often successfully feigned a hurt leg, was now limping in earnest. Sol-leks was limping, and Dub was suffering from a wrenched shoulder-blade.

They were all terribly footsore. No spring or rebound was left in them. Their feet fell heavily on the trail, jarring their bodies and doubling the fatigue of a day's travel. There was nothing the matter with them except that they were dead tired. It was not the dead-tiredness that comes through brief and excessive effort, from which recovery is a matter of hours; but it was the dead-tiredness that comes through the slow and prolonged strength drainage of months of toil. There was no power of recuperation left, no reserve strength to call upon. It had been all used, the last least bit of it. Every muscle, every fibre, every cell, was tired, dead tired. And there was reason for it. In less than five months they had travelled twenty-five hundred miles, during the last eighteen hundred of which they had had but five days' rest. When they arrived at Skaguay they were apparently on their last legs. They could barely keep the traces taut, and on the down grades just managed to keep out of the way of the sled.

"Mush on, poor sore feets," the driver encouraged them as they tottered down the main street of Skaguay. "Dis is de las'. Den we get one long res'. Eh? For sure. One bully long res'."

The drivers confidently expected a long stopover. Themselves, they had covered twelve hundred miles with two days' rest, and in the nature of reason and common justice they

-46-

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The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Note on the Text xxiii
  • Select Bibliography xxvi
  • A Chronology of Jack London xxvii
  • Contents 3
  • I - Into the Primitive 5
  • II - The Law of Club and Fang 15
  • III - The Dominant Primordial Beast 24
  • IV - Who Has Won to Mastership 37
  • V - The Toil of Trace and Trail 46
  • VI - For the Love of a Man 60
  • VII - The Sounding of the Call 73
  • Contents 91
  • Part One - The Wild 93
  • I - The Trail of the Meat 93
  • II - The She-Wolf 101
  • III - The Hunger Cry 110
  • Part Two - Born of the Wild 120
  • I - The Battle of the Fangs 120
  • II - The Lair 130
  • III - The Gray Cub 138
  • IV - The Wall of the World 143
  • V - The Law of Meat 153
  • Part Three - The Gods of the Wild 159
  • The Makers of Fire 159
  • II - The Bondage 170
  • III - The Outcast 178
  • IV - The Trail of the Gods 183
  • V - The Covenant 188
  • VI - The Famine 196
  • Part Four - The Superior Gods 204
  • I - The Enemy of His Kind 204
  • II - The Mad God 213
  • III - The Reign of Hate 221
  • IV - The Clinging Death 226
  • V - The Indomitable 237
  • VI - The Love-Master 243
  • Part Five - The Tame 256
  • I - The Long 256
  • II - The Southland 261
  • III - The God''s Domain 268
  • IV - The Call of Kind 278
  • V - The Sleeping Wolf 284
  • BÂtard 293
  • Moon-Face 309
  • Brown Wolf 315
  • That Spot 331
  • To Build a Fire 341
  • Explanatory Notes 358
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