White Fang HTML version

The Southland
White Fang landed from the steamer in San Francisco. He was appalled. Deep in him,
below any reasoning process or act of consciousness, he had associated power with
godhead. And never had the white men seemed such marvellous gods as now, when he
trod the slimy pavement of San Francisco. The log cabins he had known were replaced by
towering buildings. The streets were crowded with perils - waggons, carts, automobiles;
great, straining horses pulling huge trucks; and monstrous cable and electric ears hooting
and clanging through the midst, screeching their insistent menace after the manner of the
lynxes he had known in the northern woods.
All this was the manifestation of power. Through it all, behind it all, was man, governing
and controlling, expressing himself, as of old, by his mastery over matter. It was colossal,
stunning. White Fang was awed. Fear sat upon him. As in his cubhood he had been made
to feel his smallness and puniness on the day he first came in from the Wild to the village
of Grey Beaver, so now, in his full-grown stature and pride of strength, he was made to
feel small and puny. And there were so many gods! He was made dizzy by the swarming
of them. The thunder of the streets smote upon his ears. He was bewildered by the
tremendous and endless rush and movement of things. As never before, he felt his
dependence on the love- master, close at whose heels he followed, no matter what
happened never losing sight of him.
But White Fang was to have no more than a nightmare vision of the city - an experience
that was like a bad dream, unreal and terrible, that haunted him for long after in his
dreams. He was put into a baggage-car by the master, chained in a corner in the midst of
heaped trunks and valises. Here a squat and brawny god held sway, with much noise,
hurling trunks and boxes about, dragging them in through the door and tossing them into
the piles, or flinging them out of the door, smashing and crashing, to other gods who
awaited them.
And here, in this inferno of luggage, was White Fang deserted by the master. Or at least
White Fang thought he was deserted, until he smelled out the master's canvas clothes-
bags alongside of him, and proceeded to mount guard over them.
"'Bout time you come," growled the god of the car, an hour later, when Weedon Scott
appeared at the door. "That dog of yourn won't let me lay a finger on your stuff."
White Fang emerged from the car. He was astonished. The nightmare city was gone. The
car had been to him no more than a room in a house, and when he had entered it the city
had been all around him. In the interval the city had disappeared. The roar of it no longer
dinned upon his ears. Before him was smiling country, streaming with sunshine, lazy
with quietude. But he had little time to marvel at the transformation. He accepted it as he
accepted all the unaccountable doings and manifestations of the gods. It was their way.