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野性的呼唤:第二章·The Call of the Wild:Chapter2(Jack London 杰克·伦敦)英汉双语

 

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London


CHAPTER 2

THE LAW OF CLUB AND FANG

Buck's first day on the Yea beach was like a nightmare. Every hour was filled with shock and surprise. He had been suddenly jerked from the heart of civilization and flung into the heart of things primordial. No lazy, sun-kissed life was this, with nothing to do but loaf and be bored. Here was neither peace, nor rest, nor a moment's safety. All was confusion and action, and every moment life and limb were in peril. There was imperative need to be constantly alert; for these dogs and men were not town dogs and men. They were savages, all of them, who knew no law but the law of club and fang.

He had never seen dogs fight as these wolfish creatures fought, and his first experience taught him an unforgettable lesson. it is true, it was a vicarious experience, else he would not have lived to profit by it. Curly was the victim. They were camped near the log store, where she, in her friendly way, made advances to a husky dog the size of a full-grown wolf, though not half so large as she. There was no warning, only a leap in like a flash, a metallic clip of teeth, a leap out equally swift, and Curly's face was ripped open from eye to jaw.

It was the wolf manner of fighting, to strike and leap away; but there was more to it than this. Thirty or forty huskies ran to the spot and surrounded the combatants in an intent and silent circle. Buck did not comprehend that silent intentness, nor the eager way with which they were licking their chops. Curly rushed her antagonist, who struck again and leaped aside. He met her next rush with his chest, in a peculiar fashion that tumbled her off her feet. She never regained them. This was what the onlooking huskies had waited for. They closed in upon her, snarling and yelping, and she was buried, screaming with agony, beneath the bristling mass of bodies.

So sudden was it, and so unexpected, that Buck was taken aback. He saw Spitz run out his scarlet tongue in a way he had of laughing; and he saw Francois, swinging an axe, spring into the mess of dogs. Three men with clubs were helping him to scatter them. It did not take long. Two minutes from the time Curly went down, the last of her assailants were clubbed off. But she lay there limp and lifeless in the bloody, trampled snow, almost literally torn to pieces, the swart half-breed standing over her and cursing horribly. The scene often came back to Buck to trouble him in his sleep. So that was the way. No fair play. Once down, that was the end of you. Well, he would see to it that he never went down. Spitz ran out his tongue and laughed again, and from that moment Buck hated him with a bitter and deathless hatred.

Before he had recovered from the shock caused by the tragic passing of Curly, he received another shock. Francois fastened upon him an arrangement of straps and buckles. It was a harness, such as he had seen the grooms put on the horses at home. And as he had seen horses work, so he was set to work, hauling Francois on a sled to the forest that fringed the valley, and returning with a load of firewood. Though his dignity was sorely hurt by thus being made a draught animal, he was too wise to rebel. He buckled down with a will and did his best, though it was all new and strange. Francois was stern, demanding instant obedience, and by virtue of his whip receiving instant obedience; while Dave, who was an experienced wheeler, nipped Buck's hindquarters whenever he was in error. Spitz was the leader, likewise experienced, and while he could not always get at Buck, he growled sharp reproof now and again, or cunningly threw his weight in the traces to jerk Buck into the way he should go. Buck learned easily, and under the combined tuition of his two mates and Francois made remarkable progress. Ere they returned to camp he knew enough to stop at "ho," to go ahead at "mush," to swing wide on the bends, and to keep clear of the wheeler when the loaded sled shot downhill at their heels.

"Three very good dogs," Francois told Perrault. "Dat Buck, him pull like hell. I teach him quick as anything."

By afternoon, Perrault, who was in a hurry to be on the trail with his dispatches, returned with two more dogs. "Billee" and "Joe" he called them, two brothers, and true huskies both. Sons of the one mother though they were, they were different as day and night. Billee's one fault was his excessive good nature, while Joe was the very opposite, sour and introspective, with a perpetual snarl and a malignant eye. Buck received them in comradely fashion, Dave ignored them, while Spitz proceeded to thrash first one and then the other. Billee wagged his tail appeasingly, turned to run when he saw that appeasement was of no avail, and cried (still appeasingly) when Spitz's sharp teeth scored his flank. But no matter how Spitz circled, Joe whirled around on his heels to face him, mane bristling, ears laid back, lips writhing and snarling, jaws clipping together as fast as he could snap, and eyes diabolically gleaming--the incarnation of belligerent fear. So terrible was his appearance that Spitz was forced to forego disciplining him; but to cover his own discomfiture he turned upon the inoffensive and wailing Billee and drove him to the confines of the camp.

By evening Perrault secured another dog, an old husky, long and lean and gaunt, with a battle-scarred face and a single eye which flashed a warning of prowess that commanded respect. He was called Sol-leks, which means the Angry One. Like Dave, he asked nothing, gave nothing, expected nothing: and when he marched slowly and deliberately into their midst, even Spitz left him alone. he had one peculiarity which Buck was unlucky enough to discover. He did not like to be approached on his blind side. Of this offense Buck was unwittingly guilty, and the first knowledge he had of his indiscretion was when Sol-leks whirled upon him and slashed his shoulder to the bone for three inches up and down. Forever after Buck avoided his blind side, and to the last of their comradeship had no more trouble.a His only apparent ambition, like Dave's, was to be left alone; though, as Buck was afterward to learn, each of them possessed one other and even more vital ambition.

That night Buck faced the great problem of sleeping. The tent, illumined by a candle, glowed warmly in the midst of the white plain; and when he, as a matter of course, entered it, both Perrault and Francois bombarded him with curses and cooking utensils, till he recovered from his consternation and fled ignominiously into the outer cold. A chill wind was blowing that nipped him sharply and bit with especial venom into his wounded shoulder. He lay down on the snow and attempted to sleep, but the frost soon drove him shivering to his feet. Miserable and disconsolate, he wandered about among the many tents, only to find that one place was as cold as another. Here and there savage dogs rushed upon him, but he bristled his neck-hair and snarled (for he was learning fast) and they let him go his way unmolested.

Finally an idea came to him. He would return and see how his own teammates were making out. To his astonishment, they had disappeared. Again he wandered about through the great camp, looking for them, and again he returned. Were they in the tent? No, that could not be, else he would not have been driven out. Then where could they possibly be? With drooping tail and shivering body, very forlorn indeed, he aimlessly circled the tent. Suddenly the snow gave way beneath his fore legs and he sank down. Something wriggled under his feet. He sprang back, bristling and snarling, fearful of the unseen and unknown. But a friendly little yelp reassured him, and he went back to investigate. A whiff of warm air ascended to his nostrils, and there, curled up under the snow in a snug ball, lay Billee. He whined placatingly, squirmed and wriggled to show his good will and intentions, and even ventured, as a bribe for peace, to lick Buck's face with his warm wet tongue.

Another lesson. So that was the way they did it, eh? Buck confidently selected a spot, and with much fuss and wasted effort proceeded to dig a hole for himself. In a trice the heat from his body filled the confined space and he was asleep. The day had been long and arduous, and he slept soundly and comfortably, though he growled and barked and wrestled with bad dreams.

Nor did he open his eyes till roused by the noises of the waking camp. At first he did not know where he was. It had snowed during the night and he was completely buried. The snow walls pressed him on every side, and a great surge of fear swept through him--the fear of the wild thing for the trap. It was a token that he was harking back through his own life to the lives of his forebears; for he was a civilized dog, an unduly civilized dog and of his own experience knew no trap and so could not of himself fear it. The muscles of his whole body contracted spasmodically and instinctively, the hair on his neck and shoulders stood on end, and with a ferocious snarl he bounded straight up into the blinding day, the snow flying about him in a flashing cloud. Ere he landed on his feet, he saw the white camp spread out before him and knew where he was and remembered all that had passed from the time he went for a stroll with Manuel to the hole he had dug for himself the night before.

A shout from Francois hailed his appearance. "What I say?" the dog-driver cried to Perrault. "Dat Buck for sure learn quick as anything."

Perrault nodded gravely. As courier for the Canadian Government, bearing important dispatches, he was anxious to secure the best dogs, and he was particularly gladdened by the possession of Buck.

Three more huskies were added to the team inside an hour, making a total of nine, and before another quarter of an hour had passed they were in harness and swinging up the trail toward the Yea Canyon. Buck was glad to be gone, and though the work was hard he found he did not particularly despise it. he was surprised at the eagerness which animated the whole team and which was communicated to him;i but still more surprising was the change wrought in Dave and Sol-leks. They were new dogs, utterly transformed by the harness. All passiveness and unconcern had dropped from them. They were alert and active, anxious that the work should go well, and fiercely irritable with whatever, by delay or confusion, retarded that work. The toil of the traces seemed the supreme expression of their being, and all that they lived for and the only thing in which they took delight.

Dave was wheeler or sled dog, pulling in front of him was Buck, then came Sol-leks; the rest of the team was strung out ahead, single file, to the leader, which position was filled by Spitz.

Buck had been purposely placed between Dave and Sol-leks so that he might receive instruction. Apt scholar that he was, they were equally apt teachers, never allowing him to linger long in error, and enforcing their teaching with their sharp teeth. Dave was fair and very wise. He never nipped Buck without cause, and he never failed to nip him when he stood in need of it. As Francois' whip backed him up, Buck found it to be cheaper to mend his ways than to retaliate. Once, during a brief halt, when he got tangled in the traces and delayed the start, both Dave and Sol-leks flew at him and administered a sound trouncing. The resulting tangle was even worse, but Buck took good care to keep the traces clear thereafter; and ere the day was done, so well had he mastered his work, his mates about ceased nagging him. Francois' whip snapped less frequently, and Perrault even honored Buck by lifting up his feet and carefully examining them.

It was a hard day's run, up the Canyon, through Sheep Camp, past the Scales and the timber line, across glaciers and snowdrifts hundreds of feet deep, and over the great Chilcoot Divide, which stands between the salt water and the fresh and guards forbiddingly the sad and lonely North. They made good time down the chain of lakes which fills the craters of extinct volcanoes, and late that night pulled into the huge camp at the head of Lake Bennett, where thousands of gold-seekers were building boats against the breakup of the ice in the spring. Buck made his hole in the snow and slept the sleep of the exhausted just, but all too early was routed out in the cold darkness and harnessed with his mates to the sled.

That day they made forty miles, the trail being packed; but the next day, and for many days to follow, they broke their own trail, worked harder, and made poorer time. As a rule, Perrault traveled ahead of the team, packing the snow with webbed shoes to make it easier for them. Francois, guiding the sled at the gee-pole, sometimes exchanged places with him, but not often. Perrault was in a hurry, and he prided himself on his knowledge of ice, which knowledge was indispensable, for the fall ice was very thin, and where there was swift water, there was no ice at all.

Day after day, for days unending, Buck toiled in the traces. Always, they broke camp in the dark, and the first gray of dawn found them hitting the trail with fresh miles reeled off behind them. And always they pitched camp after dark, eating their bit of fish, and crawling to sleep into the snow. Buck was ravenous. The pound and a half of sundried salmon, which was his ration for each day, seemed to go nowhere. He never had enough, and suffered from perpetual hunger pangs. Yet the other dogs, because they weighed less and were born to the life, received a pound only of the fish and managed to keep in good condition.

He swiftly lost the fastidiousness which had characterized his old life. A dainty eater, he found that his mates, finishing first, robbed him of his unfinished ration. There was no defending it. While he was fighting off two or three, it was disappearing down the throats of the others. To remedy this, he ate as fast as they; and, so greatly did hunger compel him, he was not above taking what did not belong to him. He watched and learned. When he saw Pike, one of the new dogs, a clever malingerer and thief, slyly steal a slice of bacon when Perrault's back was turned, he duplicated the performance the following day, getting away with the whole chunk. A great uproar was raised, but he was unsuspected; while Dub, an awkward blunderer who was always getting caught, was punished for Buck's misdeed.

This 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. It was all well enough in the Southland, under the law of love and fellowship, to respect private property and personal feeling; but in the Northland, under the law of club and fang, whoso took such things into account was a fool, and in so far as he observed them he would fail to prosper.

Not that Buck reasoned it out. He was fit, that was all, and unconsciously he accommodated himself to the new mode of life. All his days, no matter what the odds, he had never run from a fight. But the club of the man in the red sweater had beaten into him a more fundamental and primitive code. Civilized, he could have died for a moral consideration, say the defense of Judge Miller's riding whip; but the completeness of his decivilization was now evidenced by his ability to flee from the defense of a moral consideration and so save his hide. He did not steal for joy of it, but because of the clamor of his stomach. He did not rob openly, but stole secretly and cunningly, out of respect for club and fang. In short, the things he did were done because it was easier to do them than not to do them.

His development (or retrogression) was rapid. His muscles became hard as iron, and he grew callous to all ordinary pain. He achieved an internal as well as external economy. He could eat anything, no matter how loathsome or indigestible; and, once eaten, the juices of his stomach extracted the last least particle of nutriment; and his blood carried it to the farthest reaches of his body, building it into the toughest and stoutest of tissues. Sight and scent became remarkably keen, while his hearing developed such acuteness that in his sleep he heard the faintest sound and knew whether it heralded peace or peril. He learned to bite the ice out with his teeth when it collected between his toes; and when he was thirsty and there was a thick scum of ice over the water hole, he would break it by rearing and striking it with stiff fore legs. His most conspicuous trait was an ability to scent the wind and forecast it a night in advance. No matter how breathless the air when he dug his nest by tree or bank, the wind that later blew inevitably found him to leeward, sheltered and snug.

And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again. The domesticated generations fell from him. In vague ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed, to the time the wild dogs ranged in packs through the primeval forest and killed their meat as they ran it down. It was no task for him to learn to fight with cut and slash and the quick wolf snap. In this manner had fought forgotten ancestors. They quickened the old life within him, and the old tricks which they had stamped into the heredity of the breed were his tricks. They came to him without effort or discovery, as though they had been his always. And when, on the still cold nights, he pointed his nose at a star and howled long and wolf-like, it was his ancestors, dead and dust, pointing nose at star and howling down through the centuries and through him. And his cadences were their cadences, the cadences which voiced their woe and what to them was the meaning of the stillness, and the cold, and dark.

Thus, as token of what a puppet thing life is, the ancient song surged through him and he came into his own again; and he came because men had found a yellow metal in the North, and because Manuel was a gardener's helper whose wages did not lap over the needs of his wife and divers small copies of himself.

 

中文译文

译者:任学忠


大棒和狗牙的法律

巴克在戴伊海滨的第一天就像一场恶梦,每个小时都充满着震惊和激动,它从文明的心脏地区一下子跳到了原始荒漠的旋涡之中。这里没有懒惰、这里阳光灿烂,但这里除了闲荡和被讨厌外再也没有什么正经事可做。这里没有和平、没有休息、没有片刻的安全,一切都混乱不堪,都需要行动。在这里,每分钟生命和肢体都处在危险之中,都有一种强烈的需要,要时刻不断地保持机敏。因为这里的狗们和人们不是城里的狗们和人们,他们都是些野蛮的狗和野蛮的人,都是些不知法律为何物,只认大棒和狗牙的人们和狗们。
它从没见过狗和狗之间的战斗会像那些只有具备狼性的东西们之间的战斗那样地惨烈。它的第一次这样的经历就教给了它永不会忘记的一课。现在看起来这都是真的,但当时的认识却并非如此,别的什么经历都将不会像这次经历可以从中得到教诲。这次经历的牺牲者是柯利。
它们在木材场附近宿营,在那里柯利用友好的方式和一只身材丰满如狼的壮狗接近。那狗的身材不及柯利的一半。没有任何预兆,只是像闪电一样地一跳,一付似金属夹子一般的狗牙只那么一闪,柯利的脸上就从眼部到下鄂被撕开了一个大口子。这是只有狼才会有的作战方式。
还有比这更凶的,三四十只壮狗奔跑过来围住了正在作战的这两只狗,深怀敌意地、默默地把它们围成了一个圈。巴克一点都不了解它们这种热切的击败对手的方式。柯利冲向了它的敌手,那狗跳了起来躲向一边。柯里第二次又向它的胸脯冲去,那狗一个漂亮的翻滚,又使柯利扑了空。但柯利却再也没有把脚落在地上。这正是等在旁边的那些壮狗们所期待的,它们一下子围了过来,嚎着、吼着…柯利被埋葬了,它愤怒而凄惨地尖叫着、在那些毛发竖起、有着强键体魄的狗们的下面……
就是那么快、就是那么出人意料,以至于巴克都退后了一步。它看到斯佩茨用它那特有的方式伸出深红色的舌头笑着,它看到费兰柯斯挥着一把斧头跳进了乱轰轰的狗群中,三个拿大棒的男子也过来帮助他,他们驱散了那些狗。这没用多少时间,最多两分钟,柯利就倒下了。它的最后的一批凶手被大棒轰走了,柯利却躺在了那里,它的腿断了,无声无息的生命之驱浸泡在血泊之中,殷红的鲜血渗透了皑皑大地,它的驱体用不着想象已被撕成了碎片。黑皮肤的混血儿站在柯利的尸体旁边愤怒地咒骂着。这个场景经常在巴克的睡梦中显现。这就是生活,没有什么公平可说。一旦倒下了,那就是你的末日。对,巴克可以去看这个场景,但巴克决不能倒下。
斯佩茨吐出舌头又笑了,从这一刻起巴克就恨上了它,带着痛苦,带着不死的仇恨。
柯利的残死对它的打击还没有过去,巴克又糟受了另一次打击:费兰柯斯用皮带和扣子把它牢牢地捆绑了起来。这是一套枷锁,这种枷锁它见过。在南方的家里,那些鹅们就是这样被绑在马背上的。
就像它曾见到过的马是怎样干活儿的一样,巴克也被派上了这种活儿:用小雪撬拉着费兰柯斯去远在山谷边的森林里,回来时拉着一雪橇木头。它的骄傲的自尊虽说被当做了一般的“动物特遣队”所驱使了而受到了伤害,但它还是很聪明的没有反抗,它用一种意志力弯下腰去尽力奔跑。这种工作对它来说完全是崭新的、陌生的,而费兰柯斯又是严厉的、苛刻的,他随时都要求忠顺和听话。鞭子的优越性就是能不间断地收到这种忠顺和听话。戴夫是一个富有经验的雪橇掌舵者,无论巴克何时有了过失,它都只是轻轻咬一下它的后背。斯佩茨是狗队的队长,也很有经验。它总是不能理解巴克,它尖声咆哮着、时不时地责备着,或者狡猾地、自以为是地把巴克拉回到它想让它在的路上。巴克很容易就学会了这一点,在付了一定的代价后,它联络了另两名伙伴,使得费兰柯斯取得了辉煌的成就。节日前夜返回营地时,巴克已经很明白了:“号 、号”就是停,“马时 、马时”就是向前冲,拐弯时要绕个大圈子,而当负重的小雪撬滑下山坡紧跟在它们的后爪子时,一定要使掌舵的狗视野很清楚。
“真是三条好狗哇!”费兰柯斯告诉波罗特:“该死的巴克,真行!像座山一样,想让它多快就多快。”
到中午时分,波罗特沿着派他去的地方急急忙忙地回来了,还带来了两条狗。他叫它们比利和乔。这兄弟俩都很强壮,虽是一母所生,但性格却黑白分明。比利的缺点就是它有一付过分的好性子。而乔正好相反,脾气很坏,经常都在想着什么,不断地乱吼乱叫,还有一双恶毒的眼睛。巴克同志式地接待了它们,戴夫对它们不理不睬。而斯佩茨,则先是打败了一个,接着又想战胜另一个。比利息事宁人地摇着尾巴,发现自己的忍让无济于事干脆就跑开了。可斯佩茨的利牙还是咬住了它的侧身,比利也只是叫着、忍让着。但是乔却不行,不管斯佩茨如何地转圈,乔都蹬着后腿正面对着它,跟着它一起转圈。乔毛发竖起、耳朵后扬、嘴唇翻卷着、吼叫着、上下牙交错着随时要进行嘶咬、双眼恶魔一般残忍地闪着凶光……整个身体冲满了交战前的恐怖和紧张。面对乔如此可怕的形象,斯佩茨被迫放弃了对它的惩戒。但为了掩盖自己的失败,它就又转向那个并没招惹它、一直都在旁边悲叹的比利,将它一直欺侮到营地的边缘。
到了晚上,波罗特又弄来了一只狗。这狗看上去有点老,叫起来声音嘶哑,长长的身子贫弱而又憔悴,脸上有一快战斗留下来的伤疤,一只独眼闪着凶猛勇敢的光,一看就能引起尊敬。它叫索尔莱克斯,意思就是愤怒者。像戴夫一样,它什么也不要求、什么也不付出、什么也不期望。它慢慢行走的时候,心里老在盘算着什么,甚至连斯佩茨也不敢招惹它。它有一个怪癖,巴克不幸还没有发觉,就是它不愿别的狗走近它瞎眼的那一边。就为这个缘故,巴克无意中惹恼了它。当索尔莱克斯旋风般地扑向它,一口咬住了它肩膀上三寸深的骨头上下摆动时,巴克才为自己的轻率获得了第一次认识。从此以后,巴克就回避它瞎了眼的那一面,并一直到它们友谊的结束,再也没有发生过麻烦。索尔莱克斯唯一表面上的野心、抱负,像戴夫一样,就是单独走开。虽然,像巴克以后所学到的,它们每只狗都相对具有(也许是更加生气勃勃的)野心,但索尔莱克斯却不是这样的。
那天晚上,巴克面临着巨大的睡觉问题。帐篷被蜡烛所照亮,在可怕的旷野中闪着红光。当它很自然地像通常那样走进帐蓬时,波罗特和费兰柯斯的咒骂夹杂着一些炊食用具向它铺天盖地地仍了过来。它从惊恐中恢复后,可鄙地逃到了外面的寒冷之中。冷风刺骨地吹到了它的身上,尤其是恶毒地钻进了它受伤的肩膀里。它躺在雪堆旁试图睡觉,可是不久它就被冻得浑身发抖。怀着凄惨而郁闷的心情,它在众多的帐篷之间徘徊,只发现那些地方一个比一个更冷。到处都有野狗向它冲来,它就一直仰起脖子嗥叫,(这它学得很快)它们就不再折磨它,让它走开了。
最后它有了主意,它要返回去看看它的队友们的情形怎么样。使它吃惊的是,它们都不见了。它又一次在这个硕大的营地里徘徊,寻找着它们。它又一次想回到帐篷,它们在帐篷里吗?不,不可能,要不它就不会被赶出来的。那么它们都在哪里呢?带着一条颓丧底垂的尾巴和一个浑身发抖的身子,巴克极度地绝望。它毫无目标地在帐蓬之间兜着圈子。突然它的前腿踩到了一个雪堆陷了下去,有什么东西在它的脚下蠕动着。巴克一跃而起,竖起毛发吼叫了起来,对脚下这个不知道是什么东西的东西十分害怕。可是对方一声友好而小声的吠叫使它又平静了下来,于是它就走过去观察,一股暖气升到了它的鼻孔。那里,圈缩在雪下舒适的厅子里的是比利。比利悲哀而和解地叫着,慢慢蠕动着,百般扭动着身子表示着它良好的愿望和意图,甚至它还想冒险贿赂和平,用它那温暖潮湿的舌头来舔巴克的脸。
这又是一课,原来它们就是这么睡觉的。巴克十分自信地也选了一个点,故意大惊小怪地、磨磨蹭蹭地、极端费事地为自己挖了一个洞。身体的热量马上填满了那仅有的空间,它躺了下去睡着了。晚上的时间是漫长的、艰难的,它舒适地躺在那里、呼吸均匀、虽然在恶梦中它又吼又叫又乱动。
营地里噪杂的吵闹声把它惊醒,起先它不知在什么地方。下了一夜雪,它完全被埋了起来。四周的雪墙向它挤来,汹涌澎湃的恐怖之浪很快打遍了它的全身-------这是一种对荒野之中充满了陷井和圈套的恐怖。这是一个征兆。于是,它命令它的整个生命全部贯穿到它的忍耐、坚韧之中去。因为它是一条有文明意识的狗,一条非常文明化了的狗,它的生活经历里根本没有什么陷井、圈套之类的东西。因而它自己也从不害怕什么。现在,它全身的肌肉都痉孪而本能地绷紧了起来,脖子上、肩膀上的毛发从根部立起。它冲着灰朦朦的天空凶狠而残暴地嚎叫了一声,大雪像闪光的云飞落到它的身上。在四肢踏上土地之前,它已看到眼前就是那白色的营地,意识到现在它又在这个地方了。它回忆起了和曼纽尔一起去散步,一直想到昨天晚上挖这个洞过夜为止。
费兰柯斯的一声大喊使它回到了眼前:“我说什么来着?”这个赶狗人向波罗特喊着:“该死的巴克肯定学什么都非常快的!你看看它挖的这个洞!”
波罗特严肃地点点头。做为加拿大政府的信使,他负担着重要的公事,他十分焦急地想要找到最可靠的狗,他尤其满意巴克的表现。
一个钟头里狗队里又增加了几条强健的狗,使总数增加到了九只。没过多久它们就都被套上了绳索,摇摇摆摆地行进在通往戴伊卡农的路上了。巴克现在很高兴做这件活儿,虽然发现干这活很累,但它认识到实在不能小看了这活儿。它还非常吃惊地发现,它有一股使整个狗队生气勃勃的热情,这使它和其它的狗紧密地联系到了一起。更使它吃惊的是,戴夫和索尔莱克斯的工作态度也改变了。它们都是新狗,完全被绳索改造着。它们干什么都是被动的,没有关心给它们。它们很机敏,很有活力,焦急地想把活儿干好。不管什么被耽搁了、被弄乱了,它们都要凶狠地发火。它们存在的最高价值、它们生活的全部目地、以及它们所有的欢喜就是这一路上的苦役和幸劳。
戴夫是拉雪橇并掌舵的狗,巴克在它的前面,再前面是索尔莱克斯,其余的狗都在更前面。纵队的最前是队长,斯佩茨占着这个位置。
巴克一直希望站在戴夫和索尔莱克斯之间,以便可以接到指令,它是一只善于学习的狗。别的狗也同样,也是很善于教的教师。它们从不容许巴克走错路,总是用它们锐利的牙来教训它。戴夫很聪明、很公平,它从不无缘无辜地咬巴克。当巴克站在那里需要被咬一口时,戴夫就从不失败地来咬上它一口。而当费兰克斯的鞭子把巴克打回来,它就会发现改正自己的动作方式比报复戴夫更合算。
有一次,在一个什么建筑物都没有的停车点里,巴克缠缠绕绕地在道路上转来转去,因而耽误了出发。使它大为吃惊的是,戴夫和索尔莱克斯双双向它猛冲了过来,恶意地要咬它。结果它们把一切弄的更糟。从此,巴克就非常小心地保持着路线,那天它再也没有犯过错。它把它的那份活儿把握的那么好,以至于队友们再也不对它吹毛求疵地找错了。费兰克斯的鞭子也不那么经常地抽了,更有甚者,他还很赞赏地抬起巴克的四只脚仔仔细细地检查了一番。
那天到卡农的路非常难走。先是穿过了牧羊场,接着绕过了标距站和木材场,又跨过了多条冰河、几个数百英尺高的雪堆,在翻过了矗立在咸水、淡水之间、严俊地保卫着凄残孤独的北方、那个巨大的叫切利的分水岭后。他们就一路愉快地下到了连绵不断的、曾是火山喷火口的湖泊区。那天晚上很晚了才好不容易到达贝涅特湖边。那里成千上万的寻金人正在建造小木船,好用来对付春天里就要断开的冰。巴克在雪堆里精疲力尽地挖了个洞,好像刚刚躺了进去,却马上又在冰天雪地的黑暗中被早早地唤醒,和狗友们又被套上了拉雪橇的绳索。
那天他们跑了四十英里,道路都被雪填满了。第二天,以及接下来的许多天,他们一次又一次地划开路上的积雪卖力地向前奔跑。跑完规定路程的时间一次比一次少。按照常规,波罗特一直跑在队伍的前面,用他那双人工编织的靴子在前面踩着雪,以使狗队能较容易地跟着走。费兰克斯掌握驾驶杆,保持着雪橇的平衡。有时,他们两个交换着干活,可这种时候不多。波罗特干活性子急,但他对冰的知识却使他很是自豪。这种知识是不可缺少的,因为有些冰非常薄,而那些水在流动的地方根本就没有冰。
一天又一天,没完没了地,巴克套在挽绳里苦干着。它们总是刺破黑暗,走在营地第一末灰色的晨光下。能看到它们隐没在曲曲折折的路上,留下了一串串新踩出的脚印。它们也总是天黑以后才回到营地,吃完它们的那份鱼,萎缩在雪里睡觉。巴克吃起东西来狼吞虎咽,一磅半重、被太阳晒干了的鲑鱼干是它每天的定量。可这点定量对它来说就和没吃一样,它从来都吃不饱,一直都遭受着饥饿的痛苦。可是其他的狗,一来体重轻,二来一直都是生活在这种环境里,所以即便是只吃一磅鱼也能过个好光景了。
巴克很快改掉了挑三检四的毛病,这毛病是它在过去的生活里养成的。它发现它的队友们个个都有好胃口,个个都是美味的品尝者。它们先吃完了自己的那份,就过来抢夺它还没吃完的份额。这里没有东西可以捍卫这份份额,等它击退了这边的,那份剩鱼早被那边的队友咽到肚子里去了。为了补救,它从此就和它们吃得一样快,于是就有一种那么巨大的饥饿感压迫着它。但它却没有去吃那不属于它的东西,它观察着,研究着。
它看见新狗派克,一个聪明的装病者和窃贼,在波罗特转身时狡猾地偷走了一片熏肉。于是第二天起,巴克也这么干,还加倍地干,它偷走了整快的肉。这可引起了轩然大波,可它并没有被怀疑。到是塔布,一条笨拙的、盲目的狗老是被抓住,为巴克的错误举动而受惩罚。
第一次的偷窃表明:巴克在这北方的、有敌意的环境中仍然活着,这证明了它的适应性,这种适应性最大限度地调正着它的能力,以适应这种变化着的环境。缺少这种适应性将意昧着快速和可怕的死亡。这也进一步表明了:它那生来就有的、自然的、本质上的道义,那种徒有虚名但却妨碍事情的东西,在残酷的生存斗争中正一点一点地消失。这东西在南方,在爱和友谊的法律下,要赢得别人的好感和尊敬是足够了。但是在这里,在北方,在大绑和狗牙的法律下,不管是谁,要是把这些东西也当回事,那它就是个傻瓜。就它目前所观察到的,再那样去做,它就不能生存,更谈不上成功。
巴克没有理由把这些说出来。它只是要适应,这就够了。在无意识中,它适当地调整着自己,来适应这种新的生活方式。在它过去所有的日子里,不管情况是多么的紧急和不利,它从不在战斗中逃跑。但是穿红毛线衣男子的大棒给了它一个更基本、更原始的信号。
说起文明和教化,就要说到法官磨房主马鞭的保护。那时,它能为了道德的因素去献身。可是现在,它已经不文明了,这能从它逃离道德因素的能力上得到证明。但这却挽救了它的生命,在这严寒的北方,从文明那里它得不到丝毫快乐,它的一切作为都只是为了它那吵闹和叫唤的胃。它没有公开去抢什么,而是秘密地、狡猾地去偷,这都是出于对大棒和狗牙的尊敬。一句话,它能做的它都做了,因为这样做要比不这样做容易生存得多。
它发展得(或者说堕落得)很快。它的肌肉变得像铁一样地坚硬。对一般的痛苦,它都能表现出无情。这样,它不仅获得了内部的、同时也获得了外部的经济利益。它能吃下任何能吃的东西,不管这东西有多么讨厌和恶心,也不管有多么难消化。只要它吃下这东西,它的胃液就能从这种东西中抽出最后的营养物来,哪怕是一分子、一粒子;而它的血液也就能把这些营养物输送到它身体最边远的地方,去建造一套最顽固、最凶恶、最强壮、最勇敢得体魄。它的目光、嗅觉变得异常地灵敏,它的听力发展得如此敏感,以至于在睡梦中都能听到最轻微、最模糊的声音,都能预报出这声音是和平的还是危险的。它学会了用嘴叼走聚集在它脚下的冰快;当它干渴但冰快上有一层厚厚的冰渣子时,它会用坚硬的前腿把冰渣子扒开。
它最显著的特点就是在晚上行进时,有能力嗅到风并提前预报;而当风不可避免地刮来时,不管风如何使人要憋住气,它都会在树下或岸边背风处给自己挖一个洞,舒舒服服地隐藏在那里。
它不仅只从经验里去学习,而且还从它的身体里去寻找潜能,那种过去曾经长期死去了的本能如今也活了过来。它是被一代代地驯养所传下来的狗,它模模糊糊地记得它年轻受驯养的时候。当时那些野狗们挤成了一堆、穿过原始森林、在奔跑途中杀死猎物,而它却没有任务要去学习撕呀、扯呀、像快速奔跑的狼那样猛咬呀等战斗技能,这些技能都是它的那些被它遗忘了的祖先们所采用的。这样的回忆使它加快了恢复到旧时生话的速度。那些已经深深地印在它遗传基因里的、旧式的诡计现在都成了它的诡计了,它们不费吹灰之力就又回到了它的身上,就仿佛这些东西一开始就都是它的似的。
在这寒冷的夜晚,它抬头仰望星空,长时间狼一样地嗥叫。这种嗥叫和它那些早已经死了、变成灰烬了的祖先们的一样。祖先们也仰望星空、也嗥叫,这种嗥叫就世世代代传了下来,传到了它的身上。它嗥叫的韵律就是祖先们的韵律。这种表达悲哀和灾难的韵律,这种它们遗传下来的东西就意昧着沉默、寒冷和黑暗。
就这样,作为一种傀儡生活的象征,古老的祖先们的歌曲像大浪一样汹涌而来,涌到了它的身上,于是它也有了自己的歌。它来到了这里,因为人们在这北方发现了一种黄色的金属,还因为作为看护法官磨房主花园的助手,曼纽尔的工资满足不了他以及妻儿老小各方面的开支。于是它就来到了这里。

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本文由来源 london.sonoma.edu,由 ChengYe 整理编辑!

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