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野性的呼唤:第三章·The Call of the Wild:Chapter3(Jack London 杰克·伦敦)英汉双语

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London


CHAPTER 3

THE DOMINANT PRIMORDIAL BEAST

The dominant primordial beast was strong in Buck, and under the fierce conditions of trail life it grew and grew. Yet it was a secret growth. His newborn cunning gave him poise and control. He was too busy adjusting himself to the new life to feel at ease, and not only did he not pick fights, but he avoided them whenever possible. A certain deliberateness characterized his attitude. He was not prone to rashness and precipitate action; and in the bitter hatred between him and Spitz he betrayed no impatience, shunned all offensive acts.

On the other hand, possibly because he divined in Buck a dangerous rival, Spitz never lost an opportunity of showing his teeth. He even went out of his way to bully Buck, striving constantly to start the fight which could end only in the death of one or the other.

Early in the trip this might have taken place had it not been for an unwonted accident. At the end of this day they made a bleak and miserable camp on the shore of Lake Le Barge. Driving snow, a wind that cut like a white-hot knife, and darkness, had forced them to grope for a camping place. They could hardly have fared worse. At their backs rose a perpendicular wall of rock, and Perrault and Francois were compelled to make their fire and spread their sleeping robes on the ice of the lake itself. The tent they had discarded at Yea in order to travel light. A few sticks of driftwood furnished them with a fire that thawed down through the ice and left them to eat supper in the dark.

Close in under the sheltering rock Buck made his nest. So snug and warm was it, that he was loath to leave it when Francois distributed the fish which he had first thawed over the fire. But when Buck finished his ration and returned, he found his nest occupied. A warning snarl told him that the trespasser was Spitz. Till now Buck had avoided trouble with his enemy, but this was too much. The beast in him roared. He sprang upon Spitz with a fury which surprised them both, and Spitz particularly, for his whole experience with Buck had gone to teach him that his rival was an unusually timid dog, who managed to hold his own only because of his great weight and size.

Francois was surprised, too, when they shot out in a tangle from the disrupted nest and he divined the cause of the trouble. "A-a-ah!" he cried to Buck. "Give it to him by Gar! Give it to him, the dirty thief!"

Spitz was equally willing. He was crying with sheer rage and eagerness as he circled back and forth for a chance to spring in. Buck was no less eager, and no less cautious, as he likewise circled back and forth for the advantage. But it was then that the unexpected happened, the thing which projected their struggle for supremacy far into the future, past many a weary mile of trail and toil.

An oath from Perrault, the resounding impact of a club upon a bony frame, and a shrill yelp of pain, heralded the breaking forth of pandemonium. the camp was suddenly discovered to be alive with skulking furry forms--starving huskies, four or five score of them, who had scented the camp from some Indian village. They had crept in while Buck and Spitz were fighting, and when the two men sprang among them with stout clubs they showed their teeth and fought back. They were crazed by the smell of the food. Perrault found one with head buried in the grub-box. His club landed heavily on the gaunt ribs, and the grub-box was capsized on the ground. On the instant a score of the famished brutes were scrambling for the bread and bacon. The clubs fell upon them unheeded. They yelped and howled under the rain of blows, but struggled none the less madly till the last crumb had been devoured.

In the meantime the astonished team-dogs had burst out of their nests only to be set upon by the fierce invaders. Never had Buck seen such dogs. It seemed as though their bones would burst through their skins. They were mere skeletons, draped loosely in draggled hides, with blazing eyes and slavered fangs. But the hunger-madness made them terrifying, irresistible. There was no opposing them. The team-dogs were swept back against the cliff at the first onset. Buck was beset by three huskies, and in a trice his head and shoulders were ripped and slashed. The din was frightful. Billee was crying as usual. Dave and Sol-leks, dripping blood from a score of wounds, were fighting bravely side by side. Joe was snapping like a demon. Once his teeth closed on the fore leg of a husky, and he crunched down through the bone. Pike, the malingerer, leaped upon the crippled animal, breaking its neck with a quick flash of teeth and a jerk. Buck got a frothing adversary by the throat, and was sprayed with blood when his teeth sank through the jugular. The warm taste of it in his mouth goaded him to greater fierceness. He flung himself upon another, and at the same time felt teeth sink into his own throat. It was Spitz, treacherously attacking from the side.

Perrault and Francois, having cleaned out their part of the camp, hurried to save their sled-dogs. The wild wave of famished beasts rolled back before them, and Buck shook himself free. But is was only for a moment. The two men were compelled to run back to save the grub; upon which the huskies returned to the attack on the team. Billee, terrified into bravery, sprang through the savage circle and fled away over the ice. Pike and Dub followed on his heels, with the rest of the team behind. As Buck drew himself together to spring after them, out of the tail of his eye he saw Spitz rush upon him with the evident intention of overthrowing him. Once off his feet and under that mass of huskies, there was no hope for him. But he braced himself to the shock of Spitz's charge, then joined the flight out on the lake.

Later, the nine team-dogs gathered together and sought shelter in the forest. Though unpursued, they were in a sorry plight. There was not one who was not wounded in four or five places, while some were wounded grievously. Dub was badly injured in a hind leg; Dolly, the last husky added to the team at Yea, had a badly torn throat; Joe had lost an eye; while Billee, the good-natured, with an ear chewed and rent to ribbons, cried and whimpered throughout the night. At daybreak they limped warily back to camp, to find the marauders gone and the two men in bad tempers. Fully half their grub supply was gone. The huskies had chewed through the sled lashings and canvas coverings. In fact, nothing, no matter how remotely eatable, had escaped them. They had eaten a pair of Perrault's moose-hide moccasins, chunks out of the leather traces, and even two feet of lash from the end of Francois's whip. He broke from a mournful contemplation of it to look over his wounded dogs.

"Ah, my friends," he said softly, "mebbe it make you mad dog, those many bites. Mebbe all mad dog, sacredam! What you think, eh, Perrault?"

The courier shook his head dubiously. With four hundred miles of trail still between him and Dawson, he could ill afford to have madness break out among his dogs. Two hours of cursing and exertion got the harnesses into shape, and the wound-stiffened team was under way, struggling painfully over the hardest part of the trail they had yet encountered, and for that matter, the hardest between them and Dawson.

The Thirty Mile River was wide open. Its wild water defied the frost, and it was in the eddies only and in the quiet places that the ice held at all. Six days of exhausting toil were required to cover those thirty terrible miles. And terrible they were, for every foot of them was accomplished at the risk of life to dog and man. A dozen times, Perrault, nosing the way, broke through the ice bridges, being saved by the long pole he carried, which he so held that it fell each time across the hole made by his body. But a cold snap was on, the thermometer registering fifty below zero, and each time he broke through he was compelled for very life to build a fire and dry his garments.

Nothing daunted him. It was because nothing daunted him that he had been chosen for government courier. He took all manner of risks, resolutely thrusting his little weazened face into the frost and struggling on from dim dawn to dark. He skirted the frowning shores on rim ice that bent and crackled under foot and upon which they dared not halt. Once, the sled broke through, with Dave and Buck, and they were half-frozen and all but drowned by the time they were dragged out. The usual fire was necessary to save them. They were coated solidly with ice, and the two men kept them on the run around the fire, sweating and thawing, so close that they were singed by the flames.

At another time Spitz went through, dragging the whole team after him up to Buck, who strained backward with all his strength, his fore paws on the slippery edge and the ice quivering and snapping all around. But behind him was Dave, likewise straining backward, and behind the sled was Francois, pulling till his tendons cracked.

Again, the rim ice broke away before and behind, and there was no escape except up the cliff. Perrault scaled it by a miracle, while Francois prayed for just that miracle; and with every thong and sled lashing and the last bit of harness rove into a long rope, the dogs were hoisted, one by one, to the cliff crest. Francois came up last, after the sled and load. Then came the search for a place to descend, which descent was ultimately made by the aid of the rope, and night found them back on the river with a quarter of a mile to the day's credit.

By the time they made the Hootalinqua and good ice, Buck was played out. The rest of the dogs were in like condition; but Perrault, to make up lost time, pushed them late and early. The first day they covered thirty-five miles to the Big Salmon; the next day thirty-five more to the Little Salmon; the third day forty miles, which brought them well up toward the Five Fingers.

Buck's feet were not so compact and hard as the feet of the huskies. His had softened during the many generations since the day his last wild ancestor was tamed by a cave dweller or river man. All day long he limped in agony, and camp once made, lay down like a dead dog. Hungry as he was, he would not move to receive his ration of fish, which Francois had to bring to him. Also, the dog-driver rubbed Buck's feet for half an hour each night after supper, and sacrificed the tops of his own moccasins to make four moccasins for Buck. This was a great relief, and Buck caused even the weazened face of Perrault to twist itself into a grin one morning, when Francois forgot the moccasins and Buck lay on his back, his four feet waving appealingly in the air, and refused to budge without them. later his feet grew hard to the trail, and the worn-out footgear was thrown away.

At the Pelly one morning, as they were harnessing up, dolly, who had never been conspicuous for anything, went suddenly mad. She announced her condition by a long, heart-breaking wolf howl that sent every dog bristling with fear, then sprang straight for Buck. He had never seen a dog go mad, nor did he have any reason to fear madness; yet he knew that here was horror, and fled away from it in a panic. Straight away he raced, with Dolly, panting and frothing, one leap behind; nor could she gain on him, so great was his terror, nor could he leave her, so great was her madness. He plunged through the wooded breast of the island, flew down to the lower end, crossed a back channel filled with rough ice to another island, gained a third island, curved back to the main river, and in desperation started to cross it. And all the time, though he did not look, he could hear her snarling just one leap behind. Francois called to him a quarter of a mile away and he doubled back, still one leap ahead, gasping painfully for air and putting all his faith in that Francois would save him. the dog-driver held the axe poised in his hand, and as Buck shot past him the axe crashed down upon mad Dolly's head.

Buck staggered over against the sled, exhausted, sobbing for breath, helpless. This was Spitz's opportunity. He sprang upon Buck, and twice his teeth sank into his unresisting foe and ripped and tore the flesh to the bone. Then Francois' lash descended, and Buck had the satisfaction of watching Spitz receive the worst whipping as yet administered to any of the team.

"One devil, dat Spitz," remarked Perrault. "Some dam day him kill dat Buck."

"Dat Buck two devils," was Francois's rejoinder. "All de time I watch dat Buck I know for sure. Lissen: some dam fine day him get mad like hell and den him chew dat Spitz all up and spit him out on de snow. Sure, I know."

From then on it was war between them. Spitz, as lead-dog and acknowledged master of the team, felt his supremacy threatened by this strange Southland dog.F And strange Buck was to him, for of the many Southland dogs he had known, not one had shown up worthily in camp and on trail. They were all too soft, dying under the toil, the frost, and starvation. Buck was the exception. He alone endured and prospered, matching the husky in strength, savagery, and cunning.E Then he was a masterful dog, and what made him dangerous was the fact that the club of the man in the red sweater had knocked all blind pluck and rashness out of his desire for mastery. He was preeminently cunning, and could bide his time with a patience that was nothing less than primitive.

It was inevitable that the clash for leadership should come. Buck wanted it. He wanted it because it was his nature, because he had been gripped tight by that nameless, incomprehensible pride of the trail and trace--that pride which holds dogs in the toil to the last gasp, which lures them to die joyfully in the harness, and breaks their hearts if they are cut out of the harness. This was the pride of Dave as wheel-dog, of Sol-leks as he pulled with all his strength; the pride that laid hold of them at break of camp, transforming them from sour and sullen brutes into straining, eager, ambitious creatures; the pride that spurred them on all day and dropped them at pitch of camp at night, letting them fall back into gloomy unrest and discontent. This was the pride that bore up Spitz and made him thrash the sled-dogs who blundered and shirked in the traces or hid away at harness-up time in the morning. Likewise it was this pride that made him fear Buck as a possible lead-dog. And this was Buck's pride, too.

He openly threatened the other's leadership. He came between him and the shirks he should have punished. And he did it deliberately. One night there was a heavy snowfall, and in the morning Pike, the malingerer, did not appear. He was securely hidden in his nest under a foot of snow. Francois called him and sought him in vain. Spitz was wild with wrath. He raged through the camp, smelling and digging in every likely place, snarling so frightfully that Pike heard and shivered in his hiding-place.

But when he was at last unearthed, and Spitz flew at him to punish him, Buck flew with equal rage, in between. So unexpected was it, and so shrewdly managed, that Spitz was hurled backward and off his feet. Pike, who had been trembling abjectly, took heart at this open mutiny, and sprang upon his overthrown leader. Buck, to whom fair play was a forgotten code, likewise sprang upon Spitz. But Francois, chuckling at the incident while unswerving in the administration of justice, brought his lash down upon Buck with all his might. This failed to drive Buck from his prostrate rival, and the butt of the whip was brought into play. Half-stunned by the blow, Buck was knocked backward and the lash laid upon him again and again, while Spitz soundly punished the many times offending Pike.

In the days that followed, as Dawson grew closer and closer, Buck still continued to interfere between Spitz and the culprits; but he did it craftily, when Francois was not around. With the covert mutiny of Buck, a general insubordination sprang up and increased. Dave and Sol-leks were unaffected, but the rest of the team went from bad to worse. Things no longer went right. There was continual bickering and jangling. Trouble was always afoot, and at the bottom of it was Buck. He kept Francois busy, for the dog-driver was in constant apprehension of the life-and-death struggle between the two which he knew must take place sooner or later; and on more than one night the sounds of quarreling and strife among the other dogs turned him out of his sleeping robe, fearful that Buck and Spitz were at it.

But the opportunity did not present itself, and they pulled into Dawson one dreary afternoon with the great fight still to come. Here were many men, and countless dogs, and Buck found them all at work. It seemed the ordained order of things that dogs should work. All day they swung up and down the main street in long teams, and in the night their jingling bells still went by. They hauled cabin logs and firewood, freighted up to the mines, and did all manner of work that horses did in the Santa Clara Valley. Here and there Buck met Southland dogs, but in the main they were the wild wolf husky breed. Every night, regularly, at nine, at twelve, and three, they lifted a nocturnal song, a weird and eerie chant, in which it was Buck's delight to join.

With the aurora borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might have been the defiance of life, only it was pitched in minor key, with long-drawn wailings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading of life, the articulate travail of existence. It was an old song, old as the breed itself--one of the first songs of the younger world in a day when songs were sad. It was invested with the woe of unnumbered generations, this plaint by which Buck was so strangely stirred. When he moaned and sobbed, it was with the pain of living that was of old the pain of his wild fathers, and the fear and mystery of the cold and dark that was to them fear and mystery. And that he should be stirred by it marked the completeness with which he harked back through the ages of fire and roof to the raw beginnings of life in the howling ages.

Seven days from the time they pulled into Dawson, they dropped down the steep bank by the Barracks to the Yukon Trail, and pulled for Yea and Salt Water. Perrault was carrying dispatches if anything more urgent than those he had brought in; also, the travel pride had gripped him, and he purposed to make the record trip of the year. Several things favored him in this. The week's rest had recuperated the dogs and put them in thorough trim. The trail they had broken into the country was packed hard by later journeyers. And further, the police had arranged in two or three places deposits of grub for dog and man, and he was traveling light.

They made Sixty Mile, which is a fifty-mile run, on the first day; and the second day saw them booming up the Yukon well on their way to Pelly. But such splendid running was achieved not without great trouble and vexation on the part of Francois. The insidious revolt led by Buck had destroyed the solidarity of the team. It no longer was as one dog leaping in the traces. The encouragement Buck gave the rebels led them into all kinds of petty misdemeanors. No more was Spitz a leader greatly to be feared. The old awe departed, and they grew equal to challenging his authority. Pike robbed him of half a fish one night, and gulped it down under the protection of Buck. Another night Dub and Joe fought Spitz and made him forego the punishment they deserved. And even Billee, the good-natured, was less good-natured, and whined not half so placatingly as in former days. Buck never came near Spitz without snarling and bristling menacingly. In fact, his conduct approached that of a bully, and he was given to swaggering up and down before Spitz's very nose.

The breaking down of discipline likewise affected the dogs in their relations with one another. They quarreled and bickered more than ever among themselves, till at times the camp was a howling bedlam. Dave and Sol-leks alone were unaltered, though they were made irritable by the unending squabbling. Francois swore strange barbarous oaths, and stamped the snow in futile rage, and tore his hair. His lash was always singing among the dogs, but it was of small avail. Directly his back was turned they were at it again. He backed up Spitz with his whip, while Buck backed up the remainder of the team. Francois knew he was behind all the trouble, and Buck knew he knew; but Buck was too clever ever again to be caught red-handed. He worked faithfully in the harness, for the toil had become a delight to him; yet it was a greater delight slyly to precipitate a fight amongst his mates and tangle the traces.

At the mouth of the Tahkeena, one night after supper, Dub turned up a snowshoe rabbit, blundered it, and missed. In a second the whole team was in full cry. A hundred yards away was a camp of the Northwest Police, with fifty dogs, huskies all, who joined the chase. The rabbit sped down the river, turned off into a small creek, up the frozen bed of which it held steadily. It ran lightly on the surface of the snow, while the dogs plowed through by main strength. Buck led the pack, sixty strong, around bend after bend, but he could not gain. He lay down low to the race, whining eagerly, his splendid body flashing forward, leap by leap, in the wan white moonlight. And leap by leap, like some pale frost wraith, the snowshoe rabbit flashed on ahead.

All that stirring of old instincts which at stated periods drives men out from the sounding cities to forest and plain to kill things by chemically propelled leaden pellets, the bloodlust, the joy to kill--all this was Buck's, only it was infinitely more intimate. He was ranging at the head of the pack, running the wild thing down, the living meat, to kill with his own teeth and wash his muzzle to the eyes in warm blood.

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad on a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight. He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time. He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars and over the face of dead matter that did not move.

But Spitz, cold and calculating even in his supreme moods, left the pack and cut across a narrow neck of land where the creek made a long bend around. Buck did not know of this, and as he rounded the bend, the frost wraith of a rabbit still flitting before him, he saw another and larger frost wraith leap from the overhanging bank into the immediate path of the rabbit. It was Spitz. The rabbit could not turn, and as the white teeth broke its back in mid air it shrieked as loudly as a stricken man may shriek. At sound of this, the cry of Life plunging down from Life's apex in the grip of Death, the full pack at Buck's heels raised a hell's chorus of delight.

Buck did not cry out. He did not check himself, but drove in upon Spitz, shoulder to shoulder, so hard that he missed the throat. They rolled over and over in the powdery snow. Spitz gained his feet almost as though he had not been overthrown, slashing Buck down the shoulder and leaping clear. Twice his teeth clipped together, like the steel jaws of a trap, as he backed away for better footing, with lean and lifting lips that writhed and snarled.

In a flash Buck knew it. The time had come. It was to the death. As they circled about, snarling, ears laid back, keenly watchful for the advantage, the scene came to Buck with a sense of familiarity. He seemed to remember it all--the white woods, and earth, and moonlight, and the thrill of battle. Over the whiteness and silence brooded a ghostly calm. There was not the faintest whisper of air--nothing moved, not a leaf quivered, the visible breaths of the dogs rising slowly and lingering in the frosty air. They had made short work of the snowshoe rabbit, these dogs that were ill-tamed wolves; and they were now drawn up in an expectant circle. They, too, were silent, their eyes only gleaming and their breaths drifting slowly upward. To Buck it was nothing new or strange, this scene of old time. It was as though it had always been, the wonted way of things.

Spitz was a practiced fighter. From Spitzbergen through the Arctic, and across Canada and the Barrens, he had held his own with all manner of dogs and achieved to mastery over them. Bitter rage was his, but never blind rage. In passion to rend and destroy, he never forgot that his enemy was in like passion to rend and destroy. He never rushed till he was prepared to receive a rush; never attacked till he had first defended that attack.

In vain Buck strove to sink his teeth in the neck of the big white dog. Wherever his fangs struck for the softer flesh, they were countered by the fangs of Spitz. Fang clashed fang, and lips were cut and bleeding, but Buck could not penetrate his enemy's guard. Then he warmed up and enveloped Spitz in a whirlwind of rushes. Time and time again he tried for the snow-white throat, where life bubbled near to the surface, and each time and every time Spitz slashed him and got away. Then Buck took to rushing, as though for the throat, when, suddenly drawing back his head and curving in from the side, he would drive his shoulder at the shoulder of Spitz, as a ram by which to overthrow him. But instead, Buck's shoulder was slashed down each time as Spitz leaped lightly away.

Spitz was untouched, while Buck was streaming with blood and panting hard. The fight was growing desperate. And all the while the silent and wolfish circle waited to finish off whichever dog went down. As Buck grew winded, Spitz took to rushing, and he kept him staggering for footing. Once Buck went over, and the whole circle of sixty dogs started up; but he recovered himself, almost in mid air, and the circle sank down again and waited.

But Buck possessed a quality that made for greatness--imagination. He fought by instinct, but he could fight by head as well he rushed, as though attempting the old shoulder trick, but at the last instant swept low to the snow and in. His teeth closed on Spitz's left fore leg. There was a crunch of breaking bone, and the white dog faced him on three legs. Thrice he tried to knock him over, then repeated the trick and broke the right fore leg. Despite the pain and helplessness, Spitz struggled madly to keep up. He saw the silent circle, with gleaming eyes, lolling tongues, and silvery breaths drifting upward, closing in upon him as he had seen similar circles close in upon beaten antagonists in the past. Only this time he was the one who was beaten.

There was no hope for him. Buck was inexorable. Mercy was a thing reserved for gentler climes. He maneuvered for the final rush. The circle had tightened till he could feel the breaths of the huskies on his flanks. He could see them, beyond Spitz and to either side, half-crouching for the spring, their eyes fixed upon him. A pause seemed to fall. Every animal was motionless as though turned to stone. Only Spitz quivered and bristled as he staggered back and forth, snarling with horrible menace, as though to frighten off impending death. Then Buck sprang in and out; but while he was in, shoulder had at last squarely met shoulder. The dark circle became a dot on the moon flooded snow as Spitz disappeared from view. Buck stood and looked on, the successful champion, the dominant primordial beast who had made his kill and found it good.

 

中文译文

译者:任学忠


超群的原始兽

巴克身上显现出了一种超群的原始兽的本色。在这凶险的生存条件中,这种本色越来越成熟。但这是一种秘密的成熟。它新生的狡猾使它泰然自若,很有自制力。它忙于调节着自己,安心地面对着新的生活。它不仅不选择战斗,而是还尽量可能地去避免这些争斗,这种明确地考虑形成了它的生活姿态。它不偏好于性急,不过早地陷进麻烦之中去。在它和斯佩茨之间令人急迫的仇恨中,它耐着性子,回避着烦人的进攻欲望。
另一方面,也许是斯佩茨猜测出了巴克是一个危险的敌手,因此斯佩茨从不放弃任何一个显示它牙齿的机会。它甚至于经常明显地威吓巴克,一直都在拼死争取着一种一但开始其结果就是你死我活的争斗。在旅途的早期,这种预料中可能会发生的突发事件还没有发生。这天结束时,它们到了勒 ? 巴支湖边,在这里他们建起了一个悲切凄凉的营地。风像一把自然界的刀子刺骨地吹着雪,黑暗使它们摸索着寻找能睡觉的地方,它们几乎是不能把事情弄得更糟了。它们的身后是一道垂死的悬崖,波罗特和费兰柯斯被迫在这里升起了火,在湖的冰面上铺开了睡袍,帐蓬已在来戴伊卡农的路上为了减轻重量扔掉了。好不容易用几根漂浮的木头点着了火,用冰化开了水,在黑暗中吃了晚饭。
紧挨着岩石的隐蔽处巴克给自己弄了一个窝,窝里又暖和又舒服,它再也不愿离开了。这时费兰柯斯分配了他在火中第一批融化开了的鱼,可是当巴克在吃完了自己的那份返回时,它发现它的窝被占了,一声警觉的叫声告诉它侵入者是斯佩茨。一直到现在巴克始终避免着和它的敌人有什么麻烦,可是这次太过份了。它怒吼一声,凶狠地扑向斯佩茨,这使它们俩都大吃一惊。
斯佩茨尤其惊得厉害,它和巴克所有的经历都在告诉它,它的敌手巴克是一个非常胆小的狗,它只经营它自己的事,因为它的身体太笨重了、太庞大了,它能自己走动起来就已经不错了。
费兰柯斯也吃了一惊,当它们咆哮着纠缠在一起、从裂开了的窝里滚了出来的时候,他一下子预感到出事了。:“啊… 哈… ”他对巴克喊到:“把东西给它!把东西给它!上帝呀,把东西给它!你这个肮脏的贼!”
斯佩茨意志坚决,它绝对地发狂了,热切地转着圈子,瞅准机会向前猛冲。巴克一点也不缺意志,一丝一毫都不敢懈怠,极其小心谨慎。它同样地转着圈子,瞅准机会向前冲出。它们投入的战斗达到了登峰造极的地步,你撕我扯地在它们来过的路上拉出了好几英里。就在这时,意想不到的事情发生了。
波罗特骂着脏话,传来了大棒落在骨架上的响声。
怒凶凶痛苦的尖叫声预报着就要发生大混乱,营地一下子被活生生躲闪着的皮毛复盖了-------约有七、八十只饿极了的烈狗从附近印地安村庄嗅到这边的气息,就向这边扑来。当巴克和斯佩茨正撕咬得起劲的时候,它们像潮水般地漫过来了。那俩个人,波罗特和费兰柯斯在狗群中用力地挥舞着大棒。野狗们张开了大口,张开了獠牙反扑着,它们闻到了食物的气味变得疯狂了。
波罗特发现一只狗正埋头在食物盒里,他的大棒狠狠地落在那狗瘦削的肋骨上,连食物盒都被打翻在地。说时迟那时快,分明饿极了的野狗们奔涌而上,争夺着面包和大熏肉,任凭大棒落在它们的身上。野饿狗们在雨点般的大棒下吼着、叫着,直到最后的面包屑都被狼吞虎咽完了,疯狂的争斗才稍稍有所收敛。
这时,吃惊了的家狗们也从窝里冲了出来,但它们只能忍受凶恶入侵者的进攻。巴克从没有见过这些狗。这些狗看起来瘦削的骨头要把包着躯体的皮刺破,浑身上下只有骨架。那张狗皮松松垮垮地像湿拖布似的搭在身上,一双发怒的眼睛,一口淌着口水的白色獠牙。那副饥饿疯狂的样子看上去很是恐怖,觉得不可抵抗,也没有什么东西敢反抗它们。
这些家狗们第一次攻击时就退回到了悬崖峭壁前。巴克被三条野狗包围着,它的头和肩膀被撕扯着,撕咬声是令人惊骇的。比利像平常一样地叫着;戴夫和索尔莱克斯好几处伤口在流血,勇敢地、肩并肩地战斗着;乔恶魔似地猛咬着,它的牙齿死死地咬住了一只烈狗的前腿,咯吱咯吱地嚼着骨头。而派克,那只装病的狗,跳到了一只断了前腿的烈狗身上,白牙一闪,急急地咬住了它的脖子。巴克嘴里起着白沫咬住了一只野狗的喉咙,牙齿深深地咬进那狗的颈部,一股血喷了出来,舌头上温暖血液的味道驱使它更加凶狠起来,它猛地又冲向另一只野狗。
与此同时,它觉得有牙齿咬进了它自己的喉咙,咬的很深,原来是斯佩茨从旁边背叛地向它进攻了。
波罗特和费兰柯斯在弄干净营地后,急忙来救他们拉雪橇的狗。那些饿昏了头的野兽们组成的流动的大浪稍稍有所后退,巴克就使自己获得了自由,可是也只是仅有那么一小会儿。这两个人又被迫回身去救他们的食物,那些饿狗们又跑向他们的食物了。比利在恐怖中变的勇敢了,戴夫和塔布紧跟在它的后面,其余的狗们也紧随其后。巴克也抽身跟在它们的后面。从眼睛的斜光中,它看见斯佩茨正带着明显的力度向它冲来,要撞倒它。一旦它的双脚离地,倒在那些狗的下面,那它就没有什么指望了。但它撑住了斯佩茨的冲击力,加入到家狗们在湖面上的逃跑队伍中去了。
后来这九条狗的队伍又聚集在一起,在森林中寻找着藏身处。虽然不被追赶了,但还处在困境中。每只狗身上都有三四处伤口,有些还伤得很厉害。塔布的后腿伤得很惨;都莱,在戴伊卡农时最后一只加入进来的狗,喉咙处有一道深深的口子;乔失去了一只眼睛;而比利,它脾气最好,一只耳朵被咬了下来,成了一根布条子;……它们喊着、吼着、呜咽了整整一夜。
破晓时分,它们小心翼翼、一瘸一拐地回到了营地,发现掠夺者已经不见了。两个主人大发脾气,早准备好的半咸的食物已不翼而飞。野狗们还吃光了雪撬里的鞭子和盖东西的帆布。事实上再没有什么东西了,不管离吃多么遥远的东西都从他们这里跑光了。它们吃光了波罗特用驼鹿皮做的一双印第安软皮鞋、大团大团的皮挽绳,甚至还吃了从费兰柯斯的鞭子上撕下来的两英尺长的皮条。
费兰柯斯从悲伤中默默地抬起头来,看着他受伤的狗们。
“啊,朋友们,”他轻声说:“也许这事儿把你们都弄疯了,瞧瞧,这么多的伤口。也许都疯了,你认为怎么样,呃?波罗特?”
加拿大政府信使犹豫不决地摇着头,从这里到达道森地区还有400英里的路程,他几乎经不住这种强行从狗堆里逃脱出来的疯狂了。在两个小时的咒骂中费力地做了些挽具、绳套后,伤痕累累的队伍又上路了,疼痛地挣扎在他们从没有走过的坚硬的路上。这种路面的坚硬在从这里到达道森之间尤其如此。
三十英里河是一条宽阔的河。羁傲不训的河水蔑视着严寒和霜冻,平静的河面上都结了冰,除此以外就是一个个的旋涡。要跨过这段令人毛骨悚然的三十英里需要有六天精疲力尽的拼死奔波。这段恐怖的路程每一步都将是对这些狗和人生命的挑战。波罗特在前面小心地探着路,他几十次地掉进冰洞里,只是靠着他拿着的长竿子担在冰面上才得以使他从冰洞里爬出来。寒冷继续着,温度表记录着零下50度。每次踩破冰,都是他旺盛如火的躯体里那生命力的热量弄干了他的外套。
没有什么东西能吓住波罗特,因为此,他才能被选做政府的信使。他用所有的方式去冒险,依然坚决地将他那张枯萎皱缩了的脸猛冲在严寒之中,从微弱的黎明到暗淡的黄昏,他沿着曲折的岸边走在冰水里,脚下的冰霹劈啪啪地响着。他们不敢停下来。一次,雪橇连同戴夫和巴克一起掉进冰洞里,等把淹没了头的它们拉上来时,它们几乎都快冻僵了。为了救它们,燃起了一堆火。它们的皮毛上都结了冰,两个主人使它们一直围着火堆跑,才渐渐地把身上的冰融化了。这堆火使它们那么兴奋,使它们彼此那么接近。
有一次,斯佩茨带着整个狗队划向冰洞,巴克前面的狗都掉了下去。巴克用尽全力向后拉着,它的前爪子踩在滑溜溜的冰的前缘上,狂吼乱叫着。它后面是戴夫,同样也拼命向后拉着。雪橇后面是费兰柯斯,他顽强地拽着,直到双脚的筋都仿佛要断了似的。
又有一次,冰面的前后都断开了,除了攀到悬崖上去无路可逃。波罗特奇迹般地抓住鱼鳞似的山崖攀了上去,费兰柯斯为他祷告着。每一根皮带,雪橇上、套具上最后的皮条、皮绳都被用上了,系成了一根长长的绳子。狗们被抬了起来,一只又一只地被拉到了顶峰。在把雪橇和货物拉上去后,费兰柯斯最后一个被拉了上去。接下来就是要搜寻到下这悬崖的路,而下悬崖的根本方法还是这根绳子。结果,黑夜里,他们又回到离开白天上的那个悬崖四分之一里的河面上了。
到这时,他们对冰的认识真是透彻到家了。巴克是绝对地精疲力竭了,其余的狗也都精疲力竭了。可是波罗特为了挽回时间,仍然不时地催它们向前。那一天他们走了三十五英里,到了大萨门。第二天又走了三十五六英里,到了小萨门。第三天,四十英里,这就使他们很圆满地到了五指峰。
巴克的四脚没有那些强悍狗们的脚那么遵守合同了。它的四脚、四肢因为它的祖先们被那些山洞里的人和打鱼人的祖先们祖祖辈辈的训养而变得太柔软。整个一路上它都是很苦闹地一瘸一拐地跑着,而一到宿营地,它就像一只死狗一样地躺了下来。尽管它很饿,但它都不想动一动去吃它的那份鱼,而这份鱼却又是费兰柯斯非要让它去吃不可的。
每天晚饭后的晚上,赶狗人都要给巴克的四脚按摩上半个小时,并用自己的印第安软皮鞋的尖端给巴克做了四只印第安软皮鞋。这对巴克是一个极大的帮助,极大的救济。
一天早上,巴克甚至使波罗特皱巴巴的脸上扭动了几下,露齿笑了。当时,费兰柯斯忘掉了给巴克穿软皮鞋,而巴克却在那里躺着,四肢动情地在空中挥动着,等待着,没有软皮鞋就拒绝动一动。后来,它的四脚长结实了,能踩在地上了,那些磨坏了的护脚的装置才被扔掉了。
一天早上,在佩利地区,他们正在给狗们套绳具。多丽,一只从来没显示出在什么地方出类拔萃的狗突然疯了,它长时间像狼似的嗥叫着,这就表明了它的情况。这声音使每一只狗都害怕地竖起了耳朵,竖起了毛发。叫喊完了,它就直扑向巴克。巴克从没见过狗发疯,因此它没理由害怕疯狂,但它知道这很恐怖,它就喘着气跑开了。巴克向前跑着,多丽在后面喘着气、口里尽是白沫地追着,离巴克仅是一步之遥。巴克恐怖地跑着,使多丽追不上它,但多丽是如此地疯狂又使巴克摆脱不了它。巴克一头扎进了树木茂盛的岛的前端,一路又下到岛的低洼地方,接着又跑上了第二个小岛,曲曲折折地又跑进了主河道,并且还想冒险地渡过大河去。这期间,虽然它没有回头看,但它能听到多丽就在它后面紧追着,疯叫着。费兰柯斯在后头追着喊了半英里,巴克才加倍地跑了回来,而多丽就和它差一步。巴克痛苦地喘着气,它怀着全部的信心,相信费兰柯斯会救它。
赶狗人手里拿着一把斧子,让过了巴克,一斧子劈在紧追不舍的多丽的头上。
巴克摇摇摆摆地走了过来,靠在雪橇上,呜呜咽咽地喘着气。它累极了。这给了斯佩茨一个好机会。它冲向巴克,用劲地把牙齿咬向不抵抗的敌人。它的牙齿撕扯着巴克咬进了它的骨头。这时费兰柯斯的鞭子落下来了,巴克满意地看着斯佩茨接受着对这个狗队的任 何成员来说都是最严厉的鞭子管理。
“该死的斯佩茨是个魔鬼!”波罗特评论着:“哪天它要杀死巴克呢。”
“巴克比它更邪乎。”费兰柯斯接口说:“这些天我一直在观察。听着,总有一天它会发疯的,它会一口一口把该死的斯佩茨咬死,让它永远躺在地上的。真的,我敢这么说!”
从此以后,它们之间就有战争了。斯佩茨做为领头的狗,因为富有经验而控制着全队。它已明显地感到它至高无上的权威正在遭到这只陌生的苏格兰狗的威胁和挑战,巴克对它斯佩茨已经不是一条只在营地和旅途中显眼的狗了,巴克不像那些它所知道的苏格兰狗们。那些苏格兰狗,它们太软弱,它们只会在苦役中、在大雾里忍饥挨饿地垂死挣扎。而巴克却是个例外。巴克能独自持久地忍耐,直到成功、直到茂盛,它在火气、蛮性和狡猾上可以和那些强壮的野狗相比美。巴克是一只有主见的狗,它感到危险的只是这样的事实:那个穿红毛线衣拿大棒的人,出乎它意外地、轻率卤莽地乱打一气。巴克是绝顶地狡猾,带着一种完全是原始的耐性等待着它的好时光。
不可避免的、对领导地位的撞击就要来到了,巴克向往着这一时刻的到来。它向往是因为它的本性,因为它已经被这种名誉吸引了,被这种不可理解的、对荒野中的艰难征途的自豪感所吸引了。这种自豪感引导着群狗们在艰苦的跋涉中走到最后的营地;这种自豪感诱惑着这些狗们愉快地在拉雪橇的绳套中死去。如果它们被绳套勒死了,它们也会愉快地被剥开心脏。这是一种由戴夫掌着雪橇的舵,索尔莱克斯向前拉着跑的自豪。这种自豪激励着它们从营地破晓而动,一扫愁眉不展、阴沉悲惨的状态,使它们变得浑身绷紧、充满热情,怀有远大的抱负和野心。这种自豪感整天激励着它们,使它们晚上一头到在所到达的营地里,恢复到又一个幽暗、忧郁、不休息、不满意的状况中去。就是这种自豪,支持着斯佩茨,使它在征途中打败了那些盲动的、偷懒的狗、和那些在早晨套挽绳时不愿动弹的狗,也是这种自豪,使它害怕巴克会当领头狗。这当然也是巴克的自豪。
巴克公开地威胁着这种领导权,它把自己放在应该由它来惩罚那些偷懒者的位置上,它这样去做是故意地。一天晚上,下了大雪。第二天早晨,派克,一贯的装病者,不见了。它安稳地藏在雪堆下的窝里。费兰柯斯大声地喊着它的名字,徒劳而无用地到处找着它。费兰柯斯被大大地激怒了,他在整个营地里狂暴地跑来跑去,闻着、扒着每一个可能的地方。恐怖的吼叫使得藏身洞里的派克吓得浑身发抖。
最后派克终于被揭露了出来。斯佩茨飞奔过去要惩治它,巴克也同样狂暴地奔了过去,站在了两者之间。这事是如此地出人意外、如此地快捷,以至于斯佩茨被撞得后退了几步,四脚还离了地。派克一直都在那里卑微地哆嗦着,大张着嘴不敢出声,这时它也跳了起来扑向它的那位被巴克撞翻在地的领导。这时的巴克,什么公平竟争之类,就都是早被遗忘得法典了,它扑向了斯佩茨。
费兰柯斯面对着这一情景却在旁边咯咯地笑着。但他在公正管理方面是不躲不闪的,他的鞭子尽力地落在巴克身上。可这并没能把巴克从它的敌手处赶走,于是鞭打就变成了一种游戏。巴克被打的半死了过去,它不得不退后几步,鞭子一下一下地落在它的身上,而斯佩茨则完全惩治了那位多次触犯条例的派克。
接下来的几天里,当离道森地区越来越近时,巴克仍旧在斯佩茨和违纪者之间进行干涉。但它做的非常狡猾,都是费兰柯斯不在旁边的时候。巴克带着这种隐蔽的叛变心理,内心中一种非同小可的不顺从萌发了,增长了。戴夫和索尔莱克斯一点儿都不矫柔造作,该干什么还是干什么。但其他队友们却是越来越糟了,越来越坏了。事情不再正常地进行下去了,经常有咬嘴。伴随着刺耳的争吵,随之而来的就是一个一个的麻烦。而这些争吵的始作俑者 就是巴克,它把费兰柯斯弄得一直都在疲于奔命。因为这位赶狗人一直都要去理解这两条狗之间的生死斗争,而他早就知道这种生死斗争是迟早都会发生的。不止一个晚上,就是发生在别的狗们之间的激烈争吵声,也会把赶狗人从睡袍中引出来,害怕又是巴克和斯佩茨在争斗。
这种机会当时并没有发生,但是更大的战斗仍然还回来的。他们就在这种状况下,在一个枯燥的下午到达了道森地区。这里有很多的人,数不清的狗。巴克发现那些狗们都有自己的活儿,看上去好象有规定,狗们应该有活儿干。整个白天,它们排着长长的队伍,摇了过去、摆了过来。而在晚上,它们身上铃铛的玎玲声就不绝于耳。它们把小客屋的原木和引火柴拖运到矿上,干着在桑塔●克拉拉山谷地区的马匹们所能干的一切活儿。
巴克到处都能遇见南方的狗,这主要还是因为它们都是些强壮的狼的后代。每天晚上,这些狗们很有规律地:在九点,十二点,三点高声唱起一种夜晚的歌,这是一只奇怪而又使人害怕的歌。可这却是巴克喜欢并乐意加入进去的。
北方的极光冷冷地在头顶上燃烧,星星在远处的雾中跳跃,大地麻木地冻僵在像圣杯罩布似的厚厚的雪下。强悍狗们的这只歌是一只挑战生活的歌,它只是被低低地吟唱着。这些强悍的狗们拉着长长的呜咽,那么悲伤而凄凉。那声音听起来更多的是表达了在生活过程中明显存在的艰辛和劳苦。
这是一只古老的歌,老得和它们的祖先一样。远古祖先的时候,这只悲凉的歌就一直被传唱着。这只歌被一代又一代数不清的灾难所包围。这只歌引起了巴克那么强烈的共鸣,它是那样的悲叹,当它呜咽悲伤的时候,它是带着生活中的痛苦。这种痛苦,它的那些在荒野中的祖、父辈们是经历过的。这是一种对寒冷、害怕和神秘的痛苦,这是一种使它们处在更加神秘的黑暗中、使它们更加恐惧的痛苦。这种痛苦搅动了巴克对那没完没了的火的年代的回忆,也惹起了它对它的祖先们在世世代代的嗥叫声中对生活的向往。
在道森地区他们呆了七天。他们沿着陡峭的河岸,从巴拉克斯到尤康?特雷尔,一直到了戴伊和盐水区。波罗特带着许多信件;如果还有什么东西比这些信件更紧迫的话,他就会早把它们也带来得;况且旅途的自豪一直都吸引着他;他更要创下一个年度记录……等等,这几样就是他来此的目的。一周的休息使狗们恢复了体力,他们又整装待发了。他们在这个地区所走过的路被后来的旅行者们踩的结实了,更进一步,警方已在这里的两三个地方给狗和人们贮藏了食物。这样,他们的旅行就变的轻松多了。
他们要到六十英里桩号去。第一天先跑五十英里,第二天就看见他们大呼小叫地上了尤康通往派尔的路上了。可是这样精彩的奔跑并非没有大的麻烦和懊恼。在费兰柯斯看来,由巴克制造的阴险的叛变毁灭了整个休戚相关的狗队,巴克已不再是一只在路上跳跃的狗了。受到自己行为鼓舞的巴克一次又一次的捣鬼使得整个狗队不断地陷进各种各样的小麻烦中。斯佩茨作为领头狗不再令别的狗害怕了,对它原有的畏惧不再有了;相反,却产生了对它权威的挑战。派克有天晚上从斯佩茨那里抢走了一条鱼,在巴克的保护下吞了下去。又一天晚上,塔布和乔跟斯佩茨争斗,斯佩茨被迫地放弃了对它们的惩罚。更有甚者,比利,一直都是好性子,现在也不耐烦了,叫起来也不象过去那样低三下四了。而巴克若不吼叫,毛发不威严地竖起来,就从不走近斯佩茨。实际上,它的行为更接近于恐吓和欺侮,它已经能在斯佩茨的鼻子尖下大摇大摆地走来走去了。
这种对纪律和规则破坏的同时也影响了狗队中狗与狗之间彼此的关系。它们之间的争吵越来越多,到了宿营地,那简直就成了怒号争斗的疯狗院。只有戴夫和索尔来克斯没有改变多少,虽然它们也被那些没完没了的争斗弄得易怒易燥。费兰克斯野蛮地怒骂着、沮咒着,徒劳无用地跺着脚、踩着雪,气得直撕自己的头发。他的鞭子一直都在狗群中响着,但这只能起到很小的作用。只要他一转身,狗们的争吵就马上开始。他用鞭子支持着斯佩茨,巴克却支持着其他的狗。费兰柯斯知道这都是巴克在后面捣鬼,而巴克也知道费兰柯斯知道了这一点。但巴克太聪明了,从没有被残忍的抓住,它在挽绳和套具中忠实地劳作着,它已使这种劳作变成了一件愉快的事。而对它来说,使它的队友们陷进争斗,使旅途变成一团乱麻则更是一种更大的狡猾而阴险的愉快。
在泰肯山口地区,一天晚饭后,塔布一脚踩出了一只雪鞋兔(一种北美洲兔),它赶忙去追,追了一阵却追丢了,不一会儿整个狗队都大喊了起来。一百码以外是一个西北警察的营地,有五十余只狗,这些狗个个强壮 ,它们也加入到了对雪鞋兔的追击中。那只兔子跑下了河道,拐进了小河弯,又越上了一条坚固的冰床。它轻快地在雪面上奔跑着,而狗们却吃力地在雪堆里跋涉。巴克领着这支有六十余只个个彪悍的狗所组成的狗队,弯着腰,一只接一只地,向前冲着。但它抓不住这只雪鞋兔。它弯着腰跑在雪道上,热情地大叫着。它灿烂的身体在雪中闪着光,一步一步地跳着。在苍白的月光下,那只雪鞋兔像一只雾中幽白的鬼魂 ,一闪一闪地,在前面奔着、跳着。
所有那些被时代所唤起的古老、原始的本能,现在正驱使着成千上万的人们 离开喧嚣的城市,到森林和平原里去 ,用化学方法所推进的铅弹去杀死话着的东西。而对体热和鲜血的欲望,对活活生物杀死的快乐,这一切巴克也同样具有。只有这些——这样的欲望和欢乐才是无限的渊博。它跑在这群狗的前面, 追得那只野物精疲力尽。它要用它的牙齿杀死这一块活着的、欢奔乱跳的肉,它要用这只雪鞋兔温暖的热血来洗浴它的口、鼻和双眼。
有一种消魂而忘形的东西能使生活的热度达到顶点,生活在此之上再也不能升华了,这就是对生活似是而非的讨论。当一个人最大限度地活着,这种消魂忘形的东西就来了。这种消魂忘形的东西,这种活生生的健忘,能使艺术家醒悟,使他陷入热情而不能自拔;能使士兵醒悟,战争的疯狂在被侵占的土地上拒绝饶恕;这也能使巴克醒悟,它领着这只狗队,唱着似狼的歌,紧追着猎物。那猎物活生生地在月光下飞快地向前奔跑着。巴克出自本能地唱着歌,它的这部分本能,比它返回到时光内核里的它本身还要深刻。它被生活中这种峰涌而来的险峻之浪控制着。这种潮水般的浪,使它每块独立的肌肉、每个关节、每个包着关节活动着的键子肉,各自都完全地欢快了起来,完全地发红、发热,完全地奔放、猖獗。这一切都在运动中表现了出来。巴克在星光下欢欢喜喜地飞奔着,越过了那些不能动弹的死去了的面孔。
可是,斯佩茨却很冷静而有算计,它甚至现在还是处在它最至高无上的自我陶醉的情绪之中。它离开了狗队,穿过了一条狭小的土地。那里的小河流里,有一个长长的弯子。巴克不知道这个地点,当它饶过这个弯子时,那只像雾中鬼魂似的兔子还在它前面飞奔着。它还看见了另一只更大的雾中鬼魂从渐渐逼近的河岸上过来了,这个大的鬼魂立刻接近了兔子的路线。这是斯佩茨。兔子不能再后退了。斯佩茨的白牙咬住了兔子的后背,兔子在空中尖声地像 一个被打伤的人似的喊叫着。听到这种叫喊,这种对生命的呼唤,你一下子就能感觉出从生命的顶点跌了下来,掉进了死亡的谷地。随着巴克接踵而止的群狗们高声地唱起了欢乐的地狱之歌。
巴克没有喊,它没有阻止自己,而是跑向斯佩茨,和它肩并肩地站在了一起,它是如此困难地错过了那只兔子的吼咙。它和斯佩茨滚在一起、相互撕咬着,掀起了一阵雪粉。斯佩茨好不容易站稳了四肢,仿佛没有被推翻在地。它冲向巴克的前胸,跳得越来越近了。斯佩茨两次将它那像捕捉机钢爪子似的牙齿紧紧地咬在一起,它退后一步以便站得稳一些,瘦瘦的仰起的嘴唇扭动着、咆哮着。
白牙一闪,巴克就知道了一切,决战的时刻已经到了,这是要死亡的时刻。它们转着圈,咆哮着,耳朵竖了起来,渴望着要看到自己的胜利。这种情景巴克太熟悉了。它仿佛把一切都想起来了——白皑皑的森林、白皑皑的大地、惨白的月光、毛骨悚然的战斗。越过皑皑的白雪,就是可怕的死一般的寂静。空气中最细小的萧萧声都没有了——什么都不移动了,树叶也不哆嗦了。群狗们显见的呼吸声在霜冻的空气中渐渐飘起,它们在给雪鞋兔稍做了点动作后就围了过来。这些狗们都还是些没怎么驯化好的狼,它们此刻已排成了一个心目中的圈。它们也很沉默,它们的目光闪着亮,它们的气息正慢慢地向前移来。这些对巴克已经不新鲜了,已经不陌生了,这都是那些古老年月的情景了。这种情景从古至今仿佛一直如此,一直都没有变。
斯佩茨是一个富有经验的战士。穿过北冰洋,从斯佩茨伯格越过加拿大和巴瑞斯,它一直都用所有狗们的方式和态度,保持着自己的尊严,成功地控制着其他的狗。
斯佩茨的愤怒是厉害的愤怒,但它决不盲目愤怒。在撕裂和毁灭的欲望中,它从不忘记它的敌人也有撕裂一切的愿望。它从不冲锋,直到它准备好了要接受冲锋。它也从不进攻,直到它第一次防御这种进攻。
巴克徒劳地拼死将它的牙齿咬进斯佩茨的脖子。但是不管在哪里,它的牙咬住了软一些的肉体,哪里它都会碰见同样坚硬的斯佩茨的牙。牙撞击着牙,嘴唇被撕破了,流着血。巴克不能攻破它敌人的防线。这时它兴奋了起来,用旋风般的冲锋包围住了斯佩茨。
一次又一次地,它试图咬住斯佩茨那雪白的喉咙。那里,生命的气泡浸在表皮上。一次又一次地斯佩茨都进行了躲闪,它都跑开了去。巴克又冲锋了,还是要冲向那个喉咙。突然,它稍做停顿,把头偏向另一边。它要用它的肩膀去撞斯佩茨的肩膀,它要把它撞到、撞翻。但是,巴克肩膀的每次撞击都被斯佩茨轻轻地跳开而落了空。
斯佩茨没有被撞到,可巴克却流着血,使劲地喘着气。战斗正变得不顾一切。所有的白色、所有的寂静、所有凶狠的圈子都在等待着,等待着去吃掉那不管是哪一条不能坚持下来的狗。这时巴克变得越来越迂回,而斯佩茨却越来越爱冲锋,它一直使巴克站不稳四肢。巴克一有不支,六十余条狗的圈子就惊跳起来。但它使自己几乎在半空中就又支持住了,使狗们的圈子一次又一次地退了下去。狗们也就一次又一次地等待着。
但是,巴克有一种伟大的品质——想象。它靠本能作战,但它还能靠头脑作战。这一次它向前冲着,做出个样子,继续用刚才那种撞肩膀的老办法。但在最后那一刻,它却低下头扫掉了下面的雪粉,牙齿接近了斯佩茨的左前腿。咯吱咯吱咬碎骨头的声音传了过来,白色的斯佩茨用三条腿面对着它。巴克缠住了斯佩茨,试图把它撞到。然后它又重复刚才的鬼计咬住了它的右腿。斯佩茨忍住巨大的疼痛,不管怎样地孤立无援,它都疯狂地挣扎着。它看见了那个围着它的沉默的狗圈、看见了那些闪光的眼睛、看见了那些懒洋洋地垂下来的舌头。银色清澈的气息飘了过来,飘了过来……渐渐地飘向了它,就像过去同样呼吸的气息飘向它的敌手一样,只不过这一次它是一只被击败的狗。
它是没有什么希望了。巴克是不会改变的。怜悯、慈悲是为那些更文雅一些的地方、环境预备的。巴克调动起了所有的策略,准备做最后的冲击。狗们所组成的圈子已经很紧了,它已能感觉到这些强健的家伙们在它两侧的呼吸声了,它已能完全看见它们了。巴克越过斯佩茨,看了看两边,半蹲着准备跳跃。狗们的目光都盯在它身上,稍有不慎都能引起失败。每只动物都不动了,仿佛变成了石头,只有斯佩茨浑身打着颤,毛发直竖,前后摇摆着,恐怖地威吓着 、咆哮着、嗥叫着,仿佛死亡就在眼前。这时巴克跳了起来,它的肩终于断然地碰到了斯佩茨的肩。狗们黑色的圈子终于变成了一个点,在流动的雪夜的月光下,斯佩茨从视野中消失了。
巴克站在那里看着。这位成功的战士,这位超群优秀的原始兽,它进行了它的杀戮,它发现这样做很好,很好..

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

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