2. CHAPTER II - 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.