The Love-Master

AsWhiteFangwatchedWeedonScottapproach,hebristledandsnarledtoadvertisethathewouldnotsubmittopunishment.Twenty-fourhourshadpassedsincehehadslashedopenthehandthatwasnowbandagedandheldupbyaslingtokeepthebloodoutofit.InthepastWhiteFanghadexperienceddelayedpunishments,andheapprehendedthatsuchaonewasabouttobefallhim.Howcoulditbeotherwise?Hehadcommittedwhatwastohimsacrilege,sunkhisfangsintotheholyfleshofagod,andofawhite-skinnedsuperiorgodatthat.Inthenatureofthings,andofintercoursewithgods,somethingterribleawaitedhim.

Thegodsatdownseveralfeetaway.WhiteFangcouldseenothingdangerousinthat.Whenthegodsadministeredpunishmenttheystoodontheirlegs.Besides,thisgodhadnoclub,nowhip,nofirearm.Andfurthermore,hehimselfwasfree.Nochainnorstickboundhim.Hecouldescapeintosafetywhilethegodwasscramblingtohisfeet.Inthemeantimehewouldwaitandsee.

Thegodremainedquiet,madenomovement;andWhiteFang’ssnarlslowlydwindledtoagrowlthatebbeddowninhisthroatandceased.Thenthegodspoke,andatthefirstsoundofhisvoice,thehairroseonWhiteFang’sneckandthegrowlrushedupinhisthroat.Butthegodmadenohostilemovement,andwentoncalmlytalking.ForatimeWhiteFanggrowledinunisonwithhim,acorrespondenceofrhythmbeingestablishedbetweengrowlandvoice.Butthegodtalkedoninterminably.HetalkedtoWhiteFangasWhiteFanghadneverbeentalkedtobefore.Hetalkedsoftlyandsoothingly,withagentlenessthatsomehow,somewhere,touchedWhiteFang.Inspiteofhimselfandalltheprickingwarningsofhisinstinct,WhiteFangbegantohaveconfidenceinthisgod.Hehadafeelingofsecuritythatwasbeliedbyallhisexperiencewithmen.

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