3. CHAPTER III - THE REIGN OF HATE
Under the tutelage of the mad god, White Fang became a fiend. He
was kept chained in a pen at the rear of the fort, and here Beauty
Smith teased and irritated and drove him wild with petty torments.
The man early discovered White Fang's susceptibility to laughter,
and made it a point after painfully tricking him, to laugh at him.
This laughter was uproarious and scornful, and at the same time the
god pointed his finger derisively at White Fang. At such times
reason fled from White Fang, and in his transports of rage he was
even more mad than Beauty Smith.
Formerly, White Fang had been merely the enemy of his kind, withal
a ferocious enemy. He now became the enemy of all things, and more
ferocious than ever. To such an extent was he tormented, that he
hated blindly and without the faintest spark of reason. He hated
the chain that bound him, the men who peered in at him through the
slats of the pen, the dogs that accompanied the men and that
snarled malignantly at him in his helplessness. He hated the very
wood of the pen that confined him. And, first, last, and most of
all, he hated Beauty Smith.
But Beauty Smith had a purpose in all that he did to White Fang.
One day a number of men gathered about the pen. Beauty Smith
entered, club in hand, and took the chain off from White Fang's
neck. When his master had gone out, White Fang turned loose and
tore around the pen, trying to get at the men outside. He was
magnificently terrible. Fully five feet in length, and standing
two and one-half feet at the shoulder, he far outweighed a wolf of
corresponding size. From his mother he had inherited the heavier
proportions of the dog, so that he weighed, without any fat and
without an ounce of superfluous flesh, over ninety pounds. It was
all muscle, bone, and sinew-fighting flesh in the finest condition.
The door of the pen was being opened again. White Fang paused.
Something unusual was happening. He waited. The door was opened
wider. Then a huge dog was thrust inside, and the door was slammed
shut behind him. White Fang had never seen such a dog (it was a
mastiff); but the size and fierce aspect of the intruder did not
deter him. Here was some thing, not wood nor iron, upon which to
wreak his hate. He leaped in with a flash of fangs that ripped
down the side of the mastiff's neck. The mastiff shook his head,
growled hoarsely, and plunged at White Fang. But White Fang was
here, there, and everywhere, always evading and eluding, and always
leaping in and slashing with his fangs and leaping out again in
time to escape punishment.