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Then we all sat around the stove on the warm robes and listened to the wind howling above our little roof and the stories of Uncle Eb. The hissing of the snow as it beat upon the sledgehouse grew fainter by and by, and Uncle Eb said he guessed we were pretty well covered up. We fell asleep soon. I remember he stopped in the middle of a wolf story, and, seeing that our eyes were shut, pulled us back from the fire a little and covered us with one of the robes. It had been a mighty struggle between Sleep and Romance, and Sleep had won. I roused myself and begged him to go on with the story, but he only said, 'Hush, boy; it's bedtime,' and turned up the lantern and went out of doors. I woke once or twice in the night and saw him putting wood on the fire. He had put out the light. The gleam of the fire shone on his face when he opened the stove door.
'Gittin' a leetle cool here, Uncle Eb,' he was saying to himself.
We were up at daylight, and even then it was snowing and blowing fiercely. There were two feet of snow on the sledgehouse roof, and we were nearly buried in the bank. Uncle Eb had to do a lot of shoveling to get out of doors and into the stable. Old Doctor was quite out of the wind in a cave of snow and nickering for his breakfast. There was plenty for him, but we were on short rations. Uncle Eb put on the snow shoes, after we had eaten what there was left, and, cautioning us to keep in, set out for Fadden's across lots. He came back inside of an hour with a good supply of provisions in a basket on his shoulder. The wind had gone down and the air was milder. Big flakes of snow came fluttering slowly downward out of a dark sky. After dinner we went up on top of the sledgehouse and saw a big scraper coming in the valley below. Six teams of oxen were drawing it, and we could see the flying furrows on either side of the scraper as it ploughed in the deep drifts. Uncle Eb put on the snow shoes again, and, with Hope on his back and me clinging to his hand, he went down to meet them and to tell of our plight. The front team had wallowed to their ears, and the men were digging them out with shovels when we got to the scraper. A score of men and boys clung to the sides of that big, hollow wedge, and put their weight on it as the oxen pulled. We got on with the others, I remember, and I was swept off as soon as the scraper started by a roaring avalanche of snow that came down upon our heads and buried me completely. I was up again and had a fresh hold in a jiffy, and clung to my place until I was nearly smothered by the flying snow. It was great fun for me, and they were all shouting and hallooing as if it were a fine holiday. They made slow progress, however, and we left them shortly on their promise to try to reach us before night. If they failed to get through, one of them said he would drive over to Paradise Valley, if possible, and tell the Browers we were all right
On our return, Uncle Eb began shoveling a tunnel in the cut. When we got through to the open late in the afternoon we saw the scraper party going back with their teams.
'Guess they've gi'n up fer t'day,' said he. 'Snow's powerful deep down there below the bridge. Mebbe we can get 'round to where the road's clear by goin' 'cross lots. I've a good mind t' try it.'
Then he went over in the field and picked a winding way down the hill toward the river, while we children stood watching him. He came back soon and took down a bit of the fence and harnessed Old Doctor and hitched him to the sledgehouse. The tunnel was just wide enough to let us through with a tight pinch here and there. The footing was rather soft' and the horse had hard pulling. We went in the field, struggling on afoot - we little people - while Uncle Eb led the horse. He had to stop frequently to tunnel through a snowdrift, and at dusk we had only got half-way to the bridge from our cave in the cat. Of a sudden Old Doctor went up to his neck in a wall of deep snow that seemed to cut us off completely. He struggled a moment, falling on his side and wrenching the shafts from the runners. Uncle Eb went to work vigorously with his shovel and had soon cut a narrow box stall in the deep snow around Old Doctor. Just beyond the hill dipped sharply and down the slope we could see the stubble sticking through the shallow snow. 'We'll hev t' stop right where we are until mornin',' he said. 'It's mos' dark now.
Our little house stood tilting forward about half-way down the hill, its runners buried in the snow. A few hundred yards below was a cliff where the shore fell to the river some thirty feet It had stopped snowing, and the air had grown warmer, but the sky was dark We put nearly all the hay in the sledgehouse under Old Doctor and gave him the last of the oats and a warm cover of blankets. Then Uncle Eb went away to the fence for more wood, while we spread the supper. He was very tired, I remember, and we all turned in for the night a short time after we had eaten. The little stove was roaring like a furnace when we spread our blankets on the sloping floor and lay down, our feet to the front, and drew the warm robes over us. Uncle Eb, who had had no sleep the night before, began to snore heavily before we children had stopped whispering. He was still snoring, and Hope sound asleep, when I woke in the night and heard the rain falling on our little roof and felt the warm breath of the south wind. The water dripping from the eaves and falling far and near upon the yielding snow had many voices. I was half-asleep when I heard a new noise under the sledge. Something struck the front corner of the sledgehouse - a heavy, muffled blow - and brushed the noisy boards. Then I heard the timbers creak and felt the runners leaping over the soft snow. I remember it was like a dream of falling. I raised myself and stared about me. We were slipping down the steep floor. The lantern, burning dimly under the roof, swung and rattled. Uncle Eb was up on his elbow staring wildly. I could feel the jar and rush of the runners and the rain that seemed to roar as it dashed into my face. Then, suddenly, the sledgehouse gave a great leap into the air and the grating of the runners ceased. The lantern went hard against the roof; there was a mighty roar in my ears; then we heard a noise like thunder and felt the shock of a blow that set my back aching, and cracked the roof above our heads. It was all still for a second; then we children began to cry, and Uncle Eb staggered to his feet and lit the lantern that had gone out and that had no globe, I remember, as he held it down to our faces.
'Hush! Are you hurt?' he said, as he knelt before us. 'Git up now, see if ye can stand.'
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composed. When we reached Lemuy we had much difficulty
By the time Lump slipped inside his skin it was too late.
body before her teeth snapped together and filled his mouth
and the sounds the dying dogs had made were terrible to
steps were ahead of him, and then a long brick tunnel in
Growler down. The smell of blood hung heavy in the air,
Growler down. The smell of blood hung heavy in the air,
to push them down again, but the hands would not obey,