The old lady had kept on her way unsuspiciously, using as a cane a faded blue umbrella, which she carried invariably, whatever the weather.
When Mrs. Payson felt herself sinking, she uttered a loud shriek and waved her arms aloft, brandishing her umbrella in a frantic way. She was plunged up to her armpits in the snow, and was, of course, placed in a very unfavorable position for extricating herself.
The two boys were at first nearly smothered by the descent of snow, but when the first surprise was over they recognized their prisoner. I am ashamed to say that their feeling was that of unbounded delight, and they burst into a roar of laughter. The sound, indistinctly heard, terrified the old lady beyond measure, and she struggled frantically to escape, nearly poking out Pomp's eye with the point of her umbrella. "
Pomp, always prompt to repel aggression, in return, pinched her foot.
"Massy sakes! Where am I?" ejaculated the affrighted old lady. "There's some wild crittur down there. Oh, Cynthy Ann, ef you could see your marm at this moment!"
She made another vigorous flounder, and managed to kick Sam in the face. Partly as a measure of self-defense, he seized her ankle firmly.
"He's got hold of me!" shrieked the old lady "Help! help! I shall be murdered."
Her struggles became so energetic that the boys soon found it expedient to evacuate the premises. They crawled out by the passage they had made, and appeared on the surface of the snow.
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