He looked about him for a trap-door by which he could descend into the interior, but could find none. There was an inch of snow on the roof, glazed with frost: and if there was a trap-door, it was securely hidden.
To jump or slide down was out of the question, for he would, in that case, risk breaking his neck. If he cried for help, the groom, who was always ready with his gun, might take a fancy to shoot at him; and that would be still more unpleasant. It was a most embarrassing situation.
Paul's eyes fell upon a chimney; and the thought flashed through his head that there was the solution of the difficulty. He observed that no smoke was coming out of it, so that he would run no risk of being converted into smoked ham during the descent.
He looked down through the long, black tunnel. It was a great, spacious, old-fashioned chimney, and abundantly wide enough for his purpose.
A pleasant sound of laughter and merry voices came to him from the kitchen below. It was evident the girls were having a frolic. So, without further ado, Paul Jespersen stuffed his great hairy bulk into the chimney and proceeded to let himself down.
There were notches and iron rings in the brick wall, evidently put there for the convenience of the chimney-sweeps; and he found his task easier than he had anticipated. The soot, to be sure, blinded his eyes, but where there was nothing to be seen, that was no serious disadvantage.
In fact, everything was going as smoothly as possible, when suddenly he heard a girl's voice cry out:
"Gracious goodness! what is that in the chimney?"