He had just concluded to seek safety in flight, when suddenly he felt a bite in his left calf, and saw the brute Bismarck tug away at his leg as if it had been a mutton-chop. He had scarcely recovered from this surprise when he heard a sharp report, and a bullet whizzed away over his head, after having neatly put a hole through the right ear. Paul concluded, with reason, that things were getting serious.
If he could only get hold of that blockhead, the judge's groom, who was violating the law about fire-arms, he would give him an exhibition in athletics which he would not soon forget; but, being for the moment deprived of this pleasure, he knew of nothing better to do than to dodge through the nearest street-door, and implore the protection of the very first individual he might meet.
It so happened that Paul selected the house of two middle-aged milliners for this experiment.
Jemina and Malla Hansen were just seated at the table drinking tea with their one constant visitor, the post-office clerk, Mathias, when, all of a sudden, they heard a tremendous racket in the hall, and the furious barking of dogs.
With a scream of fright, the two old maids jumyed up, dropping their precious tea-cups, and old Mathias, who had tipped his chair a little backward, lost his balance, and pointed his heels toward the ceiling. Before he had time to pick himself up the door was burst open and a great hairy monster sprang into the room.
"Mercy upon us!" cried Jemina. "It is the devil!"
But now came the worst of it all. The bear put his paw on his heart, and with the politest bow in the world, remarked:
"Pardon me, ladies, if I intrude."