"Gracious goodness! what is that in the chimney?"
"Probably the chimney-sweep," a man's voice answered.
"Chimney-sweep at this time of night!"
Paul, bracing himself against the walls, looked down and saw a cluster of anxious faces all gazing up toward him. A candle which one of the girls held in her hand showed him that the distance down to the hearth was but short; so, to make an end of their uncertainty, he dropped himself down--quietly, as he thought, but by the force of his fall blowing the ashes about in all directions.
A chorus of terrified screams greeted him. One girl fainted, one leaped up on a table, and the rest made for the door.
And there sat poor Paul, in the ashes on the hearth, utterly bewildered by the consternation he had occasioned. He picked himself up by and by, rubbed the soot out of his eyes with the backs of his paws, and crawled out upon the floor.
He had just managed to raise himself upon his hind-legs, when an awful apparition became visible in the door, holding a candle. It was now Paul's turn to be frightened. The person who stood before him bore a close resemblance to the devil.
"What is all this racket about?" he cried, in a tone of authority.