"Not now, Mahailey. Give us our breakfast before you do anything else."
Mrs. Wheeler came down, pinning on her little shawl, her shoulders more bent than usual. "Claude," she said fearfully, "the cedars in the front yard are all but covered. Do you suppose our cattle could be buried?"
He laughed. "No, Mother. The cattle have been moving around all night, I expect."
When the two men started out with the wooden snow shovels, Mrs. Wheeler and Mahailey stood in the doorway, watching them. For a short distance from the house the path they dug was like a tunnel, and the white walls on either side were higher than their heads. On the breast of the hill the snow was not so deep, and they made better headway. They had to fight through a second heavy drift before they reached the barn, where they went in and warmed themselves among the horses and cows. Dan was for getting next a warm cow and beginning to milk.
"Not yet," said Claude. "I want to have a look at the hogs before we do anything here."
The hog-house was built down in a draw behind the barn. When Claude reached the edge of the gully, blown almost bare, he could look about him. The draw was full of snow, smooth . . . except in the middle, where there was a rumpled depression, resembling a great heap of tumbled bed-linen.
Dan gasped. "God a' mighty, Claude, the roof's fell in! Them hogs'll be smothered."
"They will if we don't get at them pretty quick. Run to the house and tell Mother Mahailey will have to milk this morning, and get back here as fast as you can."