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"Good morning, Ma!" Mary smiled at Emma, and Emma suddenly realized they had let her sleep.

"Why didn't you wake me?" asked Emma. She felt embarrassed for being the last one up, especially when she saw how high the sun was in the sky.

"You needed yer rest," said Josiah, turning the rabbit to cook it evenly. When he turned to look at Emma, his gaze met hers, unabashedly.

Feeling her face grow hot, Emma quickly looked away. She pinned up her braids, then took out the Bible to read to Mary until breakfast was ready. To Emma's utter surprise, Josiah smiled pleasantly and looked as though he wanted to listen. Emma didn't mind, but his smile was overly warm, and very suspicious.

When Mary asked a pertinent question about some hard-to-understand verse, Josiah looked very attentive as Emma explained God's Word. Impatience and disgust were lurking behind those dark eyes of Josiah's, and Emma knew better than to believe his smiles and assenting nods.

Putting away her Bible when breakfast was ready, Emma saw Josiah literally sigh with relief.

"You should read before EVERY meal," he said, as he gave Emma her share of food. "Be sure you eat that rabbit liver I gave you, Emma. Yer body needs more than meat to survive."

Even though the cooked liver didn't look appetizing, Emma swallowed it down, knowing it contained nourishment that the meat did not.

The meal over, Josiah patted his belly in satisfaction. "That was good food. Do you reckon God sent that rabbit along, just so we could have something tasty to eat, Mary?"

Timidly nodding "yes," Mary scooted closer to Emma, as though unsure what to make of Josiah's odd behavior.

"That's what I'm thinking, too," Josiah said with a nod of agreement. "Why, my clumsy snare could've easily been empty this morning. Just because I've been snaring rabbits since before I could shoot, and know how to place them just right, outside their burrow, don't mean a thing. It's God who sends the animals into the snares-- ain't that right, Emma?"

Emma eyed Josiah warily. She didn't appreciate his sarcasm, even though he spoke with a pleasant smile.

When Emma made no reply, Josiah reached for his flintlock rifle. "Mary, you'd best pray God sends something bigger than rabbits our way."

Mary looked up at Emma, and then back at Josiah.

Both girls remained silent.

Grinning, Josiah readied the rifle on his lap. "I'll tell you what, Mary... tell God to hunt the North half of the valley, and I'll take the South, and we'll see who brings back meat, first."

Mary may have been somewhat small for her age, but she wasn't stupid. When Mary didn't smile, Emma knew the child had understood Josiah's mock against God.
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