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"My sewing box!" she cried in delight. Emma opened the carved wooden container and was overjoyed to find her sewing book still safely housing two slender needles. Her scissors were still there, as were three spools of thread, some pins, and her mother's thimble. "I thought I'd never see these again!" exclaimed Emma. She turned to thank Josiah and saw that he was busy pulling off his hunting shirt.

"Has yer leg been hurting any?" he asked, pushing back her dress to examine the blue handkerchief tied around her leg.

"Not as much as before," she replied. "Mr. Brown, are you intending to... to..." Emma stopped before finishing her thought out loud.

"I'm untying the handkerchief," Josiah informed her. "The wound is healing nicely, and it doesn't need a dressing no more." His dark eyes flashed at Emma. "After we're done," he breathed, "we'll head North to my pa's lodge. Hopefully, we can make it there afore the first winter snow."

"Then we should leave now," reasoned Emma.

"I think you already know I'm not gonna leave you alone this morning," Josiah told her frankly. "I've been wanting us to lay on the buffalo robe, and I ain't waiting any longer."

Emma swallowed hard and looked down at the unexpected treasure in her lap.

"You like what I brung you?" he grinned expectantly.

"Yes, thank you," mumbled Emma. "This sewing box will be helpful."

"Then how about showing me your gratitude?" he coaxed, taking the container from Emma's hands. He reclined her against the robe and then tried to kiss her, but Emma couldn't bring herself to return his advances. Disappointed, Josiah continued without Emma's encouragement.

It was late morning by the time Josiah broke camp. The clouds had parted, revealing the blue sky, but the cold wind was ever present.

Emma felt a sense of foreboding as her husband guided his string of horses toward the Northern horizon, straight for Blackfoot country. Clinging to her faith, she prayed God would give her courage to face whatever lay ahead.

Then Emma turned her thoughts to the stranger riding his horse up front and observed the eagle feather that dangled from his long hair. He had taken her, and now she belonged to him. Even so, Emma acknowledged the danger of giving her heart to such a man as Josiah Brown.

Unbeknownst to Josiah, Emma purposed within herself to never love him.

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"
~ Amos 3:3 ~

end of chapter
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