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Emma's face spoke of relief, even if her mouth did not. Soon, she would be enjoying a roof over her head!

The next day, Josiah led his horses around the bend of a mountain and then up a gentle slope, following the creek upstream.

Emma marveled at the vistas spread before her. This was an untamed country with strong mountains and green rolling valleys, and all of it abundant with wildlife. It was no wonder the Blackfoot were jealous to keep these hunting grounds for themselves!

When Josiah turned left, Emma saw the dim outline of a trail weaving through the thick trees. She waited for the first sight of his lodge, and was surprised when Josiah unexpectedly stopped the horses.

"Are we resting before we go on to the cabin?" she asked.

"It's right there," frowned Josiah, pointing with his rifle at the wooded area before them. "I know it ain't much, but it'll do."

Emma could hear resentment creep into Josiah's voice, but she still couldn't see the cabin.

Dropping from his saddle, Josiah ordered her to dismount.

Wordlessly, Emma followed him to a pile of strewn logs, where several trees had toppled over each other in right angles upon the ground. The sting of disappointment was great, when Emma realized THIS was Josiah's lodge!

"The roof's caved in, but that's easy enough to fix," Josiah mused out loud. He knew Emma was listening, although by the brave look on her face just now, he realized she had been expecting something vastly different.

Helplessly, Emma sank down on a tree stump while Josiah picked through the jumbled logs.

"I ain't bin here fer several seasons, but this old trapper's cabin is a good place to winter." Josiah glanced at Emma, and then let out a sigh of disgust. "You ain't gonna start crying again, are you?"

"I don't think so," Emma answered quietly. Josiah half expected her to burst into tears, but she surprised him by instead going to the pack horse to make camp.

Grumbling under his breath, Josiah looked back at the shambles he had called a lodge. If he had shown this to an Indian woman, she would have thought big of him for having such a place to winter in-- at least, that's what he reasoned to himself as he went about setting the logs in their proper place. The trouble with white women was they expected too much!

In spite of Emma's concerns that a campfire might betray their presence to the Indians, Josiah started one anyway.

"This area of the mountains hides smoke well," he explained. "It's one of the reasons why Pa liked it here."

Josiah spent the remainder of the day hard at work on the cabin, before quitting for his evening supper. As he quietly ate his buffalo jerky, Emma took out a needle and thread to mend the hem of her topmost petticoat. By the light of the campfire, her delicate fingers worked the fabric, while the sky darkened with stars that seemed more numerous as the hours flew by.

Bedtime came, and since the fire was still going, Emma went to sleep without huddling beside Josiah on the buffalo robe.
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