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At the table, Josiah listened to Emma's sweet voice as it filled the cabin. The melody was pleasant enough, but he wasn't sure he liked the words.

"I once was lost, but now am found," she continued, "was blind, but now I see."

"Emma," he finally stopped her, "I won't have my wife singing against me."

"But, I wasn't," she replied in surprise.

Scowling disbelievingly, Josiah shook his head. "You ain't fooling me with all them words about lost wretches. You was talking about me."

"You aren't the only wretch in this cabin," Emma informed him. "My faith in God is my only redeeming quality, and even that, I can't take credit for. Without Him, I can't do anything good."

"Bah!" Josiah dismissed her words with a wave of his hand. "You Christians and yer false piety!"

For some reason Emma couldn't explain, Josiah's comment hurt more than she thought it would. She blinked back the tears, and was surprised when he crossed the room to drop down on the dirt floor beside her.

The mountain man leaned forward, looking into her face. "Yer crying," he observed.

Emma was about to deny it, when she felt something wet splash onto her cheek. "It's just one tear," she dismissed it with a quick brush of her hand. "May I finish the hymn?"

With a soft chuckle, Josiah leaned back against the log wall and waited for her to continue.

It wasn't easy, but Emma wanted Josiah to hear the rest of the hymn so she cleared her voice and pressed on: "'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved," she sang, her voice faltering a little under Josiah's watchful gaze. "How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed!"

After Emma had finished the hymn, Josiah got to his feet and then went to his belongings to put on his trapping pants. Trapping pants consisted of buckskin trousers that came to the knees, while the bottom portion was made of detachable blanket leggings. With pants like these, Josiah wouldn't freeze while wading in frigid water and getting his buckskins wet when he set beaver traps.

Retrieving his rifle from some pegs on the wall, Josiah turned to look at Emma. "I like yer singing voice."

"Thank you for staying for the hymn," she smiled gratefully. "It's one of my favorites."

"You Christians--" Josiah stopped short of finishing his thought out loud, for he wasn't ready for Emma to start crying again. "I'll be back fer supper," he changed the subject. "Keep the bar over the door while I'm gone." With that, he left the cabin, slamming the door behind him with a loud thud.

The snow crunched beneath Josiah's moccasins as he tramped toward the creek. The sun warmed his back, and he inhaled a deep breath of pure mountain air. Mornings like this, when the air was cold, but the sun warm, made him feel good clear down to his toes.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound--" Josiah caught himself humming Emma's hymn. "That woman," he breathed with a shake of his head.
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