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Stroking the boy's long black hair, Emma smiled whenever he looked up at her. So this was an Indian child. He didn't look like the savages she had heard them described to be, and felt a pang of guilt for letting others have as much influence over her as they had had.

"Emma," Josiah interrupted her thoughts, "the boy's mother wants to know if you're with child yit."

Emma noticed one of the women was now looking at her kindly for admiring one of her children. Smiling gratefully, Emma shook her head. "No, I'm not with child."

The woman slapped Josiah's shoulder, as if berating him for not doing his duty. Josiah shrugged it off, but Emma could tell he was embarrassed. She guessed he would have been even more so, if the Crows had known she was withholding marital favors from her own husband.

"We'll git around to it, one of these days," Josiah chuckled awkwardly. He gazed at Emma sitting beside him, while she held the child and clapped his small hands together in play. "It ain't been fer lack of trying," he breathed to himself.

The boy soon wanted to be released from Emma's lap, choosing to clamor around his mother as she and the other woman set out food for the men.

Silently praying before eating, Emma accepted the food Josiah gave her. The Crow women waited until the men had eaten, before they and their children had a chance to fill their bellies. Emma, alone, ate beside her husband.

As the evening wore on, the Crows became more animated, until Emma saw them laughing with Josiah as though he were one of their own.

After everyone had eaten, a woman took out a long dress made of animal skins and showed it to Josiah. It was time to get down to trading, and the genial atmosphere quickly became sober. Josiah fingered the garment with a lack of emotion, not giving any indication as to what he was thinking. The woman pointed to Emma, and Josiah directed his wife to stand up.

Obeying, Emma did as she was told, though her head bumped against the hide skin walls as she stood. The Crow woman held the dress up to Emma and then talked some more to Josiah. Another woman brought out a pair of moccasins, and placed them beside Emma's feet to show they were close in size.

Josiah didn't consult Emma before finally nodding his head that it would do. Then the men brought out beaver pelts, and the trading began in earnest. Josiah's horse was worth a lot, so after several prime pelts were counted out, the deerskin dress and winter footwear were suddenly Emma's.

Now that the important things had been taken care of, Josiah opened his parcel bound in animal skins, and the women and men began looking over what else he had to offer.

Emma was amazed by the bounty Josiah produced. He had material-- actual cloth-- and knives and beads and coffee beans! She knew he had more bundles back at the cabin, and she wondered what else he possessed.

The Crow women brought out things of their own, showing them to Josiah in the hopes of another trade. Amongst their goods, Emma was shocked to see a solitary book they had kept as a curiosity from a deceased trapper's personal belongings. Emma's gaze immediately locked onto the object, and Josiah recognized the longing in her eyes.

"What is it?" he asked Emma.
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