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Out of the corner of her eye, Emma saw two figures emerge from the line of trees surrounding the cabin. Their presence frightened her, for she understood that trouble would come if Josiah's relatives knew they were here. Were these Blackfoot? Or were they from another tribe? Suddenly realizing she had no cover, Emma scurried into the cabin. With trembling hands, she grabbed at the shotgun hanging over her shoulder, and stood in the entrance of the doorway. If these two were hostile, she could always duck inside and bar the door.

Endeavoring not to betray any signs of weakness, Emma returned the intruders' steady gaze without flinching or giving way to the trembling she felt in her bones. Though the figures were not far from the cabin, the details of their faces were only a blur to Emma's poor eyesight. Their garb, however, was more distinct, and Emma knew they were Indians.

Emma watched as the taller Indian turned to the other. The shorter one nodded, and then, to her horror, they started toward the cabin!

Displaying calm control, Emma brought the butt of the rifle to her shoulder, but kept the barrel pointed toward the ground. She didn't want to shoot anyone, but was determined to defend herself, should the situation come to that.

As the two forms grew closer, Emma distinguished the features of the taller Indian to be those of Old Man, Josiah's grandpap. Feeling a great sense of relief, Emma brought down the rifle, and was embarrassed to find the old man grinning at her.

"Your eyes are very poor," he laughed in near derision, "for you did not lower your weapon sooner!"

Emma smiled politely, trying not to let his comment irritate her. Her eyesight was a sensitive subject, and it didn't take much to hurt her feelings.

The second Blackfoot was a woman, bundled in several layers of blankets against the harsh cold. Her demeanor exhibited quiet strength, and though she looked old enough to be Emma's mother, she was quite beautiful to look upon.

Even as Emma endured Grandpap's mock at her poor eyesight, Emma could feel the woman's penetrating gaze.

"Won't you come inside?" Emma invited the two Blackfoot into the cabin.

Grandpap grunted. He stepped into the small lodge and immediately went to the fireplace to warm himself.

To Emma's surprise, instead of sitting down on the warm skins before the fire, the Blackfoot woman went to the table and sat down in one of the split-bottom chairs. She was obviously acquainted with the white man's ways, for she waited for Grandpap to introduce her to Emma before speaking.

As Emma took the remaining seat at the table, Grandpap introduced the woman using a long name in Blackfoot that Emma couldn't understand. Emma nearly jumped from her chair, however, when she heard the words, "Josiah's mother."

"Mrs. Brown?" Emma exclaimed in surprise.

"My white husband called me Cora." Cora's English was halting, though her expression betrayed no awkwardness. She was the picture of confidence, and Emma secretly envied her. If only she could be as calm!

"It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mrs. Brown," Emma held out her hand in polite friendship. "My name is Emma."

Cora formally accepted Emma handshake without smiling in the slightest. "I am not called Mrs. Brown anymore."
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