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With eyes of wonder, Mary lifted the doll from the table and cradled it in her arms. She ran her fingers across the delicate, even stitches, felt its soft dress, examined the petticoat, and then looked at Emma with admiration.

"Do you like her?" Emma couldn't help but ask.

"Oh, yes," Mary said softly, "I do."

"Besides God, you have your pa to thank for the doll." Out of the corner of her eye, Emma saw Josiah sit up in bed at the mention of his name. "He gave up the last bit of calico he had for trading, and let me turn it into a doll dress." Silently, Emma mouthed the words, "Say 'thank you,'" and nodded in Josiah's direction.

Shyly, Mary inched her way toward Josiah's bed.

The trapper looked at Mary uncertainly, as though he didn't know what to expect.

"Thank you," Mary said in a still, small voice.

Awkwardly, Josiah cleared his throat. "Uh, yer welcome. It was mainly yer ma's doing."

With a big smile, Mary threw her arms about Emma's dress, and then went to play with the new doll.

Smiling, Emma looked back at Josiah. "Thank you, Mr. Brown. You've made her very happy."

The uncomfortable look on Josiah's face made Emma smile even more. "Would you like your present now?"

"My present?" Josiah looked at her skeptically. "You made a doll fer me, too?"

Kneeling on the robes again, Emma pulled out a familiar leathern garment. Holding up Josiah's hunting shirt, she turned it around so that he could see its back. Instead of a jagged knife rip, Emma had brought the two sides together in a neat, long seam, so that it was hard to tell anything violent had ever happened. Emma handed the shirt down to Josiah, and he silently looked it over. Emma had even reinforced seams that had been threatening to give way for quite some time. Overall, it looked very well cared-for.

"When did you have time fer this?"

"I've been working while you were asleep, and finished it just last night."

A frown knitted Josiah's brow. He didn't look happy, but he didn't look angry, either. "When are you going to put the candles on the Christmas tree?" he asked, putting on his newly mended shirt.

"I'm going to light the tree for our Christmas supper. Is the back too tight? I thought about adding an extra strip of animal skin to the back, to help make up for the seam, but I didn't think it necessary. Turn around, so I can see." Josiah turned, and Emma examined the fit. "Yes, I think it will work. What about you, Mr. Brown. Is it comfortable?"

With a surly nod, Josiah grunted. "It'll do."

Giving the shirt one last inspection, Emma got up and went to start preparing meat for their Christmas supper. Since it was to be a grand feast, Emma decided to serve it as more of a late lunch, than a supper.

Cradling her new doll, Mary looked up at Emma questioningly. "Do you dress like this?" The child pointed to the doll's bright calico, and then lifted its skirts to reveal the petticoat. "Do white women dress like this?"
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