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"I need to hem the edges where I cut out your cloth doll, so this is as good a time as any to begin learning how to sew."

Hearing this, Josiah interjected his opinion on the matter. "She needs to learn how to work leather-- not cloth, Emma. Fine sewing won't do her no good in these mountains."

"I appreciate your advice, Mr. Brown, but Cora expressly instructed me to teach Mary how to live among the white man, and that's just what I'm doing."

There was an argument brewing in Josiah's eyes, but he kept it to himself. Instead, he turned his attention back to the bearskin before him.

"If you wish to teach Mary about leather though, her sewing lesson can wait until another time."

Josiah glared at Emma. "I weren't making no offer."

"Oh, I thought perhaps you were."

With a harrumph, Josiah worked his knife against the animal skin, noticeably careful to not make any more suggestions out loud.

Emma glimpsed the sad eyes peering up at her, and sighed. "He'll get used to you, Mary."

"Is he really my pa?"

"That's what your grandmother told you, isn't it?"

"Yes," Mary said disappointedly. With a sigh, she grasped a handful of Emma's dress, and didn't let go as she followed Emma to the shelf below the closed window.

"I need to fetch my sewing box," said Emma, "but we'll work on your bed, so we'll have enough light to see by. After all, we wouldn't want to hurt those pretty eyes of yours."

The compliment extracted a shy smile from Mary.

Sitting side by side on the warm buffalo robe, Emma opened a carved wooden box. Mary gasped with wonderment as Emma pulled out one treasure after another.

Selecting a slender needle, Emma threaded it with a measured length of wool thread. "Did you see how I did that?" asked Emma. "Now, it's your turn."

Wetting one end of the thread in her mouth as Emma had done, Mary tried to push the strand through the tiny eye of the needle. The harder Mary tried, the more frayed the thread became, until Emma noticed tears welling in the girl's eyes.

"It's all right, Little One. It's only thread." Emma tenderly touched one of Mary's braids, just as a tear slid down the girl's cheek. "Maybe you're too young for this. Why don't we start with some basic sewing, instead?"

Giving the needle and thread back to Emma, Mary rubbed the tears from her eyes with a small fist.
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