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While Emma untangled the cords wound about the wooden figurine, she heard Josiah move behind her on the bed.


Emma turned about to face Josiah. He was sitting up, looking strangely thoughtful.

"I thought you were going to sleep," said Emma.

"I really am sorry, Emma."

"I know, you wish you hadn't made that face at Mary."

"It's not just that." Josiah brushed back his long hair, his fingers absently toying the eagle feather dangling in his dark mane. "I've been cruel to Mary, and I know it. I ain't proud of it, and I ain't so sure I can change that part of me, but I'll try. Even if you never believe me, I'll try."

Emma looked at him longingly. "I wish I could believe you, Josiah."

"I wish I could do more than try," he shrugged. "It won't be enough, Emma. It never is."

"Without Christ, it never will be."

Grinning bitterly, Josiah shook his head. "I'm done speaking. I'll be seeing you in the morning."

Emma watched Josiah roll onto his side, and then struggle with the blankets as he tried to go to sleep. He was exhausted, and yet, Emma knew he was still frustrated and angry.

Winding the sinew cord around the break in Mary's doll, Emma set it aside and then lay down on the bed.

Just then, Mary yawned, and Emma realized Mary was still awake.

"How much did you hear?" Emma asked the girl.

"I heard everything," Mary smiled happily. She was obviously feeling quite grownup for having been able to listen.

"Do you have any questions?" asked Emma. "Are you sad?" It was a silly question, for Emma could plainly see Mary wasn't sad at all.

"No, I am fine, Ma."

"Since you're still awake, here's your Blackfoot doll," said Emma, handing the child her toy. "Are you sure your feelings weren't hurt by anything you overheard?"

A voice from the buffalo robes broke in on Emma's questioning. "Leave the child alone," said Josiah. "If she's fine, then let it be."

Annoyed at his interference, Emma shook her finger in Josiah's direction. "I thought you promised to back off whenever it concerned Mary."
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