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"It is getting bad!" Mary said urgently.

"Hold on, Mary. Let me get my rifle first," said Emma, pulling herself free from Josiah's grasp.

The girls hurried outside, only to come back minutes later looking frozen from the experience.

Bear meat was served up for breakfast, and afterward, the girls gathered to read the Bible and then to practice the letter "C." In front of the fire, Josiah molded bullets from long bars of lead, while his bear hide stretched on the wall to dry.

"Up and around, like this," said Emma, guiding Mary's finger on the dirt floor. "Now, practice your A's and B's again."

While Mary did her homework, Emma watched Josiah as he poured molten lead into his bullet mold.

"I've bin thinking," said Josiah, releasing the two halves of the mold to reveal a round lead ball, "maybe I should make another bucket."

"I could certainly use another," smiled Emma.

"It wouldn't be fer you," he grinned. "Mary had to hold her load until morning, so you could take her out to the latrine."

"So you want to make her a chamber pot?" asked Emma.

"If that's what people like you call an indoor latrine, then I reckon that's what I mean. What are you thinking on the matter?"

"It's a very thoughtful gesture, Josiah."

The mountain man grinned ear to ear when he saw Emma's warm smile.

Evening came, and Josiah was hard at work hollowing a log. He hadn't said much to Mary all day, but it hadn't been for lack of trying; he just didn't have much to say to a little girl. Josiah took pride, however, that when he had told Mary to fetch him something from one of his bags, he had said it with a smile, and had even remembered to thank her afterward.

This "chamber pot" as Emma had called it, wasn't going to be much, but at least it would help Mary. Josiah had thought long and hard to come up with something he could do for Mary, and this had been his best idea. Josiah knew he had to convince Emma that he was trying, and had relished her approving smile when she called it "a thoughtful gesture." Josiah harrumphed. When had anyone ever accused him of being thoughtful?

The log hollowed out, Josiah handed it off to Emma and she placed it by the door, on Mary's side of the room.

"Do you understand what's it's for?" asked Emma.

Mary stared at the chamber pot uncertainly. "Do I have to do it in there?" she asked in a whisper, not wanting Josiah to overhear what she was saying.
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