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Josiah twisted his face into a scowl. "Yer pushing me, Emma."

"In that case, we're returning to our story," said Emma, forcing her eyes back onto the page. "Where was I, Mary?"

"The great fish swallowed up Jonah," said Mary.

"Oh, yes," Emma found her place and began reading.

"I'm sorry," Josiah spoke up so his voice could be heard over Emma's.

Emma lowered her Bible. "What did you say?" she asked.

Gritting his teeth, Josiah repeated his words. "I swear, woman, yer making this mighty hard."

Emma sighed, closing the large Bible. "Josiah, I'm tired. I'm tired of your animosity toward Mary, and I'm tired of forcing you to make peace with her."

Josiah looked at Emma uncertainly. "Ani-what?" he asked.

"It means to have ill will," said Emma.

"I made her the bucket, didn't I?"


"And I told her all them stories, didn't I?"

"Yes, you did."

"I'm going to keep my promise to take her hunting."

"I'm glad to hear it."

At the end of his list of good deeds, Josiah looked flustered. "I don't know what yer wanting from me, Emma."

"Yes, you do." Emma's voice was unflinching.

Josiah tossed aside the awl in his hand, and threw back the partially formed bearskin coat in his lap. He got to his feet as though angry, and yet, his expression was not one of anger. "I'll be kinder to Mary," he said finally.

"Kindness would come easier if you loved her," said Emma.

"Don't make this into a war, Emma. You won't win."

The sharp edge in Josiah's voice warned Emma to back down. He had promised to be kinder, and that would have to be enough.

"Am I forgiven?" asked Josiah, towering above Emma with his arms folded across his chest like a proud Indian chief.
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