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When Emma sat down to a smaller than usual portion, Josiah looked at her curiously.

"You didn't eat much lunch, either."

Emma nodded. "I know."

"You've got to eat more than that, Emma."

"I will-- tomorrow."

Josiah didn't look as though he approved, but said nothing more.

Bedtime came, and with it Mary's list of people in her nightly prayer. When she came to Josiah, Mary was about to say "Mr. Brown" again, when she heard Josiah clear his throat. Peeking one eye open, Mary looked at Josiah, and he shook his head at her reproachfully. Mary looked thoughtful, and then proceeded to pray for the saving of "Pa's soul."

When it was over, Josiah flashed Emma a "Does she have to do this every night?" kind of look.

With Mary tucked in her blankets, Emma checked the door and then came to bed.

"I know you think differently," said Josiah, "but my soul don't need anyone praying fer it. Especially every night."

Lying down, Emma winced as her sore back straightened on the buffalo robes.

"You hurting?" asked Josiah.

"It's my back."

"Has yer bleeding started yit?"

Emma sighed. "Must you be so uncouth?"

Frustrated, Josiah cursed under his breath. "What do you want me calling it? Emma, you and yer highfalutin words! You must have had a powerful lot of book learning."

"No, it hasn't started yet," Emma said finally.

Josiah's face softened when he saw Emma's discomfort, and he opened his arms, as though inviting her to come closer.

Gratefully, Emma leaned her head on Josiah's shoulder, and let his arm envelope her in an embrace. She resisted when he proceeded to rub her back, but when she realized he was trying to help her pain, and not frolic, she slowly relaxed. Emma wasn't in the mood for romance tonight, and from the careful way Josiah was holding her, she knew he didn't have to be told. It was obvious.

"Could she say her prayer to herself?" asked Josiah. "Does she have to say it out loud?"

"Who do you mean?" asked Emma. "Mary?"
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