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Wanting to see for herself, Mary stood at Emma's side wrapped in a warm blanket. "Where is he, Ma?"

"Game must be scare, or else he'd be back by now," said Emma, steeling her voice with an unspoken prayer.

Sighing wistfully, Mary hugged Emma's dress.

"He'll come when he's able," said Emma, stroking the girl's braids with a reassuring smile. "Let's close the door before we let anymore snow inside."

Mary had difficulty concentrating on her lessons that morning, for every time she heard a noise, she would run to the window to peek through the shutters and see if it was Josiah.

"It is not him," Mary kept saying, each time looking a little more disappointed than the last.

Though Emma tried not to let it show, she was becoming more than a little concerned about Josiah. Evening was fast approaching, and tonight would be the third night he would be gone. Had a bear finally gotten the best of her husband? Or perhaps the snows had become too much, and he had succumbed to the cold.

In spite of her fears, it was difficult for Emma to imagine Josiah freezing to death, when he was so knowledgeable in building shelters. And he had taken a heavy buffalo robe with him, so he was probably fine. In fact, Josiah was more than likely lying beside a warm fire right now, eating grouse and enjoying a snug lean-to while the snow piled up outside. As reasonable as all this was, Emma kept up a steady stream of petitions, reminding God of His promises.

"Safety is of You, Lord," Emma would often pray.

Mary stood by the shutters until her legs grew tired. Today was the fourth day of Josiah's absence, and Emma was fighting back thoughts about going to look for him. She knew it wouldn't do any good, and probably only result in her own death, but the desire to go and find Josiah was strong.

Even Mary voiced the same thought, but Emma was quick to put it from Mary's head.

"God will help him," Emma said confidently. She promptly followed her statement with a silent prayer, and then shuttled Mary off to her morning lessons to keep the child busy.

Just as Emma was offering another prayer for Josiah's return, she heard the sound of crunching snow outside the cabin. Rushing to the shutters with Mary, Emma saw a large man with three slain rabbits dangling from his shoulders.

Emma let out a deep sigh of relief. "Thank you, God!"

Throwing open the door, she ran out to meet Josiah. Emma hugged his bearskin coat, not caring that she was getting snow on her dress.

"You had me very concerned," said Emma, letting Josiah move toward the cabin without her hanging on to him to slow him down.
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