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Josiah joined the girls at the table, but he didn't wait as he usually did while Emma prayed over the food. Instead, he immediately started eating, and didn't seem to care when Emma gave him a pleading look.

After the meal, bedtime quieted the cabin even more as Mary climbed into her bed. Emma tucked the child in, quietly hearing Mary's prayer, and then giving and receiving a goodnight kiss.

As Emma crawled into bed beside Josiah, she saw that his eyes were closed, as though already asleep. From his breathing, however, she knew he was still awake.

Emma rested her head against the thick buffalo robes. "Josiah?" she asked softly.

"What is it? I'm trying to sleep."

"It's good to have you home, Josiah. You were missed." Emma turned her head to see him staring at the log rafters in the roof. "I'm sorry you had such a difficult time hunting. I wish I could've helped you."

Josiah said nothing.

Emma turned her gaze upward, at the same log rafters he was so intently inspecting. It made her feel closer to Josiah, as if she were able to share his thoughts in some small way.

"I'm so very happy, Josiah."

He looked at Emma in puzzlement. "What've you got to be so happy about?"

"The baby," said Emma. "You haven't forgotten, have you?"

"Oh, that." Josiah turned his eyes back to the rafters.

"It'll be our second child," said Emma, trying to encourage some interest in the life sprouting in her womb.

Josiah harrumphed. "What do you mean by, 'second'? You still pretending that bastard child is yours? What's wrong with you, Emma? She's the offspring of a dead squaw."

It was the first time Emma had heard Josiah use the term "squaw," though she had commonly heard it used among her own people.

"What does 'squaw' mean?" asked Emma. "Isn't it just another word for an Indian woman?"

"A squaw is a whore," said Josiah. "She don't necessarily go looking fer other men, but when she wants a trinket or something that catches her eye, she'll let the devil himself into her bed."

Emma shuddered. Josiah's voice was cold-- almost as cold as the arctic winds outside their cabin.

"Surely, you don't think that of all Indian women."

"White or red, all women are the same," said Josiah, his voice steeped in contempt. "When things git hard enough, they'll sell their soul for a bite of meat and a warm blanket."
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