I busied myself wiping down the saddle then applying a fresh coat of oil. “Do you regret your decision, Louisa?” She stopped scrubbing. “I’ve been here ten months. The only thing I regret, Ruby, is being unable to stand up to Emily.” I draped the towel over the pommel and moved behind her. Tentatively, I rested my hand on her shoulder: she stiffened briefly. Her hands ceased washing. I tugged gently, asking without words for her to turn around. She did so, slowly, and kept her head lowered. I emulated Mrs. Cleanknockers and raised her chin. “I forgive you, Louisa.”
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