The copse stood as it always had, in the space between the mill and the mill workers’ cottages. The iron railings surrounding it had bent and rusted over the years, and the trees had grown taller; now a rope swing hung from the lowest branch of the great horse chestnut and a den, constructed of planks and sacking, nestled amongst the tree’s smaller brethren.
As the sun sank lower in the sky, the copse filled as it always had, with laughter and movement. Children climbed the trees, hid in the den, and swung on the rope. Their clothes -- very similar whether worn by boys or girls -- were brightly coloured under fresh dirt, and they called out unfamiliar names, but their presence served to reassure Poppy that all was right with the world.
A horseless carriage rumbled along the road, unremarked by all but one of the children; he merely waved to its occupants. Two young women, wearing trousers rather than skirts, pushed tiny babies in wheeled chairs.
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