Some of the smallest children – those that tagged along with older brothers and sisters – looked straight at Poppy, but when she reached out an encouraging hand to them they backed or ran away, hiding from her amongst the trees.
The older children couldn't see her, but she hadn't expected they would. She learned to recognise individuals amongst them, and slowly learned some of their names and their relationships to each other. They came from such small families for the most part; few had more than two brothers or sisters, and almost half of them had none, although there was a raucous gang of red-haired and freckled boys and girls who all seemed to be related in one way or another.
It had surprised her to see so many brown faces amongst the paler ones; one or two of them darker-skinned than she had been in life, with noses like her own; three sisters whose parents must have come from the Indies; others from yet further to the east. All chattered in accents that Poppy recognised as local – not that different to the way she and her friends had talked – even if many of the words made little sense.
I'm not 100% sure about Poppy as a name, although it just sneaks in as historically correct, but I can always change my mind later. And I have a stack of details on Derbyshire mills to read before this is finished too.