“It is not possible for you to be an agent for the War Office,” Richard told her, even though she was in fact sitting in the office of an agent in command, who had apparently summoned her. “My oldest son isn’t much younger than you.”
The girl shrugged.
“I don’t have another answer, Your Grace. I only have what I have.”
Richard looked her over from her clean white smock to the tips of her polished black boots. She was a well kept lass with a fine upbringing from what he could tell of her manners and the distance between the back of her chair and her ramrod straight spine. But there was something about her that wasn’t quite right. When she spoke, it was not with the careless cadence of a child. It was with the banal tone of an over taxed adult. It was as if this eight year old child had lived an entire lifetime before even being given the chance to make her adolescence. The entire notion was unsettling, and Richard adjusted in his seat.
“If you are, indeed, the agent observing Lady Straughton, what can you tell me of her actions?”
The young girl blinked.
“Would you care to know my name first, Your Grace? I know yours.”
Remember, we’re going a little earlier than the Regency period here. And yes, little Maggie Folton would have been wearing a pinafore, or an apron, to cover her dress to keep it clean. Young girls were the exact miniature of their mothers in many regards when it came to dress in the 18th century, but this would later change going into the 1800s as children’s dress became less formal.
But as you see from Maggie’s posture (the distance between her back and her chair), she was very much a formal girl, and as we learn later in To Save a Viscount, she used many of these routines and customs to deal with the death of her parents.