Why do I let them do it to me? Why do I. Let. Them?
Adelaide sniffed and turned away from the girl. "I don't understand you."
The maid laughed. "Aye. I didn't expect you would--of all the children you're the one least likely to listen when a person's talking."
Outraged, Adelaide pursed her lips and stared at the dwarf-girl in disdain. It was not comfortable, nor pleasant to meet a person who knew far more about you than you knew of them. "I wish you'd speak plainer. At least we are more polite in our world--we tell people our names before we insult them," she said.
The maid curtsied again and laughed--as Adelaide decided--over her embarrassment. "I s'pose I am remiss in makin' introductions. I'm Dear-Heart."
"What a queer name. Who gave it to you?"
"My Da. I've always been called it."
Adelaide decided the girl was not so terrible when she spoke on this plane. "Who's your Da?"
"Why, you've just spent the day with him!" Dear-Heart laughed and clapped her sooty little hands, delighted.
See? She came into my tale rather abruptly--not more introduction than a mention of a "nobbly little under-maid" who came with Agnes to tuck the children into bed. I like her already. She's very frank, not at all awed by the earth-folk, and a tad self-important when it comes to belonging to The Castle. But all in all (as far as I can tell, and especially from her name) she is a darling and will do much in the plot of the story. :)[just be glad I nixed the idea of a cocker-spaniel coming alive out of a painting. It was too fantastical and undignified! ;D]