We find that Sylvia had moved from her home in a busy town to live with her grandmother.She is initially nervous around people and prefers the farm with the company of Mistress Moolly, her cow. Calmed by the peace and tranquillity of her new environment, Sylvia is protected from the rush of modern life:
Sylvia had all the time there was, and very little use to make of it.
Sylvia is happy around the creatures of the forest and is skilful at understanding their ways. Her grandmother proudly tells the hunter
‘the wild creaturs counts her one o’themselves.’
Sylvia has a particular affinity with birds, which is what attracts the hunter to engage her company. She is clearly happier in their presence than with people, as her reaction to the sounds of the hunter reveals;
Suddenly this little woods-girl is horror-stricken to hear a clear whistle not very far away. Not a bird's-whistle, which would have a sort of friendliness, but a boy's whistle, determined, and somewhat aggressive.