• LYDDIE CHAPTER SUMMARIES

     
    Chapter 1
    When a bear breaks into their house Lyddie stares him down and saves the family. Her mother (who is overly religious) sees the bear as a message from God that the world is coming to an end. 
    The family is struggling with work and debts. The father left the family to go out west, and never returned. Lyddie's mom decides to leave the farm with the two youngest children, Agnes and Rachel, to live with her sister Clarissa and brother-in-law Judah. She hires out her son Charles to a sawmill and her daughter Lyddie to Cutler's Inn to pay off debts. Lyddie's younger brother, Charlie, returns and the two try to keep the family farm.
     
    CHARLIE works at the BAKERS MILL
    LYDDIE works as a maid at the CUTLER'S TAVERN
    Their mom sold the field horse, and cow to pay off debts.
    Lyddie and Charlie decide to sell a baby calf to Quaker Stevens. Mr. Stevens paid 25 dollars even though the calf is rightfully his.
    Luke Stevens, one of quaker Stevens' sons, drove Charlie to the mill and Lyddie to Cutler's Tavern where they were going to have to work. He told them he would look after their farmhouse while they were gone.
     
    CUTLER'S TAVERN-  Mistress Cutler is a horrible boss, and she works Lyddie very hard. Life at the tavern is harder than on the farm.
    Lyddie comforts herself at night by counting the money she has saved from selling the calf
    Foreshadowing - Lyddie sees a beautiful woman that she later learns works in a factory; this is a good job where you can make more money

    Lyddie arrives at Cutler's tavern (where she is going to work). She is dirty and wearing a homemade dress that really doesn't fit anymore. The taverns owner, Mrs. Cutler, initially tries to send her away. Then she realizes this is the Lyddie that was sent by her mother to work at the tavern. Mrs. Cutler tells Lyddie she runs a clean business and doesn't want her dirty around the customers. She sends her into Triphena in the kitchen to ask where she can wash up. Lyddie is given a store-bought calico dress to wear. Eventually, Lyddie is appreciated for being a hard worker. One of the women guest, who dresses in a beautiful pink silk dress, tells Lyddie she works in a factory in Lowell, Massachusetts and she could make a lot more money working in a factory like her.
     
    Lyddie becomes friends with the tavern cook, TRiPHENA, who tells her an allegory about survival. "TWO FROGS FALL IN A BUCKET, ONE DROWNS THE OTHER KICKS TO STAY ALIVE. SHE KICKS SO HARD THAT SHE MAKES BUTTER AND SHE STAYS ON IT SO AS NOT TO DROWN". The frog is like Lyddie because she is a survivor and never gives up.
    Charlie comes to visit. Lyddie stops missing the rest of her family. Lyddie learns that money is paid for runaway slaves.

    Triphena shows kindness toward Lyddie and they become friends.
    Charlie came to visit Lyddie. Lyddie was very lonely after he left.
    A winter blizzard came. Otis and Enoch, two hired men, were stuck inside in the kitchen whittling making spills for maple sugaring. They were in the way a lot but Lyddie liked to hear them talk about things happening outside the tavern. They talked about runaway slaves being captured and a hundred dollar reward being paid for turning in a runaway slave. Lyddie thought about what she would do if she saw a black person. She had never seen a black person.
     
    Chapter 5
    Mrs. Cutler went to Boston to sell maple sugar candies. Triphena tells Lyddie she is in charge when Mrs. Cutler isn't around and it will be ok for Lyddie to leave the tavern and visit her brother at the mill. Lyddie arrives at the mill to find Charlie is not there but in school. Lyddie decides not to wait for him. Instead, she continues walking on to the family farm. Outside the cabin in the snow there are footprints. Lyddie goes into the cabin through the window and finds a black man already inside.
     
    Lyddie crawls through the window keeping an eye on the black man. She remembers the one hundred dollar reward for turning in an escaped slave. He is well-spoken and introduces himself as Ezekial Abernathy a preacher and escaped slave. He left his wife and child behind with the plan to send for them at a later date. Right now he is recovering from an illness and does not have any money. Lyddie tells him now that she knows him she would never turn him in. She gives him the calf money in hopes he will get to Canada safely. He tells her he will return it with interest if he can.
     
    When Lyddie returns to Cutler's Tavern, Mrs. Cutler is back from Boston and fires her for leaving while she was away. Triphena tells Lyddie to hide for a day and Mrs. Cutler will forget all about it. Lyddie says no, she wants to leave and go to Massachusetts to become a factory girl.
     
    Triphena gives Lyddie money to go by carriage to Lowell.
    Triphena gives Lyddie a pair of her own boots and a cloth purse with five silver dollars in it. Triphena has to stuff the boots with paper because they are too big. Lyddie walks ten miles the first day. At dusk, it starts to rain hard. She stops at the next village for the night. She works at a local inn for board till the end of the week until the stagecoach comes. She boards the stagecoach but feels guilty about spending the money. She does not like her fellow passengers. They are smelly and very critical of her clothes. The coach gets stuck in the mud. Four of the male passengers try to get the coach unstuck but, they are not successful. Lyddie puts a flat stone under the stuck wheel and frees the coach. This makes the coachman laugh. He lets her come up and sit with him. He praises her for being tough and hardy. He tells her he will take her to his sister's boarding house Number Five of the Concord Manufacturing Corporation in Lowell, Massachusetts. He tells her to think of it as payment for her help in getting the coach unstuck.
     
    Mrs. Bedlow gives money to Lyddie to get new clothes and helps her get a job at the Concord Corporation factory; Lyddie's new roommates are PRUDENCE, AMELIA, AND BETSY.

    Mrs. Bedlow, the coachman's sister, is kind to Lyddie and takes her in to live at her boardinghouse. She orders Lyddie to bathe, feeds her, and brings her up to the attic to sleep for the night. The next day Mrs. Bedlow tells Lyddie she needs new clothes and boots to look decent enough to get a job at the Concord Corporation.  Lyddie meets Amelia, Betsy, and Prudence at breakfast and they take her shopping for new clothes. Amelia gets Mrs. Bedlow to agree to let Lyddie stay in her room with Prudence and Betsy. They tell her the corporation requires regular church attendance on Sundays. The next morning Mrs. Bedlow helps Lyddie get a job at the Concord Corporation. She brings Lyddie to the mill on her first day of work.
     
    Lyddie starts to work at the factory and MR MARSDEN (the overseer) assigns DIANA GOSS to help her. She is kind to Lyddie and teaches her to read and write. Lyddie's roommates warn her about Diana and do not like her; Lyddie writes to her family about her new job.
    DIANA GOSS - factory girl, reformer and agitator who wants better conditions at the factories.

    Lyddie starts work in the weaving room of the factory. It is very loud in the weaving room.  The overseer brings her to her weaving loom. Right away Diana comes over to help Lyddie and train her on how to run the machine she is assigned to. Lyddie is strong from working on her family farm, but Lyddie needs more strength to do the work than she thought she would. Diana invited Lyddie to her boarding house that evening to go over the rules and regulations the mill requires the girls to obey. Amelia does not like Diana and does not want Lyddie to go out. Lyddie chooses to visit Diana anyway. Diana gives Lyddie paper and postage as a gift so she can write her Mother and brother Charlie to let them know she is working in a mill in Lowell, Massachusetts. When Diana comes back to her boarding house Amelia asks her if Diana made her promise to join the Female Labor Reform Association. Lyddie tells her Diana did not even talk about it. Amelia tells her not to trust Diana.
     
    Lyddie is having a hard time adjusting; to make her feel better BETSY reads Oliver Twist to her; Lyddie loves the story.

    The factory girls wake up by the sound of the 4:30 am bell. They are at the factory gate by 5:00 am. The factory machines come alive as the workday begins. It is loud. The air inside the factory is damp and full of lint debris. The window cannot be opened. It is nailed shut. Diana patiently trains Lyddie on running a loom. The factory girls stop work and eat breakfast at the boarding house at 7:00 am. They have very little time to eat it. Lunch at the boarding house is also rushed. Lyddie had never seen so much food at one time. Lyddie goes to bed after dinner. She is exhausted after her first full day of factory work. Betsy asks Lyddie if she wants her to read to her.  Betsy reads Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist to her. Lyddie enjoys the story.
     
    Lyddie learns that Betsy goes to OBERLIN College; when the girls go home for summer break, Lyddie works harder to make more money; Lyddie continues to read the story of Oliver Twist; Lyddie buys her own copy of the book
     
    DIANA GOSS tries to get Lyddie to come to a reform meeting and Lyddie refuses to get involved.

    Lyddie escapes the hardships of working in the mill by looking forward to Betsy reading Oliver Twist to her at night. When Betsy finishes reading the entire book, it is almost July. Lyddie's roommates are looking forward to taking a vacation and going home for a visit. Lyddie has to work at the mill for a whole year before she can visit Charlie or the farm. While Diana is on vacation, Lyddie hopes Mr. Marsden will assign her extra looms to tend so she can make more money. Lyddie borrows a copy of Oliver from the lending library. She reads the story to herself and teaches herself to read. In mid-July she decides to buy her own copy of Oliver from the book store. She stops going to Sunday services to keep reading her book. Mrs. Bedlow makes an announcement that the girls in her boardinghouse need to start attending Sunday services more regularly. Lyddie start to go back to Sunday services and puts a copied page from her book in her pocket and reads it during the Sunday sermon. Lyddie thinks she sees Diana in the company of a gentleman on her way home from church. Yet she is not sure. When she called out to Diana, Diana just kept going.
     
    * Lyddie sees parallels between her life and OLIVER TWISTS; Lyddie's mother asks for more money; Lyddie learns her sister Agnes has died
    * Lyddie is a hard worker and a survivor she never complains no matter how bad the situation
    * PRUDENCE one of the roommates becomes sick and must leave
    * BETSY, LYDDIE, and AMELIA do not always get along

    Lyddie worked very hard at the factory during the heat of the summer. Mr. Marsden, the overseer, says she is one of his very best girls. She reads and re-reads the pages of Oliver during free moments at the loom. She is making very good money. She does not let the other girls in the weaving room know this. She receives a letter from her mother. Her mother asks her to send money. Lyddie learns her sister Agnes has died. Her sister Rachel is not doing very well. Lyddie vows to work even harder to pay off the farm debts and bring her family together again. Her roommate Prudence goes home for good. She has a terrible cough. Betsy threatens to sign the petition. She says they are all working like slaves and are making less money instead of more.
     
    * Lyddie tries to convince herself that she is not a slave.
    * Lyddie's confidence has boosted up so much that she can operate four looms at a time on her own.
    * She writes to her family telling them her efforts to try to pay off the family debt.
    * Betsy announces the petition and wants to apply to Oberlin college when she is fired for it.

    Betsy says that the factory working girls are like slaves. Diana agrees with her. Lyddie does not think of herself as a slave because she is getting paid for her hard work. Lyddie continues to work very hard and is one of the factory's top producers. She runs up to four machines at one time. 

    Lyddie writes a letter home to her family explaining her successes, hard work, and attempts to pay off all of the family debt. Betsy signs the petition for better working conditions. Betsy is fired for it and decides to apply to attend Oberlin College. 

    Lyddie is injured working so many machines at once. Diana helps care for Lyddie's injury. She sends for a doctor friend of hers to treat Lyddie for free.
     
    * Amelia is the next girl to leave because of the speed pacing up.
    * Lyddie is now Mr. Mardsen best girl, as being best girl she must train the new girl BRIGID, an Irish immigrant. she does not want to do this because she does not want to waste time off from her own looms.
    * Diana wants Lyddie to sign the petition, but Betsy signs it.
    * Betsy developed a bad cough
    * Luke Stevens comes to visit Lyddie and gives her a letter from the runaway slave Ezekial
    WE SEE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: AS LYDDIE WAKES UP TROUBLED BY THE FACT - ALTHOUGH SHE ONCE GAVE HER ENTIRE FORTUNE TO A STRANGER - SHE NOW FEELS A CERTAIN WAY ABOUT SENDING HER OWN MOTHER A DOLLAR.

    Amelia leaves the factory. Lyddie must now train a new worker, an Irish immigrant girl named Brigid. Lyddie is not happy about having to do this. She'd rather be working at her own looms. Diana continues to persuade the girls to sign her petition for shorter workdays, and Betsy does so. Other girls have been fired or blacklisted for signing the petition, but Betsy is let go because of her cough; Marsden says she is in poor health.

    Luke Stevens visits and gives Lyddie a letter from Ezekial, the runaway slave she had helped to escape. He has sent her money to repay her (with interest). Lyddie sends a dollar to her mother and asks to know the total amount of their debt. She didn't really want to part with that dollar, and she wonders how she could resent giving a little money to her mother after she had willingly given it all to a total stranger.
     
    Just as Lyddie was about to pay off her debt, her uncle and younger sister RACHEL come with bad news. He tells her that her mother is in an asylum and the farm is going to be sold.
    Lyddie convinces Mrs. Bedlow to let Rachel stay with her, she says yes. Lyddie writes to Charlie asking him to stop the farm sale. At work, Mr. Marden threatens to fire Brigid and Lyddie offers to help her.

    Lyddie's uncle and her sister Rachel arrive at the boarding house. He has bad news for her. He sent her mother to an asylum. He also put the farm is up for sale. Mrs. Bedlow allows Rachel to stay with Lyddie. Lyddie writes to Charles and begs him to stop the sale of the farm.

    Lyddie is not pleased to have to train Brigid. When Mr. Marsden threatens to fire Brigid, Lyddie offers to help her.
     
    Lyddie buys new clothes and books for Rachel, spending more than two weeks' salary. One night, Mr. Marsden makes Lyddie stay after work and puts his arms around her. She stomps his foot with her boot and runs away from him. She becomes sick with a high fever. Dr. Morris was sent to see her. She did not want to spend any money on a doctor but she was too sick to protest. She was not able to work for several weeks. Mrs. Bedlow, Rachel, Diana, and Brigid take care of her.
     
    When Lyddie regains her strength she goes back to the factory. When Mr. Mardsen sees her he ignores her.
    Mrs. Bedlow gets Rachel a job as a doffer.
    Lyddie notices that Rachel is getting a bad cough and is worried that she might lose her.

    Lyddie recovers from her fever and gets stronger. She is worried about returning to work. She wonders if she has a job to return to. Nothing bad happens when she returns to work. Diana and Brigid took care of her looms while she was out sick. Lyddie will get money in her paycheck because they did this for her. Rachel begins to work at the mill as a doffer. Rachel develops a bad cough, and when Lyddie wakes up because of it, she worries that she might lose Rachel.
     
    Chapter 18

    LYDDIE NO LONGER HAS TO WEIGH CONCERNS ABOUT FACTORY CONDITIONS AND HER OWN LIFE - THIS IS A TURNING POINT IN THE STORY.

    Charlie comes to visit. He tells Lyddie that the Phinneys are treating him as if he were their own son and want to take in Rachel as well. Lyddie agrees to let Rachel go because she knows this is best for Rachel. Charlie also tells her that the family farm is going to be sold and the money will go to their uncle. Before he leaves, Charlie gives Lyddie a letter from Luke Stevens. In it, Luke says that his father has bought the farm, and he proposes marriage to her. She is insulted by the proposal, thinking that Luke is suggesting that he can buy her along with the farm. She tears the letter to bits and bursts into tears.
     
     
    * Lyddie feels very lonely and thinks that life has no purpose to it due to work.
    * Diana must leave the factory because she finds out she is pregnant.

    Lyddie continues to work very hard when the farm is sold. Lyddie loses everything when the farm is sold. She thinks Luke Stevens wants to marry her out of pity or to own her. She has nothing left. She shuts herself off from anyone who wants to get close to her.

    The farm is sold at the same time her sister Rachel leaves. Lyddie is extremely lonely. Work was the only thing she had left. By working so hard, Lyddie found that she did not have time to think or to feel. she worked until she was exhausted.
     
    Lyddie is now taking over Diana's role at the factory; she is coaching the new girls and teaching Bridges how to read
    She is sent a letter from her brother saying that all is well and to write a letter to Luke Stevens. 

    Mr. Marsden tries to attack Bridget. Lyddie rescues Brigid from Mr. Mardsen by pouring a bucket of water over his head.
     
    *Mr. Mardsen said that she was a troublemaker and Lyddie denied these complaints, he did it again and she was fired from the mill.

    Lyddie is helping new girls get used to factory life. She also sticks up for Brigid by dumping a bucket of water on her boss, Mr. Marsden when he tries to becomes inappropriately romantic with Brigid. Mr. Marsden gets Lyddie fired by saying that she has a problem with “moral turpitude”. This basically means that she is immoral, but since Lyddie does not know what the word means she cannot defend herself. This is a turning point for Lyddie because when she is fired she makes it a point to better educate herself. Since she is not granted a certificate of honorable discharge, she cannot get another job at a mill.
     
    * Lyddie withdrew her $243.87 dollars savings from the bank and buys a copy of Oliver Twist for Rachel and a dictionary for herself.
    * Lyddie visits Brigid to tell her to confront Mr. Mardsen about lying (what he accused the girls of). The next day, Lyddie goes to visit Diana who is waiting for the birth of her daughter.
    * Lyddie is going home to Vermont.

    Lyddie withdraws all of her savings from the bank and buys another copy of Oliver Twist for Rachel and a dictionary. She finally discovers the meaning of “moral turpitude”,  and it makes her very angry. She tells Brigid why she was dismissed. She tells her about the letter she has written to Mr. Marsden warning him that she will tell his wife what happens in the weaving room after hours if he fires Brigid. Later that evening, she confronts Mr. Marsden face to face. The next day she leaves town for Boston and looks up Diana. She is surprised and happy to discover that Diana is living with an ill widowed shopkeeper and her daughter (who will look after the baby when it is born). She is happy for Diana, but she is sad about her own life. After visiting with Diana, she continues on to Vermont.
     
    When Lyddie returns to Vermont she visits Cutlers Mill and tells Triphenea about everything at the mill and asks for her old job back, but it has already been taken. She goes to visit Charlie and Rachel, but they are at school so she goes back to the farm and sees Luke Stevens. 

    Lyddie returns to Cutler's Tavern and is welcomed back by Triphena. Lyddie asks for her old job back, but that position has been filled. She then goes to see the Phinneys, where Charlie and Rachel are living. They are still at school when she gets there, so she decides to walk to the old farm. Once there, she builds a fire in the fireplace and sits in her mother's old rocking chair. Luke Stevens enters the house and apologizes for having written the letter in which he tells her that his father has bought the farm and proposes that she marry him. He asks her what her plans are, and she decisively tells him she plans to go to college. Lyddie asks Luke to wait for her. She wants to come back when she is strong and educated and not weak with no place to go.
     
     
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