Lyddie has to train an Irish immigrant, and is frustrated when she sends her mother a dollar.
Lyddie is recovering from her injury. The girls at the factory are dropping like flies by now, in Chapter 14. Many have to quit because of the cough, though several want to sign the petition for workers' rights even if they might get fired.
Lyddie is the best worker at this point, and she is chosen to help train an Irish immigrant named Brigid. She considers Brigid stupid, and by extension all Irish immigrants. She has no patience for the girl. She would rather be working her own machines.
By the end of the first day, the girl was far from ready to operate her own machine, but Lyddie had run out of patience. She told Mr. Marsden to assign the girl a loom next to her own. (Ch. 14)
Since Lyddie was earlier worried about the “kiss of death” sounds coming from the loom, giving the girl a loom is not only foolish, it is dangerous. It proves that Lyddie is selfish and impetuous. She acts out of her own desires, and does what she wants. Further evidence of this is when she worries about her family’s debts because she no longer wants to send money home. She begrudges sending a dollar home.
She marveled that there had been a time when she had almost gladly given a perfect stranger everything she had, but now found it hard to send her own mother a dollar. (Ch. 14)
This shows how much Lyddie has changed. She was willing to lend Ezekial, the runaway slave, money. Yet now she does not want to give her mother money. She knows what it is like to work hard. She knows what it is like to sweat and fear. Every penny means something to her now. Her family, and her family’s debts, seem far off. She is hardened now. It shows in the way she treats Brigid too, with little patience.