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When Lyddie first meets Diana Goss, she is impressed by her kindness and capability. Diana is the one who steps forward at the factory to help Lyddie get used to the difficult and dangerous job of operating the looms. Diana is patient and "quietly competent", and Lyddie wants to learn everything so that she can one day be like her (Chapter 9).
Lyddie is appreciative of and sometimes shamed by Diana's gentle and generous spirit. Diana thinks of the girls at the mill as her family, and she goes out of her way to look out for their well-being. When Lyddie first arrives at the factory, Diana gives her letter-writing material and postage and insists that she write to her family to let them know she is all right, and when Lyddie is injured by the shuttle at work, it is Diana who cares for her and calls a doctor to attend to her. When Lyddie is sick and unable to work, Diana, with the help of Brigid, continue operating her looms in addition to their own so that Lyddie does not lose her job and will still get at least a small paycheck. The kindness that Diana shows to Lyddie is the same as that which she shows to all the girls, and Lyddie is shamed when she sees with what patience Diana teaches Brigid when she first arrives, after Lyddie had dealt with the new girl with impatience and frustration.
Lyddie is grateful for Diana's friendship, and would like to reciprocate in some way. Diana is actively involved in the labor movement, and although she never pressures Lyddie to participate in the cause, Lyddie regrets not supporting Diana in her union activities. Even though the conditions at the factory are abominable, Lyddie is used to working under harsh conditions, and the money she makes there is more than she has been able to earn anywhere else in her young experience, and she is unwilling to jeopardize her job by becoming involved with the union. When Lyddie realizes that Diana is in trouble towards the end of the story, she longs to help the young woman who has done so much for her. Not knowing what else to do, she decides to sign the petition asking for better working conditions, risking her job in hopes of giving back to her friend.
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