How does Lyddie arrange for Rachel to stay?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Uncle Judah brings Rachel to Lyddie at the boarding house, Lyddie has a dilemma. Only factory workers are allowed to live at the boarding house; no children, except the children of the woman who operates the home, can live there. Lyddie pleads with Mrs. Bedlow to let Rachel stay for two weeks, no longer, until Lyddie can make arrangements for her sister to live somewhere else, and Mrs. Bedlow reluctantly agrees. Of course, Lyddie will have to pay to support Rachel now, which will significantly reduce the amount of money she can save. Shortly after this, Lyddie becomes seriously ill with a fever, and Rachel nurses her night and day.

When Lyddie recovers, the two weeks' time she promised Mrs. Bedlow she wouldn't exceed has passed. Mrs. Bedlow says she was not going to enforce that agreement when Lyddie was close to death. Lyddie then proposes to Mrs. Bedlow that Rachel could be a doffer at the factory, which would mean she could continue to live at the boarding house. Mrs. Bedlow objects, saying Rachel is too young and too small to perform that job. Lyddie argues that Rachel showed what a hard worker she was by saving Lyddie's life during her illness, and Mrs. Bedlow knows that is true. So Mrs. Bedlow speaks with the agent at the factory about Rachel, probably exaggerating her age and weight, and the agent agrees to take her on. Rachel begins working as a doffer and continues to stay at the boarding house.

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Lyddie

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