Lyddie worries about keeping Rachel at the boarding house because children are not allowed.
Lyddie works at the Lowell factory because she needed a job to pay off her family’s debts. Her main goal is to get her family back together, because her mother lent out the family farm, the cow and the horse, and her children. Lyddie did not last long at the tavern, and left to get a factory job. Her mother kept her too younger sisters, Agnes and Rachel, and her brother went to work for a mill.
One day Lyddie got a letter from her mother telling her that her littlest sister Agnes had died. She also said that Rachel was not doing well. Lyddie was worried, and sent her mother money with a promise for more. Then her uncle showed up unexpectedly with her little sister.
Lyddie was happy to see her sister, but worried just the same. Her uncle told her that her mother was being institutionalized and the farm sold. Lyddie was also concerned that Rachel was too small and sickly. Most importantly, Lyddie had no place to put her.
She could read the warning in Mrs. Bedlow's eyes. No men, no children (except for the keeper's own) in a corporation house. But surely the woman would not have the heart . . . (Ch. 15)
Lyddie gets Mrs. Bedlow to allow her to keep Rachel there because she will not eat much or take up much space. She considers getting Rachel a job, because she can’t really afford to take care of them both. Mrs. Bedlow tells her that it won’t work.
"I'll get her a job. She can doff."
"You know she's not old enough or strong enough to be a doffer."
"Just till I can straighten things out," Lyddie pleaded. "Please lether stay. I'll get it all set in just a few days, ey?" (Ch. 15)
Lyddie does not really have to solve the problem, because after she writes to her brother Charlie, he comes to take Rachel home with him. The family that Charlie works for adopted him, and wants to adopt Rachel.
Even though she is glad that she does not have to worry about a place to put Rachel, Lyddie is sad that her family will likely never be together again. She has lost Charlie and Rachel, and her mother died. Lyddie is pretty much on her own.