In chapter 18 of Lyddie, Lyddie's brother, Charlie, visits his sister at her boardinghouse in Lowell, Massachusetts. He brings news, good and bad. First, Charlie tells Lyddie that he has become a full apprentice at the mill, and the Phinneys are treating him like a son. He has a chance to go to school, plenty of food, and a good life.
Charlie also has news about their sister Rachel, who has been staying with Lyddie. The Phinneys want Rachel to come and live with them. She, too, will go to school and have a good home and life. Mrs. Phinney has even sent a new dress and bonnet for Rachel.
Charlie thinks that Lyddie will be pleased with these two pieces of news, but she is not. She has tried so hard to care for her brother and sister that she feels like a failure for not being able to give them what they need. They must rely on others. Lyddie does not, however, let Charlie know about these feelings.
Then Charlie breaks his bad news. Ever since Uncle Judah dropped Rachel off with Lyddie and announced that he was going to sell Lyddie's family's farm, Lyddie has been trying to think of a way to stop him. Charlie has appealed to Mr. Stevens for help, but even Mr. Stevens can do nothing. Now Charlie tells Lyddie that Uncle Judah is “bound and determined to sell.” Lyddie can do no more. The matter is closed. Lyddie responds, “Well, so be it.” Charlie adds that the siblings will not even see any of the money from the farm. Uncle Judah will keep it because he has been “taking care” of Lyddie's mother and younger sisters. Charlie notes wryly and truly,
For a man who says the Lord is set to end the whole Creation at any minute, he's got a powerful concern for the vain things of this world.
At the end of the chapter, Lyddie reads the letter from Luke Stevens that Charlie has brought to her. Luke tells Lyddie that his father has purchased Lyddie's family's farm. Luke would like to earn the deed to it, and he also wants to marry Lyddie.