What do Triphen and Mistress Cutler think of Lyddie when she arrives in Lyddie?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lyddie does not look like she belongs in the tavern because she is scrawny and ragged.

Lyddie is impressed by the elegant ladies and gentleman on the stagecoach as she arrives at the tavern.  Her own appearance is quite a contrast.  Mistress Cutler notices.

She came over to the wall and whispered hoarsely across it to her. "What are you doing here?" She was looking Lyddie up and down as she asked, as though Lyddie were a stray dog who had wandered too close to her house. (Ch. 3)

Lyddie looks very ragged, and Mistress Cutler tells her “this is a respectable tavern, not the township poor farm.”  Lyddie is embarrassed and introduces herself, saying she has a letter from her mother.  This finally convinces the tavern mistress that she does belong.  After that, she sends Lyddie into the kitchen and pretty much ignores her.

Triphena comments on Lyddie’s looks too.

 "Lucky you're so plain.  Guests couldn't leave the last girl be." She was ladling stew into a large serving basin. "Won't have no trouble with you, will we?" (Ch. 3)

At first, Lyddie just feels in the way in the tavern’s big kitchen.  However, Triphena takes a shine to Lyddie and shows her the ropes.  They actually become friends, despite Lyddie’s first impression.  Lyddie is determined to prove herself worthy, considering herself a “fierce worker.”  She wants to make them realize that she has value.

When Mistress Cutler gives Lyddie a storebought calico and boots, she feels even less comfortable than in her “rough brown homespun,” again considering the mistress ashamed of her.

Things do not really get better with Mistress Cutler, and her rough personality is a contrast to Triphena’s friendliness and help.  Lyddie finds herself growing more independent, and the tavern allows her to see interesting people like the factory girls.  Eventually she quits due to Mistress Cutler’s intractability, but she finds a job at the factory satisfying.

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Lyddie

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