In Chapter 16, Lyddie's aunt and uncle have brought her sister Rachel to her to care for. Lyddie uses two weeks' worth of her savings to buy Rachel clothing and a book. Brigid makes mistakes and seems emotional at work. Lyddie snaps at her, but when she hears Brigid's mother is sick, she grudgingly gives her some change to pay for a doctor. After that, Brigid is "pathetically grateful" and performs much better at work. Lyddie sees the supervisor, Mr. Marsden, eyeing her continually across the room.
Lyddie begins to feel feverish, and at the end of the workday, Mr. Marsden creates a pretense in order to keep Lyddie there alone with him after hours. He begins to make an unwanted sexual advance toward her, gripping her arms and pulling her toward him to kiss her. She is feeling ill, and without really knowing what she's doing, she stomps on his foot and escapes back to the boarding house.
Lyddie becomes quite ill--probably she has caught the illness Brigid's mother had from sucking on the same shuttle that Brigid sucks on at the factory. Lyddie's sickness is severe, and she almost dies. Mrs. Bedlow, Brigid, and Dr. Morris care for her. As Lyddie drifts in and out of consciousness, she realizes that Rachel is constantly by her side. Finally Lyddie's fever breaks, and Rachel is thrilled that Lyddie hasn't died. Lyddie says wryly, "We can stil hop [sic]."