What happens in Chapter 3 of Lyddie?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the beginning of Chapter 3, Lyddie stands outside Cutler's Tavern. She notes that the tavern is larger than the Stevenses' farmhouse. At this point, Lyddie is feeling discouraged. She can't believe her own mother has consigned her and her brother Charlie to a life of servitude.

Soon, an arriving stagecoach interrupts her reverie, and she is stunned when she sees a well-dressed couple emerge from the carriage. The man is wearing a beaver hat and expensive clothes, while the woman is dressed in a beautiful pink silk gown.

The woman smiles sweetly at Lyddie, who returns the smile. Meanwhile, the lady of the tavern (Mistress Cutler) spots Lyddie and thinks that she is a vagabond. Indignant, Lyddie tells Mistress Cutler that she is actually the new hire. In response, Mistress Cutler tells Lyddie to look for Triphena, the cook, so that she can see about washing up.

In the kitchen, Lyddie sees a large kettle filled with beans, potatoes, carrots, and meat in a rich broth. There are chickens roasting on a spit. In all, the kitchen is three times the size of the Worthen cabin.

Lyddie sits and waits for Tryphena and begins daydreaming again. She misses Charlie but remembers how hard life had been at home. There, she had to perform most of the chores for her ailing mother. In all, Lyddie wishes that she had been a boy. She imagines that her father would have stayed, if he had had an older son to help him with the farm.

Life is equally difficult at the tavern. Mistress Cutler watches Lyddie like a hawk to make sure that she doesn't steal food. The chapter ends with new hope for Lyddie, however. When she sees the pink silk-gowned lady again in September, the latter tells her that she is actually a factory girl at the Hamilton mill. She tells Lyddie to consider working there, for there are benefits in doing so.

Lyddie can't believe what she is hearing. However, she does note that the lady is wearing a silk dress, something she (Lyddie) can't presently afford.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Lyddie begins her work as a kitchen girl at Cutler's Tavern.  She can't believe her mother has sold her and Charlie out as indentured servants, but determines to show her new employers that even though she is plain and poor, she is a hard worker.  It is hard for Lyddie to get used to being indoors and wearing a calico dress and tight shoes everyday, her mistress is not kind, and Lyddie misses Charlie fiercely, but she does her job well.  Her industriousness is recognized by a guest at the tavern, a young lady in a silk dress who says she is a factory worker in Lowell, Massachusetts.  She encourages Lyddie to go to Lowell to work too, where she will make more money and have at least a measure of independence.  Lyddie thinks the lady must be lying, but the possibility presented by her words stays in her mind.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team