In Chapter 5, Lyddie
continues to struggle with work in the tavern, so when Mistress Cutler takes a trip to Massachusetts to sell the maple sugar, Triphena makes a suggestion to Lyddie: go visit your family! Lyddie agrees and sets off on her way.
First, she goes to visit Charlie at the mill, but he is at school at the time. This makes Lyddie feel torn about this new family who takes care of Charlie. Thinking about another family for Charlie disgusts Lyddie. Lyddie finally reaches her parents' old farm and is surprised to find a runaway slave hiding out inside by the fireplace.
Chapter 6 recounts Lyddie's encounter (and learning experience) with the runaway slave. Lyddie soon learns his name is Ezekiel Abernathy, and that he is running from slavery to freedom. It isn't long before Lyddie is connecting her own journey to freedom to Ezekiel's journey to freedom. In a gesture of true compassion, Lyddie gives Ezekiel all of the money she has from the sale of their calf from the farm.
Lyddie returns to the tavern to find she no longer has a job. (Mistress Cutler believes she has left her post without permission while she went to Boston.) With nothing left for her at the tavern, and with Charlie "safely" stowed with another family, Lyddie decides to set off for Lowell to become a factory girl. And, in so doing, she becomes a living symbol of the Industrial Revolution in full swing.