In the book "Lyddie," what happens on Lyddie's way to Lowell, Massachusetts?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On the way to Lowell, Massachusetts, the coach in which Lyddie is riding gets stuck in the mud. The coachman tells the gentlemen passengers to push the coach out, but, being arrogant city people, they do not know how to go about the task and labor futilely for a spell. Lyddie watches for awhile, then, frustrated by their ineptness, she takes off her shawl and tucks up her skirts. From working on the farm, Lyddie knows that the men will never free the coach the way they are going about things. Taking things into her own hands, she finds a flat stone and puts it under the stuck wheel. She then squeezes in between the struggling men and sets "her own strong right shoulder against the rear wheel, order(ing) the men to the rear boot, and call(ing) out; "One, two, three, heave!" Before long, the coach is freed, but the gentlemen, humiliated to have had to be rescued by "a slip of a farm girl," do not thank Lyddie. Muddied, Lyddie asks the coachman if she can sit up with him instead of riding inside the foul-smelling and disagreeable coach, and he amiably agrees.

As it turns out, the coachman had known that the men would not know how to free the coach, but had not instructed them in the proper procedure because he perversely enjoyed seeing the pompous men discomfitted. As they continue on to Lowell, the coachman learns from Lyddie that she is going "for the factory life" to earn some money to save her farm, and he kindly asks if she has anyone "to look out for (her)" in Lowell. Finding that Lyddie knows no one in the city, he offers to introduce her to his sister, who runs a boardinghouse near the Concord Manufacturing Corporation. Although she is at first reluctant to accept the coachman's help, Lyddie finally relents, and is thankful when the kind man walks her to the boardinghouse and makes the introductions (Chapter 7).

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