What happens to Lyddie and Charlie at the end of Chapter 1 of Lyddie?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lyddie and Charlie are sent off to go to work.

Lyddie and Charlie stay on the family farm after their mother goes off to live with their uncle because she is not capable of living on her own.  Their mother takes their two younger sisters Agnes and Rachel with her.  Lyddie is smart enough and tough enough to survive well on the farm.  She and Charlie even mate their cow so that they have a calf to sell.

Even though Charlie and Lyddie are managing on their own, they get a letter from their mother telling them that the farm has been rented out and the cow and horse sold to pay off debts.  The children will need to both work to pay off the rest of the debt.

But we can stil hop. Meentime I hav hire you out to M. Cutler at the tavern and fer yr. brother to Bakers mill. The paschur, feelds and sugar bush is lent to M. Wescott to repay dets. Also cow and horse. Lv. at wuns you git this. (Ch. 1)

Lyddie is horrified that the family is being broken up yet again.  She longs to get everyone back together and back on the family farm.  She does not want to be a slave to some tavern owner.  However, Lyddie has no choice. Her mother owns her.

Lyddie burst into tears. "I'm sorry, Charlie," she said to her brother's amazed and anxious face. "I never expected this. We were doing so good, ey? You and me." (Ch. 1)

After getting the letter, Lyddie goes to Cutler’s Tavern and her brother goes to the mill.  Things work out much better for Charlie than Lyddie.  Charlie stays with a nice family that gets attached to him.  He is able to go to school.  Lyddie is stuck with the horrible mistress of the tavern, who treats her harshly and dismisses her after only a few months when she goes home to visit without permission.

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