Lyddie is the story of a farm girl whose family falls apart. When her parents are gone, the children are unable to make ends meet. Lyddie goes to the city of Lowell to become a factory girl. Lyddie is a work of historical fiction.
In chapter eight, Lyddie awakens with a start when she hears all the city clamor. The book describes her first day in the city and all the bewilderment she experiences. She meets the other girls who live in the same boardinghouse and who also work at the same factory. The owner of the boardinghouse, Mrs. Bedlow, also takes her to the factory and helps her secure a job. She has to endure many different new experiences, including being vaccinated for smallpox. At the end of the chapter, Lyddie is taken to the factory for her first day of work. The chapter ends before she begins working.
Chapter nine describes Lyddie's first day at work. When she arrives, she is quite startled by the noise and bustle of the factory. The overseer attempts to tell her how to run the loom, but he only confuses her. A girl she'd never met before, Diana, steps in and offers to show her how to use the loom. She spends the rest of the day learning from her. Diana also offers to help her learn how to read better, so she visits her that evening and they study together. With Diana's help, she writes a letter to her mother and one to her brother. The other girls in Lyddie's boardinghouse tell her to stay away from Diana because she is "devious" and tries to stir up trouble.