In Chapter 11, Lyddie is settling in at the mill. She is more skillful with the looms, but the thing that is really making her happy is that in the evenings, Betsy has been reading to her from Oliver Twist. Lyddie is consumed by the story, and gives Betsy ten cents to help pay for the lending library fee. Betsy is thankful, because she is saving her money to go to Oberlin, a college in Ohio that takes female students.
Betsy finishes reading the book to Lyddie as summer begins and many of the girls prepare to take time off to visit their families. Lyddie is disappointed that she cannot go, but comforts herself by thinking of the extra money she can make. Lyddie decides that to pass the time during the hot summer months when she is not at the mill, she will spend some of her precious savings to buy a copy of Oliver Twist so she read it again on her own, and improve her literary skills. Lyddie spends every free moment she has alone in her room, reading and copying sections from her treasured book.
On the third Sabbath in July Lyddie attends the Methodist service at the urging of Mrs. Bedlow, although she spends the time reading some pages she has copied instead of listening to the sermon. As she walks home she thinks she sees Diana with a gentleman on Merrimack Street, but when she calls to her, the Diana does not respond.