Lyddie is reluctant to go in when she arrives at Cutler's Tavern because she feels that once she does, she will not be free anymore. A stagecoach arrives and drops off some passengers, and Lyddie notices a grand-looking lady in a silk gown. The tavern is busy when Lyddie goes in, and Mrs. Cutler, not pleased with Lyddie's disheveled appearance, turns her over to the care of the cook, Triphena. Lyddie is embarrassed by her worn clothes and remembers how she could not afford to have a new dress since her mother became more and more distant after the birth of her youngest sister and the bulk of the household responsibilities fell to her. She resents her developing body and wishes she were a boy, figuring that if her father had had a son to help on the farm he would have been able to make ends meet and would not have had to leave. Lyddie is given a store-bought calico to wear when she is on duty, and although she feels stifled by having to be inside all the time and misses Charlie terribly, she resolves to work hard at the tavern and never give her exacting mistress cause to complain.
In September, the lady in the silk dress returns to the tavern and tells Lyddie that she works at a mill in Lowell, Massachusetts. She notes that Lyddie is industrious, and outlines the advantages she would have if she worked at the mill too. Lyddie doesn't believe what the girl is saying, but it gives her something to think about.
In Chapter 3 of the book Lyddie,the girl Lyddie is going to a huge tavern. The area is beautiful but she knows that once she passes through the gate that she will just be a servant girl and her life will no longer be her own. As she is thinking a carriage pulls up drawn by horses and two very grand and regal people climb down. She had never seen people so elegant before. The woman smiled at Lyddie.
A different woman comes out of the tavern and tries to shoo her away but Lyddie tells her that she is there because of her mother. The lady is surprised that she is the new girl. Lyddie recalls how over the past year the household tasks had been turned over to her following her mother's last birth trials.
The mistress of the tavern tells Lyddie that she would do well to work at the mill where she could earn more money. Lyddie thought she would be working at the tavern.