Chapter 16: "Fever"
Lyddie spends more than two weeks wages to purchase some necessities for Rachel. At work, Brigid is slower than ever. When Lyddie discovers that Brigid's mother is sick and cannot afford a doctor, she gives Brigid some money. Brigid's work improves as a result. Later in the week, Mr. Marsden corners Lyddie. Already feeling feverish, she stomps her booted heel on his feet and runs off.
Lyddie ends up being bedridden for many days due to her raging fever. Brigid does her utmost best to nurse Lyddie to health, and Rachel sits by her. In due time, Lyddie recovers.
Chapter 17: "Doffer"
Lyddie writes Charlie. It is almost three weeks before Dr. Morris lets her return to work. Meanwhile, Lyddie confides in Diana her fears for her job. In the haze of a raging fever, she had attacked Mr. Marsden. However, Diana reassures Lyddie that her job is likely safe; she hints that Mr. Marsden has more to fear from his wife hearing about the incident.
Meanwhile, Rachel asks to be a doffer. Lyddie is reluctant to entertain the idea, however, as she wants Rachel to attend school. Soon, Lyddie receives a letter from Jeremiah Stevens, telling her that Charlie has asked him to look into the sale of the Worthen family farm.
Later, in conversation with Mrs. Bedlow, Lyddie poses the idea of Rachel being a doffer and staying on at the boarding house. Mrs. Bedlow is initially reluctant but eventually helps Rachel secure a spot on the factory floor. As a result, Lyddie and Rachel's finances improve. Later, however, Rachel develops a cough. Lyddie becomes worried. The chapter ends with Tim announcing that Lyddie has a visitor.
Chapter 18: "Charlie at Last"
Lyddie's surprise visitor is Charlie. He tells her that the Phinneys have taken him on as a full apprentice and that he is treated well. The Phinneys feed him three times a day, and when there is no work, he attends school. Charlie tells Lyddie that the Phinneys are willing to take Rachel too. Although bitterly disappointed at losing Rachel, Lyddie knows that she must consider Rachel's welfare first.
Charlie also tells Lyddie that Uncle Judah means to sell the Worthen farm. He then hands over a letter from Luke Stevens. A week after Rachel leaves, Lyddie finally reads Luke's letter. In the letter, Luke tells her that his father is buying the Worthen farm himself. Then, he shocks her by writing that he longs to become the owner of the farm, with Lyddie as his wife (if she will have him).
Lyddie, however, is outraged by his presumption. She thinks that Luke is trying to buy her, just like his father bought her family farm. Besieged by grief at recent events in her life, Lyddie fails to consider the possibility of Luke loving her.