Luke is a good friend to Lyddie and eventually asks her to marry him, but Lyddie, intent on proving that she can make it on her own, has other plans. She learns to appreciate Luke, however, and the book ends on a note of hope that they will eventually be together.
Lyddie remembers Luke from "back in the days when she had gone to school...he had been one of the enormous boys who sat in the back of the schoolroom...when she was a tiny one in the front row". When Lyddie and her brother are sold into servitude, Luke kindly drives them to the city, and promises to "see to (their) house" (Ch.2). He reappears later when Lyddie is working in Lowell, to deliver a package to her (Ch.14), and soon after, sends her a letter in which he asks her to be his wife (Ch.19).
Lyddie, because of the hardships she has experienced, is determined to avoid "ty(ing) (herself) to some other living soul" bacuse she believes she would "only be asking for trouble and grief". At the end of the book, when she encounters Luke in her old cabin, she is touched by his kindness and humility and discovers that "he would become (someone)...that she would love". She has resolved to go to college, however, so she won't have to "come back weak and beatern down"; she "will not be a slave, even to (her)self". Lyddie has to go away, but she leaves the door open to the possibility that she and Luke might someday be reunited (Ch.23).