What is the setting of Chapter 2 in Lyddie?
This chapter takes place on Lyddie’s farm, the Stevens’ farm, and in town in front of Cutler’s Tavern.
Chapter 2 begins on Lyddie’s family farm. She is discussing with her brother Charles what to do with a calf. Her mother knows nothing about the calf. They want to sell it and Lyddie wants to keep the money a secret from their mother. She does not trust her mother to use it for the family.
"Charlie, you and me can't think about that. We got to think about keeping this farm for when Papa comes back. We should take that money and bury it someplace, so when we get free we can come back here and have a little seed cash to start over with." (Ch. 2)
Lyddie is concerned because her mother has rented out the land, and then sold off each of her children to work. She worries that there won’t be a farm to come back to. Her father built a proper house and barn on the land before they were born, but he was unable to make enough money off of it and left to try to make his fortune in the west.
A second setting is Quaker Stevens's farm. He is a neighbor. It is a beautiful spring day, and Lyddie watches birds as she walks. She walks barefoot because her boots don’t fit anymore, but there is mud on the ground.
Their farmhouse, close to the road, had been added onto over the years. The outlines of the first saltbox could be made out on the northern end, which melted on the backside into a larger frame Cape Cod, then an ell that served as shed, storage, privy, and corridor to two barns, the larger one growing out of the smaller. (Ch. 2)
Lyddie is envious of the Stevens family. They are clearing a new field, and they seem to be doing well. She considers them rich despite their “simple life.”
When Stevens finds out that the children have been alone all winter, he feels bad that he never checked on them. He offers them twenty-five dollars for the calf, which Lyddie thinks is too high since his bull was responsible for it, but he tells them they have kept it well. He invites them to lunch, and Lyddie admires their house, with a kitchen and parlor “larger than the whole cabin with the shed thrown in.” She also notices that the Quakers have their own loom.
Stevens offers them a ride into town with his son, saying that he needs nails. Seeing his two sons again, Lyddie reflects on how she has not been to school since her mother left, because she did not want to leave the babies alone with their mother.
At Mr. Wolcott’s farm, where Lyddie’s horse and cow have been sold to pay off debts, Lyddie also notices that things are going well.
His farm lay in the river plain and was already alive with shoots of new corn. (Ch. 2)
Luke Stevens drops her off at Cutler’s Tavern and Charlie walks to the mill. Stevens offers to walk her to the door, but she tells him no because she doesn’t want to be seen with him.
Lyddie is tough, and intelligent. She has had a difficult life since her father left and her mother lost her senses. From then on, everything fell to Lyddie. She was the only adult around. The possibility of losing the family farm horrifies her, because she hopes that her father will come back to it someday.