The coachman introduced Lyddie to his sister, who runs a boarding house in Lowell, Massachusetts, as "a chip of Vermont granite." Lyddie was from Vermont, and granite is a very hard rock; the name was a tribute to Lyddie's intelligence and physical strength, which she had had to demonstrate along the way from her home in Vermont to her new destination.
There had been a number of haughty gentlemen riding the coach with Lyddie. When the coach had gotten stuck in the mud, the coachman, irritated with the gentlemen's pompousness, tried to have a little fun at their expense and ordered them to get out and push. The men complied, futilely trying to extricate the coach by simply pushing from behind. Lyddie, watching the men, became frustrated by their ineffectual demonstration, and stepped in to show them the proper way to get the coach out of the mud. Taking off her shawl and tucking up her skirts, she stepped forward and placed a flat stone under the mired wheel, then put her own shoulder against the rear wheel, ordering the others to join her and push in unison. The men had been embarrassed at having had to be rescued by "a slip of a farm girl," but the coachman, amused, was impressed by her efficiency and strength. He told Lyddie "you're a hardy one, you are," and later, expressed his admiration again, saying "You're a stout one." He said it would be a pleasure to help her out by introducing her to his sister and finding her a place to stay, and called her "a chip of Vermont granite" in recognition of her hardiness and spirit (Chapter 7).