If you ever want employment, just come to Riverbridge and ask for Silas Dover,"" says the travelling tin peddler, admiring 'Amantha's artistic ability, and practical Pa makes the arrangements. The Erie Canal town is the largest this sixteen-year-old has ever seen and she marvels at the (1828) conveniences enjoyed by the Dover family; she also learns to paint designs on tin and has some designs of her own--which makes for conflict. Eldest daughter Lydia has her eye on cousin Martin (the recruiting salesman) and is resentful of the new girl's talents. Amantha thinks Martin is much more exciting than reliable Thad back home but she rejects his advances when she recognizes his opportunistic impulses. Just in time brother arrives with the news that Ma has died, Pa has remarried, he has married friend Phila--and Thad's ready whenever she is. Hasty perhaps, but the main drawbacks are the un-acute triangle and the inching pace.