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by Gail Carson Levine
Ella Enchanted Chapter 23 Summary
Ella's father prepares to leave, too. He's going off to try to make his money back, but he also can't stand his new wife. Even though he loves her. Yeah, it's weird. Sir Peter might be a jerk, but at least he's honest about some things. There's none of that in Mum Olga or her offspring. Surprisingly, Ella wishes her dad would return. While he's away, Mum Olga moves her stuff to the servant's wing where Ella will freeze during the winter. Worse, Hattie reveals Ella's spell, so that now Mum Olga and Olive can give her direct orders. Mum Olga tells one of the servants to train Ella; it looks like the abusive laundress will get her until Mandy speaks up. Mandy subtly threatens to stop cooking for the household and make sure no other good cook works for them if Ella's hurt. Mandy also says she'll work Ella to the bone, which Mum Olga approves of. Now that Ella is working for Mandy, Olive comes and bugs her in the kitchen. She orders Ella to make her a cake, and then says "Talk to me." Ella tells story after story, and still Olive won't let up. Next, Olive commands Ella to give her money. Mandy tries to talk her out of the command, but Olive whines about how her mother and sister have more money than she does. Ella has to obey, so she hands over the few coins she does have, and feels even more trapped as a result. There's to be a dinner party that night, and Mum Olga orders Ella to scrub the floor on hands and knees using lye, which burns her skin. Luckily Mandy has remedies to fix her up. When dinner's about to go out, Ella gets revenge by sprinkling passiflora in Mum Olga's dish with the help of a gleefully complicit maid, Nancy. Don't worry, it's not poison: it just makes Mum Olga fall asleep before her company is gone. Ella should have put some in Hattie's dish, too. She calls Ella in to tend the fire just so that everyone can see how dirty she is. Even though he's never been much help before, Sir Peter seems like Ella's only hope. So, she writes him a letter.
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