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Summary

Fever, 1793 Chapter 14 Summary Page 1

September 12th, 1793

  • Matilda awakens to the sound of voices. A man named Barney is trying to figure out whether or not she is dead. Another voice says that she's not ready for him yet.
  • Matilda drifts back into feverish dreams. In one, she's on a crowded, carriage-filled road with wild crashing horses. In another, she meets a troop of French soldiers marching in a meadow. Grandfather is there. He commands the troops to attack her.
  • Matilda jolts out of bed and realizes that she has had yellow fever and is in some kind of hospital. There are bodies around her in beds, but none of them are Grandfather or Mother. The orderlies are speaking French. She lapses back into sleep.
  • The next morning, Matilda wakes and meets Mrs. Flagg, who tells her that Grandfather is there and has fully recovered. Tough old soldier that he is, he was the one who carried her to the hospital! Impressive.
  • Grandfather visits Matilda's bed and proceeds to flirt with Mrs. Flagg. (Cad!)
  • Matilda learns that she's at Brush Hill, a mansion turned into a hospital for victims of yellow fever. Though the place has a bad reputation, Mrs. Flagg informs Mattie that the hospital has recently been taken over by Stephen Girard, a French "merchant, an importer, and a banker" who has set the hospital right (14.49).
  • Mrs. Flagg explains that the French doctors have a very different method of treating their patients. They oppose the bloodletting and purges recommended by doctors like Benjamin Rush and instead insist on bed rest.
  • Grandfather reveals that they have been gone from Philadelphia for five days. While Matilda was recovering, he rode back to their coffeehouse, which, he tells her, was locked up tight. Mother was nowhere in sight.
  • Grandfather speculates that Mother is probably with the Ludingtons in the country. He has already sent a letter to inquire after her.
  • Grandfather and Mrs. Flagg leave Mattie to rest.
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