Fever, 1793 Chapter 15 Summary
September 22nd, 1793
- As Matilda recovers at Bush Hill, she hears stories about the fever epidemic in Philadelphia: orphaned children, dying men, craven thieves, and the kindness of strangers. Matilda is thankful she hears no stories about a painter's assistant named Nathaniel or a cook named Eliza.
- On the tenth day, Matilda is visited by the Dr. Deveze, a Frenchman who advises her to eat and rest.
- Matilda is filled with questions, but Mrs. Flagg advises her simply to eat (mutton and bread! rice with boiled prunes!) – and concentrate on getting well.
- Matilda is moved to the barn for the final stages of her recovery.
- Grandfather keeps himself busy at Rush Hill – organizing the food deliveries, attending the committee meetings, flirting with Mrs. Flagg, and so forth. You know, important stuff.
- As she recuperates, Matilda thinks of distant friends and family: Would Nathaniel be painting flowers for the Peale girls by now? Why hadn't Mother written to them? Did Eliza get sick?
- A clerk informs Matilda that they've been unable to contact her mother; therefore, when she is released, she will be taken to an orphan house. Matilda protests. (Obviously.)
- Grandfather steps in and says that he'll act as her guardian. Rather, "No kin of mine goes to an orphan house, not as long as I have breath in my body" (15.42).
- Grandfather and Mattie plan to take a wagon into the city the next day. In the meantime, Grandfather gallantly continues his flirtation with Mrs. Flagg, the lady whom he's "promised to take to a ball one day" (15.47). What a charmer!