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Summary

Fever, 1793 Chapter 22 Summary Page 1

September 27th, 1793

  • Reunited with Eliza, the enormity of all that has passed hits Matilda, and she lets herself have a nice big cry. (It helps.)
  • Night is falling, so Eliza takes Matilda to her brother Joseph's house, where Matilda meets Joseph and his two twin sons Robert and William.
  • Before they get there, though, Matilda gives Eliza the short version of the story about Grandfather's death. On a happier note, Eliza tells Matilda that Mother recovered from the fever and, as far as Eliza knows, was headed to the farm to meet Matilda and Grandfather.
  • At Joseph's house, Matilda meets Mother Smith, a tenacious elderly woman who's there to care for Joseph's sons. (His wife was a victim of the fever.) Mother Smith insists that Matilda eat to put some meat on those skinny bones.
  • Once everyone is asleep, Matilda tells Eliza the whole darn story: about getting abandoned in the country, the robbers, the burial, everything.
  • Eliza brings up Nell and explains that both Matilda and the little girl should probably go to the orphan house. Matilda begs Eliza not to make her go, and Eliza says they'll discuss the matter in the morning.
  • The two start stitching up the rips in Robert's and William's clothes as Eliza tells Matilda about everything going on at the Free African Society. Apparently Dr. Benjamin Rush had contacted Reverend Allen to recruit black people to help care for the fever patients – which they did with great success.
  • Unfortunately, Dr. Rush seemed to think that black people couldn't get yellow fever but, well, um, he was wrong. Many of Eliza's friends and acquaintances started to get sick. Turns out, no one is safe from the fever.
  • Matilda asks Eliza when it will all end. Eliza tells her that the fever will vanish the frost comes. They just have to hold out until then.
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