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Fever, 1793

Fever, 1793


by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fever, 1793 Chapter 7 Summary

August 30th, 1793

  • Mother and Matilda arrive at the Ogilvie mansion where they are led to the drawing room by the maid.
  • Pernilla Ogilvie enters with her fabulous gown and over-powdered hair. A few snarky pleasantries are exchanged and then Pernilla rings the bell for tea.
  • Before the tea arrives, the two Ogilvie daughters appear: Colette and Jeannine. They're dressed in matching pink and yellow gowns and their hair is curled. Matilda now wishes she had let Eliza curl her hair.
  • The women take their tea. Mrs. Ogilvie mentions that Colette and Jeannine are taking French lessons.
  • The subject turns to the French more generally as Matilda attempts to reach the cake plate on the table without ripping her dress. No such luck. Jeannine cattily moves the cake plate even further away.
  • Mrs. Ogilvie chit chats about where President Washington and Martha will be summering (name drop, much?) and moves on to blaming the fever outbreak on the refugees.
  • Mother changes the subject and asks Pernilla about her sons. Jeannine comments that they are all away at school.
  • Mrs. Ogilvie lets drop that Colette is engaged to Lord Garthing's son. Colette, meanwhile, is starting to a look a little green around the gills and complains about the heat.
  • The subject of marriage continues to be discussed and Matilda feels increasingly out of place and uncomfortable.
  • As Mother asks more and more questions about Mrs. Ogilvie's sons, Jeannine becomes particularly insulting. "Mrs. Cook is asking if you might consider Miss Cook as a wife for one of our brothers. And I imagine their filthy little tavern is part of the deal" (7.55).
  • At this, Mattie snaps and starts yelling at Jeannine. Insults fly. Mother gets involved.
  • Before punches are thrown, Colette suddenly collapses. Feeling the girl's head, Mother declares that it is (dun dun dun): the fever! (No, not a case of embarrassment over her mother's or her sister's behavior.)

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