Study Guide

A Great and Terrible Beauty Chapter 20

By Libba Bray

Chapter 20

  • Pippa is better now, and hangs out in a boat—she asks the girls about what happened because she doesn't remember anything.
  • She says her mother thinks she should be able to control her fits and keep them secret.
  • We learn that the girls' corsets make them look like wasps, and while this is supposed to appeal to men, it makes the girls miserable. 
  • Gemma feels ugly because she's not thin or graceful looking.
  • The talk turns to Felicity's family and whether they're coming to the family day at Spence—her mother won't come, and she hopes her father will so he can see she actually has friends, which she didn't have after her mother left.
  • Suspiciously, Felicity prods Gemma about her family, trying to figure her out, but Gemma doesn't come clean about her powers of foresight or her father's addiction. 
  • Wondering about the Spiritualism gathering later that night and whether they'll enjoy it, the idea pops up that they should convince Madame Romanoff to contact Mary and Sarah.
  • When Pippa suggests that if Felicity is in charge, they will all get into trouble, Felicity unties the boat and Pippa floats away from shore.
  • An oar is thrown a bit too short and bobs by the boat.
  • Of course Gemma tries to help her, but when Pippa reaches for the oar she falls in, prompting Gemma to recall the vision she had of Pippa drowning in the water, and rush in to rescue the girl. 
  • Pippa doesn't want to be rescued though, since the water is shallow, plus she is ticked at Felicity. Felicity couldn't care less about Pippa's anger, though—she wants to keep Pippa dependent on her.