In what ways does September 25th turn out to be a good day for Mattie in Fever 1793?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

September 25th turns out to be a good day for Mattie because for the first time since the onset of the fever in the city of Philadelphia, she has managed to get through the day with some semblance of normalcy.

Mattie and Grandfather have returned to the coffee shop, only to have found it vandalized by looters. After putting things back in order and settling into a much-needed full night of sleep, Mattie awakes on the morning of September 25th thankful that she and Grandfather have survived the night. Going downstairs, Mattie decides she desperately needs a bath, and indulges herself by boiling some water which she mixes with cold water straight from the well, and scrubbing herself over and over until she is finally free of blood, dirt, and filth. Cringing at the thought of getting back into her soiled clothes, she finds a shift and overskirt which belongs to her mother and puts those on instead. She then prepares a thin but warming soup for Grandfather and herself for breakfast.

After Grandfather bathes as well, he and Mattie go out and spend the day tending the neglected garden. Mattie is elated to discover "six fist-sized potatoes" underneath the earth, and for supper prepares "a royal feast of boiled potatoes seasoned with a scrawny turnip and a few beans," better fare than they have had for days. After washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, Mattie falls into bed, exhausted but satisfied. She concludes that

"it (has) been a good day, all things considered...(she has) managed rather well on (her) own."

After reading a passage from the Bible as is her habit, Mattie blows out the candle and is asleep on the pillow "before the wick (has) cooled" (Chapter 18).