Mattie and her mother live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They own a small coffee shop in the city, where many of the businessmen come to have a bite to eat. Mattie lives with her grandfather and her mother; her father died when she was young. Now her mother is hard as a rock and likes to give Mattie a hard time.
Yellow fever is spreading throughout the city, and Matties mother falls sick. Mattie and the coffeehouse cook Eliza help to care for Matties mother. Her mother insists that Mattie leave for her own safety, because she could catch fever and die.
Mattie and her grandfather are traveling with a farmer into the country. They come to a city and gaurds are standing at the gate, they insist that Matties grandfather is sick and will not let him into the city. They throw Mattie and her Grandfather off the wagon and continue without them.
Please sir, just give us a ride through the city, we won't be any trouble.
NO! You are fever victims and will get me sick! Mabye you can find another fool to take you in.
Mattie falls sick and is taken to a hospital for fever victims called Bush Hill. There a nurse had helped her and she had gotten better. Mattie and her grandfather find their way back to Philadelphia. Matties house had been robbed while they were gone and Matties mother is not there. They decide to stay the night
We've been robbed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
During the night more robbers come. Matties grandfather is week but, tries to fight the robbers anyway. Matties Grandfather dies because the robber punched him in the stomach. Mattie sets out to fine Eliza and find in the process a little girl who's mother died of the fever and Mattie takes her with to find Eliza.
Mattie finds Eliza and stays with her for a while then Elizas nephews and nell catch the fever. They go back to the coffeehouse so that the kids can recover they; are sick until the first frost, when everyone comes back because the frost has killed the disease. People move back to Philadelphia and Matties mother comes home from the country ( while grandfather and Mattie were on their journey, she had gone to the country because she healed.) And Philadelphia returns to normal.