Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quote of the Week: Kindred Flesh

“All day Mrs. [Sarah] Foster held her brother's head in her lap and by every means in her power sought to soothe his death agonies. The sunlight faded from the surrounding summits. Darkness slowly emerged from the canyons and enfolded forest and hill slope in her silent embrace. The glittering stars appeared in the heavens and the bright full moon rose over the eastern mountain crests. The silence, the profound solitude, the ever present wastes of snow, the weird moonlight, and above all the hollow moans of the dying boy in her lap rendered this night the most impressive in the life of Mrs. Foster. She says she never beholds a bright moonlight without recurring with a shudder to this night on the Sierra. At two o clock in the morning Lemuel Murphy ceased to breathe. The warm tears and kisses of the afflicted sisters were showered upon lips that would never more quiver with pain.

Days and perhaps weeks of starvation were awaiting them in the future and they dare not neglect to provide as best they might. Each of the four bodies was divested of its flesh and the flesh was dried. Although no person partook of kindred flesh sights were often witnessed that were blood curdling. Mrs. Foster as we have seen fairly worshiped her brother Lemuel. Has human pen power to express the shock of horror this sister received when she saw her brother's heart thrust through with a stick and broiling upon the coals? No man can record or read such an occurrence without a cry of agony! What then did she endure who saw this cruel sight?”

--C. F. McGlashan, History of the Donner Party: A Tragedy in the Sierras, 1879

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