What happens to Mother Shipton in "The Outcasts of Poker Flat"?
Mother Shipton is the older of the two prostitutes who are run out of town in Bret Harte's "The Outcasts of Poker Flat." Mother Shipton undergoes a transformation during the journey, changing from voicing her "desire to cut somebody's heart out" to "relaxing into amiability," exhibiting a motherly and protective influence on the two younger women.
Mother Shipton--once the strongest of the party--seemed to sicken and fade.
When she told Oakhurst to take the bundle on which she rested her head, he found that it contained her food from the past week--"untouched." She had been saving it for the other two women to eat in order to prolong their lives. Mother Shipton had starved herself to death:
"That's what they call it," said the woman, querulously, as she lay down again and, turning her face to the wall, passed quietly away.