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.