Moving Body to Coffin-Cart

Journey

“At this moment, the funeral cart with its attendant came towards us; it stopped opposite the cottage; a deal coffin of a large size, in order to suit the dimensions of all persons, lay jolting at the top. . . We learnt that the coffin was for a woman who lay dead in that house, and that four others of the same family lay sick of the fever, unable even to assist in removing the body of their relation. The man with the cart called to another [and] both disappeared within the shadow of the door way. Presently they returned, bearing between them the dead body, over which a scanty tattered yellow rag had just been thrown, not sufficient however to cover the whole length of the figure, or to prevent one’s seeing the livid lifeless arms as they hung down swinging and knocking against the ground. They hastily flung it into the shell, the cart drove off, and the remains were hurriedly consigned to the earth without a coffin, and without the offices of religion! ”

Narrative Of A Journey From Oxford To Skibbereen, 1847

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