Saturday, May 24, 2014

“They chopped off his arms and legs...”

[Cannibalism, continued: A scene from JAMESTOWN: THE NOVEL, in which, the morning after Temperance’s dream, one of her neighbors, Thomasine Causey, recounts a grisly story.]
           “You know that young fellow the Indians shot yesterday morning? Crookdeck? I don’t understand it--I was there when they laid him out, and he was just skin and bones.” She shook her head sadly. “He was fat when he went up to the Falls. He was up there, you know, with Francis West and the others. Such a sweet-faced boy.” Thomasine shook her head again and sighed.
           “What happened, Thomasine? Get on with it and tell us what happened.”. . .
            “Well, you know,” Thomasine said, “Thomas Wotton was in charge of the burial duty yesterday. I don’t think he has been quite right since Esther died That was hard on him, being a surgeon and his not being able to help her.”
            “Thomasine, for heaven’s sake! We know all about Thomas and Esther . . . What happened last night?”        
          Thomasine, relishing being the center of attention for once, was not to be hurried. “Well!” She rolled her eyes heavenward and sighed deeply. “Thomas Wotton and Richard Pace went to the burial ground late last night, when it was good and dark, and dug up Elias Crookdeck’s body, and took it to the Laydons’ house--John, you know, has been so sick and weak for such a long time--Then they took that poor boy’s body, and they washed it, and they chopped off his arms and legs, and they roasted them and ate them!”

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