The Great Galveston Disaster, Containing a Full and Thrilling Account of the Most Appalling Calamity of Modern Times Page: 296
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296 RESCUE OF THE PERISHING.
the little steamer. The four men from outside cities and I listened
to the little boat's wheel plowing its way through the calm waters
of the bay. The stars shone down like a benediction, but along
the line of the shore there arose a great leaping column of bloodred
"What a terrible fire," I said. "Some of the large buildings
must be burning."
A man passing on the deck behind my chair heard me. He
stopped, put his hand on the bulwark and turned down and looked
into my face, his face like that of a dead man ; but he laughed.
"Buildings !" he said. "Don't you know what is burning
over there ? It is my wife and children-such little children!
Why, the tallest was not as high as this"-he laid his hand on the
bulwark-" and the little one was just learning to talk. She called
my name the other day, and now they are burning over there-they
and the mother who bore them. She was such a little,
tender, delicate thing, always so easily frightened, and now she's
out there all alone with the two babies and they're burning ! "
The man laughed again and began again to walk up and
down the deck.
HAD TO BURN BODIES OF THOUSANDS.
"That's right," said the Marshal of the State of Texas,
taking off his broad hat and letting the starlight shine on his
strong face. "That's right. We had to do it. We've burned
over I,ooo people to-day, and to-morrow we shall burn as many
more. Yesterday we stopped burying the bodies at sea; we had
to give the men on the barges whisky to give them courage to do
the work. They carried out hundreds of the dead at one time,
men and women, negroes and white people, all piled up as high
as the barge could stand it, and the men did not go far enough out
to sea, and the bodies have begun drifting back again."
' Look ! " said the man who was walking the deck, touching
my shoulder with his shaking hand. "Look there !"
iBefore I had time to think I had to look, and saw floating in
the water the body of an old woman, whose hair was shining in
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Lester, Paul. The Great Galveston Disaster, Containing a Full and Thrilling Account of the Most Appalling Calamity of Modern Times, book, 1900~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth26719/m1/354/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .