Why read it? Epitaphs in poetic form. Concise. Cryptic. Subtle. Often bitter. From the grave, the characters summarize their lives. Each poem is a potential short story.
“Thomas Rhodes.” The splintered soul of the liberal do-gooders vs. the self-contained and compact soul of the hoarders of earthly wealth. p. 127.
“Jim Brown.” Horse trainer’s view of society—those on the side of humanity vs. the “Social Purity Club.” p. 130.
“Elsa Wertman.” Mother of illegitimate son who was adopted by the man who seduced her and his wife. She must watch as her son becomes successful and she cannot partake in his glory. p. 132.
“Ernest Hyde.” “The mind sees the world as a thing apart,/ And the soul makes the world at one with itself.” p. 134.
“Roger Heston.” Metaphor for lack of free will. The roped-in cow—free to a point. Then he pulls up the stake and she gores him, Roger Heston. God, something, or somebody sets the limits. p. 135.
“Amos Sibley.” Preacher saddled with an adulterous wife tires to find a way to be successful in some other profession so that he can divorce her. He is unsuccessful, so a preacher he remains—married to an adulterous wife whom he despises. p. 136.
“Mrs. Sibley.” In death, buried where no one can find her. The adulterous, sensitive wife is now hidden away from her compulsion. p. 137.
“Adam Weifauch.” Political ingratitude. Fighting for principle, he goes unrewarded while others are rewarded. Finally, he accepts politics as a means to personal gain—and he is caught. Who or what has caused his ruin? p. 138.
To be continued.