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Way Station, Chapter 3 (2)

Chapter 3 (2)

He reached up as he went along, picking an apple here and there, scrubby things and sour, taking a single bite out of each one of them, then throwing it away, for there was none of them that was fit to eat, as if they might have taken from the neglected soil a certain basic bitterness.

At the far side of the orchard he found the fence and the graves that it enclosed. Here the weeds and grass were not so high and the fence showed signs of repair made rather recently, and at the foot of each grave, opposite the three crude native limestone headstones, was a peony bush, each a great straggling mass of plants that had grown, undisciplined, for years.

Standing before the weathered picketing, he knew that he had stumbled on the Wallace family burial plot.

But there should have been only the two stones. What about the third?

He moved around the fence to the sagging gate and went into the plot. Standing at the foot of the graves, he read the legends on the stones. The carving was angular and rough, giving evidence of having been executed by unaccustomed hands. There were no pious phrases, no lines of verse, no carvings of angels or of lambs or of other symbolic figures such as had been customary in the 1860s. There were just the names and dates.

On the first stone: Amanda Wallace 1821–1863

And on the second stone: Jedediah Wallace 1816–1866

And on the third stone—


Chapter 3 (2) Chapter 3 (2)

He reached up as he went along, picking an apple here and there, scrubby things and sour, taking a single bite out of each one of them, then throwing it away, for there was none of them that was fit to eat, as if they might have taken from the neglected soil a certain basic bitterness. He reached up as he went along, picking an apple here and there, scrubby things and sour, taking a single bite out of each one of them, then throwing it away, for there was none of them that was fit to eat, as if they might have taken from the neglected soil a certain basic bitterness.

At the far side of the orchard he found the fence and the graves that it enclosed. Here the weeds and grass were not so high and the fence showed signs of repair made rather recently, and at the foot of each grave, opposite the three crude native limestone headstones, was a peony bush, each a great straggling mass of plants that had grown, undisciplined, for years.

Standing before the weathered picketing, he knew that he had stumbled on the Wallace family burial plot.

But there should have been only the two stones. What about the third?

He moved around the fence to the sagging gate and went into the plot. Standing at the foot of the graves, he read the legends on the stones. The carving was angular and rough, giving evidence of having been executed by unaccustomed hands. There were no pious phrases, no lines of verse, no carvings of angels or of lambs or of other symbolic figures such as had been customary in the 1860s. There were just the names and dates.

On the first stone: Amanda Wallace 1821–1863

And on the second stone: Jedediah Wallace 1816–1866

And on the third stone—