More than half in love with death is Horatio Adams, who from the time of his parents' loss- on the Titanic- is constantly searching for the ""proof and the harbinger"" of his own mortality. This ultimately destroys his wife, Nancy, who suicides, and again shrouds and clouds his second marriage- in his late middle years-to the beautiful Emily. At Adams' Rest, his ancestral home, his obsession becomes fixed when the vandalism in a cemetery involves the grave of his grandfather, a Civil War hero. The grave is opened, when Horatio is determined to protectively shift the remains, and proves to be empty; so does his veneration of his grandfather, revealed to have died dishonorably. But his chill concentration on the past serves to make Emily run away- with his son, Tavean, and there is the accident which takes Tavean's life. Horatio is left alone, with a comfortless awareness of what he has forfeited.... The theme here, while it is developed with consistency rather than subtlety, may well be self-limiting.