• The novel opens with the description of a train trip from Richmond, Virginia, to the fictional town of Port Warwick, Virginia.
• Waiting for the train in Port Warwick are Milton Loftis, Dolly Bonner (Milton's mistress) and Ella Swan (the Loftis family cook).
• The body of Peyton Loftis, Milton's younger daughter, is coming by train from New York City.
• While waiting for the train, Milton reminisces about his life and remembers his father's admonishments about living a responsible, productive life.
• Milton recalls meeting and marrying his wife, Helen, as well as his college days at the University of Virginia where he began to drink heavily.
• Milton finds a letter Peyton wrote him from New York and his grief is palpable at the loss of his favorite child.
• The funeral hearse keeps overheating which adds an element of frustration to the day.
• Helen recalls elements of her life too...
This section contains 1,478 words
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