| Quote #7
The specter of death, which had hung over the old vampire hunter since his ninth year, seemed at last to be lifting. (9.16)
Now that Abe has given up on politics and vampire-killing, things seem to be turning out okay. This may be a lesson to all of us—if things are going badly, just give up on your destiny. Seriously though, Abe seems to be less depressed when he deals with his family duties rather than his vampire-killing duties, which makes sense. It's a lot more fun to play with your kids than it is to lop off an undead head. Most of the time.
| Quote #8
I was moved to tears as they passed, saluting me—for in each of their faces I saw the face of a nameless victim crying out for justice; of a little girl passing by on the Old Cumberland Trail all those many years ago. On each of their faces I saw the anguish of the past, and the promise of the future. (12.87)
But don't take the lesson of quote #7 too much to heart. Fulfilling his duty makes Abe content at the very least, as we see here. He looks over the first African-American troops in the Civil War and draws a connection to his past observations of slavery's inequality. Maybe there's something more important than happiness—like destiny.
| Quote #9
Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once. The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer and holier sort than you have known before. (12.14)
This is Abe's letter to Fanny McCullough to comfort her when her father William dies in the Civil War. Abe's argument is more than a little weird: you'll be able to be happy in the future, which may make you happy now. But what really gets us is the idea that these losses don't disappear—they become "a sad sweet feeling in your heart." Or in most of Abe's experience, it becomes anger towards vampires. (Fun fact: this letter is real.)