This is a hoary chestnut, though I only came across it for the first time today. It took me about an hour and two sheets of paper to unravel this coded but conventional epitaph of the two wives of Dr. Samuel Bean, both dead too young.

Henrietta and Susanna Bean tombstone, Rushes Cemetery, 1915 Hutchison Road, Wellesly, Ontario. Photo: Mac Armstrong. CC BY-SA 2.0.

At first I thought, good lord, someone’s gone and tried to show their learning by inscribing a tombstone stoichedon. Not quite. It’s just laid out neatly to facilitate solution and so that you can see that some numbers are to be taken together (15, 26, 23, etc.). Good luck!

Here‘s a solution, if you want it. If the stone looks too crisp for the nineteenth century, it’s because the original was destroyed from people taking rubbings.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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