The group carries on with their friendly conversation. The visitor acknowledges that he is young and has no accomplishments of note, but hopes he will have "achieved my destiny" before he dies and then "I shall have built my monument!" The father expresses the wish for a more humble legacy, and the aged grandmother makes a request for her dying day.
Suddenly, they are alarmed by the sound of a much larger avalanche. They scream in fear of "The Slide!" and bolt outside for their safe place. But they are all caught up in the rockslide and killed, while the house is completely undamaged. Their bodies are swept away and never found. The narrator notes that some who see the house later think there is evidence of a visitor that night, but others disagree - the young man has in fact died without leaving any trace of his life.
The basis of the story is the Willey tragedy of Crawford Notch, New Hampshire.
it is about the virtue of tranquility with a family of cozily gathrerily around the hearth