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A Tale of Galway - Part 1

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    Star and Republican Banner Gettysburg, Pennsylvania June 19, 1832 A TALE OF GALWAY [Most of our readers have doubtless heard before of the tragic facts related
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2005
      Star and Republican Banner
      Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
      June 19, 1832

      [Most of our readers have doubtless heard before of the tragic facts related in
      the following narrative: the sad story is however, so well and so affectingly
      told by a distinguished foreigner, Prince Puckler Muskan, (whose "Tour" thro the
      British Islands, translated from the German, has recently been given to the
      literary world,) that we cannot resist the temptation of inserting it entire for
      the gratification of our readers.]

      From a Dublin Paper.
      In an obscure corner of the town stands a house of extreme antiquity, over
      the door of which are still to be seen a cross and skull bones, remarkably well
      sculptured in black marble. The house is called the "cross-bones" and its
      tragical history, is as follows.- In the fifteenth century, James Linch, a man
      of old family and great wealth, was chosen mayor of Galway for life, an office
      which was then nearly equal to that of a sovereign in power and influence. He
      was reverenced for his inflexible rectitude, and loved for his condescension and
      mildness. But yet more beloved - the idol of the citizens and their fair wives -
      was his son, according to the chronicle, one of the most distinguished young men
      of his time. To perfect manly beauty and the most noble air, he united that
      cheerful temper, that considerate familiarity which subdues, while it seems to
      flatter, that attaching grace of manner, which conquers all hearts without an
      effort, by its mere mutual charm. On the other hand his often proved patriotism,
      his high-hearted generosity, his romantic courage, and complete mastery of all
      warlike exercises, forming part of an education singular in his age and country,
      securing to him the permanency of an esteem which his first aspect involuntary
      bespoke. So much light was not without shadow. - Deep and burning passions, a
      haughty temper, jealousy of all rival merit, rendered all his fine qualities so
      many resources of danger to himself and others. Often had his stern father,
      although proud of such a son, cause for bitter reproof, and for yet more anxious
      solicitude about the future. But even he could not resist the sweetness of
      youth, as quick to repent as err, and who never for a moment failed in love and
      in reverence to himself. After his first displeasure was past, the defects of
      his son appeared to him, as they did to all others, only spots on the sun. He
      was still further tranquilized by the vehement and tender attachment which the
      young man appeared to have conceived for Anna Blake, the daughter of his best
      friend, and a girl possessing every lovely and attaching quality. He looked
      forward to their union as the fulfillment of all his wishes. But fate had willed
      it otherwise.
      While young Lynch found more difficulty in conquering the heart of the
      present object of his love than he had ever experienced before, his father was
      called by business to Cadiz; for the great men of Galway, like the other
      inhabitants of considerable sea-ports in the middle ages, held trade on a large
      scale to be an employment nowise unworthy of noble birth. Galway was at that
      time so powerful, and so widely known, that, as the chronicle relates, an Arab
      merchant, who had long traded in these coasts from the East once inquired "in
      what part of Galway Ireland lay?"
      After James Lynch had delegated his authority into trusty hands, and
      prepared every thing for a distant journey, with an overflowing heart he blessed
      his son, wished him the best issue to his suit, and sailed for his destination.
      Wherever he went, success crowned his undertakings. For this he was much
      indebted to the friendly services of a Spanish merchant named Gomez, towards
      whom his noble heart conceived the liveliest gratitude. It happened that Gomez
      had an only son, who like Edward Lynch, was the idol of his family & the darling
      of his native city, tho' in character as well as in external experience,
      entirely different from him. Both were handsome; but Edward's was the beauty of
      the haughty and breathing Appollo, Gonsalvo's of the serene and mild St. John.
      The one appeared like a rock crowned with flowers; the other like a fragrant
      rose-covered knoll threatened by the storm. The pagan virtues adorned the one,
      Christian gentleness and humility the other. Gonsalvo's graceful person
      exhibited more softness than energy; his languid dark blue eyes more tenderness
      and love than boldness and pride; a soft melancholy over-shadowed his
      countenance, and an air of voluptuous suffering quivered about his swelling
      lips, around which a timid smile rarely played, like a gentle wave gliding over
      pearls and coral. His mind corresponded to such a person; loving and endearing,
      of a grave and melancholy serenity, of more internal than external activity, he
      preferred solitude to the business and tumult of society, but attached himself
      with the strongest affection to those who treated him with kindness and
      friendship. His inmost heart was thus warmed by a fire which, like that of a
      volcano buried too deep to break out at the surface, is only seen in the
      increased fertility of the soil above, which it clothes in the softest green,
      and decks with the brightest flowers.
      Thus captivating, and easily captivated, was it a wonder if he stole the
      palm even out of the hand of Edward Lynch? But Edward's father had no such
      anticipations. Full of gratitude to his friend, and of affection for his
      engaging son, he determined to propose to the old Gomez a marriage between
      Gonsalvo and his daughter. The offer was too flattering to be refused. The
      fathers were soon agreed; and it was resolved that Gonsalvo should accompany his
      future father-in-law to the coast of Ireland, and if the inclinations of the
      young people favored the project, their union should take place at the same time
      with Edward's, after which they should immediately return to Spain. Gonsalvo,
      who was just nineteen, accompanied the revered friend of his father with joy.
      His young romantic spirit enjoyed in silent and delighted anticipation, the
      varying scenes of strange lands which he was about to see; the wonders of the
      deep he would contemplate; the new sort of existence was unknown people with
      whom he was to be connected; and his warm heart already attached itself to the
      girl, of whose charms her father gave him, perhaps, a too partial description.
      Every moment of the long voyage, which at that time abounded with dangers, and
      required a much longer period than now, increased the intimacy and mutual
      attachment of the travellers; and when at length they descried the port of
      Galway, the old Lynch congratulated himself not only on the second son which God
      had sent him, but on the beneficial influence which the unvarying gentleness of
      the amiable youth would have on Edward's darker and more vehement character.
      This hope likely to be completely fulfilled: Edward, who found all in Gomez that
      was wanting in himself, felt his own nature as it were completed by his society;
      and as he had already learned from his father, that he was to regard him as a
      brother, their friendship soon ripened into the warmest and most sincere
      affection. But not many months had passed, before some uneasy feelings arose in
      Edward's mind to trouble this harmony. Gonsalvo has become the husband of his
      sister, but had deferred his return to Spain for an indefinite time. He was
      become the object of general admiration, attention and love. Edward felt that he
      was less happy than formerly. For the first time in his life neglected, he could
      not conceal from himself that he had found a successful rival of his former
      universal and uncontested popularity. But what shook him most fearfully, what
      wounded his heart no less than his pride, what prepared for him intolerable and
      restless torments, was the perception which every day confirmed that Anna, whom
      he looked upon as his- that his Anna had ever since the arrival of the handsome
      stranger, become colder and colder towards himself.
      Nay, he had even imagined that in unguarded moments he had seen her
      speaking eyes rest, as if weighed down with heavy thoughts on the soft and
      gentle features of Gomez and a faint blush then pass over her pale cheek, but if
      his eye met hers, this soft bloom suddenly became the burning glow of fever.
      Yes, he could not doubt it; her whole deportment was altered; capricious,
      humoursome, restless, sometimes sunk in deep melancholy, then suddenly breaking
      into fits of violent mirth, she seemed to retain only the outward form of the
      sensible, clear minded, serene, and equal tempered girl she had always appeared.
      Every thing betrayed to the quick eye of jealousy that she was the prey of some
      deep seated passion, and for whom? - for whom could it be but Gomez? for him, at
      whose every action it was evident the inmost chords of her heart gave out their
      altered tone. It has been wisely said, that love is more nearly akin to hate
      than to liking. What passed in Edward's bosom was a proof of this. Henceforth it
      seemed his sole enjoyment to give pain to the woman he passionately loved; and
      now, in the bitterness of his heart, held her guilty of all sufferings. Whenever
      occasion presented itself, he sought to humble and to embarrass her, to sting
      her by disdainful pride, or to overwhelm her with cutting reproaches; till,
      conscious of her secret crime, shame and anguish overpowered the wretched girl,
      and she burst into torrents of tears, which alone had power to allay the
      scorching fever of his heart.
      But no kindly reconciliation followed those scenes, and, as with lovers,
      resolved the dissonance with blessed harmony. The exasperation of each was only
      heightened to desperation; and when he at length saw enkindled in Gomez - so
      little capable of concealment- the same fire which burnt in the eyes of Anna;
      when he thought he saw his sister neglected, and himself betrayed by a serpent
      whom he had cherished in his bosom - he stood at that point of human infirmity,
      of which the All-seeing alone can decide whether it be madness or the condition
      of a still-accountable creature.

      ...to be continued...

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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