The Irish Legend of Two Hearts
Her name was Teagan Haden. Upperclass beauty from Athlone, of the County of Westmeath, on the edge of the River Shannon. She spent her days walking around the sturdy, fortress-like castle where she, like all of her sisters were born. The youngest of four, and the last of the maidens to come of age, she knew that an honorable union to the Scot of her father’s choosing would whisk her away forever.
Long ago, she had dreamed of a love she would choose herself. Alas, as the men of her village had been afraid to come to call, all hopes of a romantic marriage had shattered. A week shy of her suitor’s impending visit, she accompanied her mother and the other matrons to Dalkey for a bridal party befitting a royal betrothed. The seaside town unfurled south from Dublin like a string of pearls. The houses were painted in bright hues and each had a window box of splendid flowers. She longed to live inside one, a simple life, where the smallest things were sacred.
That’s where Timothy saw her. Timothy Halfpenny of the County Cork Halfpennys. Timothy was in town for just an afternoon to peddle his father’s perfume oils. He saw a well dressed Teagan standing in front of a window box overflowing with violets. He was about to insert himself into her reverie when he noticed one tear on her otherwise flawless cheek.
“Sweet Rocket,” he whispered, coming up behind her. She turned, sharply, unaware until then of his presence.
“I beg your pardon, Sir,” she smudged away her tear. “The flowers,” he could not believe her beauty. “Feascarius,” he said, “from the family of Brassicaceae. Most people call them Dame’s-Violets, I prefer Sweet Rocket, or once steamed, Honesty.”
“That’s a lot of names for a single flower,” she looked into his sea green eyes.
“Every flower has many stages, hence many names. If you’ll allow me, I will show you.”
She looked to see that her party was a block ahead and had yet to sense she was not among them. He pulled a tiny lavender vial from his overcoat and gently tugged at its closure. He passed the liquid under her nose, unapologetic for entering her personal space. The scent hit her in waves. As he pulled the bottle back to seal it, she took it from him, inhaling deeply.
“Honesty?” she asked.
“Unless you have a better name. It’s from the petals of the Sweet Rocket, like those there,” he nodded toward the cascading sill. “My father is a distiller of perfumes in the County of Cork.”
“Take me there,” she said offering her hand. As if it was the duty of his life, he planted her upon his carriage, and business undone, left that moment for his father’s home.
Ninety days passed before Teagan’s father found her, at the foot of a common Hawthorne tree where Timothy had carved an oversized heart with his and hers’ initials. “TH + TH.” It was as if it was meant to be.
Storytellers differ on the account of the end of the story. On a royal scroll by a royal scribe, a Miss Teagan Haden is said to have walked the narrow streets of Kinsale, all of which lead to the sea and thrown herself from the steep hill over the harbor.
Still another story, from a fourth generation Halfpenny from Frower Point, tells of his great-great-grandmother, of royal bloodline steaming precious petals in a stone cottage with window boxes. She labeled every vial “TH,” leaving behind a time tested recipe labeled only, “two Hearts.”