Toward the end of the story, Gabriel, having heard of what his wife told him about the death of a dear friend when she was young, felt silent. He became solemn and turned his thought to the foreseeable death of Aunt Julia.
” … Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years that image of her lover’s eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to live.
Generous tears filled Gabriel’s eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman, but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree.” (p. 268)
From the climax of joy and the lust toward his wife, to the understanding of his wife’s feelings after her hearing a song that reminded her of her previous lover’s death, Joyce described the change of Gabriel’s inner thought superbly. The description adds much depth to the story and shows the supreme skill in his writing as an art.
Joyce, James. Dubliners, 1991 by Dover Publications, Inc.