― 193 ―

Mrs. McSweeney Has Her Fortune Told

“I was passing on my way to the butcher's,” said Mrs. Tacitus, as she sat in the easy chair and put her basket on the hearth-rug, “so I thought I'd pop in and see if you went.” And Mrs. Tacitus thought she could detect the smell of spirits.

“I did,” said Mrs. McSweeney, opening the window and quietly closing the door of the chiffonnier. “I did. I wint this mornin', and she's a wonder, so she is. 'Twas early whin I got there - about tin. There were three ladies there thin, and one of them was so frindly that we got quite confidential whin I tould her me throubles, she said I'd done the right thing to come, as the cards could tell some wonderful things. She said she come regular wanst a wake. She wint in before me.

“While I was waitin', all alone by meself, I got as nervous as an old hen that's lost her chicks. I could have got up and ran away, but while I was

  ― 194 ―
wondherin' whether to shtop or to go, a gurrl came in and tould me it was my turn. I wint into a small room, and saw a dark woman sittin' at a table.

“‘Sit down, Mrs. - ‘

“‘McSweeney,’ says I, ‘at your service.’

“‘Yes,’ says she, ‘I could have tould you yer name, if ye hadn't interrupted.’

“Then she got some cards, and she says, ‘Will you shuffle them, Mrs. McSweeney?’

“So I took the cards and shuffled them, though me hands thrembled to that extent I could hardly hould thim. Then she spread thim in a row, and closed her eyes, and I looked at her across the table. Then she said in a solemn voice,

“‘Mrs. McSweeney,’ says she, ‘to show ye that I am no imposther I will revale to you some of the past. You can then judge of me correctness. Ye had onions for breakfast.’

“And sure enough I couldn't deny it, although how she knew I never could find out. Then she said -

“‘You have a husband, and he is an Irishman.’

“‘Well,’ says I, bridlin' up like, ‘and sure he's none the worse for that.’

“‘I didn't say he was,’ says she, ‘but am I right?’

  ― 195 ―

“‘You are,’ says I, ‘although, bein' a sthranger, I don't know how ye can tell these things!’

“‘It's on the cards,’ she says, solemnly. Thin she shuffled the cards, and laid thim out in little hapes.

“‘There's throuble,’ she says, solemnly, ‘ye have an inimy.’

“‘That's Mrs. Moloney,’ says I.

“‘It's a female inimy,’ says she as she shuffled the cards again.

“Thin she tould me that I was born far away across the say, that I had had a lot of throuble, but that I had more throuble forninst me in the future. That I was in a delicate state of health, but I would be all right again whin me throuble was over. That me husband would make money, but he'd come to a sudden ind and lave me a widder. That me accomplishmints would athract a rich squather, and that I should make a thrip in a big ship across the say. That I should live as long as several of me ancesthry, and that I needn't be afraid of anything bein' the mather wid me so long as I kept up me health and strength. She said there was a dark man a-frettin' out his soul fer me, and to beware of a fair woman wid a mole on her chake. She said there was money on the say fer me, and that if the ship didn't go down, I'd git it.

  ― 196 ―

“She charged me half-a-crown, and I come away moighty plazed. I felt a bit flustered whin I got home, and didn't fale meself till I took a dhrop of whiskey wid a little wather in it. Perhaps you would loike a shmall taste yourself? It is not often I take it, but I foind it shtimulatin' whin I do.”

Mrs. Tacitus said she couldn't refuse the kind invitation of her friend, so Mrs. McSweeney closed the window and opened the door of the chiffonnier. Mrs. Tacitus pledged her friend with love and “best respects.” She then picked up her basket, and as she did so, remarked to herself that Mrs. McSweeney's carpet was getting very shabby.