“Well, I never will believe it—it’s all cheat and trickery,” said Melchior, “and they only do it to pick your pocket. Tell your fortune, indeed! I suppose she promised you a rich wife and half-a-dozen children.”
“No, she did not,” replied I, “for I am too young to marry; but she told me what I know has happened.”
“Well, what was that?”
“Why, she told me that my mother had married again, and turned me out of doors to work for my bread.”
“But she might have heard that.”
“How could she? No, that’s not possible; but she told me I had a mole on my knee, which was a sign of luck. Now how could she know that?”
“Well, I grant that was odd—and pray what else did she promise you?”
“Why, she said, that I should meet with my dearest friend to-night. Now that does puzzle me, for I have but one in the world, and he is a long way off.”
“Well, if you do meet your friend, then I’ll believe her; but if not, it has been all guess-work; and pray what did you pay for all this—was it a shilling, or did she pick your pocket?”
“That’s what puzzles me,—she refused to take anything. I offered it again and again, and she said,’No; that she would have no money—that her gift was not to be sold.’”
“Well, that is odd. Do you hear what this young man says,” said Melchior, addressing the others, who had swallowed every word.
“Yes,” replied one; “but who is this person?”
“The queen of the gipsies, I am told. I never saw such a wonderful woman in my life—her eye goes right through you. I met her on the common, and, as she passed, she dropped a handkerchief. I ran back to give it her, and then she thanked me, and said, ’Open your hand and let me see the palm. Here are great lines, and you will be fortunate;’ and then she told me a great deal more, and bid God bless me.”
“Then if she said that, she cannot have dealings with the devil,” observed Melchior.
“Very odd—very strange—take no money—queen of the gipsies,” was echoed from all sides.
The landlady and the barmaid listened with wonder, when who should come in, as previously agreed, but Timothy. I pretended not to see him, but he came up to me, seizing me by the hand, and shaking it with apparent delight, and crying, “Wilson, have you forgot Smith?”
“Smith!” cried I, looking earnestly in his face. “Why, so it is. How came you here?”
“I left Dublin three days ago,” replied he, “but how I came here into this house, is one of the strangest things that ever occurred. I was walking over the common, when a tall handsome woman looked at me, and said, ’Young man, if you will go into the third public-house you pass, you will meet an old friend, who expects you.’ I thought she was laughing at me, but as it mattered very little in which house I passed the night, I thought, for the fun of the thing I might as well take her advice.”