`Let me tell your fortune, my pretty lady,' said the old woman, munching with her jaws, as if the Death's Head beneath her yellow skin were impatient to get out.
`I can tell it for myself,' was the reply.
`Aye, aye, pretty lady; but not right. You didn't tell it right when you were sitting there. I see you! Give me a piece of silver, pretty lady, and I'll tell your fortune true. There's riches, pretty lady, in your face.'
`I know,' returned the lady, passing her with a dark smile, and a proud step. `I knew it before.'
`What! You won't give me nothing?' cried the old woman. `You won't give me nothing to tell your fortune, pretty lady? How much will you give me not to tell it, then? Give me something, or I'll call it after you!' croaked the old woman, passionately.
Mr. Carker, whom the lady was about to pass close, slinking against his tree as she crossed to gain the path, advanced so as to meet her, and pulling off his hat as she went by, bade the old women hold her peace. The lady acknowledged his interference with an inclination of the head, and went her way.
`You give me something then, or I'll call it after her!' screamed the old woman, throwing up her arms, and pressing forward against his outstretched hand. `Or come,' she added, dropping her voice suddenly, looking at him earnestly, and seeming in a moment to forget the object of her wrath, `give me something, or I'll call it after you!'
`After me, old lady!' returned the Manager, putting his hand in his pocket.
`Yes,' said the woman, steadfast in her scrutiny, and holding out her shrivelled hand. `I know!'
`What do you know?' demanded Carker, throwing her a shilling. `Do you know who the handsome lady is?'
Munching like that sailor's wife of yore, who had chestnuts in her lap, and scowling like the witch who asked for some in vain, the old woman picked the shilling up, and going backwards, like a crab, or like a heap of crabs: for her alternately expanding and contracting hands might have represented two of that species, and her creeping face, some half-a-dozen more: crouched on the veinous root of an old tree, pulled out a short black pipe from within the crown of her bonnet, lighted it with a match, and smoked in silence, looking fixedly at her questioner.
Mr. Carker laughed, and turned upon his heel.
`Good!' said the old woman. `One child dead, and one child living: one wife dead, and one wife coming. Go and meet her!'
In spite of himself, the Manager looked round again, and stopped. The old woman, who had not removed her pipe, and was munching and mumbling while she smoked, as if in conversation with in invisible familiar, pointed with her finger in the direction he was going, and laughed.
`What was that you said, Bedlamite?' he demanded.
The woman mumbled, and chattered, and smoked, and still pointed before him; but remained silent. Muttering a farewell that was not complimentary, Mr. Carker pursued his way; but as he turned out of that place, and looked over his shoulder at the root of the old tree, he could yet see the finger pointing before him, and thought he heard the woman screaming, `Go and meet her!'
Preparations for a choice repast were completed, he found, at the hotel; and Mr. Dombey, and the Major, and the breakfast, were awaiting the ladies. Individual constitution has much to do with the development of such facts, no doubt; but in this case, appetite carried it hollow over the tender passion; Mr. Dombey
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