New York City, Thursday, April 15, 1897
Sarah Miltmore leaned forward to better hear what Madam Zinka had to say. Although the self-proclaimed fortune teller was not giving her a reading, Sarah was curious to hear what she was saying to the man sitting before her.
“Your life line is long, and strong,” Madam Zinka informed him as she closely examined the palm of his right hand. “And so is your love line. I predict you will soon meet the woman of your dreams. Surely within the year. I see you well dressed. It’s possible you’ll meet your future wife at a fancy-dress ball. I also see several children in your future. As many as five or six.” Dressed in long flowing robes of midnight blue with a black silk scarf tied around her head, she looked both mysterious and absurd.
“Really? Five or six children?” The man, who had been introduced as Mr. Richardson, questioned Madam Zinka with an air of indifference. Dark brown eyes peered out from behind his tortoise-shell glasses. A fairly attractive man, he was impeccably dressed and clean-shaven with not a hair on his head out of place. Surely, many women found him attractive, though Sarah doubted that appealing to women was the motivation behind his fashionable attire.
“Four at the very least, but I suspect it’s more likely to be six,” the fortune teller assured him. “See how these smaller lines cross over your love line,” she said, drawing a finger across his palm. “A sure sign of children.”
“How interesting,” Mr. Richardson said, with a doubting grin.
“Your life seems very interesting indeed. Also, I believe, financially rewarding.” Madam Zinka most likely added that last part hoping for a generous payment for her services. “I hesitate to say too much about that. I’m sure you can understand why.”
Not for a moment did Sarah believe a word the woman was saying. This man was as likely to marry a woman and father six children as Sarah was of becoming the next Madam Zinka. It simply was not going to happen.
Considering how Mrs. Oshmeyer’s psychic salons were touted as being of the highest caliber, this was so much worse than Sarah had expected. Instead of being enlightening and educational, the presentation seemed as if it were little more than a silly parlor trick intended to amuse and entertain more than educate.