"Yes," she was now saying, her emphatic eyes on Ann Eliza, "you may not believe it, Miss Bunner, and I don't know's I should myself if anybody else was to tell me, but over a year before ever I was born, my mother she went to see a gypsy fortune- teller that was exhibited in a tent on the Battery with the green- headed lady, though her father warned her not to--and what you s'pose she told her? Why, she told her these very words--says she: 'Your next child'll be a girl with jet-black curls, and she'll suffer from spasms.'"
"Mercy!" murmured Ann Eliza, a ripple of sympathy running down her spine.
"D'you ever have spasms before, Miss Mellins?" Evelina asked.
"Yes, ma'am," the dress-maker declared. "And where'd you suppose I had 'em? Why, at my cousin Emma McIntyre's wedding, her that married the apothecary over in Jersey City, though her mother appeared to her in a dream and told her she'd rue the day she done it, but as Emma said, she got more advice than she wanted from the living, and if she was to listen to spectres too she'd never be sure what she'd ought to do and what she'd oughtn't; but I will say her husband took to drink, and she never was the same woman after her fust baby--well, they had an elegant church wedding, and what you s'pose I saw as I was walkin' up the aisle with the wedding percession?"
"Well?" Ann Eliza whispered, forgetting to thread her needle.
"Why, a coffin, to be sure, right on the top step of the chancel--Emma's folks is 'piscopalians and she would have a church wedding, though HIS mother raised a terrible rumpus over it- -well, there it set, right in front of where the minister stood that was going to marry 'em, a coffin covered with a black velvet pall with a gold fringe, and a 'Gates Ajar' in white camellias atop of it."
"Goodness," said Evelina, starting, "there's a knock!"
"Who can it be?" shuddered Ann Eliza, still under the spell of Miss Mellins's hallucination.