A Professional Star Reader

“Ring the bell and the door will open,” is the remark made by a small label over a bell handle in Third avenue, near Eighteenth street, where Mme. La Foy reads the past, present and future at so much per read.

Love, marriage, divorce, business, speculation and sickness are there handled with the utmost impunity by “Mme. La Foy, the famous scientific astrologist,” who has monkeyed with the planets for twenty years, and if she wanted any information has “read it in the stars.” I rang the bell the other day to see if the door would open. It did so after considerable delay, and a pimply boy in knee pants showed me upstairs into the waiting room. After a while I was removed to the consultation room, where Mme. La Foy, seated behind a small oilcloth-covered table, rakes up old personalities and pries into the future at cut rates.

Skirmishing about among the planets for twenty years involves a great deal of fatigue and exposure, to say nothing of the night work, and so Mme. La Foy has the air of one who has put in a very busy life. She is as familiar with planets, though, as you or I might be with our own family, and calls them by their first names. She would know Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Adonis or any of the other fixed stars the darkest night that ever blew.

“Mme. La Foy De Graw,” said I, bowing with the easy grace of a gentleman of the old school, “would you mind peering into the future for me about a half dollar’s worth, not necessarily for publication, et cetera.”

“Certainly not. What would you like to know?”

“Why, I want to know all I can for the money,”

I said, in a bantering tone. “Of course I do not wish to know what I already know. It is what I do not know now that I desire to know. Tell me what I do not know, Madam. I will detain you but a moment.”

She gave me back my large, round half dollar and told me that she was already weary. She asked me to excuse her. She was willing to unveil the future to me in her poor, weak way, but she could not guarantee to let a large flood of light into the darkened basement of a benighted mind for half a dollar.

“You can tell me what year and on what day of what month you were born,” said Mme. La Foy, “and I will outline your life to you. I generally require a lock of the hair, but in your case we will dispense with it.”

I told her when I was born and the circumstances, as well as I could recall them.

“This brings you under Venus, Mercury and Mars. These three planets were in conjunction at the time of your birth. You were born when the sign was wrong, and you have had more or less trouble ever since. Had you been born when the sign was in the head or the heart, instead of the feet, you would not have spread out over the ground so much.

“Your health is very good, as is the health of those generally who are born under the same auspices that you were. People who are born under the reign of the crab are apt to be cancerous. You, however, have great lung power and wonderful gastric possibilities. Yet, at times, you would be very easily upset. A strong cyclone that would unroof a courthouse or tip over a through train would also upset you, in spite of your broad firm feet, if the wind got behind one of your ears.

“You will be married early and you will be very happy, though your wife will not enjoy herself very much. Your wife will be much happier during her second marriage.

“You will prosper better in business matters without forming any partnerships. Do not go into partnership with a small, dark man, who has neuralgia and a fine yacht. He has abundant means, but he will go through you like an electric shock.

“Tuesdays and Saturdays will be your most fortunate days on which to borrow money of men with light hair. Mondays and Thursdays will be your best days for approaching dark men.

“Look out for a low-sot man accompanied by an office cat, both of whom are engaged in the newspaper business. He is crafty and bald-headed on his father’s side. He prints the only paper that contains the full text of his speeches at testimonials and dinners given to other people. Do not loan him money on any account.

“You would succeed well as a musician or an inventor, but you would not do well as a poet. You have all the keen sensibility and strong passion of a poet, but you haven’t the hair. Do not try poesy.

“In the future I see you very prosperous. You are on the lecture platform speaking. Large crowds of people are jostling each other at the box-office and trying to get their money back.

“Then I see you riding behind a flexible horse that must have cost a large sum of money. You are smoking a cigar that has never been in use before. Then Venus bisects the orbit of Mars, and I see you going home with your head tied up in the lap-robe, you and your spirited horse in the same ambulance.”

“But do you see anything for me in the future, Mme. La Foy?” I asked, taking my feet off the table, the better to watch her features; “anything that would seem to indicate political preferment, a reward for past services to my country, as it were?”

“No, not clearly. But wait a moment. Your horoscope begins to get a little more intelligent. I see you at the door of the Senate Chamber. You are counting over your money and looking sadly at a schedule of prices. Then you turn sorrowfully away, and decide to buy a seat in the House instead. Many years after I see you in the Senate. You are there day after day attending to your duties. You are there early, before any one else, and I see you pacing back and forth, up and down the aisles, sweeping out the Senate Chamber and dusting off the seats and rejuvenating the cuspidors.”

“Does this horoscope which you are using this season give you any idea as to whether money matters will be scarce with me next week or otherwise, and if so, what I had better do about it?”

“Towards the last of the week you will experience considerable monetary prostration; but just as you have become despondent, at the very tail end of the week, the horizon will clear up and a slight, dark gentleman, with wide trousers, who is a total stranger to you, will loan you quite a sum of money, with the understanding that it is to be repaid on Monday.”

“Then you would not advise me to go to Coney Island until the week after next?”

“Certainly not.”

“Would it be etiquette in dancing a quadrille to swing a young person of the opposite sex twice round at a select party when you are but slightly acquainted, but feel quite confident that her partner is unarmed?”


“Does your horoscope tell a person what to do with raspberry jelly that will not jell?”

“No, not at the present prices.”

“So you predict an early marriage, with threatening weather and strong prevailing easterly winds along the Gulf States?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And is there no way that this early marriage may be evaded?”

“No, not unless you put it off till later in life.”

“Thank you,” I said, rising and looking out the window over a broad sweep of undulating alley and wind-swept roofing; “and now, how much are you out on this?”


“What’s the damage?”

“Oh, one dollar.”

“But don’t you advertise to read the past, present and future for fifty cents?”

“Well, that is where a person has had other information before in his life and has some knowledge to begin with; but where I fill up a vacant mind entirely, and store it with facts of all kinds, and stock it up so that it can do business for itself, I charge a dollar. I cannot thoroughly relit and refurnish a mental tenement from the ground up for fifty cents.”

I do not think we have as good “Astrologists” now as we used to have. Astrologists cannot crawl under the tent and pry into the future as they could three or four thousand years ago.


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