Off Boylston Street arrow signs lettered "Mrs. Star" pointed up a dank, steep flight of stairs to a beaver-board door. I knocked, and waited. After a time I knocked again. I was about to leave, when the door was opened by a small, broad, barefoot lady.
"Do you tell fortunes?" I asked.
"Yes, come on in," she smiled. "Sorry I took so long, I was brushing my teeth when you knocked."
"You can wait in here, I'll be back in a minute," she said, showing me into a room through a purple door. The room held a curious assortment of decoration: an oriental rug, a Japanese figure lamp, a serapecovered chair, and flower prints surrounded a green modern couch half circling a round, low table on which an alligator and a black jaguar crouched.
Mrs. Star returned presently, having put on shoes and a black unbuttoned sweater over her snug dress. You'll have to pardon the way the room looks," she said, "we had a kind of brawl here last night. A party." She walked out, motioning me to follow her into a smaller room across the hall.
We sat on another modern green couch; she took my hand and gazed intently into my palm. Mrs. Star looked about fifty-five. Her combed-backed black hair, large brown eyes and short breadth indicated gypsy relatives. She began.
"You going to have a long life; it's going to take a long time, but you going to make the top in whatever your business will be. Now I don't want you to have any hard feelings at anything I tell you, okay?"
"Oh. Okay. Sure, of course," I said.
"Okay. You a born leader, understan? See, we all born without any clothes on, so the difference is up here," she tapped her forehead, and her eyes were very deep and gentle. "See, you got the ability to make yourself better than other people you know; but it's going to be hard job. People are going to try to give you a bad name, understan; see, it takes whole lifetime to build up a good reputation, but only five minutes to give a bad name. Now, you got a girl you think you love very, very much, right?"
"Oh. Yes, sure," I said.
"Right; now you very serious about this girl, but she's not the right girl for you, understan? You going to meet a girl in three, four months, and you going to know right away she's the right girl for you."
"Well," I interrupted hesitantly, "should I just drop this other girl?"
"No, it's okay if you see the girl, pass time with her, understan, but don't get serious about her."
"But I am rather serious about her," I said.
"Well, don't get hard feelings about what I tell you, cause I tell you like your mother would, but you can't stay serious about this girl, understan? Now this other girl you going to meet will be the girl you marry after you travel some."
"Travel?" I said.
"Yes. You going to travel some and become successful and then marry this other girl." Mrs. Star paused. "Now what did you really come to see me about?"
"Oh. Well, I. . ."
"You go ahead and tell me, cause maybe I can help you."
"Well really, you've told me just about all I wanted to know," I managed.
"Well if you think of something else you want to know, you come back and see me, I won't charge you anything, understan?"
"How much is it?" I asked.
"It's usually two dollars, but I charge you boys just a dollar," she smiled again.
I paid Mrs. Star, said thankyou, and walked out past the purple door down the dark stairs, feeling strangely light.