The Four Million
Tobin and me, the two of us, went down to Coney one day, for there was four dollars
between us, and Tobin had need of distractions. For there was Katie Mahorner, his
sweetheart, of County Sligo, lost since she started for America three months before with
two hundred dollars, her own savings, and one hundred dollars from the sale of Tobin's
inherited estate, a fine cottage and pig on the Bog Shannaugh. And since the letter that
Tobin got saying that she had started to come to him not a bit of news had he heard or
seen of Katie Mahorner. Tobin advertised in the papers, but nothing could be found of the
So, to Coney me and Tobin went, thinking that a turn at the chutes and the smell of the
popcorn might raise the heart in his bosom. But Tobin was a hardheaded man, and the
sadness stuck in his skin. He ground his teeth at the crying balloons; he cursed the
moving pictures; and, though he would drink whenever asked, he scorned Punch and
Judy, and was for licking the tintype men as they came.
So I gets him down a side way on a board walk where the attractions were some less
violent. At a little six by eight stall Tobin halts, with a more human look in his eye.
"'Tis here," says he, "I will be diverted. I'll have the palm of me hand investigated by the
wonderful palmist of the Nile, and see if what is to be will be."
Tobin was a believer in signs and the unnatural in nature. He possessed illegal
convictions in his mind along the subjects of black cats, lucky numbers, and the weather
predictions in the papers.
We went into the enchanted chicken coop, which was fixed mysterious with red cloth and
pictures of hands with lines crossing 'em like a railroad centre. The sign over the door
says it is Madame Zozo the Egyptian Palmist. There was a fat woman inside in a red
jumper with pothooks and beasties embroidered upon it. Tobin gives her ten cents and
extends one of his hands. She lifts Tobin's hand, which is own brother to the hoof of a
drayhorse, and examines it to see whether 'tis a stone in the frog or a cast shoe he has
"Man," says this Madame Zozo, "the line of your fate shows—"
"Tis not me foot at all," says Tobin, interrupting. "Sure, 'tis no beauty, but ye hold the
palm of me hand."
"The line shows," says the Madame, "that ye've not arrived at your time of life without
bad luck. And there's more to come. The mount of Venus—or is that a stone bruise?—
shows that ye've been in love. There's been trouble in your life on account of your