The Game of Changes

This is a text concerning the popular Game of Changes as it is played by many characters throughout the series A Flag Carrier’s War, by Generals and Soldiers, as well as common-folk.  As Napoleon consorted the Oraculum, as Augustus Caesar consulted the Sybilline prophecies; so do modern conquerors consult the Game of Changes, played by characters throughout the story.   This game can be played by readers through the usage of 32 cards. And patience. -Bkn, 29 September 2016.

 astrolabe3
A symbol of the Game of Changing in Modern Russia

A GUIDE TO THE GAME OF CHANGES

CONTAINING

HOW TO TELL FORTUNES BY CARDS.
GOOD AND BAD OMENS.
WEATHER OMENS.
HYMEN’S LOTTERY.
ST. AGNES’ DAY
NAPOLEON’S ORACULUM; OR, BOOK OF FATE.

SIGNS AND OMENS.


HOW TO TELL FORTUNES
BY CARDS.

In telling Fortunes by Cards—as in all games in which they are employed—the Ace ranks highest in value. Then comes the King, followed by the Queen, Knave, Ten, Nine, Eight, and Seven; these being generally the only cards used.

The order, and comparative value of the different suits, is as follows:—First on the list stand “Clubs,” as they mostly portend happiness; and—no matter how numerous, or how accompanied—are rarely or never of bad augury. Next come “Hearts,” which usually signify joy, liberality, or good temper; “Diamonds,” on the contrary, denote delay, quarrels, and annoyance; and “Spades”—the worst suit of all—grief, sickness, and loss of money.

We are of course speaking generally, as, in many cases, the position of cards entirely changes their signification; their individual and relative meaning being often widely different. Thus, for example, the King of Hearts, the Nine of Hearts, and the Nine of Clubs, respectively signify, a liberal man, joy, and success in love, but change their position, by placing the King between the two nines, and you would read that a man, then rich and happy, would be ere long consigned to a prison!

SIGNIFICATION OF THE CARDS.

The individual meaning attached to the thirty-two cards employed is as follows:—

THE EIGHT CLUBS.

The ace of Clubs signifies joy, money, or good news; if reversed, the joy will be brief.

King of Clubs – A frank, liberal man, fond of serving friends; if reversed, fond of serving enemies.

Queen of Clubs – An affectionate woman, quick tempered and touchy; if reversed, noticably so; jealous and malicious.

Knave of Clubs – A clever and enterprising young man; reversed, an energetic idiot with ambition. A flirt and flatterer, a courtier.

Ten of Clubs – Fortune, success, or grandeur; reversed, success, but of less grandeur. A mediocre success.

Nine of Clubs – An unexpected gain, or a legacy; reversed it is a trifling presence, or the inheritance of a house with debts and too expensive to renovate and rent.

Eight of Clubs – A dark person’s affections, which, if returned, will cause great prosperity; reversed, the dark person’s affectations foolishly wasted on a rival and attendant in unhappiness if reciprocated.

Seven of Clubs – A bit of money, some deng, an unexpectedly recovered debt; if reversed it is a recovered debt, deserved, but content to avoid. Reversed, inheriting something you would rather not have.

The eight Hearts –

Ace of Hearts – a love letter, pleasant news; reversed, it is the visit of a friend.

King of hearts – A fair, liberal man; reversed, a fair, liberal man who utterly disappoints.

Queen of Hearts – A kind, admirable woman, content to give and loan; reversed, a woman who has been crossed in matters of love or money to a loanee.

Knave of Hearts – A gay young bachelor who dreams only of pleasure; reversed, a discontented military man who dreams only of pleasures as a gay young bachelor.

Ten of Hearts – Happiness or triumph; if reversed, slightly severe to moderately severe anxiety.

Nine of Hearts – Joy, satisfaction, success; reversed, satisfaction, joy, and success.

Eight of Hearts – a fair person’s affections. Reversed, an indifference on his or her part.

Seven of hearts – Pleasant thoughts, tranquility; reversed, impotence and balding.

The Eight Diamonds

Ace of Diamonds – A later, soon to be received, and, if the card is reversed, will be poorly written.

King of Diamonds – A fair man, generally in the Army, cunning and dangerous; if reversed, an absolute threat, caused by mechnizations on his part.

Queen of Diamonds – An il-bred, scandal loving woman; if reversed, a low-born girl with the tastes of the bourgeois but not the breeding to get away with the drinking and fucking she’d get away with if she were an aristocrat or celebrity

Knave of Diamonds – A tale bearing servant, or unfaithful friend; reversed it is a tale bearing friend, but unfaithful servant.

Ten of Diamonds – A journey, a change in residence; if reversed, it will not be fortunate and the food will be awful and the weather bad.

Nine of Diamonds – Annoyance, delay, if reversed, either a family or love-quarrel with someone who is infuriatingly right.

Eight of Diamonds –Love-making; if reversed, more exciting, possibly unsuccessful; sex that starts well and everything is great but you don’t orgasm.

Seven of Diamonds – Satire, mockery, or farce. Reversed, a bad comedy that starts out as Dostoevsky and ends up as Marx Brothers.

In order to know whether the ace, ten, nine, eight, and seven of diamonds are reversed (this is dependent on the angle of the face card on any standard deck. They are sometimes called suicide kings, suicide queens; they are left or ring facing facecards. It is better to mark each with a pencil to show direction, to show which is on top of the card. – Charles Pin’on, novice and dealer in the Game of Changes

The Eight Spades

The Ace of Spades – Pleasure; reversed, grief, or the pleasure of one’s enemies / friends.

King of Spades – A man rightfully envious of one’s self, an enemy who fights one’s friends, or a law dishonest for the other side. If reversed, he is an enemy of one’s enemies, seduction maybe necessary if not impotent.

Queen of Spades(1) – A widow, a dangerous and malice woman; if reversed, a widow, dangerous, malice, and successful woman.

Knave of Spades – A dark, ill-bred young man, reversed he plots mischief.

Ten of Spades – Tears, a prison; reversed, a prison, but invisible to you. A brief affliction.
Nine of Spades – Tidings of death (see Omens & Oberies); reversed it will be some near relative.

Eight of Spades – Slight annoyances that annoy you more than large injustices; reversed, a foolish intrigue, that is more intriguing than more noble intrigues.

The Court cards of Hearts and Diamonds usually represent persons of fair complexion; Clubs and Spades, the opposite.

Signification of Different Cards of the Same Denomination.

Four Aces, coming together, or following each other, announce danger, failure in business, and sometimes imprisonment. If one or more of them be reversed, the danger will be lessened, but that is all.

Three Aces, coming in the same manner.—Good tidings; if reversed, folly.

Two Aces.—A plot; if reversed, will not succeed.

Four Kings.—Rewards, dignities, honors; reversed, they will be less, but sooner received.

Three Kings.—A consultation on important business, the result of which will be highly satisfactory; if reversed, success will be doubtful.

Two Kings.—A partnership in business; if reversed, a dissolution of the same. Sometimes this only denotes friendly projects.

Four Queens.—Company, society; one or more reversed, denotes that the entertainment will not go off well.

Three Queens.—Friendly calls; reversed, chattering and scandal or deceit.

Two Queens.—A meeting between friends; reversed, poverty, troubles, in which one will involve the other.

Four Knaves.—A noisy party—mostly young people; reversed, a drinking bout.

Three Knaves.—False friends; reversed, a quarrel with some low person.

Two Knaves.—Evil intentions; reversed, danger.

Four tens.—Great success in projected enterprises; reversed, the success will not be so brilliant, but still it will be sure.

Three tens.—Improper conduct; reversed, failure.

Two tens.—Change of trade or profession; reversed, denotes that the prospect is only a distant one.

Four nines.—A great surprise; reversed, a public dinner.

Three nines.—Joy, fortune, health; reversed, wealth lost by imprudence.

Two nines.—A little gain; reversed, trifling losses at cards.

Four eights.—A short journey; reversed, the return of a friend or relative.

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Three eights.—Thoughts of marriage; reversed, folly, flirtation.

Two eights.—A brief love-dream; reversed, small pleasures and trifling pains.

Four Sevens.—Intrigues among servants or low people, threats, snares, and disputes; reversed, that their malice will be impotent to harm, and that the punishment will fall on themselves.

Three sevens.—Sickness, premature old age; reversed, slight and brief indisposition.

Two sevens.—Levity; reversed, regret.

Any picture-card between two others of equal value—as two tens, two Aces, etc.—denotes that the person represented by that card runs the risk of a prison.

It requires no great efforts to commit these significations to memory, but it must be remembered that they are but what the alphabet is to the printed book: a little attention and practice, however, will soon enable the learner to form these mystic letters into words, and words into phrases; in other language, to assemble these cards together, and read the events, past and to come, their pictured faces pretend to reveal.

There are several ways of doing this; but we will give them all, one after another, so as to afford our readers an ample choice of methods of prying into futurity.

DEALING THE CARDS BY THREES.

Take the pack of thirty-two selected cards (viz., the Ace, King, Queen, Knave, Ten, Nine, Eight, and Seven of each suit), having before fixed upon the one you intend to represent yourself, supposing always you are making the essay on your own behalf. If not, it must represent the person for whom you are acting. In doing this, it is necessary to remember that the card chosen should be according to the complexion of the chooser, King or Queen of Diamonds for a very fair person, ditto of Hearts for one rather darker, Clubs for one darker still, and Spades only for one very dark indeed. The card chosen also loses its signification, and simply becomes the representative of a dark or fair man, or woman, as the case may be.

This point having been settled, shuffle the cards, and either cut them or have them cut for you (according to whether you are acting for yourself or another person), taking care to use the left hand. That done, turn them up by threes, and every time you find in these triplets two of the same suit, such as two Hearts, two Clubs, etc., withdraw the highest card and place it on the table before you. If the triplet should chance to be all of the same suit, the highest card is still to be the only one withdrawn; but should it consist of three of the same value but different suits, such as three Kings, etc., they are to be all appropriated. We will suppose that, after having turned up the cards three by three, you have been able to withdraw six, leaving twenty-six, which you shuffle and cut, and again turn up by threes, acting precisely as you did before, until you have obtained either thirteen, fifteen, or seventeen cards. Recollect that the number must always be uneven, and that the card representing[7] the person for whom the essay is made must make one of it. Even if the requisite thirteen, fifteen, or seventeen have been obtained, and this one has not made its appearance, the operation must be recommenced. Let us suppose the person whose fortune is being read to be a lady, represented by the Queen of Hearts, and that fifteen cards have been obtained and laid out—in the form of a half circle—in the order they were drawn, viz., the Seven of Clubs, the Ten of Diamonds, the Seven of Hearts, the Knave of Clubs, the King of Diamonds, the Nine of Diamonds, the Ten of Hearts, the Queen of Spades, the Eight of Hearts, the Knave of Diamonds, the Queen of Hearts, the Nine of Clubs, the Seven of Spades, the Ace of Clubs, the Eight of Spades. Having considered your cards, you will find among them two Queens, two Knaves, two tens, three sevens, two eights, and two nines; you are, therefore, able to announce:

“The two Queens before me signify the reunion of friends; the two Knaves, that there is mischief being made between them. These two tens denote a change of profession, which, from one of them being between two sevens, I see will not be effected without some difficulty; the cause of which, according to these three sevens, will be illness. However, these two nines promise some small gain, resulting—so say these two eights—from a love affair.”

You now begin to count seven cards, from right to left, beginning with the Queen of Hearts, who represents the lady you are acting for. The seventh being the King of Diamonds, you may say:

“You often think of a fair man in uniform.”

The next seventh card (counting the King of Diamonds as one) proves to be the Ace of Clubs; you add:

“You will receive from him some very joyful tidings; he, besides, intends making you a present.”

Count the Ace of Clubs as “one,” and proceeding to the next seventh card, the Queen of Spades, you resume:

“A widow is endeavoring to injure you on this very account; and” (the seventh card, counting the Queen as one, being the Ten of Diamonds) “the annoyance she gives you will oblige you to either take a journey or change your residence; but” (this Ten of Diamonds being imprisoned between two sevens) “your journey or removal will meet with some obstacle.”

On proceeding to count as before, calling the Ten of Diamonds one, you will find the seventh card proves to be the Queen of Hearts herself, the person for whom you are acting, and may therefore safely conclude by saying:

“But this you will overcome of yourself, without needing any one’s aid or assistance.”

Now take the two cards at either extremity of the half circle, which are, respectively, the Eight of Spades and the Seven of Clubs, unite them, and continue:—

“A sickness, which will lead to your receiving a small sum of money.”

Repeat the same maneuver, which brings together the Ace of Clubs and the Ten of Diamonds:—

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“Good news, which will make you decide on taking a journey, destined to prove a very happy one, and which will occasion you to receive a sum of money.”

The next cards united, being the Seven of Spades and the Seven of Hearts, you say:—

“Tranquility and peace of mind, followed by slight anxiety, quickly succeeded by love and happiness.”

Then come the Nine of Clubs and the Knave of Clubs, foretelling: “You will certainly receive money through the exertions of a clever dark young man—Queen of Hearts and King of Diamonds—which comes from a fair man in uniform; this rencounter announces some great happiness in store for you, and complete fulfillment of your wishes. Knave of Diamonds and Nine of Diamonds—Although this happy result may be delayed for a time, through some fair young man, not famed for his delicacy—Eight of Hearts and Ten of Hearts—love, joy, and triumph. The Queen of Spades, who remains alone, is the widow who is endeavoring to injure you, and who finds herself abandoned by all her friends!”

Now gather up the cards you have been using, shuffle and cut them with the left hand, and proceed to make them into three packs by dealing one to the left, one in the middle, and one to the right; a fourth is laid aside to form “a surprise.” Then continue to deal the cards to each of the three packs in turn, until their number is exhausted, when it will be found that the left-hand and middle packs contain each five cards, whilst the one on the right hand consists of only four.

Now ask the person consulting you to select one of the three packs. We will suppose this to be the middle one, and that the cards comprising it are, the Knave of Diamonds, the King of Diamonds, the Seven of Spades, the Queen of Spades, and the Seven of Clubs. These, by recollecting our previous instructions regarding the individual and relative signification of the cards, are easily interpreted, as follows:

“The Knave of Clubs—a fair young man, possessed of no delicacy of feeling, who seeks to injure—the King of Diamonds—a fair man in uniform—Seven of Spades—and will succeed in causing him some annoyance—the Queen of Spades—at the instigation of a spiteful woman—Seven of Clubs—but, by means of a small sum of money, matters will be finally easily arranged.”

Next take up the left-hand pack, which is “for the house”—the former one having been for the lady herself. Supposing it to consist of the Queen of Hearts, the Knave of Clubs, the Eight of Hearts, the Nine of Diamonds, and the Ace of Clubs, they would read thus:

“Queen of Hearts—the lady whose fortune is being told is, or soon will be, in a house—Knave of Clubs—where she will meet with a dark young man, who—Eight of Hearts—will entreat her assistance to forward his interests with a fair girl—Nine of Diamonds—he having met with delays and disappointment—Ace of Clubs—but a letter will arrive announcing the possession of money, which will remove all difficulties.”

The third pack is “for those who did not expect it,” and will[9] be composed of four cards, let us say the Ten of Hearts, Nine of Clubs, Eight of Spades, and Ten of Diamonds, signifying:

“The Ten of Hearts—An unexpected piece of good fortune and great happiness—Nine of Clubs—caused by an unlooked-for legacy—Eight of Spades—which joy may perhaps be followed by a slight sickness—Ten of Diamonds—the result of a fatiguing journey.”

There now remains on the table only the card intended for the “surprise.” This, however, must be left untouched, the other cards gathered up, shuffled, cut, and again laid out in three packs, not forgetting at the first deal to add a card to “the surprise.” After the different packs have been duly examined and explained, as before described, they must again be gathered up, shuffled, etc., indeed, the whole operation repeated, after which the three cards forming “the surprise” are examined; and supposing them to be the Seven of Hearts, the Knave of Clubs, and the Queen of Spades, are to be thus interpreted:

“Seven of Hearts—pleasant thoughts and friendly intentions—Knave of Clubs—of a dark young man—relative to a malicious dark woman, or widow, who will cause him much unhappiness.”

DEALING THE CARDS BY SEVENS.

After having shuffled the pack of thirty-two selected cards—which, as we before stated, consist of the Ace, King, Queen, Knave, Ten, Nine, Eight, and Seven of each suit—either cut them yourself, or, if acting for another person, let that person cut them, taking care to use the left hand. Then count seven cards, beginning with the one lying on the top of the pack. The first six are useless, so put them aside, and retain only the seventh, which is to be placed face uppermost on the table before you. Repeat this three times more, then shuffle and cut the cards you have thrown on one side, together with those remaining in your hand, and tell them out in sevens as before, until you have thus obtained twelve cards. It is, however, indispensable that the one representing the person whose fortune is being told should be among the number; therefore, the whole operation must be recommenced in case of it not having made its appearance. Your twelve cards being now spread out before you in the order in which they have come to hand, you may begin to explain them as described in the manner of dealing the cards in threes—always bearing in mind both their individual and relative signification. Thus, you first count the cards by sevens, beginning with the one representing the person for whom you are acting, going fromright to left. Then take the two cards at either extremity of the line or half-circle, and unite them, and afterwards form the three heaps or packs and “the surprise” precisely as we have before described. Indeed, the only difference between the two methods is the manner in which the cards are obtained.

DEALING THE CARDS BY FIFTEENS.

After having well shuffled and cut the cards, or, as we have before said, had them cut, deal them out in two packs, containing[10] sixteen cards in each. Desire the person consulting you to choose one of them; lay aside the first card, to form “the surprise;” turn up the other fifteen, and range them in a half-circle before you, going from left to right, placing them in the order in which they come to hand, and taking care to remark whether the one representing the person for whom you are acting be among them. If not, the cards must be all gathered up, shuffled, cut, and dealt as before, and this must be repeated until the missing card makes its appearance in the pack chosen by the person it represents. Now proceed to explain them—first, by interpreting the meaning of any pairs, triplets, or quartettes among them; then by counting them in sevens, going from right to left, and beginning with the card representing the person consulting you; and lastly, by taking the cards at either extremity of the line and pairing them. This being done, gather up the fifteen cards, shuffle, cut, and deal them so as to form three packs of each five cards. From each of these three packs withdraw the topmost card, and place them on the one laid aside to form “the surprise,” thus forming four packs of four cards each.

Desire the person for whom you are acting to choose one of these packs, “for herself” or “himself,” as the case may be. Turn it up, and spread out the four cards it contains, from left to right, explaining their individual and relative signification. Next proceed in like manner with the pack on your left hand, which will be “for the house;” then the third one, “for those who do not expect it;” and lastly, “the surprise.”

In order to render our meaning perfectly clear, we will give another example. Let us suppose that the pack for the person consulting you is composed of the Knave of Hearts, the Ace of Diamonds, the Queen of Clubs, and the Eight of Spades reversed. By the aid of the list of meanings we have given, it will be easy to interpret them as follows:

“The Knave of Hearts is a gay young bachelor—the Ace of Diamonds—who has written, or will very soon write, a letter—the Queen of Clubs—to a dark woman—Eight of Spades reversed—to make proposals to her, which will not be accepted.”

On looking back to the list of significations, it will be found to run thus:

Knave of Hearts.—A gay young bachelor, who thinks only of pleasure.

Ace of Diamonds.—A letter soon to be received.

Queen of Clubs.—An affectionate woman, but quick-tempered and touchy.

Eight of Spades.—If reversed, a marriage broken off, or offer refused.

It will thus be seen that each card forms, as it were, a phrase from an assemblage of which nothing but a little practice is required to form complete sentences. Of this we will give a further example, by interpreting the signification of the three other packs—“for the house,” “for those who do not expect it,” and “the surprise.” The first of these, “for the house,” we will suppose to consist of the Queen of Hearts, the Knave of Spades[11] reversed, the Ace of Clubs, and the Nine of Diamonds, which reads thus:

“The Queen of Hearts is a fair woman, mild and amiable in disposition, who—Knave of Spades reversed—will be deceived by a dark, ill-bred young man—the Ace of Clubs—but she will receive some good news, which will console her—Nine of Diamonds—although it is probable that the news may be delayed.”

The pack “for those who do not expect it,” consisting of the Queen of Diamonds, the King of Spades, the Ace of Hearts reversed, and the Seven of Spades, would signify:

“The Queen of Diamonds is a mischief-making woman—the King of Spades—who is in league with a dishonest lawyer—Ace of Hearts reversed—they will hold a consultation together—Seven of Spades—but the harm they will do will soon be repaired.”

Last comes “the surprise,” formed by, we will suppose, the Knave of Clubs, the Ten of Diamonds, the Queen of Spades, and the Nine of Spades, of which the interpretation is:

“The Knave of Clubs is a clever, enterprising young man—Ten of Diamonds—about to undertake a journey—Queen of Spades—for the purpose of visiting a widow—Nine of Spades—but one or both of their lives will be endangered.”

THE ITALIAN METHOD.

Take a pack composed of thirty-two selected cards, viz., the Ace, King, Queen, Knave, Ten, Nine, Eight, and Seven of each suit. Shuffle them well, and either cut or have them cut for you, according to whether you are acting for yourself or another person. Turn up the cards by threes, and when the triplet is composed of cards of the same suit, lay it aside; when of three different suits, pass it by without withdrawing any of the three; but when composed of two of one suit and one of another, withdraw the highest card of the two. When you have come to the end of the pack, gather up all the cards except those you have withdrawn; shuffle, cut, and again turn up by threes. Repeat this operation until you have obtained fifteen cards, which must then be spread out before you, from left to right, in the order in which they come to hand.

Care must, however, be taken that the card representing the person making the essay is among them; if not, the whole operation must be recommenced until the desired result is obtained. We will suppose it to be some dark lady—represented by the Queen of Clubs—who is anxious to make the attempt for herself, and that the cards are laid out in the following order, from left to right:—Ten of Diamonds, Queen of Clubs, Eight of Hearts, Ace of Diamonds, Ten of Hearts, Seven of Clubs, King of Spades, Nine of Hearts, Knave of Spades, Ace of Clubs, Seven of Spades, Ten of Spades, Seven of Diamonds, Ace of Spades, Knave of Hearts.

On examining them, you will find that there are three Aces among them, announcing good news; but, as they are at some distance from each other, that the tidings may be some time before they arrive.

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The three tens denote that the conduct of the person consulting the cards has not always been strictly correct. The two Knaves are enemies, and the three Sevens predict an illness, caused by them.

You now begin to count five cards, beginning with the Queen of Clubs, who represents the person consulting you. The fifth card, being the Seven of Clubs, announces that the lady will soon receive a small sum of money. The next fifth card proving to be the Ace of Clubs, signifies that this money will be accompanied by some very joyful tidings. Next, comes the Ace of Spades, promising complete success to any projects undertaken by the person consulting the cards; then the Eight of Hearts, followed at the proper interval by the King of Spades, showing that the good news will excite the malice of a dishonest lawyer; but the Seven of Spades coming next announces that the annoyance he can cause will be of short duration, and that a gay fair young man—the Knave of Hearts—will soon console her for what she has suffered. The Ace of Diamonds tells that she will soon receive a letter from this fair young man—the Nine of Hearts—announcing a great success—Ten of Spades—but this will be followed by some slight chagrin—Ten of Diamonds—caused by a journey—Ten of Hearts—but it will soon pass, although—Knave of Spades—a bad, dark young man will endeavor—Seven of Diamonds—to turn her into ridicule. The Queen of Clubs, being representative of herself, shows that it is towards her that the dark young man’s malice will be directed. Now take the cards at either extremity of the line, and pair them together. The two first being the Knave of Hearts and the Ten of Diamonds, you may say: “A gay young bachelor is preparing to take a journey—Ace of Spades and Queen of Clubs—which will bring him to the presence of the lady consulting the cards, and cause her great joy. Seven of Diamonds and Eight of Hearts—Scandal talked about a fair young girl. Ten of Spades and Ace of Diamonds—tears shed upon receipt of a letter. Seven of Spades and Ten of Hearts—great joy, mingled with slight sorrow. Seven of Clubs and Ace of Clubs—A letter promising money. Knave of Spades and King of Spades—the winning of a lawsuit. The Nine of Hearts, being the one card left, promises complete success.”

Now gather up the cards, shuffle, cut, and deal them out in five packs—one for the lady herself, one for the house, one for “those who do not expect it,” one for “those who do expect it,” and one for “the surprise,” in the first deal, laying one card aside for “consolation.” The rest are then equally distributed among the other five packs, which will four of them contain three cards, whilst the last only consists of two.

We will suppose the first packet for the lady herself to be composed of the Ace of Diamonds, the Seven of Clubs, and the Ten of Hearts. The interpretation would run thus:

“Ace of Diamonds—a letter will be shortly received—Seven of Clubs—announcing the arrival of a small sum of money—Ten of Hearts—and containing some very joyful tidings.”

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The second pack, “for the house,” containing the King of Spades, the Nine of Hearts, and the Knave of Spades:

“The person consulting the cards will receive a visit—King of Spades—from a lawyer—Nine of Hearts—which will greatly delight—Knave of Spades—a dark, ill-disposed young man.”

The third pack, “for those who do not expect it,” composed of the Ace of Spades, the Knave of Hearts, and the Ace of Clubs, would read:

“Ace of Spades—pleasure in store for—Knave of Hearts—a gay young bachelor—Ace of Clubs—by means of money; but as the Knave of Hearts is placed between two Aces, it is evident that he runs a great risk of being imprisoned; and from the two cards signifying respectively ‘pleasure’ and ‘money,’ that it will be for having run into debt.”

The fourth pack, “for those who do expect it,” containing the Eight of Hearts, the Queen of Clubs, and the Ten of Diamonds:

“The Eight of Hearts—the love-affairs of a fair young girl will oblige—the Queen of Clubs—the person consulting the cards—Ten of Diamonds—to take a journey.”

The fifth pack, “for the surprise,” consists of the Seven of Spades and the Ten of Spades, meaning:

“Seven of Spades—slight trouble—Ten of Spades—caused by some person’s imprisonment—The Card of Consolation—Seven of Diamonds—which will turn out to have been a mere report.”

PRESENT, PAST, AND FUTURE.

The person wishing to try her fortune in this manner (we will suppose her to be a young, fair person, represented by the Eight of Hearts), must well shuffle, and cut with the left hand, the pack of thirty-two cards; after which she must lay aside the topmost and undermost cards, to form the surprise. There will now remain thirty cards, which must be dealt out in three parcels—one to the left, one in the middle, and one to the right.

The left-hand pack represents the Past; the middle, the Present; and the one on the right hand, the Future. She must commence with the “Past,” which we will suppose to contain these ten cards: The King of Clubs, the Ace of Spades, the Knave of Diamonds, the Nine of Diamonds, the Ace of Hearts, the Knave of Hearts, the Queen of Hearts, the King of Spades, the Knave of Clubs, and the King of Hearts.

She would remark that picture-cards predominating was a favorable sign; also that the presence of three Kings proved that powerful persons were interesting themselves in her affairs. The three Knaves, however, warn her to beware of false friends, and the Nine of Diamonds predicts some great annoyance, overcome by some good and amiable person, represented by the Queen of Hearts. The two Aces also give notice of a plot. Taking the cards in the order they lay, the explanation would run thus:

“The King of Clubs—a frank, open-hearted man—Ace of Spades—fond of gayety and pleasure, is disliked by Knave of Diamonds—an unfaithful friend—Nine of Diamonds—who seeks[14] to injure him. The Ace of Hearts—a love-letter—Knave of Hearts—from a gay young bachelor to a fair, amiable woman—Queen of Hearts—causes—King of Spades—a lawyer to endeavor to injure a clever—Knave of Clubs—enterprising young man, who is saved from him by—the King of Hearts—a good and powerful man. Nevertheless, as the Knave of Clubs is placed between two similar cards, he has run great risk of being imprisoned through the machinations of his enemy.”

The second parcel, “the Present,” containing the Ten of Diamonds, the Nine of Spades, the Eight of Spades, the Queen of Diamonds, the Queen of Clubs, the Eight of Hearts, the Seven of Spades, the Ten of Spades, Queen of Spades, the Eight of Diamonds, signifies:

“The Ten of Diamonds—a voyage or journey, at that moment taking place—Nine of Spades—caused by the death or dangerous illness of some one—Eight of Spades—whose state will occasion great grief—Queen of Diamonds—to a fair woman. The Queen of Clubs—An affectionate woman seeks to console—Eight of Hearts—a fair young girl, who is the person making the essay—Seven of Spades—who has secret griefs—Ten of Spades—causing her many tears—Queen of Spades—these are occasioned by the conduct of either a dark woman or a widow, who—Eight of Diamonds—is her rival.”

The third packet of cards, “the Future,” we will suppose to contain the Eight of Clubs, the Ten of Clubs, the Seven of Diamonds, the Ten of Hearts, the Seven of Clubs, the Nine of Hearts, the Ace of Diamonds, the Knave of Spades, the Seven of Hearts, the Nine of Clubs, which would read thus:

“In the first place, the large number of small cards foretells success in enterprises, although the presence of three sevens predicts an illness. The Eight of Clubs—a dark young girl—Ten of Clubs—is about to inherit a large fortune—Seven of Diamonds—but her satirical disposition will destroy—Ten of Hearts—all her happiness. Seven of Clubs—A little money and—Nine of Hearts—much joy—Ace of Hearts—will be announced to the person making the essay by a letter, and—Knave of Spades—a wild young man—Seven of Hearts—will be overjoyed at receiving—Nine of Clubs—some unexpected tidings. The cards of surprise—viz., the King of Diamonds and the Ace of Clubs—predict that a letter will be received from some military man, and that it will contain money.”

THE STAR METHOD OF CONSULTING THE CARDS.

We will suppose the person making the essay to be a widow, and consequently represented by the Queen of Spades. This card is, therefore, to be withdrawn from the pack, and laid, face uppermost, upon the table. The remaining thirty-one cards are then to be well shuffled, cut, the topmost card withdrawn and placed lengthwise, and face uppermost, above the head of the Queen of Spades. The cards are to be shuffled, cut, and the topmost card withdrawn, twelve more times, the manner of their arrangement being this: The Queen of Spades in the center, the first card lengthwise above her head, the second[15] ditto at her feet, the third on her right side, the fourth on her left, the fifth placed upright above the first, the sixth ditto below the second, the seventh at the right of the third, the eighth at the left of the fourth, the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth, at the four corners, and the thirteenth across the center card—the Queen of Spades—thus forming a star.

Card layout.

We will suppose these fourteen cards to be the Queen of Spades, which represents the person making the essay;[16] then—1. The Ace of Hearts; 2. The King of Clubs; 3. The Ten of Clubs; 4. Nine of Diamonds; 5. Queen of Clubs; 6. The Eight of Hearts; 7. The Ten of Spades; 8. The Knave of Clubs; 9. The Seven of Clubs; 10. The Ten of Hearts; 11. The Knave of Diamonds; 12. The Eight of Diamonds; 13. The Nine of Clubs. These being placed at right angles, the person consulting them takes them up two by two, beginning with those last laid down.

The first card, 12, the Eight of Diamonds, and the one in the opposite corner, viz., 11, the Knave of Diamonds, read—“Overtures will be made—Knave of Diamonds—by a fair young man—next two cards, 10 and 9, Ten of Hearts—which will prove unsuccessful—Seven of Clubs—on account of something connected with money. Next two cards, 8 and 7, the Knave of Clubs—a clever, dark young man—Ten of Spades—will be greatly grieved by, 6—Eight of Hearts, a fair girl to whom he is attached. Next two cards, 5 and 4, the Queen of Clubs—A dark woman—Nine of Diamonds—will be annoyed at not receiving, 3—Ten of Clubs—a sum of money—next two cards, 2 and 1, the King of Clubs—which was to have been sent her by a generous dark man, who is fond of obliging his friends—Ace of Hearts—it will at last arrive, accompanied by a love-letter—13th card, placed across the Queen of Spades, Nine of Clubs—and be the cause of unexpected gain to the person consulting the cards.” There is a shorter and simpler way of doing this, by surrounding the card representing the person trying his or her fortune, with a less number of cards.

The cards are shuffled and cut as before described, and the topmost one withdrawn. We will suppose the center card to be the Knave of Clubs, representing a dark young man—the first topmost one proves to be the Ace of Clubs, and this is placed above the head of the Knave—the second, the Eight of Hearts, is placed at his feet—the third, the Knave of Diamonds, at his right side—the fourth, the Queen of Spades, on his left. These read—“Ace of Clubs—You will soon receive a letter, which will give you great pleasure—Eight of Hearts—from a fair girl. Knave of Diamonds—An unfaithful friend—Queen of Spades—and a malicious widow, will seek to injure you on that very account.”

TO KNOW IF YOU WILL GET YOUR WISH.

Shuffle the cards well, and cut, or have them cut, with the left hand. Then deal out thirteen cards. If among these is to be found one or more Aces lay them aside, shuffle and cut the remaining ones, and again deal thirteen; withdraw the Aces as before, and again shuffle, cut, and deal. If, in these three deals, all four aces make their appearance, you will get your wish. If all the Aces come at the first deal, the response is in the highest degree favorable.

THE ENGLISH METHOD OF CONSULTING THE CARDS.

Having described the French and Italian methods of consulting the cards, we will proceed to notice the manner in which the[17] art of fortune-telling is generally practiced in England and Scotland. Hitherto only thirty-two cards have been made use of, but now the whole pack is employed. The significations also slightly differ; therefore we shall first give a complete list of them, and then pass on to describe how the cards are to be arranged, so as to disclose their mystic meanings.

Ace of Clubs.—Wealth, happiness, and peace of mind.

King of Clubs.—A dark man, upright, faithful, and affectionate in disposition.

Queen of Clubs.—A dark woman, gentle and pleasing.

Knave of Clubs.—A sincere, but hasty friend—also a dark man’s thoughts.

Ten of Clubs.—Unexpected riches, and loss of a dear friend.

Nine of Clubs.—Disobedience to friends’ wishes.

Eight of Clubs.—A covetous man—also warns against speculations.

Seven of Clubs.—Promises good fortune and happiness; but bids a person beware of the opposite sex.

Six of Clubs.—Predicts a lucrative business.

Five of Clubs.—A prudent marriage.

Four of Clubs.—Cautions against inconstancy or change of object for the sake of money.

Three of Clubs.—Shows that a person will be more than once married.

Two of Clubs.—A disappointment.

Ace of Diamonds.—A letter—from whom, and about what, is seen by the neighboring cards.

King of Diamonds.—A fair man, hot-tempered, obstinate, and revengeful.

Queen of Diamonds.—A fair woman, fond of company, and a coquette.

Knave of Diamonds.—A near relation, who considers only his own interests. Also a fair person’s thoughts.

Ten of Diamonds.—Money.

Nine of Diamonds.—Show that a person is fond of roving.

Eight of Diamonds.—A marriage late in life.

Seven of Diamonds.—Satire, evil speaking.

Six of Diamonds.—Early marriage and widowhood.

Five of Diamonds.—Unexpected news.

Four of Diamonds.—Trouble arising from unfaithful friends. Also a betrayed secret.

Three of Diamonds.—Quarrels, law-suits, and domestic disagreements.

Two of Diamonds.—An engagement, against the wishes of friends.

Ace of Hearts.—The house. If attended by Spades, it foretells quarreling—if by Hearts, affection and friendship—by Diamonds, money and distant friends—and Clubs, feasting and merry-making.

King of Hearts.—A fair man of good-natured disposition, but hasty and rash.

[18]

Queen of Hearts.—A fair woman, faithful, prudent, and affectionate.

Knave of Hearts.—The dearest friend of the consulting party. Also a fair person’s thoughts.

Ten of Hearts.—Is prophetic of happiness and many children—is corrective of the bad tidings of cards next to it, and confirms good ones.

Nine of Hearts.—Wealth and high esteem. Also the wish card.

Eight of Hearts.—Pleasure, company.

Seven of Hearts.—A fickle and false friend, against whom be on your guard.

Six of Hearts.—A generous but credulous person.

Five of Hearts.—Troubles caused by unfounded jealousy.

Four of Hearts.—A person not easily won.

Three of Hearts.—Sorrow caused by a person’s own imprudence.

Two of Hearts.—Great success; but equal care and attention needed to secure it.

Ace of Spades.—Great misfortune, spite.

King of Spades.—A dark, ambitious man.

Queen of Spades.—A malicious, dark woman—generally a widow.

Knave of Spades.—An indolent, envious person; a dark man’s thoughts.

Ten of Spades.—Grief, imprisonment.

Nine of Spades.—A card of very bad import, foretelling sickness and misfortune.

Eight of Spades.—Warns a person to be cautious in his undertakings.

Seven of Spades.—Loss of a friend, attended with much trouble.

Six of Spades.—Wealth through industry.

Five of Spades.—Shows that a bad temper requires correcting.

Four of Spades.—Sickness.

Three of Spades.—A journey.

Two of Spades.—A removal.

Having given the signification of the various cards, we will now proceed to describe how they are to be employed. After having well shuffled, cut them three times, and lay them out in rows of nine cards each. Select any King or Queen you please to represent yourself; and wherever you find that card placed, count nine cards every way, reckoning it as one; and every ninth card will prove the prophetic one. Before, however, beginning to count, study well the disposition of the cards, according to their individual and relative signification. If a married woman consult the cards, she must make her husband the King of the same suit of which she is Queen; but if a single woman, she may make any favorite male friend King of whatever suit she pleases. As the Knaves of the various suits represent the thoughts of the persons represented by the picture-cards of a corresponding color, they should also be counted from.

TO TELL WHETHER YOU WILL GET YOUR WISH.

To try whether you will get your wish, shuffle the cards well, all the time keeping your thoughts fixed upon whatever wish[19] you may have formed; cut them once, and remark what card you cut; shuffle them again, and deal out into three parcels. Examine each of these in turn, and if you find the card you turned up next either the one representing yourself—the Ace of Hearts or the Nine of Hearts—you will get your wish. If it be in the same parcel with any of these, without being next them, there is a chance of your wish coming to pass at some more distant period; but if the Nine of Spades makes its appearance, you may count on being disappointed.


GOOD AND BAD OMENS.

The word omen is well known to signify a sign, good or bad, or a prognostic. It may be defined to be that indication of something future which we get as it were by accident, and without seeking for. A superstitious regard to omens seems anciently to have made very considerable additions to the common load of infelicity. They are in these enlightened days pretty generally disregarded, and we look back with perfect security and indifference on those trivial and truly ridiculous accidents which alternately afford matter of joy and sorrow to our ancestors. Omens appear to have been so numerous, that we must despair of ever being able to recover one-half of them, and to evince that in all ages men have been self-tormentors, the bad omens fill a catalogue infinitely more extensive than that of the good. An extensive set of omens has been taken from what first happens to one, or what animal or person one meets first in the morning, or at the commencement of an undertaking—the first-foot, as it is called. To stumble has been universally held to presage misfortune. Some semblance of a reason might be found for this belief, inasmuch as stumbling may be supposed to indicate that that self-possession and conscious courage, which are in themselves half a victory over circumstances, are lacking—the want of them, therefore, being half a defeat; but in most cases the interpretation seems altogether arbitrary. The dread of a hare crossing the path seems to be widely prevalent; while to see a wolf is a good omen. This feeling is probably a remnant of warlike times, when the timid hare suggested thoughts of cowardice and flight; while the bold wolf, sacred to Odin, was emblematic of victory. The character of the hare for being unlucky is also connected with the deep-rooted belief that witches are in the habit of transforming themselves into hares. That to meet an old woman is unlucky, is another very general belief, arising, without doubt, from the same causes that led to their being considered witches. In some places, women in general are unlucky as first-foot, with the singular exception of women of bad reputation. This belief prevailed as far back as the age of Chrysostom. Priests, too, are ominous of evil. If hunters of old met a priest or friar, they coupled up their hounds and went home in despair of any further sport that day. This superstition seems to have died out, except in the case of sailors, who[20] still consider the clergy a “kittle cargo,” as a Scotch skipper expressed it, and anticipate a storm or mischance when they have a black coat on board. This seems as old as the prophet Jonah. Sneezing, likewise, has long been looked upon as supernatural, for this reason, that it is sudden, unaccountable, uncontrollable, and therefore ominous. The person is considered as possessed for the time, and a form of exorcism is used. A nurse would not think she had done her duty, if, when her charge sneezes, she did not say, “Bless the child,” just as the Greeks, more than two thousand years ago, said, “Zeus protect thee.”

One general remark, however, it is important to make in regard to omens. An omen is not conceived to be a mere sign of what is destined to be—it is conceived as causing, in some mysterious way, the event it forebodes; and the consequence, it is thought, may be prevented by some counteracting charm. Thus the spilling of salt not only forebodes strife, but strife is conceived as the consequence of the spilling of the salt, and may be hindered by taking up the spilled salt, and throwing it over the left shoulder. Perhaps half the superstitious beliefs that yet survive among civilized and Christian communities group themselves round the subject of love and marriage—of such intense interest to all, yet so mysterious in its origin, and problematic in its issue. The liking or passion for one individual rather than any other is so unaccountable, that the God of Love has been fabled blind; it is of the nature of fascination, magic, spell. And then, whether happiness or the reverse shall be the result, seems beyond the reach of ordinary calculation. All is apparently given over to mystery, chance, fortune; and any circumstances may, for what we know, influence or indicate what fortune’s wheel shall bring round. Hence the innumerable ways of prognosticating which of two or more persons shall be first married, who or what manner of person shall be the future husband or wife, the number of children, etc. It is generally at particular seasons, as at the Eve of St. Agnes, and Halloween, that the veil of the future may thus be lifted.

The observation of lucky and unlucky days was once an important matter, and was often the turning-point of great events. It is now mostly confined to the one subject of marriage. In fixing the wedding day, May among months and Friday among days are shunned by many people, both in educated and uneducated circles; for in this matter, which is the exclusive province of women, and in which sentiment and fancy are in every way so much more active than reason, the educated and uneducated are reduced to a level. We will give a large collection of omens, with their interpretation, having selected from all the best works on the subject, and will begin with “Good and Evil Days”:

1. In an old MS., the writer, after stating that the most learned mathematicians have decided that the 1st of August, the 4th of September, and the 11th of March are most injudicious to let blood, and that philosophers have settled that the 10th of August, 1st of December, and 6th of April are perilous to those[21] who surfeit themselves in eating and drinking, continues as follows, assigning reasons why certain days should be marked as infelicitous:

“We read of an old Arabian philosopher, a man of divers rare observations, who did remark three Mundayes in a year to be most unfortunate either to let blood or begin any notable worke, viz., the first Munday of April, ye weh day Caine was borne, and his brother Abell slaine; the 2d is the first Munday of August, the which day Sodom and Gomorrha were confounded; the 3d is the last Munday of December, the which day Judas Iscariott was borne, who betrayed our Saviour Jesus Christ. These three dayes, together with the Innocents’ Day, by divers of the learned are reputed to be most unfortunate of all dayes, and ought to be eschewed by all men for ye great mishaps which often do occur in them.

“And thus much concerning the opinion of our ancient of dayes. So in like manner I will repeat unto you certain dayes yt be observed by some old writers, chiefly the ancient astrologians, who did allege that there were 28 dayes in the yeare which were revealed by the Angel Gabriel to the good Joseph, which ever have been remarked to be very fortunate dayes either to purge, let bloud, cure wounds, use merchandises, sow seed, plant trees, build houses, or taking journies, in long or short voyages, in fighting or giving of battaile, or skirmishing. They also doe alledge that children who were borne in any of these dayes could never be poore; and all children who were put to schooles or colledges in those dayes should become great schollars, and those who were put to any craft or trade in such dayes should become perfect artificers and rich, and such as were put to trade in merchandise should become most wealthy. The dayes be these: the 3d and 13th of January, ye 5th and 28th of Feb., ye 3d, 22d, and 30th of March, the 5th, 22d, and 29th of April, ye 4th and 28th of May, ye 3d and 8th of June, the 12th, 18th, and 15th of July, ye 12th of August, ye 1st, 7th, 24th, and 28th of September, the 4th and 15th of October, ye 13th and 19th of Novr., ye 23d and 26th of December. And thus much concerning ye dayes which are by ye most curious part of ye learned remarked to be good and evill.”

2. “Astronomers say that six days of the year are perilous of death; and therefore they forbid men to let blood of them, or take any drink; that is to say, January 3, July 1, October 2, the last of April, August 4, the last day going out of December. These six days with great diligence ought to be kept, but namely [?mainly] the latter three, for all the veins are then full. For then, whether man or beast be knit in them within seven days, or certainly within fourteen days, he shall die. And if they take any drinks within fifteen days, they shall die; and if they eat any goose in three days, within forty days they shall die; and if any child be born in these three latter days, they shall die a wicked death. Astronomers and astrologers say that in the beginning of March, the seventh night, or the fourteenth day, let the blood of the right arm; and in the beginning of[22] April, the 11th day, of the left arm; and in the end of May, 3d or 5th day, on whether arm thou wilt; and thus, of all the year, thou shalt orderly be kept from the fever, the falling gout, the sister gout, and loss of thy sight.”

3. May has its fatalities; the notion that to be married in it is a bad omen is as old as the age of Ovid. This is not disregarded in the present day, which will explain the great number of marriages that take place late in April.

It is remarkable that among the thirty-three sovereigns who have sat on the English throne since William the Conqueror, although each of the eleven months has witnessed the accession of one or more, the month of May has not been so fortunate—none having ascended the throne within its limits.

4. Friday is not now generally considered an unlucky day, although many still hesitate before starting on a journey or getting married on Friday. The following facts, derived from history, show how little we have to dread “the fatal day:”

“On Friday, August 21, 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed on his great voyage of discovery. On Friday, October 12, 1492, he first discovered land. On Friday, January 4, 1493, he sailed on his return to Spain, which, if he had not reached in safety, the happy result would never have been known which led to the settlement on this vast continent. On Friday, March 15, 1493, he arrived at Palos in safety. On Friday, November 22, 1493, he arrived at Hispaniola, in his second voyage to America. On Friday, June 13, 1494, he, though unknown to himself, discovered the continent of America. On Friday, March 5, 1496, Henry VIII. of England gave to John Cabot his commission, which led to the discovery of North America. This is the first American state-paper in England. On Friday, September 7, 1565, Melendez founded St. Augustine, the oldest town in the United States by more than forty years. On Friday, November 10, 1620, the May-Flower, with the Pilgrims, made the harbor of Province Town, and on the same day they signed that august compact, the forerunner of our present glorious constitution. On Friday, December 22, 1620, the Pilgrims made their final landing at Plymouth Rock. On Friday, February 22, George Washington, the father of American freedom, was born. On Friday, June 16, Bunker Hill was seized and fortified. On Friday, October 7, 1777, the surrender of Saratoga was made, which had such power and influence in inducing France to declare for our cause. On Friday, September 22, 1780, the treason of Arnold was laid bare, which saved us from destruction. On Friday, October 19, 1781, the surrender at Yorktown, the crowning glory of the American arms, occurred. On Friday, July 7, 1776, the motion in Congress was made by John Adams, seconded by Richard Henry Lee, that the United States colonies were, and of right ought to be, free and independent.”

5. “Nail gifts” are white specks on the finger-nails; which, according to their respective situations, are believed to predict certain events, as indicated in the following couplet, which is[23] repeated whilst touching the thumb and each finger in succession:

A gift, a friend, a foe,
A lover to come, a journey to go.

Sometimes the augury is expressed in positive terms; as,

A gift on the thumb is sure to come:
A gift on the finger is sure to linger.

This mode of prognostication is of long standing. Melton, in his “Astrologaster,” a very old work, giving a catalogue of many superstitious ceremonies, tells us that “to have yellow speckles in the nailes of one’s hands is a greate signe of death.” In Reed’s old plays we read:

“When yellow spots do on your hands appear,
Be certain then you of a corse shall hear.”

6. Sneezing has been held ominous from times of the most remote antiquity.

The comet of 590 was, according to some authors, the occasion of a custom, which is extensively diffused among all the nations of Christendom. In the year of this comet a frightful plague prevailed, which was alleged to be due to its influence. While the malady was at its height, a sneezing was frequently followed by death; whence the saying, God bless you! with which, since that time, sneezers are saluted. St. Austin tells us that “the ancients were wont to go to bed again, if they sneezed while they put on their shoe.” Aristotle says: “Sneezing from noon to midnight was good, but from night to noon unlucky.”

7. The custom of throwing an old shoe for good luck over or after the bride and bridegroom, upon their leaving the church, or the home of the bride, after the wedding, has, of late years, been as it were revived. It is, unquestionably, one of those demonstrations of good wishes which find their way in the commonest modes of expression. But, it is not confined to weddings; the propitiation extends to all prospective views of good fortune.

It is related that an English cattle-dealer desired his wife to “trull her left shoe arter him,” when he started for Norwich to buy a lottery-ticket. As he drove off on his errand, he looked round to see if she practiced the charm, and consequently he received the shoe in his face, with such force as to black his eyes. He went, and bought his ticket, which turned up a prize of £600.

8. The horse-shoe has been, from time immemorial, considered a protection from witchcraft and other ills; and has been nailed at the entrance of dwellings, to prevent the entrance of witches.

Butler, in “Hudibras,” makes his conjurer chase away evil[24] spirits by the horse-shoe; and Gay, in one of his Fables, makes a supposed witch complain:

“The horse-shoe’s nailed, each threshold’s guard.”

Nelson the great English admiral, was of a credulous turn, had great faith in the luck of a horse-shoe, and one was nailed to the mast of the ship Victory. “Lucky Dr. James” attributed the success of his fever-powder to his finding a horse-shoe. When a poor apothecary, he was introduced to Newbery, of St. Paul’s church-yard, to vend the medicine for him. One Sunday morning, as James was on his way to Newbery’s country-house at Vauxhall, in passing over Westminster Bridge, seeing a horse-shoe lying in the road, and considering it to be a sign of good luck, he put the shoe into his pocket. As Newbery was a shrewd man, he became James’s agent for the sale of his fever-powder; whilst the doctor ascribed all his success to the horse-shoe, which he subsequently adopted as the crest upon his carriage. (See 62.)

9. Cauls are little membranes found on some children, encompassing the head when born. This is thought a good omen to the child itself, and many believe that whoever obtains it by purchase will be fortunate and escape dangers. The caul is esteemed an infallible preservative against drowning, and is much sought after by sailors.

10. Salt falling toward a person was considered formerly as a very unlucky omen. Something had either already happened to one of the family, or was shortly to befall the persons spilling it. It denotes also the quarreling of friends. It is thought, however, that the evil consequences arising from spilling salt may be averted by throwing a little of the salt over the left shoulder, or immediately eating a pinch of it. In the “British Apollo,” published in London, 1708, we find the following in relation to the superstition:

“We’ll tell you the reason
Why spilling of salt
Is esteemed such a fault;
Because it doth everything season.
The antiques did opine,
’Twas of friendship a sign,
So served it to guests in decorum;
And thought love decayed,
When the negligent maid
Let the saltcellar tumble before them.”

11. The casual putting the left shoe on the right foot, or the right on the left, was thought in old times to be the forerunner of some unlucky accident. Scott, in his “Discovery of Witchcraft,” tells us: “He that receiveth a mischance will consider whether he put not on his shirt wrong side outwards, or his left shoe on his right foot.” Thus Butler in his “Hudibras”:

“Augustus, having b’ oversight,
Put on his left shoe ’fore his right,
Had like to have been slain that day.
By soldiers mutiny’ng for pay.”

[25]

Similar to this is putting on one stocking with the wrong side outward, without design; though changing it alters the luck; and if you accidentally put on any garment wrong side out, and make a wish before changing it, the wish will come true.

12. To arise on the right side is accounted lucky. In the old play of the “Dumb Knight,” published 1633, Act iv., Scene 1, Alphonso says:

“Sure I said my prayers, rose on my right side,
Washed my hands and eyes, put on my girdle last;
Sure I met no splay-footed baker,
No hare did cross me, nor no bearded witch,
Nor other ominous sign.” (See 27.)

13. When the nose itches, it is a sign that you will have company visit you the same day. In Melton’s “Astrologaster,” No. 27, it is observed “that when a man’s nose itcheth it is a sign he shall drink wine;” and in No. 28, that, “if your lips itch, it is a sign you shall kisse somebody.”

14. The nose falling a-bleeding appears, by the following passage from an old play, to have been an omen of bad luck:

“How superstitiously we mind our evils!
The throwing down of salt, or crossing of a hare,
Bleeding at nose, the stumbling of a horse,
Or singing of a cricket, are of power
To daunt whole man in us.” (See 27 and 40.)

15. Washing the hands, says Grose, in the same basin, or with the same water, that another person has washed in, is extremely unlucky, as the parties will infallibly quarrel.

16. Candle omens are very numerous. Melton, in his “Astrologaster,” says: “If a candle burne blue, it is a signe that there is a spirit in the house, or not farre from it.” A collection of tallow, says Grose, rising up against the wick of a candle, is styled a winding sheet, and deemed an omen of death in the family.

A spark at the candle, says the same author, denotes that the party opposite to it will shortly receive a letter. A kind of fungus in the candle, observes the same writer, predicts the visit of a stranger from the part of the country nearest the object. Others say it implies the arrival of a parcel. (See 59.)

Dr. Goldsmith, in his “Vicar of Wakefield,” speaking of the waking dreams of his hero’s daughters, says: “The girls had their omens too; they saw rings in the candles.”

17. In the “Secret Memoirs of the late Mr. Duncan Campbell,” published in London, 1732, the author says: “I have seen people who, after writing a letter, have prognosticated to themselves the ill success of it, if by any accident it happened to fall[26] to the ground; others have seemed as impatient and exclaiming against their want of thought, if through haste or forgetfulness they have chanced to hold it before the fire to dry; but the mistake of a word in it is a sure omen that whatever requests it carries shall be refused.”

18. If two spoons are accidentally placed in a cup or saucer at table, it signifies a wedding will soon take place in the family.

19. To have a picture drop out of its frame, or to have a precious stone or any ornament drop from its setting while wearing or using it, is a bad omen.

Stow, in his Chronicle, relates that the silver cross which was wont to be carried before Wolsey fell out of its socket, and was like to have knocked out the brains of one of his servants. A very little while after came in a messenger, and arrested the cardinal before he could get out of the house.

20. The removal of a long-worn ring from the finger was thought unlucky in Elizabeth’s time; for the Queen, in her last illness (says Baker), commanded the ring to be filed off her finger, wherewith she was so solemnly at first inaugurated into the kingdom, and since that time had never taken it off; it being grown into the flesh of the finger in such a manner that it could not be drawn off without filing.

21. There is an omen called “Setting the New Year in,”—that if the kindly office is performed by some one with dark hair, good fortune will smile on the household; while it augurs ill if a light-haired person is the first to enter the house in the New Year.

22. It is a very ancient superstition that all sudden pains of the body, and other sensations which could not naturally be accounted for, were presages of somewhat that was shortly to happen. Shakspeare alludes to this in the following lines from Macbeth:

“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”

23. In olden times, the cat sneezing appears to have been considered as a lucky omen to a bride who was to be married the next day.

24. Small spiders, termed money spinners, are held by many to prognosticate good luck, if they are not destroyed or injured, or removed from the person on whom they are first observed. In the “Secret Memoirs” of Mr. Duncan Campbell, in the chapter of omens, we read that “others have thought themselves secure of receiving money, if by chance a little spider fell upon their clothes.” (See 33.)

25. It is extremely unlucky, says Grose, to kill a lady-bug, a swallow, robin redbreast, or wren. There is a particular distich, he adds, in favor of the robin and wren:

“A robin and a wren
Are God Almighty’s cock and hen.”

Persons killing any of the above-named birds or insects, or destroying their nests, will infallibly, within the course of the[27] year, break a bone, or meet with some other dreadful misfortune. On the contrary, it is deemed lucky to have swallows build their nests in the eaves of a house, or in the chimneys.

In an old pastoral published in London, 1770, the following occurs:

“I found a robin’s nest within our shed,
And in the barn a wren had young ones bred.
I never take away their nest, nor try
To catch the old ones, lest a friend should die.
Dick took a wren’s nest from his cottage side,
And ere a twelvemonth past his mother dy’d.”

26. It is deemed very unlucky to hear a screech-owl at night. “If an owl,” says Bourne, “which is reckoned a most abominable and unlucky bird, send forth its hoarse and dismal voice, it is the omen of the approach of some terrible thing—that some dire calamity and some great misfortune is at hand.” (See 56.)

This omen occurs in Chaucer:

“The jelous swan, ayenst hys deth that singeth,
The oule eke, that of deth the bode bringeth.”

The following lines occur in the old pastoral before quoted in 25:

“Within my cot, where quiet gave me rest,
Let the dread screech-owl build her hated nest,
And from my window o’er the country send
Her midnight screams to bode my latter end.”

27. It has always been considered a very bad omen to have a hare (see 14), sow, or weasel cross your path when going on a journey or to business. Melton, in his “Astrologaster,” says, that “it is a very unfortunate thing for a man to meete early in the morning an ill-favored man or woman, a rough-footed hen, a shag-haired dog, or a black cat.” Shaw, in his “History of Money,” tells us that the ancient Scots much regarded omens in their expeditions; an armed man or a wolf meeting them was a good omen; if a woman barefoot crossed the road before them, they seized her and fetched blood from her forehead; if a deer, fox, hare, or any kind of game appeared, and they did not kill it, it was an unlucky omen. We gather from a remarkable book, entitled “The School-master,” published in London, 1583, that in the ages of chivalry it was thought unlucky to meet with a priest, if a man was going forth to war or a tournament.

The following superstitions among the Malabrians are related in Phillips’s account of them, published in 1717: “It is interpreted as a very bad sign if a blind man, a Bramin, or a washerwoman meets one on the way; as also when one meets a man with an empty panel, or when one sees an oil mill, or if a man meets us with his head uncovered, or when one hears a weeping voice, or sees a cat or fox crossing the way, or a dog running on his right hand, or when a poor man or a widow meets us on our way, or when we are called back.” (See 37.)

Gaule, in his “Mag-astromancers Posed and Puzzel’d,” holds[28] it as a vain observation “to bode good or bad luck from the rising up on the right or left side (see 12); from lifting the left leg over the threshold, at first going out of doors; from the meeting of a beggar or a priest the first in a morning; the meeting of a virgin or a harlot first; the running in of a child between two friends; the justling one another at unawares; one treading upon another’s toes; to meet one fasting that is lame or defective in any member; to wash in the same water with another.” (See 15.)

28. To walk under a ladder portends disappointment.

29. To comb your hair after dark is also a sign of disappointment.

30. If a young lady loses her garter, it presages that she has an inconstant lover; therefore, O lady, when thou hast this ill augury, look about thee, and become the happy possessor of two strings to thy bow, or, what is the same thing, two beaus to thy string.

N. B.—Rich or very good-looking young ladies may treat the above with disdain.

31. If you sing before breakfast, it denotes that you will cry before supper.

32. To drop a dish-cloth, duster, or any cleaning cloth, signifies the arrival of one or more visitors.

33. If a spider, in weaving his web in some high place, comes downward before your face, you may look for money from some unexpected source. (See 24.)

34. If you make a rhyme involuntarily, before speaking again make a wish, and it will be fulfilled.

35. When you sleep in a strange bed, remember your dream and tell it before breakfast. Observing these precautions, the dream will probably come to pass.

36. To break a needle while making a garment, is a sign that the owner will live to wear it out.

37. If you return after starting on a journey, it signifies bad luck. (See 27.)

38. To remove a cat, with a family when changing residence, will bring bad luck.

39. If a vacant rocking-chair is rocked violently, the next person who sits in it will be in danger of being ill within the year.

40. It is a lucky sign to have crickets in the house. Grose says it is held extremely unlucky to kill a cricket, perhaps from the idea of its being a breach of hospitality, this insect taking refuge in houses. The voice of a cricket, says the “Spectator,” has struck more terror than the roaring of a lion.

The following line occurs in Dryden’s and Lee’s “Œdipus:”

“Owls, ravens, crickets, seem the watch of death.”

Melton says that “it is a signe of death to some in that house where crickets have been many yeares, if on a sudden they forsake the chimney.” (See 14.)

41. It is said that a married person will not get rich until the wedding clothes are worn out. It is also said to be a sign that[29] one will fail to get rich who tries to see to work between daylight and dark.

42. It is a bad omen to postpone a marriage after the time positively appointed.

43. If your right ear burns or itches, it is a sign that some absent person is speaking well of you; your left ear burning, signifies that you are being spoken ill of.

44. The superstition has become almost universal, that the ticking of a little insect called the “death-watch,” presages the death of some one in the house.

“How many people have I seen in the most terrible palpitations, for months together, expecting every hour the approach of some calamity, only by a little worm, which breeds in an old wainscot, and, endeavoring to eat its way out, makes a noise like the movement of a watch!”—Secret Memoirs of the late Mr. Duncan Campbell, 1732.

The following witty account of this superstition, by Dean Swift, furnishes us with a charm to avert the omen:

——“A wood-worm
That lies in old wood, like a hare in her form,
With teeth or with claws it will bite, or will scratch,
And chambermaids christen this worm a death-watch,
Because, like a watch it always cries click;
Then woe be to those in the house who are sick;
For as sure as a gun they will give up the ghost,
If the maggot cries click, when it scratches the post.
But a kettle of boiling hot water injected
Infallibly cures the timber affected;
The omen is broken, the danger is over,
The maggot will die, and the sick will recover.”

45. If a knife, scissors, or any sharp-pointed instrument is dropped, and stands, sticking in the floor, company may be expected.

46. The right hand itching is a sign that the person will shake hands with a stranger; the left hand itching is a sign that money will be received soon.

47. If you sing during any meal, it is a sign you will soon be disappointed.

48. To cross a funeral procession is an ill omen.

49. To find a pearl in an oyster betokens good fortune.

50. To break a looking-glass foretells death. Grose tells us that “breaking a looking-glass betokens a mortality in the family, commonly the master.” Bonaparte’s (Napoleon I.) superstition upon this point is often recorded. “During one of his campaigns in Italy,” says M. de Constant, “he broke the glass over Josephine’s portrait. He never rested till the return of the courier he forthwith dispatched to assure himself of her safety, so strong was the impression of her death upon his mind.”

51. To find a trefoil, or four-leaved clover, implies good luck; a five-leaved clover, bad luck. Melton, in his “Astrologaster,” says that “if a man walking in the fields, finde any foure-leaved[30] grasse, he shall, in a small while after, finde some good thing.”

52. If four persons cross hands while in the act of shaking hands, it indicates that two of the party will soon be married.

53. If three unmarried persons having the same Christian name meet at table, it is a sign that one of the three will be married within a year.

54. To be startled by a snake is a sign of sickness.

55. When thirteen persons sit down together at table, it is a sign that one of the party will die within a year. Fosbroke, in his Encyclopædia of Antiquities, states that “thirteen in company was considered an unlucky number by the ancient Romans;” but he does not give any classical authority for this statement.

There is at Dantzic a clock, which at 12 admits, through a door, Christ and the eleven, shutting out Judas, who is admitted at 1. But is not the belief older than the clock? The iniquity of Judas may have led him to be considered the thirteenth at the Lord’s Supper; and his self-destruction may have given to the number thirteen its fatal association.

It has, however, been explained away by M. Quetelet, in his work on Probabilities as follows: “If the probability be required, that out of thirteen persons, of different ages, one of them, at least, shall die within a year, it will be found that the chances are about one to one that one death, at least, will occur. This calculation, by means of a false interpretation, has given rise to the prejudice, no less ridiculous, that the danger will be avoided by inviting a greater number of guests, which can only have the effect of augmenting the probability of the event so much apprehended.”

This belief obtains in Italy and Russia, as well as in England. Moore, in his Diary, vol. ii., p. 206, mentions there being thirteen at dinner, one day, at Madame Catalani’s, when a French countess, who lived with her up-stairs, was sent for to remedy the grievance.

“Lord L(ansdowne) said he had dined once abroad with Count Orloff, and perceived he did not sit down at dinner, but kept walking from chair to chair; he found afterward it was because the Narishken were at table, who, he knew, would rise instantly if they perceived the number thirteen, which Orloff would have made by sitting down himself.” (See 63.)

56. If a dog bays under your window at night, it portends sickness or death.

Shakspeare ranks this among omens. In the play of Henry VI., he says:

“The owl shrieked at thy birth; an evil sign!
The night-crow cry’d, aboding luckless time;
Dogs howl’d, and hideous tempests shook down trees.”

57. The howling of dogs, says Grose, is a certain sign that some one of the family will very shortly die.

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The following passage is in the “Merry Devil” of Edmonton, 1631:

“I hear the watchful dogs
With hollow howling tell of thy approach.”

58. If you break your shoe-string, look out for your sweetheart, for she will bestow her love upon a stranger.

59. A flake of soot hanging at the bars of the grate, denotes the visit of a stranger, like the fungus of a candle, from the part of the country nearest the object.

Dr. Goldsmith, in his “Vicar of Wakefield,” among the omens of his hero’s daughters, tells us “purses bounded from the fire.” In some parts of England, the cinders that bound from the fire are carefully examined by old women and children, and according to their respective forms are called either coffins or purses; and consequently thought to be presages of death or wealth.

A coal, says Grose, in the shape of a coffin, flying out of the fire towards any particular person, betokens their death not far off.

Cowper alludes to this superstition in the following lines in his “Winter Evening:”

“Me oft has fancy, ludicrous and wild,
Sooth’d with a waking dream of houses, towers,
Trees, churches, and strange visages express’d
In the red cinders, while with poring eye
I gazed, myself creating what I saw.
Nor less amused have I quiescent watch’d
The sooty films that play upon the bars,
Pendulous, and foreboding in the view
Of superstition, prophesying still,
Though still deceived, some stranger’s near approach.”

60. To drop a slice of bread, with the buttered side down, is a sign that a visitor will come hungry.

61. To eat up all the food which is on the table at tea-time, is a sign that the morrow will be a fair day.

62. In olden times it was not considered a good omen to find money. Melton says that “it is a sign of ill-luck to find money.” We have seen superstitious people, at the present day, keep for luck any piece of money they found, but Greene, in his “Art of Cony-Catching,” a very old work, tells us: “’Tis ill luck to keep found money.” Therefore it must be spent. Mason, in his “Anatomie of Sorcerie,” 1612, enumerating our superstitions, mentions as one omen of good luck, “if drink be spilled upon a man: or if he find old iron.” Hence it is accounted a lucky omen to find a horseshoe. (See 8.)

63. The ancients thought there was luck in odd numbers. In setting a hen, says Grose, the good women hold it as an indispensible rule to put an odd number of eggs. All sorts of remedies are ordered to be taken, three, seven, or nine times. Salutes of cannon consist of an odd number. Notwithstanding these opinions in favor of odd numbers, the number thirteen is considered very ominous. (See 55.)

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CONCLUDING REMARKS.

The belief in omens has existed in all ages and countries, and traces of it linger even yet in the most civilized communities, in the dread, for instance, that many entertain of sitting down to table in a party of thirteen. Not a little of the philosophy of omens is contained in the Scottish proverb: “Them who follow freits, freits follow;” meaning that a fantastic belief in impending evil paralyzes the endeavor that might prevent it.

There are few omens, perhaps none, which are not universal in their authority, though every land in turn fancies them (like its proverbs) of local prescription and origin. The death-watch extends from America to Cashmere, and across India diagonally to the remotest nook of Bengal, over three thousand miles distance from the entrance of the Indian Punjaub. A hare crossing a man’s path, on starting in the morning, has been held in all countries alike to prognosticate evil in the course of that day.


WEATHER OMENS.

FOR FINE AND DRY WEATHER OF LONG CONTINUANCE.

1. If the wind be north, north-west, or east, then veer to the north-east, remain there two or three days without rain, and then veer to the south without rain; and if thence it change quickly, though perhaps with a little rain, to the north-east, and remain there—such fine weather will last occasionally for two months.

2. If there be dry weather with a weak south wind for five, six, or seven days, it having previously blown strongly from the same quarter.

3. If spiders in spinning their webs, make the terminating filaments long, we may, in proportion to their length, conclude that the weather will be serene, and continue so for ten or twelve days.

4. If there are no falling stars to be seen on a bright summer’s evening, you may look for fine weather.

5. If there be a change from continued stormy or wet to clear and dry weather, at the time of new or full moon, or a short time before or after, and so remain until the second day of the new or full moon, it is likely to remain fine till the following quarter; and if it change not then, or only for a very short time, it usually lasts until the following new or full moon; and if it does not change then, or only for a very short time, it is likely to continue fine and dry for four or five weeks.

6. If there be a change of weather at the time of the quarters, &c. (under the same circumstances as in No. 5), it will probably last for some time.

7. Spiders generally alter their webs once in 24 hours; if they do this between six and seven in the evening, there will be a fine night; if they alter their web in the morning, a fine day; if they work during rain, expect fine weather; and the more active and busy the spider is, the finer will be the weather.

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8. If near the full moon there be a general mist before sunrise; or

9. If there be a sheep-sky, or white clouds driving to the north-west, it will be fine for some days.

FOR FOUL AND WET WEATHER.

10. If the sun rise pale, or pale-red, or even dark-blue, there will be rain during the day.

11. If the clouds at sunrise be red, there will be rain the following day.

12. If at sunrise many dark clouds are seen in the west, and remain, there will be rain on that day.

13. If the sun rise covered with a dark-spotted cloud; rain the same day.

14. If in the winter there be a red sky at sunrise; steady rain same day; in summer, showers and wind.

15. If the sun set in dark heavy clouds; rain next day.

16. But if it rain directly; wind the following day.

17. If the sun set pale or purple; rain or wind the following day.

18. If the sun set, and there be a very red sky in the east, wind; in the south-east, rain.

19. If long strips of clouds drive at a slow rate high in the air, and gradually become larger, the sky having been previously clear, there will be wet.

20. If there be many falling stars on a clear evening, in the summer, there will be thunder.

21. If there be a change of the wind from the north-west or west, to the south-west or south, or else from the north-east or east, to the south-east or south; wet.

22. If the sun burn more than usual, or there be a halo round the sun during fine weather; wet.

23. If it rain and the sun shine; showers.

24. If the full moon rise pale; wet.

25. If the full moon rise red; wind.

26. If the stars appear larger, and closer, and flicker; rain or wind.

27. If small white clouds, with rough edges, be seen to gather together; there will be wind.

28. Before thunder it often begins to blow.

29. If there be a fleecy sky, unless driving north-west; wet.

30. If clouds at different heights float in different directions.

31. If an assemblage of large or small clouds spread out, or become thicker and darker.

32. If clouds suddenly appear in the south.

33. If the lower clouds drive more from the south than those above.

34. If there be rain about two hours after sunrise, it will be followed by showers.

35. If there be a damp fog or mist, accompanied with wind; wet.

36. If there be a halo round the moon, in fine weather; and the larger the circle, the nearer the rain.

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37. If the stars above 45 degrees, especially the North Star, flicker strongly and appear closer than usual, there will be rain.

38. If the morning be clear and sunny, in summer or autumn, there will be rain.

39. If the fields in the morning be covered with a heavy wet fog, it will generally rain within two or three days.

40. “A rainbow in the morning is the shepherd’s warning.”

FOR STORM.

41. If the clouds be of different heights, the sky above being grayish or dirty blue, with hardly any wind stirring; the wind, however, changing from W. to S., or sometimes to S. E., without perceptibly increasing in force.

42. If there be a clouded sky, and dark clouds driving fast (either with the wind or more from the south), under the higher clouds, violent gusts of wind.

43. If there be long points, tails, or feathers hanging from thunder or rain-clouds, five, six, or more degrees above the horizon, with little wind in summer, thunder may be expected; but the storm will be generally of short duration.

44. If there be a light blue sky, with thin, light, flying clouds, whilst the wind goes to the south without much increase in force; or a dirty-blue sky, where no clouds are to be seen; storm.

45. If the sun be seen double, or more times reflected in the clouds, expect a heavy storm.

46. If the sun set with a very red sky in the east, expect stormy wind.

47. If two or three rings be seen round the moon, which are spotted and spread out, expect a storm of long continuance.

48. If porpoises and whales sport about ships.

49. If sea-gulls and other birds fly inland.

50. Storms are most frequent in December, January and February. In September, there are generally one or two storms. If it blow in the day, it generally hushes toward evening; but if it continue blowing then, it may be expected to continue. The vernal equinoctial gales are stronger than the autumnal.

FOR THUNDER AND HEAVY RAIN.

51. If long horizontal strips appear with two or three edges spreading out at top into feathers, and passing over the middle of other clouds, generally there will be thunder.

52. If the clouds be uniformly black, or dark gray.

53. In May and July it thunders most; in May, expect thunder with a south-west wind.

54. If there be north-east or easterly wind in the spring, after a strong increase of heat, and small clouds appear in different parts of the sky; or if the wind change from east to south at the appearance of clouds preceded by heat.

55. If a morning fog form into clouds, at different heights, which increase in size and drive in layers.

56. If clouds float at different heights and rates, but generally in opposite directions.

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57. If there be many “falling stars” on a fine summer’s eve.

58. If there be sheet lightning, with a clear sky, on spring, summer, and autumn evenings.

59. If the wind be hushed with sudden heat.

60. If clover contract its leaves.

61. If there be thunder in the evening, there will be much rain and showery weather.

FOR THE APPROACH OF THUNDER.

62. If an east wind blow against a dark heavy sky from the westward, the wind decreasing in force as the clouds approach.

63. If the clouds rise and twist in different directions.

64. If the birds be silent.

65. If cattle run round and collect together in the meadows.

FOR CONTINUED THUNDER SHOWERS.

66. If there be showery weather, with sunshine, and increase of heat in the spring, a thunder storm may be expected every day, or at least every other day.

ABATEMENT OF THUNDER STORMS.

67. If the air be very dry, with clear, yet cooler weather; or if one or two following days the atmosphere be heavy, with a little damp falling.

68. With a north wind it seldom thunders; but with a south and south-west wind, often.

FOR COLDER WEATHER.

69. If the wind change to the north and north-east.

70. If the wind change, in summer only, to the north-west.

71. If the wind shift to the east in summer only.

72. If the wind shift from south to south-east in winter.

FOR INCREASE OF WARMTH OR HEAT.

73. If the wind shift round to the south and south-west.

74. If the wind change from east, north-east, or north, to north-west and west, in the winter.

75. If the wind change to the east, in summer only; especially if from north-east.

76. If the wind change to south-east, especially in summer.

FOR FROST.

77. If birds of passage arrive early from colder climates.

78. If the cold increase whilst it snows, as soon as it begins to freeze.

79. If the wind blow north-east in winter.

80. If the ice crack much, expect the frost to continue.

81. If the mole dig his hole two feet and a half deep, expect a very severe winter. If two feet deep, not so severe; one foot deep, a mild winter.

82. If water-fowl or sparrows make more noise than usual; also if robins approach nearer houses than usual; frost.

83. If there be a dark, gray sky, with a south wind.

84. If there be continued fogs.

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85. If the fire burn unusually fierce and bright in winter there will be frost and clear weather; if the fire burn dull, expect damp and rain.

FOR THAW.

86. If snow fall in flakes, which increase in size.

87. If the heat increase in the afternoon, or suddenly before twelve o’clock.

88. If clouds drive up high from the south, south-west, or west.

89. If it freeze, and the barometer fall 20 or 30 hundredths.


HYMEN’S LOTTERY.

Let each one present deposit any sum agreed on, but of course some trifle; put a complete pack of fifty-two cards, well shuffled, in a bag or reticule. Let the party stand in a circle, and the bag being handed around, each draw three cards. Pairs of any are favorable omens of some good fortune about to occur to the party, and gets back from the pool the sum that each agreed to pay. The king of hearts is here made the god of love, and claims double, and gives a faithful swain to the fair one who has the good fortune to draw him; if Venus, the queen of hearts, is with him, it is the conquering prize, and clears the pool; fives and nines are reckoned crosses and misfortunes, and pay a forfeit of the sum agreed on to the pool, besides the usual stipend at each new game; three nines at one draw shows the lady will be an old maid;three fives, a bad husband.


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LIST OF UNLUCKY DAYS,

Which, to those Persons being males born on them, will generally prove unfortunate.

January, 3, 4.
February, 6, 7, 12, 13, 19, 20.
March, 5, 6, 12, 13.
May, 12, 13, 20, 21, 26, 27.
June, 1, 2, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24.
July, 3, 4, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18.
October, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 31.
November, 1, 3.

Almost all persons (being of the male sex) that are born on the days included in the foregoing table, will, in a greater or less degree suffer, not only by pecuniary embarrassment and losses of property, but will also experience great distress and anxiety of mind, much dissatisfaction, dissension, and unhappiness in their family affairs, much dissatisfaction to each other among the married ones (indeed few of them can ever be happy in the married state), trouble about their children, daughters forming unfortunate attachments, and a variety of untoward events of other descriptions which our limits do not allow us to particularize. The influence of these days are of a quality and tendency calculated to excite in the minds of persons born on them, an extraordinary itch for speculation, to make changes in their affairs, commence new undertakings of various kinds, but all of them will tend nearly to one point, loss of property and pecuniary embarrassments. Such persons who embark their capital on credit in new concerns or engagements, will be likely to receive checks or interruptions to the progress of their schemes or undertakings. Those who enter into engagements intended to be permanent, whether purchases, leases, partnerships, or in short any other speculation of a description which cannot readily be transferred or got rid of will dearly repent their bargains.

They will find their affairs from time to time much interrupted and agitated, and experience many disappointments in money matters, trouble through bills, and have need of all their activity and address to prop their declining credit; indeed almost all engagements and affairs that are entered upon by persons born on any of these days will receive some sort of check or obstruction. The greater number of those persons born on these days will be subject to weakness or sprains in the knees and ankles, also diseases and hurts in the legs.


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LIST OF UNLUCKY DAYS,

Which to those persons (being females) born on them will generally prove unfortunate.

January, 5, 6, 13, 14, 20, and 21.
February, 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, and 23.
March, 1, 2, 8, 9, 16, 17, 28, and 29.
April, 24 and 25.
May, 1, 2, 9, 17, 22, 29, and 30.
June, 5, 6, 12, 13, 18, and 19.
July, 3 and 4.
September, 9 and 16.
October, 20 and 27.
November, 9, 10, 21, 29, and 30.
December, 6, 14, and 21.

We particularly advise all females born on these days to be extremely cautious of placing their affections too hastily, as they will be subject to disappointments andvexations in that respect; it will be better for them (in those matters) to be guided by the advice of their friends, rather than by their own feelings, they will be less fortunate in placing their affections, than in any other action of their lives, as many of these marriages will terminate in separations, divorces, &c. Their courtships will end in elopements, seductions, and other ways not necessary of explanation. Our readers must be well aware that affairs of importance begun at inauspicious times, by those who have been born at those periods when the stars shed their malign influence, can seldom, if ever, lead to much good; it is, therefore, that we endeavor to lay before them a correct statement drawn from accurate astrological information, in order that by strict attention and care, they may avoid falling into those perplexing labyrinths from which nothing but that care and attention can save them. The list of days we have above given, will be productive of hasty and clandestine marriages—marriages under untoward circumstances, perplexing attachments, and as a natural consequence, the displeasure of friends, together with family broils, dissensions, and divisions. We now present our readers with a


LIST OF DAYS
USUALLY CONSIDERED FORTUNATE.

With respect to Courtship, Marriage, and Love affairs in general—Females that were born on the following days may expect[40]Courtships and prospects of Marriage, and which will have a happy termination.

January, 1, 2, 15, 26, 27, 28.
February, 11, 21, 25, 26.
March, 10, 24.
April, 6, 15, 16, 20, 28.
May, 3, 13, 18, 31.
June, 10, 11, 15, 25, 22.
July, 9, 14, 15, 28.
August, 6, 7, 10, 11, 19, 20, 25.
September, 4, 8, 9, 17, 18, 23.
October, 3, 7, 16, 21, 22.
November, 5, 14, 20.
December, 14, 15, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25.

Although the greater number, or indeed nearly all the ladies that are born on the days stated in the preceding list, will be likely to meet with a prospect of marriage, or become engaged in some love affair of more than ordinary importance, yet it must not be expected that the result will be the same with all of them; with some they willterminate in marriage—with others in disappointment—and some of them will be in danger of forming attachments that may prove of a somewhat troublesomedescription. We shall, therefore, in order to enable our readers to distinguish them, give a comprehensive and useful list, showing which of them will be most likely to marry.

Those born within the limits of the succeeding List of Hours, on any of the preceding days, will be the most likely to marry—or will, at least, have Courtships that will be likely to have a happy termination.

LIST OF FORTUNATE HOURS.

January 2d. From 30 minutes past 10 till 15 minutes past 11 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 9 till 15 minutes before 11 at night.

15th. From 30 minutes past 9 till 15 minutes past 10 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 7 till 15 minutes past 11 at night.

26th. From 30 minutes past 8 till 15 minutes past 9 in the morning; and from 7 till 15 minutes past 10 at night.

[41]

February 11th and 12th. From 30 minutes past 7 till 15 minutes past 8, in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 6 till 15 minutes before 9 at night.

21st. From 7 till 15 minutes before 8 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 5 till 15 minutes before 8 at night.

25th and 26th. From 15 minutes before 7 till 30 minutes past 7 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 5 till 30 minutes past 7 in the evening.

March 10th. From 5 till 15 minutes before 6 in the morning; and from 4 in the afternoon till 15 minutes before 7 in the evening.

April 6th. From 15 minutes past 4 till 5 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 2 till 15 minutes past 5 in the afternoon.

20th. From 30 minutes past 3 till 15 minutes past 4 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 1 till 15 minutes past 4 in the afternoon.

May 3d. From 15 minutes before 3 till 30 minutes past 3 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 1 till 30 minutes past 3 in the afternoon.

13th. From 2 till 15 minutes before 3 in the morning; and from 12 at noon till 15 minutes before 3 in the afternoon.

18th. From 15 minutes before 1 till 30 minutes past 2 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 12 at noon till 30 minutes past 2 in the afternoon.

31st. From 15 minutes before 1 till 30 minutes past 1 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 10 in the morning till 15 minutes before 1 in the afternoon.

June 10th and 11th. From 15 minutes past 10 till 1 in the afternoon; and from 12 at night till 1 in the morning.

15th. From 10 in the morning till 2 in the afternoon; and from 15 minutes before 12 at night till 15 minutes before 1 in the morning.

25th. From 15 minutes past 9 in the morning till 12 at noon; and from 11 to 12 at night.

29th. From 9 in the morning till 15 minutes before 12 at noon; and from 15 minutes before 11 till 15 minutes before 12 at night.

July 9th. From 15 minutes past 8 till 11 in the morning; and from 10 till 11 at night.

14th and 15th. From 8 till 11 in the morning; and from 10 till 11 at night.

28th. From 7 till 10 in the morning; and from 9 till 10 at night.

August 6th and 7th. From 30 minutes past 6 till 15 minutes past 9 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 8 till 15 minutes past 9 at night.

10 and 11th. From 15 minutes past 6 till 9 in the morning; and from 8 till 9 in the evening.

19th and 20th. From 30 minutes past 5 till 30 minutes past 8 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 7 till 30 minutes past 8 in the evening.

25th. From 15 minutes past 5 till 8 in the morning; and from 7 till 8 in the evening.

[42]

September 4th. From 15 minutes before 5 till 30 minutes past 7 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 6 till 30 minutes past 7 in the evening.

8th and 9th. From 30 minutes past 4 till 15 minutes past 7 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 6 till 15 minutes past 7 in the evening.

17th and 18th. From 5 till 15 minutes before 5 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 6 till 15 minutes before 7 in the evening.

23d. From 30 minutes past 3 till 30 minutes past 5 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 5 till 30 minutes past 6 in the evening.

October 3d. From 3 till 15 minutes before 6 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 4 till 15 minutes past 5 in the afternoon.

7th. From 15 minutes before 3 till 30 minutes past 5 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 4 till 30 minutes past 5 in the afternoon.

16th. From 2 till 5 in the morning; and from 4 till 5 in the afternoon.

21st and 22d. From 15 minutes before 2 till 30 minutes past 4 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 3 till 15 minutes past 4 in the afternoon.

November 5th. From 1 till 15 minutes before 4 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 3 till 15 minutes before 4 in the afternoon.

14th. From 15 minutes past 12 till 3 in the morning; and from 2 till 3 in the afternoon.

20th. From 15 minutes before 12 till 15 minutes past 2 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 1 till 2 in the afternoon.

December 14th and 15th. From 10 till 30 minutes past 12 in the morning; and from 12 at noon till 15 minutes before 1 in the afternoon.

18th and 19th. From 15 minutes before 10 at night till 15 minutes past 5 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 11 till 15 minutes past 12 at night.

January 3d. From 30 minutes past 10 till 15 minutes past 11 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 9 till 15 minutes past 11 at night.

12th and 13th. From 15 minutes past 9 till 10 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 8 till 30 minutes past 10 at night.

18th. From 9 till 15 minutes before 10 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 7 till 10 at night.

27th. From 9 till 15 minutes before 10 in the morning; and from 7 till 15 minutes before 10 at night.

February 1st. From 8 till 30 minutes past 8 in the morning; and from 6 till 30 minutes past 8 in the evening.

11th and 12th. From 15 minutes before 8 till 30 minutes past 8 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 6 till 30 minutes past 8 in the evening.

17th. From 7 till 15 minutes before 8 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 5 till 8 in the evening.

[43]

March 1st. From 30 minutes past 6 till 15 minutes past 7 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 4 till 15 minutes past 7 in the evening.

16th and 17th. From 30 minutes past 5 till 15 minutes past 6 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 4 till 30 minutes past 6 in the evening.

19th, 20th, 21st, 22d, 23d, 24th, and 25th. From 30 minutes past 5 till 30 minutes past 6 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 3 till 15 minutes past 6 in the evening.

26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th. From 15 minutes past 5 till 15 minutes before 6 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 3 till 6 in the evening.

April 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th. From 30 minutes past 4 till 30 minutes past 5 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 2 till 5 in the afternoon.

10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th. From 15 minutes before 4 till 15 minutes before 5 in the morning; and from 2 till 30 minutes past 4 in the afternoon.

19th, 20th, 21st, 22d, and 23d. From 30 minutes past 4 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 2 till 30 minutes past 4 in the afternoon.

25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th. From 3 till 4 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 1 till 15 minutes before 4 in the afternoon.

May 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th. From 15 minutes past 2 till 15 minutes past 8 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 12 at noon till 15 minutes past 3 in the afternoon.

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th. From 2 till 3 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 12 at noon till 3 in the afternoon.

16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22d. From 15 minutes before 2 till 15 minutes before 3 in the morning; and from 12 at noon till 15 minutes before 3 in the afternoon.

23d, 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th. From 15 minutes past 1 till 15 minutes past 2 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 11 in the forenoon till 15 minutes past 2 in the afternoon.

June 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, and 6th. From 15 minutes past 10 in the morning till 1 in the afternoon; and from 15 minutes past 12 at night till 15 minutes past 1 the next morning.

11th. From 15 minutes past 10 in the morning till 15 minutes before 1 in the afternoon; and from 12 at night till 1 the next morning.

20th. From 30 minutes past 9 in the morning till 12 at noon; and from 11 till 12 at night.

25th. From 15 minutes past 9 in the morning till 15 minutes past 12 at noon; and from 11 till 12 at night.

July 5th. From 15 minutes before 8 till 15 minutes past 10 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 10 till 15 minutes before 11 at night.

9th. From 15 minutes past 8 till 11 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 10 till 11 at night.

19th. From 30 minutes past 7 till 10 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 9 till 15 minutes past 10 at night.

[44]

24th. From 7 till 15 minutes before 10 in the morning; and from 9 till 10 at night.

August 2d and 3d. From 30 minutes past 6 till 15 minutes before 9 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 8 till 30 minutes past 9 at night.

6th. From 15 minutes before 6 till 9 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 7 till 30 minutes past 8 at night.

22d. From 15 minutes past 5 till 8 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 7 till 15 minutes past 8 at night.

September 1st. From 4 till 15 minutes before 7 in the morning; and 6 till 7 in the evening.

5th. From 30 minutes past 4 till 15 minutes before 7 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 6 till 30 minutes past 7 in the evening.

14th. From 15 minutes before 4 till 30 minutes past 6 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 5 till 30 minutes past 6 in the evening.

29th. From 15 minutes before 3 till 30 minutes past 5 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 4 till 30 minutes past 5 in the evening.

October 3d. From 3 till 15 minutes before 6 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 5 till 15 minutes before 6 in the evening.

12th. From 15 minutes past 2 till 5 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 4 till 30 minutes past 4 in the afternoon.

18th and 19th. From 30 minutes past 1 till 4 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 3 till 30 minutes past 4 in the afternoon.

November 10th and 11th. From 30 minutes past 12 at night till 15 minutes past 3 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 1 till 30 minutes past 2 in the afternoon.

15th and 16th. From 12 at night till 15 minutes before 3 in the morning; and from 15 minutes past 1 till 2 in the afternoon.

29th and 30th. From 15 minutes past 11 at night till 2 in the morning; and from 1 till 15 minutes before 2 in the afternoon.

December 8th and 9th. From 15 minutes past 10 at night till 1 in the morning; and from 30 minutes past 12 at noon till 30 minutes past 1 in the afternoon.

14th, 15th and 16th. From 10 at night till 15 minutes before 1 in the morning; and from 15 minutes before 12 to 30 minutes past 12 at noon.

23d and 24th. From 15 minutes past 11 till 12 at noon; and from 15 minutes past 9 till 12 at night.

28th. From 15 minutes past 10 till 11 in the morning; and from 9 till 15 minutes before 12 at night.


We do not presume to assert that every lady born on the last-mentioned times will be exempt from all descriptions of trouble during the whole of their lives, but that they will never (in spite of whatever may happen to befall them) sink below mediocrity.[45] Even servants and those born of poor parents will possess some superior qualities, get into good company, be much noticed by their superiors, and will, in spite of any intervening difficulties, establish themselves in the world, and rise much above their sphere of birth.

It has often been recorded, and though a singular observation, experience has shown it to be a true one, that some event of importance is sure to happen to a woman in her thirty-first year, whether single or married; it may prove for her good, or it may be some great evil or temptation; therefore we advise her to be cautious and circumspect in all her actions. If she is a maiden or widow, it is probable she will marry this year. If a wife that she will lose her children or her husband:—She will either receive riches or travel into a foreign land: at all events, some circumstance or other will take place during this remarkable year of her life, that will have great effect on her future fortunes and existence.

The like is applicable to men in their forty-second year, of which so many instances have been proved that there is not a doubt of its truth: Observe always to take a lease for an odd number of years; even are not prosperous. The three first days of the moon are the best for signing papers, and the first five days as well as the twenty-fourth for any fresh undertaking. But we cannot but allow that a great deal depends on our own industry and perseverance, and by strictly discharging our duty to God and man, we may often overcome the malign influence of a bad planet, or a day marked as unlucky in the book of fate.


ST. AGNES’ DAY

(Charm to know who your husband shall be.)

Falls on the 21st of January: you must prepare yourself by a twenty-four hours’ fast, touching nothing but pure spring water, beginning at midnight on the 20th, to the same again on the 21st; then go to bed, and mind you sleep by yourself, and do not mention what you are trying to any one, or it will break the spell; go to rest on your left side, and repeat these lines three times:

St. Agnes, be a friend to me,
In the gift I ask of thee;
Let me this night my husband see—

and you will dream of your future spouse: if you see more than one in your dream, you will wed two or three times, but if you sleep and dream not, you will never marry.


NAPOLEON’S ORACULUM;
OR,
BOOK OF FATE.

The Oraculum is gifted with every requisite variety of response to the following questions:

1. Shall I obtain my wish?

2. Shall I have success in my undertakings?

3. Shall I gain or lose in my cause?

4. Shall I have to live in foreign parts?

5. Will the stranger return?

6. Shall I recover my property?

7. Will my friend be true?

8. Shall I have to travel?

9. Does the person love and regard me?

10. Will the marriage be prosperous?

11. What sort of a wife, or husband, shall I have?

12. Will she have a son or daughter?

13. Will the patient recover?

14. Will the prisoner be released?

15. Shall I be lucky or unlucky?

16. What does my dream signify?

HOW TO WORK THE ORACULUM.

Make marks in four lines, one under another, in the following manner, making more or less in each line, according to your fancy:

* * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Then reckon the number of marks in each line, and, if it be odd, mark down one dot; if even, two dots. If there be more than nine marks, reckon the surplus ones over that number only, viz.:

The number of marks in the first line of the foregoing are odd; therefore make one mark, thus *
In the second, even, so make two, thus * *
In the third, odd again, make one mark only *
In the fourth, even again, two marks * *

TO OBTAIN THE ANSWER.

You must refer to The Oraculum, at the top of which you will find a row of dots similar to those you have produced, and a column of figures corresponding with those prefixed to the questions; guide your eye down the column at the top of which you find the dots resembling your own, till you come to the letter on a line with the number of the question you are trying, then refer to the page having that letter at the top, and, on a line with the dots which are similar to your own, you will find youranswer.


The following are unlucky days, on which none of the questions should be worked, or any enterprise undertaken: Jan. 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 20, 22; Feb. 6, 17, 28; March 24, 26; April 10, 27, 28; May 7, 8; June 27; July 17, 21; Aug. 20, 22; Sept. 5, 30; Oct 6; Nov. 3, 29; Dec. 6, 10, 15.


⁂ It is not right to try a question twice in one day.


[46]

ORACULUM.

N
u
m
b
.
QUESTIONS. *
*
*
*
**
*
**
*
*
**
*
*
**
*
*
**
**
**
**
*
**
**
*
**
**
*
*
*
**
**
*
*
*
*
**
**
*
*
*
**
**
*
**
**
*
**
**
**
*
**
**
*
*
*
**
*
*
**
*
**
**
**
**
**
N
u
m
b
.
1 Shall I obtain my wish? A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q 1
2 Shall I have success in my undertakings? B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q A 2
3 Shall I gain or lose in my cause? C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q A B 3
4 Shall I have to live in foreign parts? D E F G H I K L M N O P Q A B C 4
5 Will the stranger return from abroad? E F G H I K L M N O P Q A B C D 5
6 Shall I recover my property stolen? F G H I K L M N O P Q A B C D E 6
7 Will my friend be true in his dealings? G H I K L M N O P Q A B C D E F 7
8 Shall I have to travel? H I K L M N O P Q A B C D E F G 8
9 Does the person love and regard me? I K L M N O P Q A B C D E F G H 9
10 Will the marriage be prosperous? K L M N O P Q A B C D E F G H I 10
11 What sort of wife or husb. shall I have? L M N O P Q A B C D E F G H I K 11
12 Will she have a son or a daughter? M N O P Q A B C D E F G H I K L 12
13 Will the patient recover from his illness? N O P Q A B C D E F G H I K L M 13
14 Will the prisoner be released? O P Q A B C D E F G H I K L M N 14
15 Shall I be lucky or unlucky this day? P Q A B C D E F G H I K L M N O 15
16 What does my dream signify? Q A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P 16

[47]

A
*
*
*
*
What you wish for, you will shortly OBTAIN.
**
*
**
*
Signifies trouble and sorrow.
*
**
*
*
Be very cautious what you do THIS day, lest trouble befall you.
**
*
*
**
The prisoner DIES, and is regretted by his friends.
**
**
**
*
Life will be spared THIS time, to prepare for death.
**
**
*
**
A very handsome daughter, but a PAINFUL one.
**
*
*
*
You will have a virtuous woman or man, for your wife or husband.
**
**
*
*
If you marry this person, you will have enemies where you little expect.
*
*
**
**
You had better decline THIS love, for it is neither constant nor true.
*
*
*
**
Decline your travels, for they will not be to your advantage.
**
*
**
**
There is a true and sincere friendship between you BOTH.
*
**
**
**
You will NOT recover the stolen property.
*
**
**
*
The stranger WILL, with joy, soon return.
*
*
**
*
You will NOT remove from where you are at present.
*
**
*
**
Providence WILL support you in a good cause.
**
**
**
**
You are NOT lucky.

[48]

B
*
*
*
*
The luck that is ordained for you will be coveted by others.
**
*
**
*
Whatever your desires are, for the present decline them.
*
**
*
*
Signifies a favor or kindness from some person.
**
*
*
**
There ARE enemies who would defraud and render you unhappy.
**
**
**
*
With great difficulty he will obtain pardon or release again.
**
**
*
**
The patient should be prepared to LEAVE this world.
**
*
*
*
She will have a SON, who will be learned and wise.
**
**
*
*
A RICH partner is ordained for you.
*
*
**
**
By THIS marriage you will have great luck and prosperity.
*
*
*
**
This love comes from an upright and sincere heart.
**
*
**
**
A higher Power WILL surely travel with you, and bless you.
*
**
**
**
Beware of friends who are false and deceitful.
*
**
**
*
You WILL recover your property—unexpectedly.
*
*
**
*
Love prevents his return home at present.
*
**
*
**
Your stay is NOT here; be therefore prepared for a change.
**
**
**
**
You will have NO GAIN; therefore be wise and careful.

[49]

C
*
*
*
*
With the blessing of God, you WILL have great gain.
**
*
**
*
Very unlucky indeed—pray for assistance.
*
**
*
*
If your desires are NOT extravagant, they will be granted.
**
*
*
**
Signifies peace and plenty between friends.
**
**
**
*
Be well prepared THIS day, or you may meet with trouble.
**
**
*
**
The prisoner WILL find it difficult to obtain his pardon or release.
**
*
*
*
The patient WILL YET enjoy health and prosperity.
**
**
*
*
She WILL have a daughter, and will require attention.
*
*
**
**
The person has NOT a great fortune, but is in middling circumstances.
*
*
*
**
Decline THIS marriage, or else you may be sorry.
**
*
**
**
Decline a courtship which MAY be your destruction.
*
**
**
**
Your travels are IN VAIN; you had better stay at home.
*
**
**
*
You MAY depend on a true and sincere friendship.
*
*
**
*
You must NOT expect to regain that which you have lost.
*
**
*
**
Sickness prevents the traveler from seeing you.
**
**
**
**
It WILL be your fate to stay where you now are.

[50]

D
*
*
*
*
You WILL obtain a great fortune in another country.
**
*
**
*
By venturing freely, you WILL certainly gain doubly.
*
**
*
*
A higher Power WILL change your misfortune into success and happiness.
**
*
*
**
Alter your intentions, or else you MAY meet poverty and distress.
**
**
**
*
Signifies you have many impediments in accomplishing your pursuits.
**
**
*
**
Whatever may possess your inclinations this day, abandon them.
**
*
*
*
The prisoner WILL get free again this time.
**
**
*
*
The patient’s illness WILL be lingering and doubtful.
*
*
**
**
She will have a dutiful and handsome son.
*
*
*
**
The person will be LOW in circumstances, but honest-hearted.
**
*
**
**
A marriage which WILL ADD to your welfare and prosperity.
*
**
**
**
You love a person who does not speak well of you.
*
**
**
*
Your travels WILL be prosperous, if guided by prudence.
*
*
**
*
He means NOT what he says, for his heart is false.
*
**
*
**
With some trouble and expense, you may regain your property.
**
**
**
**
You must NOT expect to see the stranger again.

[51]

E
*
*
*
*
The stranger WILL not return as soon as you expect.
**
*
**
*
Remain among your friends, and you will do well.
*
**
*
*
You will hereafter GAIN what you seek.
**
*
*
**
You have NO LUCK—pray, and strive honestly.
**
**
**
*
You will obtain your wishes by means of a friend.
**
**
*
**
Signifies you have enemies who will endeavor to ruin you.
**
*
*
*
Beware—an enemy is endeavoring to bring you to strife and misfortune.
**
**
*
*
The prisoner’s sorrow and anxiety are great, and his release uncertain.
*
*
**
**
The patient WILL soon recover—there is no danger.
*
*
*
**
She will have a daughter, who will be honored and respected.
**
*
**
**
Your partner WILL be fond of liquor, and will debase himself thereby.
*
**
**
**
This marriage will bring you to poverty, be therefore discreet.
*
**
**
*
Their love is false to you, and true to others.
*
*
**
*
Decline your travels for the present, for they will be dangerous.
*
**
*
**
This person is serious and true, and deserves to be respected.
**
**
**
**
You will not recover the property you have lost.

[52]

F
*
*
*
*
By persevering you WILL recover your property again.
**
*
**
*
It is out of the stranger’s power to return.
*
**
*
*
You will GAIN, and be successful in foreign parts.
**
*
*
**
A great fortune is ordained for you; wait patiently.
**
**
**
*
There is great hindrance to your success at present.
**
**
*
**
Your wishes are in VAIN at present.
**
*
*
*
Signifies there are sorrow and danger before you.
**
**
*
*
This day is unlucky; therefore alter your intention.
*
*
**
**
The prisoner will be restored to liberty and freedom.
*
*
*
**
The patient’s recovery is doubtful.
**
*
**
**
She will have a fine BOY.
*
**
**
**
A worthy person, and a fine fortune.
*
**
**
*
Your intentions would destroy your rest and peace.
*
*
**
*
This love is true and constant; forsake it not.
*
**
*
**
Proceed on your journey, and you will not have cause to repent it.
**
**
**
**
If you trust THIS friend, you may have cause for sorrow.

[53]

G
*
*
*
*
This friend exceeds all others in every respect.
**
*
**
*
You must bear your loss with fortitude.
*
**
*
*
The stranger will return unexpectedly.
**
*
*
**
Remain at HOME with your friends, and you will escape misfortunes.
**
**
**
*
You will meet no GAIN in your pursuits.
**
**
*
**
Heaven will bestow its blessings on you.
**
*
*
*
No.
**
**
*
*
Signifies that you will shortly be out of the POWER of your enemies.
*
*
**
**
Ill-luck awaits you—it will be difficult for you to escape it.
*
*
*
**
The prisoner will be RELEASED by death only.
**
*
**
**
By the blessing of God, the patient WILL recover.
*
**
**
**
A daughter, but of a very sickly constitution.
*
**
**
*
You will get an honest, young, and handsome partner.
*
*
**
*
Decline this marriage, else it may be to your sorrow.
*
**
*
**
Avoid this love.
**
**
**
**
Prepare for a short journey; you will be recalled by unexpected events.

[54]

H
*
*
*
*
Commence your travels, and they will go on as you could wish.
**
*
**
*
Your pretended friend hates you secretly.
*
**
*
*
Your hopes to recover your property are vain.
**
*
*
**
A certain affair prevents the stranger’s return immediately.
**
**
**
*
Your fortune you will find in abundance abroad.
**
**
*
**
Decline the pursuit, and you will do well.
**
*
*
*
Your expectations are vain—you will not succeed.
**
**
*
*
You will obtain what you wish for.
*
*
**
**
Signifies that on this day your fortune will change for the better.
*
*
*
**
Cheer up your spirits, your luck is at hand.
**
*
**
**
After LONG imprisonment, he will be released.
*
**
**
**
The patient will be relieved from sickness.
*
**
**
*
She will have a healthy SON.
*
*
**
*
You will be married to your equal in a short time.
*
**
*
**
If you wish to be happy, do not marry this person.
**
**
**
**
This love is from the heart, and will continue until death.

[55]

I
*
*
*
*
The love is great, but will cause great jealousy.
**
*
**
*
It will be in vain for you to travel.
*
**
*
*
Your friend will be as sincere as you could wish him to be.
**
*
*
**
You will recover the stolen property through a cunning person.
**
**
**
*
The traveler will soon return with joy.
**
**
*
**
You will not be prosperous or fortunate in foreign parts.
**
*
*
*
Place your trust in God, who is the disposer of happiness.
**
**
*
*
Your fortune will shortly be changed into misfortune.
*
*
**
**
You will succeed as you desire.
*
*
*
**
Signifies that the misfortune which threatens will be prevented.
**
*
**
**
Beware of your enemies, who seek to do you harm.
*
**
**
**
After a short time, your anxiety for the prisoner will cease.
*
**
**
*
God will give the patient health and strength again.
*
*
**
*
She will have a very fine daughter.
*
**
*
**
You will marry a person with whom you will have little comfort.
**
**
**
**
The marriage will not answer your expectations.

[56]

K
*
*
*
*
After much misfortune, you will be comfortable and happy.
**
*
**
*
A sincere love from an upright heart.
*
**
*
*
You will be prosperous in your journey.
**
*
*
**
Do not RELY on the friendship of this person.
**
**
**
*
The property is lost for EVER; but the thief will be punished.
**
**
*
**
The traveler will be absent some considerable time.
**
*
*
*
You will meet luck and happiness in a foreign country.
**
**
*
*
You will not have any success for the present.
*
*
**
**
You will succeed in your undertaking.
*
*
*
**
Change your intentions, and you will do well.
**
*
**
**
Signifies that there are rogues at hand.
*
**
**
**
Be reconciled, your circumstances will shortly mend.
*
**
**
*
The prisoner will be released.
*
*
**
*
The patient will depart this life.
*
**
*
**
She will have a son.
**
**
**
**
It will be difficult for you to get a partner.

[57]

L
*
*
*
*
You will get a very handsome person for your partner.
**
*
**
*
Various misfortunes will attend this marriage.
*
**
*
*
This love is whimsical and changeable.
**
*
*
**
You will be unlucky in your travels.
**
**
**
*
This person’s love is just and true. You may rely on it.
**
**
*
**
You will lose, but the thief will suffer most.
**
*
*
*
The stranger will soon return with plenty.
**
**
*
*
If you remain at home, you will have success.
*
*
**
**
Your gain will be trivial.
*
*
*
**
You will meet sorrow and trouble.
**
*
**
**
You will succeed according to your wishes.
*
**
**
**
Signifies that you will get money.
*
**
**
*
In spite of enemies, you will do well.
*
*
**
*
The prisoner will pass many days in confinement.
*
**
*
**
The patient will recover.
**
**
**
**
She will have a daughter.

[58]

M
*
*
*
*
She will have a son, who will gain wealth and honor.
**
*
**
*
You will get a partner with great undertakings and much money.
*
**
*
*
The marriage will be prosperous.
**
*
*
**
She, or He, wishes to be yours this moment.
**
**
**
*
Your journey will prove to your advantage.
**
**
*
**
Place no great trust in that person.
**
*
*
*
You will find your property at a certain time.
**
**
*
*
The traveler’s return is rendered doubtful by his conduct.
*
*
**
**
You will succeed as you desire in foreign parts.
*
*
*
**
Expect no gain; it will be in vain.
**
*
**
**
You will have more LUCK than you expect.
*
**
**
**
Whatever your desires are, you will speedily obtain them.
*
**
**
*
Signifies you will be asked to a wedding.
*
*
**
*
You will have no occasion to complain of ill-luck.
*
**
*
**
Someone will pity and release the prisoner.
**
**
**
**
The patient’s recovery is unlikely.

[59]

N
*
*
*
*
The patient will recover, but his days are short.
**
*
**
*
She will have a daughter.
*
**
*
*
You will marry into a very respectable family.
**
*
*
**
By this marriage you will gain nothing.
**
**
**
*
Await the time and you will find the love great.
**
**
*
**
Venture not from home.
**
*
*
*
This person is a sincere friend.
**
**
*
*
You will never recover the theft.
*
*
**
**
The stranger will return, but not quickly.
*
*
*
**
When abroad, keep from evil women or they will do you harm.
**
*
**
**
You will soon gain what you little expect.
*
**
**
**
You will have great success.
*
**
**
*
Rejoice ever at that which is ordained for you.
*
*
**
*
Signifies that sorrow will depart, and joy will return.
*
**
*
**
Your luck is in blossom; it will soon be at hand.
**
**
**
**
Death may end the imprisonment.

[60]

O
*
*
*
*
The prisoner will be released with joy.
**
*
**
*
The patient’s recovery is doubtful.
*
**
*
*
She will have a son, who will live to a great age.
**
*
*
**
You will get a virtuous partner.
**
**
**
*
Delay not this marriage—you will meet much happiness.
**
**
*
**
None loves you better in this world.
**
*
*
*
You may proceed with confidence.
**
**
*
*
Not a friend, but a secret enemy.
*
*
**
**
You will soon recover what is stolen.
*
*
*
**
The stranger will not return again.
**
*
**
**
A foreign woman will greatly enhance your fortune.
*
**
**
**
You will be cheated out of your gain.
*
**
**
*
Your misfortunes will vanish and you will be happy.
*
*
**
*
Your hope is in vain—fortune shuns you at present.
*
**
*
**
That you will soon hear agreeable news.
**
**
**
**
There are misfortunes lurking about you.

[61]

P
*
*
*
*
This day brings you an increase of happiness.
**
*
**
*
The prisoner will quit the power of his enemies.
*
**
*
*
The patient will recover and live long.
**
*
*
**
She will have two daughters.
**
**
**
*
A rich young person will be your partner.
**
**
*
**
Hasten your marriage—it will bring you much happiness.
**
*
*
*
The person loves you sincerely.
**
**
*
*
You will not prosper from home.
*
*
**
**
This friend is more valuable than gold.
*
*
*
**
You will NEVER receive your goods.
**
*
**
**
He is dangerously ill, and cannot yet return.
*
**
**
**
Depend upon your own industry, and remain at home.
*
**
**
*
Be joyful, for future prosperity is ordained for you.
*
*
**
*
Depend not too much on your good luck.
*
**
*
**
What you wish will be granted to you.
**
**
**
**
That you should be very careful this day, lest any accident befall you.

[62]

Q
*
*
*
*
Signifies much joy and happiness between friends.
**
*
**
*
This day is not very lucky, but rather the reverse.
*
**
*
*
He will yet come to honor, although he now suffers.
**
*
*
**
Recovery is doubtful; therefore be prepared for the worst.
**
**
**
*
She will have a son who will prove forward.
**
**
*
**
A rich partner, but a bad temper.
**
*
*
*
By wedding this person you insure your happiness.
**
**
*
*
The person has great love for you, but wishes to conceal it.
*
*
**
**
You may proceed on your journey without fear.
*
*
*
**
Trust him not; he is inconstant and deceitful.
**
*
**
**
In a very singular manner you will recover your property.
*
**
**
**
The stranger will return very soon.
*
**
**
*
You will dwell abroad in comfort and happiness.
*
*
**
*
If you will deal fairly you will surely prosper.
*
**
*
**
You will yet live in splendor and plenty.
**
**
**
**
Make yourself contented with your PRESENT fortune.

Catherine Hide

The Curious Case of Catherine Hide(1)

Childhood (0-12)

“my hair” — too short says mom

First sign I was an introvert and serious child made fun of by mother. 3 yrs.

Pageant attitude

Tom boy. Switched to TKD.

Little Sister

protect her

Divorce

5 yrs old. Not an excuse not to help when you see your mother crying late at night on the couch and she’s got a disney cup with brown cola in it but she drinks excessively, always sings along with cartoons with little sister. Little sister’s beautiful.

Daddy issue (daddy not around. Boo hoo)

Responsibility (mom issue)

Being five wasn’t an excuse to me

Summer Farm Life/animal lover (wolf, cat, alligator): grandparents

Introvert

Oh jenna, you’re so beautiful and talented. You’re going to have a wonderful life and have a beautiful relationship. And Katie… you should go to college. Just don’t expect me to pay for it.

I’m just the other sister. Just the black sheep. Jenna is the beautiful, talented, sister…. I’m just there.

Music-connection (sociopathic)

Mother remarried (volatile relationship)

Adolescent (13-17)

High School

Goth, theater, photography, creative writing, “mom”

Introvert in extrovert household

Evan

Lost virginity (16th bday)

Evan open relationship idea/break up

Became cutter

House fire

Without this, I might not have met Andy

Andy (quiet and unreadable)

First impression, intimidated, silence.

Could never read him as I did others. Always seemed like static when I tried to imagine his thoughts. Ice. Insecurity. How could he like me.

First kiss, bloody. Insecurity, surprise

Young adult (18-24)

At first wonderful and nurturing, then dark

Uncertainty

Sexual awakening

“I love you… I know”

Pet awake. His hands were always cold. Always with that same cologne.

Bondage

Couch choking exposure- almost like astral projection experience

Conditioned for submission: waiting in bed for him nightly

Tied up bondage experience (bed)

College

“lucrative opportunity back home, with a pair of twins” break up

Cheated: only oral, guilt, asked him to leave

He came back and I never told him- guilt

The forever mistake

Unaccepted, after year, still not girlfriend

Insecurity, low self esteem, lonely, but lots of sex

Cheating discovered

Phone interrogation – felt cornered and scared

In person interrogation – Choked

Cried in street when he drove away, friend carried me inside and tried to take advantage of me as I cried. I no longer trusted him. He was my closest friend.

Made friends with a writer

Edited for him. Became support and encouragement. A friend I still talk to today. Still talk to him years later. Helped him through mental illness and substance abuse.

Time passed and he returned, “willing to work this out”

Magnum opus

“what would you do for the one you love?”

“show me how sorry you are”

The more you bleed, the sorrier I know you are

Cutter

Pregnancy

Afraid. Was my failure. Scared of him. Abortion. Friend’s mom was a nurse. She helped me.

Abuse

Arguments (shoves, choking, then punches to stop my talking, my ribs shift now: always wonder if it was from him)

Control

Marked me

more bondage

submission conditioning (only kind then)

sexual submission conditioning (was it the “r” word?)

fought but eventually gave in

forced substance use (morphine-I’m afraid of needles, alcohol, and ecstasy)

guilt: constantly reliving infidelity, constantly explaining

had me kill my pets-lack of companionship, test “if you love them more than me…”

Always felt like I had to protect him/his image from being associated. My instinct to care.

Rebelled: hurt: goal was to break me

Choked

Broke my wrist- crushed it

Bed beating (handcuffed and welts)

Stripped naked

handcuffed to bed

chose my grandmother’s silver studded belt from mexico

beat me until I screamed

I thought at first it was going to be another bondage session until he didn’t stop

I became scared and riddled with pain

I begged him to stop he choked me and told me I don’t tell him when he stops

I felt dizzy and afraid and the pain was biting

no place was sacred

he beat me mainly on the back and buttocks but then the legs, the feet, and the face. everything stung

I felt like I might faint

he told me if I fainted, he would just beat me harder to wake me up.

I stayed awake, but only by force and through fear

He took a break and uncuffed me.

he sat down and appeared sad.

Then stood again and cuffed me. I made fists and the cuffs stayed loose

He beat me again and I took it. I was so conditioned, that I took it even when I could have gotten away

When he sat back down, shaking his head and upset, I took my hand out and crawled to him, in pain. He beat me as I crawled away from him and handcuffed me again to the bed.

I was in so much pain that I was convulsing and couldn’t breathe.

As he finished, he shoved a blade inside me and had the point rest against my cervix. He told me if I told, he’d push it through the cervix.

He uncuffed me and left.

I took a shower and the welts split and became bloody in the water.

First warning sign to me it was abuse (small part in my brain) when I made excuses for the bruises. I actually said I fucking fell down the stairs. My mother believed me. She never believed he was abusing me. When she saw later bruises, she thought I was doing it to myself.

Friend’s birthday party: planned to go

He told me “you’re only going so you can whore yourself out”

Planned to go anyways

Came and drove nails into my legs (thighs/above my knees) so I couldn’t walk

Nails driven in by his hand with the heel of one of my shoes

“if you can walk now, you can go.”

“if you feel so bad, just kill yourself”

Finally gave up: told him goodbye

Bought 5 bottle of sleeping pills

He came over that night

Took one bottle

Talked to him

He suggested I take more

Made me write a suicide note

Convinced me to take two more bottles of pills, suggested I slit my wrists too

I blacked out

Woke up the next day hallucinating

Hallucinated about him and about my little sister (two separate things)

He forced me to live: I wasn’t even allowed to die

Walked back and forth through the carpet in my room feeling something wet, but not aware enough to know it was my own vomit. Found it later with the little blue sleeping pills in it.

Depression, helpless, hopeless, will-less

The abuse worsens

Mostly only addressed as whore

Convinced me to carve the word into my torso

Convinced I was still cheating/nothing would keep me from it. Convinced I would perform oral/have sex

Convinced me to cut at my tongue, gums, and inside of my lips: Only way I wouldn’t according to him.

Text message from him that night asking if I was alone and to come out to the guest bedroom

I get dressed and come out, thinking something is wrong.

I get out of my room and head for the guestroom.

He comes out of the shadows of the bathroom, drunk, covered in blood spatter, and holds a knife to my throat. I can’t react. I just shake and look stunned at him. He releases me. I clean up the blood, spattered in micro droplets over his white shirt.

I have nightmares for the next week about walking out to the next bedroom and being attacked or corpses

Demands that I find him girls to sleep with to “get even”

Had to convince women to sleep with him and pretend I was okay with it

He was always kinder to me before each one, appearance that it was a hardship he went through for us. There never was an “us.”

He tells them what I did, insults me in front of them and sometimes while he fucks them

I’m hurt if I seem anything but positive

He sleeps with my best girlfriend in my bed and records it for me to find

I forgive him, thinking I did it first, even if I didn’t go “all the way”

Comes over another night, brings a friend of mine over (same one who tried to take advantage of me)

I tell him privately of his attempts: “well I guess he figured he’d try his hand at you since you’re a whore.”

Abuses me in front of him: he doesn’t help.

No friends, no hope

Thanksgiving 2008

I go out of town with family for the holiday with bruises on my body and cuts opening on my legs

He brings a girl over to have sex

I broke

Somehow, something broke in me and I became true to my irish heritage, or at least that is the rationalization I give. I got angry. I told him to leave my key and never come back. I told him I was done. Straw that finally broke the camel’s back.

Weekend after thanksgiving

Home alone

I take my shower

doorbell rings

I put on a robe and answer it

Its him. I thought he was returning the key, so I let him in.

Went to kitchen, took kitchen shears

Something felt wrong, I backed away and tried to run upstairs to my phone to call for help

He chased me down

I made it to my doorway

He held me down

Opened my robe, leaving my chest bare

Pinned me with his knees and weight

Cut at my chest

Cut off my areola and nipple of my left breast: I felt him cut through the visceral layer. Felt it vibrating in my teeth

I don’t remember screaming. Why didn’t I scream? I stopped fighting. I don’t remember the pain. Thank you, shock.

He sat down on me when I stopped fighting and fell in and out of blacking out

He cut off the other one

I felt him grow aroused

I watched him kneel and unzip his pants, then mound my breasts together to fuck the cleavage. Then he decided to penetrate the hole in my right breast after fingering it first.

Felt him shudder as he withdrew.

He stood and took the pieces with him back downstairs. I heard clanking.

He returned with a dish, knife, fork, vodka, and the pieces of me. Sat in my great grandmother’s chair. Same chair he sat in for oral sex. Same chair he watched me sleep in. Same one he sat in, convincing me to take more pills.

Silence in the house, not even echoes: except for the sound of the knife and fork on the plate

I watched him cut the piece of me apart on the plate, floating in vodka

He stared at me as he pierced the cut piece of me with his fork, heard his breath as he inhaled and placed the piece of me in his mouth and chewed silently. Just staring at me laying on the floor bleeding.

He cut a second piece and pierced it with the knife. He leaned down to me and put it in my mouth.

He told me to chew and swallow

I chewed and swallowed.

My meat tasted sweet and coppery

That’s the last memory before I faded

I woke up hours later. I woke feeling cold, wet, and sticky.

I was sore when I tried to sit up. I looked down and saw pieces of me sticking out of my chest from the holes.

I felt a roll of shock. Like my body was somersaulting

Dizzy, I rolled onto my side and then to my hands and knees. I stood and went to look at myself in the shower. Blood ran down the sides of my body and my body stuck at the back to my robe from blood. I had to peel it away, growing paler with each movement.

I remember only desiring to close it up and cover it up. I went to the garage and found fishing line and a sewing needle. I sterilized both in the vodka that had been left upstairs… left by him. The same vodka he used to flavor my meat. I grabbed the sheers that were left in my room. The shears he used. I brought it all back to the bathroom.

I poured my contact saline solution on my chest. I watched in the mirror. I couldn’t feel my hands. I felt like it was someone else.

I pushed the bits of me that stuck out of the holes back in. It wouldn’t all go back in. I cut off extra pieces of my insides/breast make up in order to be able to close up the holes. I sewed myself up with the sewing needle and fishing line. It worked. I took a shower. The blood flaked off and melted off in the shower.

I added pads over my chest sutures and placed the bra on. Compression, yay.

I went about my day

That was the last I saw of him

Never love someone more than they love you.

They healed extremely slowly because of the lack of tissue and constant pulling out of stitches. I had to keep redoing it.

The scars took about three months to really heal

They healed and the last scab was healed over by my trip.

Told mom about my chest scars. She argued with me. Said I did it to myself (she knew I was a cutter). She liked my ex, thought he was good for me because I was no longer rebellious since him.

Italy march 2009

My escape/recovery time

Venice, Florence, assisi, pompei, Sorrento, pisa, and rome.

Confessed my past to a priest

hid in a bottle

drank with monks

Vivaldi concert: communion from pope

Australian army boy: rebound

Drunk night with girl with me on trip

Dominated her

Confessed to her my scars: only girl I ever showed them too. I was drunk.

New beginning to come back to.

Post abuse

Blue eyes remind me of my abuse. His eyes staring at me while he ate me. Didn’t date someone with blue eyes for years.

6 mo in reaction

Every anniversary of my scars still affects me

Multiple sexual partners

department of mental health volunteer: confided in supervisor

sexual encounter where I was turned down after seeing my scars

loss of confidence further. Felt like a shadow or just not seen. Not important. Not worth paying attention to.

Was offered help. Supervisor suggested I contact an abuse help group. I did, shakily. Safety in telling behind a screen. They offered to fund a reconstruction surgery. I thought I was stuck. Unable to be helped. Alone. I went to the doctor, since my scars looked like scars from a partial double mastectomy. He told me he could help. I cried. All that pain, I could deal with. Blood, abuse, etc… but someone give me kindness and, what the fuck is wrong with me? I did the surgery. It helped minimally. Added a little dimension.

Bones in my wrist shift, so switched from high impact work out to lower impact. Switched from lifting and martial arts and such to dance.

Ballroom class August 2009

Signed up for class offered through my university. Learned frame (kept at a distance): functional touch with partner. Felt so awkward: I felt like I was terrible. There was a guy in the class I was comfortable with. He was unassuming. I wasn’t foolish enough to think that all men were abusers, I was too aware for that. Teacher suggested that I could to extra credit and go to an event in the area. He suggested swing dancing. It was a lesson and dance for $3, and the dancer I knew was a swing dancer, so I would know someone there. My first dance was from a tall, skinny, smiling guy who reminded me of a terrier when you ask if he wants to go for a walk. “dance?! Wanna dance? Dance?!!”  I went to a lesson, and then another, and another. I went to my first live band after open connection (only through the hands and shoulders). I enjoyed listening to the band. And I was asked to dance by a guy. I agreed; he seemed harmless. We danced and then he pulled me into close embrace. I was shocked and froze. This was the closest I had been to a man. My first instinct was to tense up. I was conditioned to think that being close to a man was to expect pain. There was no pain, just rhythm. I went along for the ride. I was too stubborn to admit something was wrong or to give away that I was… affected. I felt emotionally and close to tears. That was the moment I fell in love with dance. Italy was my escape and dance was my first step to recovery.

1 yr anniversary

Matthew May 2010

Dancer in the group. Cute. Sweet smile. When he asked me to dance, he had that smile. His dancing was sweet, respectful. I was interested, but I thought he didn’t have an interest. I ignored my own interest in him. I had had my fill of rejection. I talked to him about learning more. He told me about latin dance. He told me about free lessons. I told him about me going to try it. He showed up for support my first time. I didn’t know anyone there. We ended up getting kicked out because it was a private lesson. Turns out he left his own get together to see me at it. He invited me back and I joined him. I ended up making friends, spending time with him, learning how to make a long island iced tea and getting him drunk.

Drunk Matt: Japashcans, fucking Russians, fuck schrod. Cat, Mario song, “so you wanna go out for brownies sometime?”, teach physics drunk, throw up in bathroom, lock himself in bathroom, come out throw up on him, I clean him up and take off his shirt w vomit, force feed him water and bread, he throws up down my dress, have to fight him off from taking my phone (hold him back by holding phone away with one hand, holding the other hand back with my other one, and holding his other hand in place with my teeth), We fall asleep side by side on the couch. I wake up and leave. I get a text from him later asking what happened (woke up with bite marks on his wrist, vomit on his shirt and his pants unzipped.) I explained, he offered dinner to apologize.

We kept going on dates. First kiss cuddled up on couch. First kiss that meant something to me in years.

My confession to him about my scars

Dance exchanges: first exposure to blues 6 mo in. True therapy

Made life friends with common love of dance. Blake, Olga, Shanley, Soo, Val, Laura, Jim, Mojo, etc

Yet another relationship that I’m never called a girlfriend for.

Excused it away as how we weren’t sure if it would last, so why become public just for it to fail. Then we realize it’s a year later. At that point, why bother? Trusted we were exclusive, but didn’t feel secure….again. Restless and unhappy.

Graduated college.

Adult (25+)

Long distance relationship with dancer, Ryan.

Grandfather got sicker

I made plans to move closer to him

loaded up my grandfather’s truck (he let me borrow it for the move)

transferred work down to Jacksonville, florida

Broke up with Ryan.

He wasn’t stimulating… too simple

dated around and made possible connections.

Bed connections.

Failed connections.

Hard to connect to people.

Didn’t feel emotionally connected.

Sexual connections as substitute for emotional connection – realized

Grandfather passed away

Grief

Change in priorities

wanted children (ex took away the chance for me to feed my own children)

Anthony was a contract soldier marine friend of mine. Started talking to him and started to date seriously. Went for a deployment. A friend brought his ashes home.

had military friends here

they’ve since deployed.

They brought a friend by on a night I cooked for them.

He was a Chinese and Cambodian mix named Sambut.

Sambut

Met a marine

one deployment away from ending his contract.

he offered to become my workout partner.

I needed one.

Worked out a couple times.

He asked me out to dinner.

Our first kiss was after our third date after ice skating and working out and at a hookah bar.

It was a soft kiss.

That was the only physically soft thing about sam.

He informed me that he would be returning to LA after this last tour.

We fizzled out

David

Fling with dom

When he showed less dominance, he fizzled out.

                Devin.

Blue eyes. Loved a man again with blue eyes with sunbursts in them. Central Sectoral heterochromia

Asked me out after talking. We went to have a drink. Fireball funny. He was sweet, considerate, generous, open, kind, very disarming. He asked me back to his place. The bribe of a cat, game of thrones, and more alcohol was too much to resist. I went. We kissed. That kiss led to about a two hour make out and I felt comfortable with him. I gave in. Had sex the first night and it didn’t feel unfamiliar. Horrified, I left that night and assumed I would never hear from him again. I heard from him the next day. The next few weeks we had more dates, more sex… more sex, and more dates. We weren’t official, but I had no interest in anyone else. I blew off other offers. My coworker, AJ, called us out on dating before I admitted it. I was too afraid to consider it a relationship, having the past I did and the noncommittal history. Three months in, he asked if we could be official and later cemented the status change with bribing me with a kitten. Wash. An orange and too smart for his own good tabby who would later become a maybe 5 lbs alpha to a 17 pound fat ass derpy but affection cat. He lost his job and I became moral support through his struggle in the search for a new one. I began to argue with myself about my feelings for him. Denying it was love. It became an all consuming thought. He moved into a new apartment with a new roommate and he got drunk at his housewarming party. We went into the bedroom to make out a little and to get something, I forget what. Our conversation went as such “Now, I’ve been wanting to say something to you for a while.” “Oh?” “Do I have to say it first? Okay. I lo-“ “-oh look, here’s more alcohol. Here’s another kiss. Let’s get back out to the party.” I didn’t want him to say it drunk. It might mean less. A few months later, sober, and he hadn’t said it. I held back and fought saying those words, over and over again. Afraid that he didn’t. Afraid that the only reason he almost did before was because he was drunk.

Gets job offer

“I love you” coffee mug.

Congrats on the new job gift: “Oh, it’s a mug, and it has words. That’s so sweet. It’s—really? Really? That’s how you tell me?”

I wrote it first, I made him say it first.

6 month obliviousness: key

Drunken friend’s party: Hey, you’re awesome. I love you. You know what else is awesome? Three ways. You’re friend is pretty hot. You don’t need to worry about me leaving you for her because I would never ever ever leave you. I would stay with you…foreeeeverrr.

Visit family for Christmas

Asked me to move in with him: agreed

Devin’s birthday

Apparently 31 looks very different than 30. Got drunk. Asked if his friend’s fiance’s ring was a big enough carat. Tried to sing “it’s a nice day for a white wedding” to me. Started thinking that every song was by the band Journey. Took him home. Tried to discuss rings in the car. “Oh, maybe we should talk about marriage after you actually have a ring” “Oh, I can get a ring” (sounded almost like a threat. Ha). Made him take a shower, sat on the floor of the shower, was too drunk to stand well. I got in and washed his hair. He had a drunken happy look on his face. The look on his face said “well, while I’m down here….” He tried to propose and fell over, nearly taking the shower curtain with him. Pillow talk: types of rings.

Devin’s drunk progression: I love you. Three ways are awesome. Is that Journey playing? Marry me. Sometimes not in that order

Mine and Devin’s relationship: Comfortable, familiar, laughter, nerdy, contagious, in love.

Devin text, I received it in the hallway at around 2 am at a dance exchange in charleston: I thought I knew what love was. What I knew before wasn’t true. I thought there wasn’t a difference between love and in love. I’m in love with you.

In love: like an infinite number of stairs in darkness and you’re holding a limited flashlight. Stair lead into a pool. With every step, you feel the water more. With every step, you feel the weight. It’s comforting and warm. Only a small view of what is ahead. You think you’ve reached the bottom, that that is what love is. And then he does something that makes me take another step deeper, falling more in love. With every step, the weight becomes heavier, crushing, with the weight of the amount of love, but it’s comforting and warm and familiar.

Only time close to a fight/was more hurt: tried open relationship since I wasn’t into threesome

We moved in in august

We want kids

I want to spend the rest of my life with him

New Job:

Stressed, suicide attempt (black lives matter bullshit. I wasn’t thinking race when I saved him) held his hand, it was limp, it conveyed his hopelessness at what his life was to him and what his life was by the voices that told him to kill himself. The good points make it worth it. Feel like my job makes my issues more acute. Brings them forward since I have to talk about issues in group therapy for them.

Current anger

Even years later, I still have nightmares. Tonight is the anniversary of my scars and I’m afraid to go to sleep. Afraid of how vivid they are. Most of the time my nightmares are of being chased down, held down. That fear that is so potent that that I’m paralyzed. Years later, I’m angry that I was beaten and I fucking crawled to him. I’m angry that I was strong enough to take care of my family, but I was broken by him. I’m angry that I didn’t leave soon enough. I’m angry that even with my degrees, my stubborn will, my supportive friends, my healing hobbies, and after multiple relationships, I am still affected. It’s technically ptsd and I hate to burden Devin with it since I know how terrible that feeling of helplessness can be. I’m angry that even when I know what happened, that he conditioned me, that it wasn’t me, but that he was a sociopathic narcissist, after years, it still has a hold on me. I’m afraid it won’t go away. I’m hoping to purge here. I bottle it up.

I’m now the type of person that after experiencing this much pain, that I am an adaptor and can survive any storm. But show me kindness, and that cuts me. The exception being tonight where I cried because I was afraid to go to sleep because of the nightmares I might have. It’s now 3am.

All I can do is tell myself that it’s over. If he comes near me again, I can shoot him. Maybe if I shot him in my dreams it would make it all go away.

Confusion about still enjoying bdsm/rough sex. Warped brain where had it for so many years that pleasure centers in brain switched to like it or predisposition towards liking it before abuse? Why ok with it even after associations?

My coworker asked about me wanting to marry him. I said I did but that a wedding and marriage to me was more about the tax break and the symbolism/gesture we make to each other. I’m already spending my life with the man I love. That doesn’t start with marriage.

All I can do is smile and be in love and grin broader knowing that I’m spending my life with the man I love.

Vol. I – Heir To Ruin

This is the table of contents for Vol. I of the new epic anthology A FLAG CARRIER’S WAR, Heir to Ruin by Brandon K. Nobles & Diana Yannetti. You can bookmark this page to stay up-to-date with new chapters as they’re released or donate to our WarChest on Patreon to pre-order. Prior to selling the manuscript, POV chapters will be made available online for anyone interested in following the story online until the first book is published. Check back every Saturday for a new chapter and updates while we ship the novel around to publishers. – Brandon & Diana, September 20th 2016

Prologue I – Lee Lynn & the Statue’s Mouth 

Prologue I – Lee Lynn & a King Without Crown

PROLOGUE I
LEE LYNN & a KING WITHOUT CROWN

Lee Lynn was, to her admitted disappointment, disappointed with the city. Mightiest nation on Earth, she had thought there would be skyscrapers like in New York City but it was mostly Sprawl, save for the monuments tour. The tour guide seemed tired, crows’ feet beneath his eyes, but he continued speaking. Behind him columns such as those that might frame a living monarch, not pillars merely of stone; they were white granite pillars, columns reinforced by polished cement. The city was terraced by stonework, with snatches of leveled cement between stairways, many of them broad and long like the Black Wall. Lee Lynn had not understood the pictograms – she was a fluent English speaker, but at her age she still had trouble reading the letters. Her teacher Mrs. Oswald was quick to see to her when her hand was raised politely, walking over in that waddling fashion that made her so endearing. She looked at her feet, like an emperor penguin carrying an egg on its downy feet.

“What are these words?” Lee asked. “I am still learning …”

“Those are names,” Mrs. Oswald said.

Lee truly felt like the smallest child there but smiled. She was the youngest on that particular field trip as her friend Ashiya had remained at the dorms. How would she tell Ashiya of such things? She had never seen their like; not in her dads great photographs and tapestries; she had never seen such works of steel and marble, nor black granite columns and ornate domes, the eggs atop the House of Representatives were somehow, and she wondered if the layers were a part of the façade or if the cement had been dried while waving. Along the façade there were a litany of figures cast in statue, a watchful gallery atop the buildings, in costumes of Toga. Stef returned after a short stand-aside, having spoken to a young man who seemed to always make her snease, and she returned to hold Lee Lynn’s hand while Mrs. Oswald stood with the still nonchalant tourguide, as though his statue Kings were daily vandalised. Lee imagined that the statue kings cast in stone above, with one in the middle, bearded, surrounded on either side by men in noble robes, to his right the winged horse and further still a man in gladiatorial dress, and in the crease two workers piling stones. Beneath it, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, had been printed into the stone by chisel, while below the gables were topped with peeled steel, ran through with support beams.

Stef took her hand after talking briefly to Mrs. Oswald, promising her she would keep an eye on her, something Lee Lynn didn’t like the sound of, as she had hoped to visit the last memorial by herself, even though a chaperone wouldn’t be too far away. They visited the Tom, son of Jeff memorial, and Stef told her that it was designed by Soandso von from Somewhere, and gestured to the ceiling. The steps were circular and marble, and the portico and circular colonnade of columns beneath a shallow dome. The figure standing watch in the center of the colonnade wore a bronze longcoat and had an alabaster powdered wig atop his head, beneath his tricorne hat. His expression was less reassuring than the other king, for this figure had been a king, Lee Lynn knew, she knew – for, had they not been, the statue might not have, but unlike the galley, the features of the king in the bronze coat and the bearded statue were those of real men, while the watchmen on the palisades were never more than background figures, as they were still, watchmen for the statue king in his quiet hall.

With Stef still holding her hand, Lee Lynn regrouped with Mrs. Oswald, now standing at the head of a queue of Lee’s classmates, and she had begun to do her headcount before marching them back onto the bus to their hotel. She had enjoyed her first field trip, and, just as her father had sad, that it was astounding after the initial shock of its lack of large metro areas like Shanghai or Yangzhou along the river delta and New York City where she had only been once, finding it a sort of electric ladyland. Stef agreed to accompany her on the bus ride back, at Mrs. Oswald’s insistence, after she was told that it was nothing to worry about, the tape and the flyer stuffed into the bearded statue’s mouth, and she was glad that it hadn’t been unique to their visit.

“Just two weeks ago, the man says, they found something similar not far north of here, at a church, like the St. John’s church across the street, you see, where the cab has just pulled off from?”

“Yes, Mrs. Oswald,” Lee Lynn said. “I like the yellow building and the flags.”

“It’s just a meeting house now,” Mrs. Oswald said, “but it used to be a very exciting place. 12 Ashburton House, once home to British spies and diplomats who worked in America between … well, they had long worked there, since it was built and we know It was built in 1836 because the British Museum of Natural History has letters sent by former workers back to their wives in England, some to their mothers… And those were written in the mid-19th century, written by civil clerks, the first to work in this country after the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. That was in 1842.”

Lee Lynn didn’t mention young man she had seen Stef greet and hug tightly, or mention that she had left her while the tourguide and Mrs. Oswald went to get help, and the policeman who had attended to the beard of the statue king had left, taking the poster off with him in his white auto, with an ornate badge prominently displayed on the cardoor. Mrs. Oswald was still watching 12 Ashburton House, which drew Lee Lynn’s attention back to it. If it had been built in 1836, it must have been lately restored, as it looked near enough to a modern home, but kept the traces of age, the wood-mantled fireplaces and the floor-length marble columns and lintels above the front doorway, just above it the American flag and opposite the British flag. The ground floor had four tall windows, starting from just around the ankle and extending high above the door, much too high for Lee Lynn to reach. The top floor – she had misread, as there were of course three stories; but above the three stories was smaller cap to the building, with only three windows, smaller than the ones on the floors below, a wooden fireplace, that was all she could think about on the bus ride back to their hotel.

“It must have been so much more exciting then,” her chaperone said, the lovely young woman Stefani, as she held tight to her little hands. “International intrigue, handsome young man with secret missions, powerful figures behind closed doors playing the great game, with all their chips on the blue flag…”

Lee Lynn felt comfortable with her, as she was so tall and strong, tall but not slight. Lee Lynn was short, very short and a bit heavy, as her mother had so unkindly put it, but her father her Xiao jiaoz, my little dumpling, he would say, and she couldn’t wait to call him once she got back to her dorm, if she could help a little bit to get his new modem installed. They could chat face-to-face with the software she had at school, back in her two-bed room, where she could make a few clicks with her mouse and bring up her father’s face, who never seemed to do anything but smile his toothless smile and talk to her as though she were her sister, Lee Shei.

She had showed her chaperon how to use the video phone and since then she had said, call me Stef, Lee Lynn, for you are my friend, and she felt very much a friend to Lee Lynn on the bus ride, especially when the sun was going down and Stef held tight to those stubby little dumpling fingers. She could see his smiling, toothless face, eyes near shut, saying Zhow zhoo, my dumpling girl, how you are growing! Yes, father, she was asleep and sitting on the floor in her dorm room, dreaming with clarity as Lee Lynn often did. And Stef was there attempting to talk to the bearded statue, whose voice was muffled with the cruel bands of greytape gagging the crownless King. The other man was there, the man from the poster in old Abe’s mouth, and in his sash and wearing bronzed flowers as his gilded crown.

They passed around a dagger with a bone-handle, carved from that of a crow. They took turns spinning the dagger and, when the point came to a stop bearing down on someone, through bad luck or the weight of the dagger, it was their duty to open their wrists, the carved bone changing with each hand that held it. But instead of dying as the sharp blade cut across the surface of their skin, it flaked away like stone and the monarchs turned to butterflies while Stef turned to ash, a grey moth flying out of it. Instead of cutting or stabbing themselves, they each pealed away grey tape that had covered their mouths, loosing the adhesive and pulling it off in a long, agonizing squawk until the tape, loosed by the knives, fell away and out of the mouth of each knife-spinner came a monarch butterfly as each king turned to ash when they could speak, the numbers and letters somehow making sense as they talked among themselves as butterflies. And her father was there, not a butterfly but close, a caterpillar the color of pale chalk but he wore the flower crown and had his same, dumb, toothless smile wide in some caterpillar’s jape and those smiling eyes of his seemed to say, Xiao jiaoz, my little dumpling, you don’t need a crown. She remembered the great statue of Abraham, unblemished by the crude vandalism, mouth free to speak still in death having been briefly gagged on propaganda, as Mrs. Oswald had called it, something Lee Lynn had not understood.

She often dreamed of herself at court with animals, cuckoo birds who are a species of individuals, parakeets, incapable of saying something unless it’s said before; the crows were a lesser branch of the ravens’ family, the royalty among birds with elegant neck and impeccable memory. Another raven had found its way through the open window of her daydream and had perched atop the pretender crow’s royal perch. The bird looked much like Stef, thin, regal, thin eyebrows and a perpetual stoicism, the type of lethargy that kept her busy. The woman in the familiar of her noble raven was there to pluck the crown from the brow of another perched bird, the poor parakeet, but it was a monarch butterfly who passed on the crown to the raven, some representation perhaps, but she knew that raven, by its crows’ feathers, she had seen her before.

The monarch butterfly gave up the crown did so only to relieve its own burden of the jewel, too heavy for the poor butterfly’s strength to both keep the crown or keep to the air, and she gave it up for the air, unlike the raven, who chose to walk once crowned with black diamonds set in the gnarled tangle of her barbwire crown. This raven wore rubies and a black amethyst, a carbuncle the size of its head in the comfort of that feathery bosom. The caterpillar king mocked the birds, the parakeets, the crows, but especially the ravens, as he slowly went about the eating of a grape near twice his size. Lee Lynn had always remembered that, that from his pillow, a plush satin pillow, the caterpillar king with his toothless gape mocked the low flying butterflies from the safety of the ground while the raven perched itself above a pallid bust of Pilate just above her chamber door, the caterpillar king mocked the low flying butterflies from the comfort of a miniature plush pillow with a toothless smile and laughing eyes. Xiao jiaoz, my little dumpling…

When Lee Lynn woke up she found Mrs. Oswald sitting beside her on the bus, wearing a child’s meal crown from a Burger King, and, colder than it had been all December, she slid on a sweater, covered in butterflies, blue and orange and monarchs, which are symmetrical in the common breed, asymmetrical in the royal line of bird as each stately animal came in, some of them like the long memorial wall of names and numbers, written at the end of a knife into polished granite. She began to rouse, wondering if ever there were caterpillars, caterpillar kings like the prestigious raven in their gilded hall, columns shooting up as little lights for the greymoths to circle, and the bearded statue finally found its voice, the tape marks still outlined in red lines from where it had been ripped

In doing so the long lines of words and letters spilled out, none that she could recognized, and she imagined that none of them, the spirits of the ancestors as her grandfather told her, none of them had ever been butterflies, not in her family, not for long when it was; she imagined the standing statue of the bearded king, his cement tongue too heavy, though, to let him speak more clearly, reading from that bizarre poster on faded, near-brown, she had thought it beige when first looking, but in her dreams the flyer was printed on an old press, possibly a homemade one, and the long list of unidentifiable text let down the numbed barrier she had built along the monument of names but each came flooding back, caterpillars that had never become butterflies. Such foolish dreams, she thought, everyone knew that caterpillars couldn’t fly or be kings, nor statues speak in tongues; but she woke to find Stef quit of the seat beside her and a sleeping Mrs. Oswald in her place. Lee Lynn woke to find Mrs. Oswald carrying her, gently through the mess hall. The male and female students split there with the boys turning left down the long hallway and the girl students turning to the right, then climbing up a flight of stairs to the landing platform, a common room that led into individual rooms on the second floor.

The elevator refused to come down. Lee Lynn cursed beneath her, little dumpling, indeed, she thought, a caterpillar without wings, no crown fit to spare the wrath of ravens, Xiao jiaoz, said the voice, Xiao jiaox, she could hear her father calling, through the screen of her computer. She opened her arms to find herself held in Mrs. Oswald’s sturdy arms. She had carried Lee Lynn the whole way, pass the broken elevator, up the stairs, and onto the landing. She tucked her in and left by blowing out the last candle on the mantlepiece. She hadn’t slept well after that, waking during the night to what sounded like footsteps above her, then along the windowsill. She threw her covers off, annoyed with the bitterness of the air coming in, and closed the window, locking it with a switch of a golden hook. She returned back to bed, thinking of the day, and fell asleep again, only to find herself back in Caterpillar court, where the king japed with a wide-open, toothless mouth, Xiao jiaoz! The caterpillar cried, slinking over to her. Ow! She cried out, looking down to find the caterpillar king with teeth sunk into the fat of her arm with such force as to tilt its little cardboard crown to the side of its head as it bit down again, Ow! It’s crown was just as Mrs. Oswald’s had been from Burger King, as the Caterpillar King bit down on her again, only for her to take the bone-handled knife and stick it between its eyes with its lifeblood bursting beneath it like a stepped-on grape and a terrible psht.

She woke once more to what she thought was the window closing, but, finding it locked as it had been, returned to her cozy bed and pulled the covers above her head. For the longest time she could feel imaginary caterpillars crawling over her skin, looking for a soft spot where the little dumpling was just right for feeding.

Theatre Theory – Breaking the Floor

From an exchange from my stalled novel The Chameleon Mirror, on a theatre technique conceptualized by the character Alain Pinon.

‘Mme. Nanty,” Lain said, “have you ever thought of incorporating the audience into a performance?’

She was intrigued by this: “What do you mean? Breaking the fourth wall?”

‘No, no; lots of shows break the fourth wall. Breaking the fourth wall is just breaking down the barrier between you an the audience, not necessarily talking to an audience, but acknowledging the unreality of the performance — I have a sort of an extension, to perform the unreality, that is to say, when an actor or actress acknowledges or speaks to the audience. That’s breaking the fourth wall. I’m talking about breaking the floor.

‘Not only do you break the barrier between the performers and the audience, but you confuse the audience as to what is a performance and what is real.”

‘How would that be done?’ I asked.

‘First, you plant actors into the audience. They do this on shows in America to give the performance more weight, especially when the show is inherently fraudulent. Like mediums, a person who uses cold-reading to pretend to gain access to an audience member’s dead mother or father…’

‘That’s awful!’ I said. ‘How do they get away with that?’

‘That’s the thing: they get away with in broadcast more than they do with the audience before it’s broadcast, because the studio—the people producing the show—have actors intermingled with the audience. They have lines and costumes and no one, no one outside of the production staff knows about it. The idea could work to even greater effect in honest theatre. You plant actors in the audience and mix them. Give them parts to play, lines to read, and audio or visual cues to bring them into the performance. You do this and you take away the idea of deafness, the idea that the performers are separate to the audience or blind to them. The actors could use this to great effect. Think about it: what is never questioned in a performance?’

I couldn’t think of anything. I’ve read critics, and not all of them were like Lain.

‘When someone fucks up,’ he said. ‘If an actor fumbles a line, or stutters in a meaningful scene, everyone knows they’d never intentionally fuck up. Incorporate that into a mixed audience, and you have a basic premise to break a floor: an actress is on stage—let’s say that it’s Renette here, may I call you Renette? Okay, thank you. Let’s say mademoiselle is on stage during a great, long monologue. She’s doing it perfectly, and there’s a member of the audience—a very vocal and proud fan of the piece. Let’s say I’m that guy, and I see her fumble the lines. I start shouting her down, and she fumbles more and more. Finally, she loses her shit entirely and runs into the crowd and beats the fucking shit out of the guy.

‘That’s when someone throws something, another actor joins in, and in minutes, you’ve got a crowd in chaos and only half of them know it’s not real. What would the person sitting next to me feel? Real fear. When you see something performed, something supposed to scare you, you’re never really afraid because you know you’re not in danger. You add to that, bring twenty, fifty actors into it, and have frustrated staff take to the crowd to kill them, what do you have? Fucking fear. You have a broken floor.’

‘Why do you want to scare people?’ mother asked. ‘Wouldn’t that make them, I don’t know, leave the theatre?’

‘Why do we go to the theatre?’ he asked. ‘We go to experience feelings. Of course some people go to be entertained, for an escape from the real world, to escape into fantasy. Some people go to the theatre to more intensely feel the real world, or at least become more aware of the things that matter about it. Think about it: when do you most care about someone in a show? The moment they lose the person they love. Their father, their mother, their spouse. It’s about fear and desire, at its core, every play, every drama, is fear and desire in contrast with hope and reality.

“When do you care about someone the most? When you think they’re going to die. When do you want someone to stay the most? When you find out they’re going to leave. When you’re scaring someone, without them knowing, you’re teaching them to love and to love more and to love harder. Why scare them? Because when they’re clued in on the joke, when they find out everything is A-okay, they will never feel greater relief, because there is no such relief in life. In life, when someone leaves a stage with a pistol and shoots ate real people around an audience member, the cadavers don’t jump back up and bow and let her know that it’s okay, it’s all okay, nobody is hurt. Because in those situations, those people are fucking dead and nobody gets back up, not after that. You break the floor just to show them how real the floor is, how vulnerable it is, how precious.”

Some notes on Heir to Ruin

We would tell the story from the perspective of 12 primary characters over a generation, and then turn it over the next generation of characters, increasing the primary character list to 16, some new and some returning.

The problem is, once you’ve got your theme and your idea and your characters, the question of how to best present your story comes to mind. And we didn’t think the letter writing, making every chapter a different first person perspective narrative, limiting each chapter to a separate letter, and it left out a lot of the world. So we took those characters and put them in the buildings, in the buildings of the high and the lowly, as people are ranked in warfare. The high are those like the character of Richard Daly, an American Rear Admiral with control of a fleet in the Bering Straight, and in opposition to him we put the head of the Russian Army, Naniya Leminyovna, the last living daughter of Leminya Fyodorovna, along with her sister Dlina Temkina – they had different fathers, uterinal.
Another of the characters capable of making war could be considered the primary antagonist, Dlina Temkina, a lowly advisor from the Soviet War effort in Afghanistan, and we would have her be the atagonist for Richard Daly, with her sister at the head of a rebuilt, nationalistic Russian Army, eager to fight with the West, and America, and sick of fighting by proxy, like Afghanistan, the war being one of the huge contributing factors to the fall of the Soviet Union.
To go into history within a story has been done and has been carefully done accurately, inasmuch as historical events, unique to one culture or another, are historical and there is extent historical evidence for it. Making Dlina, a former army advisor and later a judge, you have a character with an access to public political power. A teacher in the Soviet tradition, proudly Russian, behind the curtains on the Russo side, and with Richard Daly on the other, head of his naval fleet. So, we have the powerful characters, Dlina, Niya, and Richard Daly, and these characters make decisions that effect hundreds of thousands of lives. So, we wanted to add characters in Russia, who would feel the ramifications of Dlina’s plans and warmaking, and we tied them to the Russian War in Afghanistan, playing into Dlina’s youth group, Potemkin’s Children, etc., etc.
We started with five Russian characters, primary characters, with four of them in Russia: Dlina Temkina, Minister of Public Welfare, former Army advisor, historian; Naninya Leminyovna, the head of the Russian Army, the rebuilt Red Army, built in the mid-90s during the quiet Communist Restoration, General, Conqueror of Yekaterinburg; Sasha Profokiev, Dlina’s aide; Katushka Alexandrovna, a widow, widowed by the Russo-Afghan war, with four children, three daughters: Grushenka, called Shenka, a member of Dlina’s youth group Potemkin’s Children, in the future a perspective character and corporal in the New Red Army; Marie, a student at the Tchaikovsky Institute for performing arts; Angela, having failed her exams and being unable to focus remains with Katushka; and her son, five years old, much younger than her three daughters.
Her cousin Leonid, a phd student, translator, works at the Russian ligation in Washington, a main protagonist, father of his cousin Katushka’s son Alyosha. He is consulted with the conspiracy of caesars, a propaganda campaign out of Ukraine circulated through flyers in the United States, each bearing the portrait of a Roman Emperor, which sets Richard Daly’s interest around Leonid, and he sends a young colleage of his to seek him out. Leonid is later contacted by the final perspective character in America, Nadia Albanese, a journalist covering the conflict in Ukraine, who will later ask Leonid to accompany her to Kiev when the city is retaken.
In the period of the Caesar papers, the propaganda campaign, Niya redeploys the Army and puts it into practice by taking Yekaterinburg, the traditional Soviet Penal Colony hub, where the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II and his family, died in the basement at Ipatiev House (called the House of Special Purpose in history, as it fell under Local Ural Soviet Law), and after taking the city, Niya, the General/head of the Army, takes the city of Yekaterinburg and then goes out on the town in her decoy’s clothes, her bodyguards clothes, and her portrait is taken by a French national and somehow finds its way back to Richard Daly, referred to only as Uncle Bob in the perspective chapters in which he appears (Oliver Pierce, Leonid Tomishenko [mentioned]).

When the French national is found dead, he is holding a Caesar flyer with Dlina’s face printed on it with Dlina the Terrible printed on it, and the conspiracy to take the Army from Niya Leminyovna begins among the soldiers. The guard who found the body is brought into Niya’s chambers in Yekaterinburg, where he claims that he only tried to shut him up; later he will mention that someone, one of Niya’s personal guards (Igor and Alexey Orloff), ordered them to stuff a rag in his mouth. This is considered murder, and Dlina is not told until the army has already made it to Kiev, where the Ukrainian president has signed over the city mandate in Kiev – when Kiev is conquered in the second act – and then a trial is convened, to look at the practice of prosecuting murder, and convening a triumvirate between Soviet lawyers, with Dlina as the attorney general in Rostov running for public office as the Minister of Public Welfare in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, while her sister is to hold Kiev and stay at the Presidential Palace with the former Ukrainian president’s decoy, Viktor 2, who kills the Ukrainian president and takes his place just to make peace with the conquering army under Niya Leminyovna.
During the lead up to the trial, Niya is questioned about the Frenchman’s murder, and the night leading up to it, an informal hearing. She names the guard who turned the man over to Igor Orloff, two patrolmen, though Igor claims to not have met them nor to have seen the killer of the Frenchman. Before an tribunal is called Dlina goes to see Mr. Nikoloff, an old judge and former professor of law who will sit in judgment of the murder of the Frenchman as a civilian in war, protected by the Geneva conventions. Dlina sends her valet, Hesse – a former worker for the ‘split Judge’ – Mr. Nikoloff serves on a triumvirate with Dlina Temkina and the Second Judge, and a split judge rules when the other two are in disagreement. In an attempt to compromise Mr. Nikoloff’s daughter, Dlina’s valet (Hesse) compromises Mr. Nikoloff’s son, leading to a potential disinheritance, but this is part of the larger plan, as Dlina, within the law, wants precedent against a ruling upheld by Cardinal Bishops in the Orthodox church, the culture/conversion and inheritance laws. To get a ruling on disinheritance from a Ukrainian judge, Dlina can claim her birthright as a bastard, Leminya Fyodorovna’s mother was the last daughter of Nicholas the Second, last Tsar of Russia, and sets up her attempt to reunify the Army behind the Imperial Throne, as the last Romanov can only inherit when the right is extended to women. This sets up the second half of the story wherein the idea of making her emperor leads to an attempted mutiny in Niya’s army after Igor Orloff is found guilty of having the Frenchman killed in order to keep him from revealing that Igor Orloff never returned his phone and it comes out in Trial, after the split Judge (Mr. Nikoloff) has agreed with Dlina not to prosecute her sister Niya as long as she’ll rule with him on his son’s disinheritance, for the behavior with Dlina’s valet, that Igor Orloff was feeding information to Richard Daly about Niya’s movements in Yekaterinburg to protect one of Orloff’s bastard daughters, born in the United States after her mother Linna leaves the Soviet Union around the time of its fall in ’91, shortly after the January Events (the last stand of the Russian army in an attempt to take a Lithuainian broadcast station), and Dlina sentences Igor Orloff to death.
Dlina’s aide Mr. Profokiev goes to offer Igor the opportunity to go to a labor camp in the East, or to choose to work in civic building projects. Igor’s brother Aranoff (The guard Niya actually gave the information to since they’re old friends who have slept together, even though Dlina told her not to talk in the sheets with Noffa) rebells and attempts to install a decoy of Niya Leminyovna, head of the largest Russian standing army, and is stopped by the decoy of the Ukrainian president, Viktor 2, along with Profokiev and the cooks who cook Aranoff’s supper at the end of the decoy mutiny (so named after the attempt to replace the General Niya with her decoy/boardguard Chaska [Russian for teacup/tea-kettle]. Aranoff is served peach cobbler with potassium cyanide in it, with the Ukrainian president’s decoy (Viktor 2) serving it to him, Dlina leaves, returning to meet Igor Orloff’s bastard daughter Stefani.
The larger battles in the first part would be the fall of Yekaterinburg, the culmination of the Caesar propaganda campaign (being a coordinated Russian attack on American radio/broadcast towers, in a manner similar to the way the Russian army once failed to take the Lithuainian television station. Dlina’s projects, developed as a type of communication device that puts several people into the same conversation regardless of their location as an approach to coordinating with group captains in war, as the first two battles in the story are not as large as the war that develops, and by the time the first Anglo-Russo war battle has taken place the characters from the first story, with some of the children – Children of Katushka [Shenka through Potemkin’s children, now a perspective chapter in the third part]; the children of Nadia Albanese, as she has two, Marco and Zola, and they take over the perspective of someone to experience the war from their perspective in Britain, planting a perspective for that perspective in the larger war that develops, the Second anglo-Russo war, ending in the drowning of Richard Daly’s fleet at the mouth of the Volga river (In modern Volgagrad, site of the Stalingrad war memorial), with Richard Daly being captured along with his second officer, Gilbert Allen and taken to Moscow.
Shenka participates in every battle after that within the developing, larger war, but the fight for Volga River is her first. Nadia, having traveled first to London with Leonid and then Marseilles to visit his mother, spending the time during the first decoy mutiny here as it is around Christmas, as Nadia and Leonid don’t make it to Leonid’s grandmother’s house, where his cousin Katushka and her children live, and they have only recently returned home (Marie attending the school of performing arts. She will give a perspective of an opera that is destroyed from above in the third anglo-Russo war. After spending time in Marseilles and going to Glass Beach (on the Catalan sea), Leonid and Nadia’s relationship begins and they start having sex, and Katushka thinks of Leonid more and more, essentially jealous on behalf of her son (with Leonid) as he never sees Leonid, and hadn’t since the Sochi Olympics. After Leonid decides to stay in Rostov to look after his (and Katushka’s) grandmother Sofya after her heart attack. Nadia has traveled to Crimea to cover the attempt to retake the city by NATO forces, the first battle after the decony mutiny at the end of part two, with Aranoff’s last supper and Dlina fleeing to Rostov, leading a trail for Bob to follow to Stavrapol after Stefani, as she’s followed there by Pierce, believing he would find her and wanting to protect her after he believes Bob (Richard Daly) plans on tracking her and then having her killed for her association with Dlina, whom she meets in a suburb of Rostov at a modest house and Dlina gives her money and an old ornate French clock. First time Dlina takes control of a child, the bastard daughter of Igor Orloff while he is put to work rebuilding the bridges over the Volga (this prior to the Battle of the Volga) and his brother, the younger Aranoff, is hanged from the tower surrounding Niya’s guard Smerakovich so the feet of his corpse will kick against the window and remind him of his crime, since he left the Frenchman in the care of someone other than Igor, this being covered from the perspective of Dlina’s aide, Profokiev, who is in the Presidential Palace when the mutiny takes place, from the perspective of the decoy of the Ukrainian president (Viktor 2 recounts most of it in his second perspective chapter in part 2, giving it the name Aesop’s Feast), while Niya, under Dlina’s command, has left the palace while the rebels, under Aranoff – charging that Dlina is acting outside of the law and carrying a Caesar flyer bearing Dlina’s name, DLINA I ROMANOVA, and it is left in the plate at the empty seat at the end of the table in Niya’s vacant bedchambers, as she’s in the city with Mr. Nikoloff’s daughter Bethanya while Dlina’s valet seduces Mr. Nikoloff’s son Peter, giving Dlina the precedent for disinheritance in favor of a daughter, Bethanya, whom Niya has befriended and gone riding with on the land, several hectares in long steppe and bush. This secures this long-term goal for Dlina, and works in the short term to expose the leak to the West in Niya’s army. Viktor 2 helps Niya escape and works on Dlina’s behalf in Ukraine after Niya and Bethanya shoot down a billboard on a promenade in Kiev. The night of the mutiny Niya spends it with Bethanya, drinking wine and playing the piano, and Dlina returns to Rostov to meet Stefani.
The main thematic element is illegitimacy. It begins with the forgeries of the Caesar papers, which are themselves a propaganda campaign to signal Dlina in the East that certain broadband devices/network routers have been shipped, as they work to disconnect radio communication in combatant populations, a modification of a communications disruptor device first used in Afghanistan (Battle of Makeshift Mosque, from Dlina 1), which is gradually set up in America over the course of part one, ending in the imposition of absolute radio silence to blanket a protest of Kiev. The device unintentionally disables electronics guidance systems and streetlights and electricity, leading to the epilogue of the culmination of that part, the conspiracy of caesars and how it relates to the themes being set up, and though it succeeds, it has unintended casualties which is thought of as a War Crime, and it gives Richard Daly the excuse to send ships down the Volga to take the city and cut off food supplies in all directions on the vast Volga river, setting up a NATO army in the Northwest of Moscow composed of ten thousand Americans under Richard Daly, Gilbert Allen with three carriers and seventeen ships, and this culmination leads to the final, largest battle of the first book – Dlina is in Rostov, bringing in a rear guard of old soldiers (the net), marching to reinforce Volgagrad (meeting the retreating coalition army at the feet of the large Stalingrad war memorial statue, the gigantic Valkyrie woman with the sword. The NATO Army in the largest battle of this book, this first book in this Flag Carrier’s War anthology (composed of four books: the Book of Peace [Heir to Ruin], the Book of Letters [The Courier’s War, the second book in the series, which is compiled of letters between characters having moved into their semi-permanent places for the first two years of the war as it builds.
Leonid is in Rostov-on-Don, taking care of his grandmother and trying to reconnect with Alyosha, while trying to also get Katushka to trust him with responsibilities and working; Niya is on the Volga on a small helicopter carrier with lines of soldiers in the trees along the long, long expanse of the Volga, larger than all the great lakes combined, connecting to where Dlina starts (in the Arctic North during the White Lights, the period of time that has a constant sun, different than where Dlina is from in Stavrapol), and Nadia is there to see the attempted retaking of the capitol in Kiev, seeing the fall of Viktor 2 (Ukrainian president decoy) at the Presidential Palace after the army decamps, leaving the trial of Mr. Nikoloff’s son under his own prosection as Dlina’s public office so far, by the end of the first novel, is the Minister of Public Welfare. There is where he starts the youth group, Potemkin’s children, which of course brings Katushka’s daughter Grushenka into the Army, and where she controls the rations sent to the outskirts of Rostov, where Katushka lives, so one character’s chapter, as far as it is a singular point of view, reverberate through others, showing, through family connection or association, the characters, with Lee’s mother (Renette Brisbois, who ran their family’s theatre after Lee’s grandfather died) in France, Lee’s Russian father in America, having emigrated with Lee in 1990, after staying briefly in Rostov with Sofya, Katushka and Leonid’s shared grandmother. Richard Daly’s nephew (Andrew, the cabdriver from Chapter 1) picks up Stefani’s narrative in America after she’s placed in Dlina’s care to have that same perspective as the war develop, to show each side having their own history and motivations with each making decisions that hugely effecting one another, intentionally, causatively, incidentally, coincidentally, linking the eventual total list of primary characters around the world where the largest battles take place over the last two books, The Book of Changes, the third book, will chronicle the long thread of Russian Orthodoxy and the Nicean code, a compendium of invented and genuine histories pertinent to the culture of each chater. Giving voice to history from multiple perspectives, linking the present with history to give cultural context working with individual perspectives, in the end, I believed would work to tell the story of war in some way that is comprehensive. The Book of Changes would exist as a chronological account of major offensives and defensives within the first two books, in that larger historic context, within the context of the Soviet Army’s real life failures in Afghanistan and the anxiety and itch that old soldiers have for war, on one front or another, and I wished more than anything with this present war from a universal perspective, from children, young boys and girls, to young teens, their mothers and fathers, in power (Dlina, Richard “Bob” Daly, Niya and later Grushenka – Katushka’s oldest daughter and, in the final book Alyosha Alexandrovich – Katushka’s young son, departing after the American retreat through Rostov and his kidnapping) and there are those who work for these powerful people (Profokiev works as Dlina’s eyes and ears, her aide and secretary at the Ministry, serves her well; Leonid, works for Russian embassy in first America and then the Russian embassy in Russia, at the Kremlin; Nadia, attempting to sell a story about the war to publishers back in New York City, Pierce, the British liason officer who accidentally falls Igor Orloff’s bastard daughter to Stavrapol only to be met by Profokiev; Andrew , Grushenka, Profokiev, Viktor 2), regular people adversely or affected to a major degree by those people at the top, the secondary characters like Chashka (Niya’s decoy), Bethanya Nikolovna [the split Judge Mr. Nikoloff’s daughter], Hesse (Dlina’s valet who seduces Mr. Nikoloff’s son) Leminya (Dlina’s mother), Eugene (Leonid’s father, Eugene I, works in a factory on East Coast, shipping broadband modems – modified to emit that interruption signal (from the Manhattan Protest Bombings, which ends the first part of Heir to Ruin, with the Death of Aranoff ending part 2, and the last act ending with the Battle of the Volga, the capture of Richard Daly, and the first battle of the Anglo-Russo war. Alyosha is kidnapped during the American army’s retreat to hold to ransom (as they had done with Igor Orloff’s bastard Stefani), Profokiev, Marie and Angela are killed along with Sofya at the end of the first book (the Book of Peace), with Leonid going to Moskow, leaving Katushka with her dead children, while Nadia is caught in the retaking of Kiev; English ships begin to swell along the Catalan sea along the eastern shore of Southern france in Marseilles, where Leonid’s mother lives; the second usage of the interruption device / (the black rainbow from part one, interrupting news broadcasts and shutting off broadcast signals in the UK by Russian paramilitary groups, which leads to Britain declaring war on Russia along with France, as Germany, with Angela Merckel and Dlina Temkina signing a non-aggression pact, the New-Ribbontropp pact, and the expulsion of NATO forces in the far West along the borders with Lithuainia, Poland, Latvia, and Estonia. The larger Army Group regroups in Volgragrad and begins to march, turning their ships back to Kiev to relieve the smaller Army group under siege in the Captiol, with Viktor 2 and Chaska (General Niya’s decoy) being killed, replaced by a new legitimate President to prosecute Mr. Nikoloff’s son to disinherit him in favor of the daughter Bethanya (whom Niya spends the night of the decoy mutiny with) though [she] refuses to testify against her brother (Peter Nikolovich) as he is disinherited in Bethanya’s favor, changing an ancient Cardinal law of inheritance in the Orthodox Church (allowing Dlina to inherit the Imperial Throne through her mother’s father, Nicholas II Romanov, giving Niya her precedent and setting up the title of the final novel (the Book of War), The Last Romanov, becoming the thirteenth Caesar from the propaganda campaign that begun the story with Oliver Pierce in Washington talking to Richard Daly (Uncle Bob) about the papers, which are taken to Leonid and translated, who meets the journalist Nadia, interspersed with chapters of war in its early forms in Russia (chapter 2, the Fall of Yekaterinburg) and Chapter 14, the Sacking of Kiev), which then culminate with those Manhattan Protest Bombings, which they are called at first as it is not known what type of weapon is being used. The Black Rainbow as it’s called is emitted by an experimental radio transmitter, using the set-up broadband devices as transponders to amplify the signal, thus imposing radio silence on vast swathes of America (when the Russian Army invades the American mainland through Alaska, then sweeping through the West coast and taking the bay in San Francisco as the bulk of domestic forces are rallied to stand in Chicago with the Red Army Marching Eastward, attempting to link up with Grushenka’s fleet in the South Carolina city of Charleston, to control the shipping lanes in and out of America – starving them to sue for peace. Alyosha, having grown up for two books with Richard Daly’s family in America, meets his sister in Battle, in the Battle of the Mississippi, the first major battle on American soil in the series, first recounted in Grushenka XVIII, in a letter to the commissar of defense in Moscow, where Dlina is arranging a coup after a suspended election, with Vladimir Putin taking wartime powers, building a parliament of rooks – from the second part of The Last Romanov – against Putin rule in favor of Dlina, who has made her family history known in her campaign for Secretary of Defense. When she’s linked to the murder of a Bishop during the fall of Kiev, the church begins to work against her, forcing her to choose between the sacking of the Orthodoxy in Russia or the dismantling of ceded territories to orthodox Christians allowed to vote on the laws for their regions, with federal inheritance laws altered, finally, to allow Dlina to assume that role, that may have gotten away from me, of the last Caesar in that series that starts the book, as Leonid tells Pierce (Chapter 2) that the series wasn’t intended to end with Julius Caesar (the last propaganda flyer found) that it is meant to preach the coming of a new Tsar, the elected Caesar like the thirteenth Caesar (Chapter 2) Nerva in Roman Imperial History. Dlina sees it as her goal to change these laws of inheritance, allowing for bastard children to inherit, and for women to inherit in the absence of a male heir, even among Cardinal Bishops, her biggest resistance in the end, forcing her to choose between executing them and trying to oppress them.
Somewhere in all this I want to tell very simple human stories, as in Katushka’s narrative, who brings in her rations each day, vegetables and grains provided for her by the Ministry of Public Welfare (While Dlina is in office, allows us to view her work in public office) and she talks with her children and tries to teach them and anticipating Leonid’s arrival in Rostov, we have their history and relationship, developing simultaneously with Leonid and Nadia, showing how similar it is for people in their ways of loving. Developing bonds in the early story allows for the threats posed to the characters to matter, to have characters with personalities and intricate lives and a part of a cultural whole unique to itself is done best by giving them a personality before putting them in great danger. The danger that is present in the last book, with each character facing unique challenges, with Katushka working to move provisions and food into Rostov in the later days of the war, as Leminya (Dlina’s mother, daughter of Nicholas II) lived through the Siege of Leningrad (Chapter 11, Leminya I), giving an historical event that is, while not Xeroxed into the present actually, something characters can find some sort of hope in, as if someone such as Leminya, a chubby girl who stole ration cards during the blockade, could survive, then Grushenka (Chapter 29, The New Saints Row) can learn from it to help her mother besieged in Rostov as the food shipments, which mattered so much to Koshka in the earlier chapters (Katushka I, Katushka II, and by Katushka III Dlina has taken over as Minister, and the provisions increase and stay constant until the war efforts becomes more desperate with Grushenka fighting a stalemate along the Mississippi river, with the Red Army urging her to retreat (Grushenka VI) and wait for supplies by sea.

First proposal for Heir to Ruin, novel: 2016

 

A note from the author(s)

 

This story’s roots can be traced back the January of 2014, which was the first night Diana and I sat down at her kitchen table (with Whisky and bad Russian accents) and wrote down some of the broader strokes of this story we wanted to tell. That’s the story I’d like to, at least, try to present on my behalf, and her behalf as well, as the embryology of this anthology began with an accidental message.

I was working on a book on physics, Undressing Gaia (2013), and I sent a message to a former classmate, who I thought to be Julia. Julia had been a fellow-classmate in high-school, and I was trying to advertise this book and, accidentally, I sent the link to Diana and, despite not being the person I had intended to speak to, she spoke to me quite a bit, and at length, about the story I was trying to write. And, within a few months, we were sharing our favorite stories. She got me a wonderful volume of Shakespeare’s collected works, and I introduced her to Marcel Proust, and that really bonded our writing sensibilities, with a sort of aspiration that percolates in people.

In the year after that first message we resolved to tell a story of War, A Flag Carrier’s War was the original idea, and all we really had, material wise, was this idea that in war, there are often flag carrier’s, standard bearers, the people who are there to beat the drum and to spur the soldiers on, to coordinate troop movements as well. And we thought, this idea, of the ordinary, non-heroic people within war, within total war, has never been shown, at least not to great effect, in extent fiction. A look at war from the perspective of those who would, in a heroic film, simply be a pile of rubble seen from above, along with long lines of similarly gutted houses, and it’d never come back up. What it was that had happened to the individuals was something we rarely saw, and thought that we could write a series that would show war from all perspectives. From the perspective of men and women from different countries, with different personal histories and of different cultures, and of different generations, mothers and their children, and the perspective would change as someone died.

The first idea was to write an epistolary novel, a collection of letters sent from warzones, from battles, and the bulk of the war would be told from the perspective of the people writing letters back to their homes and wives and children and fathers and mothers, and we would take all of these perspectives and put together something that looked like a sufficiently broad analysis of the crisis of human conscience in all contexts during total war, the warmaking of an entire population versus another.

This developed from a few conversations Diana and I had about where we wanted to take this story, how we wanted to present it, and everthing I’ve described to try to describe this story has been the weird, sprawling flowering of those initial ideas we discussed in 2014 to write a story about war. The idea germinated over the next two years, as we moved onto other projects, and we decided to pick it back up in July of 2016, when we hired the editor Sarah Macklin (nee Elsley) to work on research and drafting, and since those conversations, about having Dlina and Leonid and Nadia, all of this has come from that, naturally enough, hopefully to tell a story of one that doesn’t, through limitation of perspective, tell a multifaceted story through the tinted lenses of a specific nationality, whether by patriotism or how nativists view history, often limits our understanding of the effects of war on regular people, while the people of great influence, like Napoleon and Caesar, as well as people who would be peasants or otherwise unremarkable. The kind of people that Proust might describe, plain people doing boring, agonizing things, and that is war, absolutely, the war of entire worlds. It cannot be told by sides, for it is all sides on each other. Total war has only happened once in American history. Sherman inflicted it on Georgia after Joe fell outside of Atlanta, the war against a civilian population. This, then, is a civilian’s war, where soldiers and civilians do similar things. In the end, do you want to live? How hard would you work for that? How much do you want that next breath of air? Now earn it. The Chinese had a total war among the Qing and Taiping under Hung, the entire population carried swords, and those who didn’t got buried by them. The war against a civilian population is subtle, it’s something you have to do to break the will of someone, you break the wheels of order, give everyone a gun who’s on your side, and destroy the population, as Rome destroyed Carthage in the Third Punic War. Mercy is all good for films and stories, but mercy gets you murdered. Termites eat from the inside out. There is no glory, but there’s beauty in that helplessness, in that it inspires the absolute best and the absolute worst in people, and the working out of those upheavals reveals more about our nature than the study of any other discipline, and the exploration of that nature is in conquest and in blood. It’s not always poetic. The fire, it’s beautiful from a far, but not when it licks your face. Theory goes out the window when you get shot. I want to show that precariousness of life in such a state, more so than any other, in its upheavals and failures and struggles, and ultimately, what success there has been. If in wisdom, not in health, we survive. Some thrive. Some become monsters, petite and major, and some very decent indeed, polite monsters shooing off the others.

Heir to Ruin would be in trade paperback an estimated five hundred fifty pages, the second book a bit less. They’re different approaches to looking at these events, first through perspective then through correspondence between peoples, spread over generations. Generations, that’s worth dedication, to bring characters up in the background from childhood then introduce them into the story in a more dynamic way as other characters in that sphere resolve their storylines or are killed. The children inherit the ruins of former lives, as title characters and the lowest of the low, the cowards, they fight too. They fight fear. Fear is the crucible through which we are judged moral, immoral, or amoral in action. If you’d actually like to read a brief outline of the series as I see it, you may click on the link below this sentence when it appears. If it doesn’t, annoy me on Twitter. http://www.twitter.com/MrBrandonNobles

 

 

 

11 September 2016

Brandon K. Nobles, 

Whitmire, SC.