"The sea, the sea, the open sea; The blue, the fresh, the ever free," chanted the fresh and delicious voice of a young girl walking along the sands of the seashore in the summer sunshine at Cape May. "Cross my palm with silver, and I'll tell your fortune, bonnie maid," said a cracked, discordant voice. The singer paused abruptly, and looked at the owner of the voice?a lean, decrepit old hag, who extended her withered hand imploringly. "Nay, now, good soul," answered she, with a merry laugh, "fortune will come to me anyway, even if I keep my silver piece." "Aye?aye, it will," said the old crone, wagging her head like a bird of evil omen; "it aye comes to faces as bonny as your own. But it's I that can tell you whether it be good or ill fortune." "Here, then," said the girl, still laughing, and putting a silver piece into the trembling old hand; "be cheerful, now, and tell me a brave fortune for my money." The old sibyl did not appear to relish the light and jesting tone of the other, and stood for a moment gazing at her in grave and portentous silence. What a contrast the two presented as they stood looking at each other! The girl was beautiful, with all the delicate freshness and slimness of eighteen. She was a dazzling blonde, with sea-blue eyes, and hair like spun gold falling beneath her jaunty sailor hat in long, loose curls to her graceful waist. She was fair as a lily, with a flush like the heart of a sea-shell on her round, dimpled cheeks. Her brow was fair and broad, and fringed with soft, childish rings of sunny hair. Her nose was small and straight; her mouth was curved like Cupid's bow, its short, exquisite upper lip lending a touch of archness to the patrician mold of her[Pg 2] features. The small, delicately shaped hands and feet were in keeping with the rare beauty of her face and form. She was simply clad in a jaunty sailor costume of dark blue serge trimmed with white braid and pearl buttons, and carried a volume of poems in her gloved hand.