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 Beautiful Belmont, Part 21 -- The Fortuneteller.

by John Salisbury Cochran.

See previous entry: Beautiful Belmont, Part 20 -- Miller, the Mean Mare.

We had quite an interesting character in the person of an old woman by the name of Seals, who lived for many years in one of our tenant houses. She was a firm believer in ghosts, apparitions, forewarnings, and fortunetelling. Whenever she desired information on any matter she could not work out herself, she visited a noted fortuneteller in Bellaire. She had as much confidence in the ability of this diviner of hidden mysteries as one could have in anything, and it was really remarkable what information she received, or claimed to have received, from her on hidden matters.

She owned a dog named "Turk," a very sly one, which we long suspected of killing our sheep. One day brothers Wilson and Watson, who were twins, caught him in the very act. They killed and buried the dog, but said nothing to a living soul, not wishing to hurt Mrs. Seals' feelings. She made a search and inquiry everywhere, and among others, of our two brothers, who, of course, had not seen "Turk." They, seemed to take a great interest in aiding her to discover what had become of him, and suggested from time to time many alternatives. She finally said she had exhausted all other resources, and would go to the fortuneteller.

Some six months after Turk's death, when Mrs. Seals was making one of her triweekly visits to our home, Watson, in a sympathetic strain, asked her if she ever heard anything of "Turk." "Yes, I have heard all about him," she said, calmly and confidently. "Indeed," said Watson, quite interestedly, "and what became of him?" "You and your brother Wilson killed and buried him," she said quietly and deliberately. This completely upset my brother with laughter, who said, "How in the world did you get that idea into your head?" "Oh, the fortuneteller told me all about it. She told me how he was killed; that it was done by two fair-haired twin brothers, sons of a neighbor of mine, and you are the only twins in this whole section. She told me how you had buried him and covered the grave with logs and brush, but I never went to find the grave." This was exactly true.

There is another incident connected with this same fortuneteller which I never could quite understand. Mrs. Seals' eldest son, William, served with me in Company K, 15th Ohio Volunteers. At the battle of Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, he was particularly brave and conspicuous. He was a little sick when he went into the fight, and after it was over it was discovered he was out of his mind with typhoid fever. He was placed in one of our transport boats, and we never saw him afterward. For a long time after the war, we continued to try to find out what had become of him, but without success.

One day Mrs. Seals stepped into my law office and said she had learned what had become of her son William; he was buried in the soldiers' cemetery at St. Louis, Missouri. I found she had gotten this information from the fortuneteller, and told her she could place no reliability in it, but that the matter could be readily determined from the hospital records there. This was done, and found to be absolutely true.

See next entry: Beautiful Belmont, Part 22 -- My Money Box.

For the table of contents and first entry in this series, see: Beautiful Belmont, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Brief Introduction.

This entry is adapted from Bonnie Belmont: A Historical Romance of the Days of Slavery and the Civil War, by John Salisbury Cochran, which was published originally in 1907. The book has been reedited extensively for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Web site by special permission. This special edition of Beautiful Belmont is licensed for use ONLY on this Web site. It may not be copied or downloaded, but may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Web site. Please note that this Stratton House Inn iteration of the book does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.

CO-AUTHOR: Wall, C. Edward. (Editor)
CO-AUTHOR: Schultheiss, Tom. (Asst. Editor)

DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 2000 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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