Flirty Fun with Fortune-telling

Flirty Fun with Fortune-telling

The Prophetic Oracle: or Ladies' and Gentlemen's Sibylline Leaves, for Social Amusement.Fisherville, New Hampshire: J.F. Witherell, 1848.

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This tiny 16mo booklet was to be used as a parlor game to “give diversity of entertainment to the friendly gatherings of young ladies and gentlemen.” Each page listed a question, mostly to do with love, which one member of the group was to read aloud. The others would each chose a number randomly, and the leader would then read aloud each person’s “answer” from a list of available options (most questions had both a men’s and women’s column of answers).

• What is necessary to secure happiness? Answers for women ranged from “plenty of pea-nuts” to “plenty of novels.”

• Describe one’s intended husband or wife? Answer could be “squint-eyed, freckled, fat and ugly” or “A perfect daguerreotype of yourself.”

Adopted in honor of Linda Richardson on her retirement from the History Department at West Boylston High School

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