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“ There's a Divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them as we will."
CCORDING to the ancient palmists, with whom in this
instance I entirely agree, "you are born with your left hand ; your righth and you make for yourself,” and chances and checks, sent by what fortune-telling lore calls “fate,” are shadowed out as possibilities in the left hand, while the right shows their treatment and its results. The varying portraits usually presented by the two hands may be compared to the different views held of a man by his mother and his fiancée, if he have one; his mother seeing what he has been, and is, all that his right hand would show the palmist. To his fiancée, however, much more than this may be visible, for she will see him as he might bé, as perhaps, for her sake and under her influence, he may become if the influence be strong enough. Whether this be so or not, Chiromancy could enlighten her; and should it frown a negation on all her hopes she would be wise to break with a life doomed to disappoint her. The multitude, however, will scarcely take this view until the prophecy of D'Arpentigny, that “ La chiromancie sera un jour la grammaire de l'organisation humaine," has been accomplished.
Palmistry is like a Chinese puzzle ; unless each piece is perfectly fitted nothing is gained by an attempt to force things to a conclusion. Lucky guesses are often made by fictitious fortunetellers, but, if pressed, their chance conclusions break off short, as do the puzzle pieces when thrust into places to which they do not appertain.
The usual division of palmistry into two parts—Chirognomy, or study of the shape of the hand, and Chiromancy, or study of the lines of the palm is rendered respectable by ancient usage, and although arbitrary, and also, as Heron Allen has well said, “not only false in practice, but misleading in principle,” it is difficult to discard the form on which the ancient principles of palmistry are built. It is left for the Chiromancy of to-day to show that many characteristics are given by the course and colour of the lines of the palm, the region under Chiromancy's sway ; while fortune, if not exactly to be found in the fingers, is usually the outcome of qualities denoted by their formation, and interpreted by Chirognomy.
Cohesion is the keynote of Chiromancy, and any attempt to separate its constituent parts results only in the production of halfformed skeletons, whose joints jar and rattle when they touch, instead of fitting smoothly into one harmonious whole. “I can read your character, but I know nothing whatever about fortune-telling," is a common remark, and one received with approbation by the many who feel convinced that in their palms Chiromancy can only find qualities calculated to fill all those privileged to hear the interpretation with an admiring awe. These people, while delighting in the prominence thus given to their personalities, yet condemn fortune-telling as a tampering with evil spirits. “There can be nothing wrong in character-reading," they remark complacently, as they extend their hands for the palmist's inspection ; but I am inclined to doubt whether the feelings of these worthy souls are still those of vivid satisfaction when the ordeal is over, unless the interpreter be one who, velvet shod, treads warily to the side of all susceptibilities. For their comfort, however, should the picture presented by the palmist displease them, I would remind them that characters thus read are practically valueless. Unless the influences and occurrences which have tended to develop, or even to create, leading qualities are observed and noted, any transcript of our natures is about as useful as a watch we cannot wind up.
Character sketches cannot be made with any surety unless supported by events due to the working of mind and will which are shown by the lines in the palm ; and further, such portraits can only be valuable in pointing out where we have gone, and are likely again to go wrong, and also in showing us the qualities we have developed, whether for good or for evil, and the manner of their development.
VOL. IV.-NO. 21.
History repeats itself in hands as in lives, and the man who has already come to grief through impetuous hot-headedness, "action quand même,” as Desbarrolles puts it, will in all probability precipitate himself into other difficulties of like description, unless, indeed, he has learnt his lesson and seen the necessity of selfcontrol and coolness. Whether he has or has not done this the palinist will speedily sec, for one of the most important points in palmistry is the mutability of lines. In six months a hand will change and develop marvellously, and, where a strong will has been sct to conquer impulse and passion, development of the head line will prove that determination has won the day, should there be coincident diminution in the redness and strength of crosses in the space between the head line and the mensale, called Plain of Mars; the mensale, or line of heart, being that immediately below the fingers, and running from the first finger to the side of the hand; while the head line, starting close to the thumb, either follows the mensale or slants downwards towards the wrist..
Determination is shown by the thumb, which is a study in itself, its three joints representing the three powers which rule the world : Love, Logic, and Will. The third joint, surmounted by the Mount of Venus, is, as its name states, dedicated to love ; the second, rising from the mount to the first joint, shows Logic, or its absence; and the first phalange, ending in the nail, declares the force forthcoming to shape success or fortune. Want of length between the nail and the first joint of the thumb tells of weakness, which often explains how brilliant chances marked by lincs on the palm have been allowed to slip through feeble fingers. Only in a clever hand, where finger tips are pointed, and their first phalanges (i.e., joints) long, is this short-topped thumb desirable. In this combination its weakness is but that of all isnaginative. genius—inability to cope with the rough realities of daily life. With clever hands the short first phalange tells of inspiration and creative faculty, and in such cases a long second phalange to the thumb denotes a tendency to see things from all points of view, which makes life difficult, but composition easy; for such people can so put themselves in sympathy with all sorts and conditions of men that they will paint them to the life, whether with pen or pencil.
Persons whose thumbs show a long, broad, thick, and coarselooking first phalange, while the second is short and insignificant, are obstinate to pigheadedness; but when both phalanges are of equal length, they show the man qui ira loin, his determination being based on the calmest, clearest logic, and carried out by an unfaltering will.
Men who, like Petruchio, would have a patient wife, yet lack his ruling thumb and power of will to fashion her as he did, should study fingers ere they make their choice ; for when a woman's little finger extends above the topmost joint of the third finger it will take a Petruchio to tame her, and, according to the old fathers of palmistry, the husband of such a woman“ will have a shrew, and
, she will wear the breeches."
Judging by the shower of questions on the subject of matrimony with which both sexes assail the palmist, it would appear that solving the French conundrum on “marriage" is the all-engrossing object and occupation of the day, and if cynics lay stress on its first three lines only
"Mon premier, c'est un tyran ;
Mon second, c'est le diable;
many young and hopeful spirits spring up, chiming out :
“ Mais si l'on aime, mon premier ;
Ou ne craint point, mɔn second ;
The so-called marriage lines are very diminutive, but they undoubtedly possess more interest for the general world than any others; the unfortunate thing about them is that they are singudarly indefinite. They rise on the percussion or side of the hand and run horizontally on to the Mount of Mercury, which rises between the mensale and the little finger. But I consider the long ones only to be indicative of matrimony; short ones simply showing how often it has been contemplated; while branches rising towards them from the line of heart tell whether that organ was or was not involved.
A cross on the Mount of Jupiter (which is the lump immediately below the first finger) is supposed to show a marriage of affection ; but this sign, again, is vague, as occasionally it declares only a onesided devotion. These crosses, however, are sometimes useful in fixing the date of marriage: if very near the root of the first finger, it will be an early one; if about the centre of the Mount of Jupiter, between twenty-five and twenty-eight; and if so low as closely to approach the line of life, not until old age has set in.
A better method of ascertaining the date of marriage is, I think, to take a slanting line from a clearly marked marriage line to the line of life, and, should a small line running parallel to the Vitale (which encircles the thumb) appear at the point to which this brings me, I consider it a distinct mark of marriage at that date. A corresponding cross in the Saturnian, or line of fate, of which I must presently speak, adds corroboration amounting to certainty, and is the safest evidence to go upon, as the other signs take for granted an affection which in mariages de convenance is usually conspicuous by its absence.
I have been told by people who have studied palmistry upon the Indian system that their method of calculating the date of marriage is to mcasure the space between such a line and the mensale. If very near the root of the finger, the marriage should be a very early one, as in the case of crosses on the Mount of Jupiter ; if about equi-distant between the mensale and the root of the little finger, it will be nearer middle age; while should it only appear just above the heart line, marriage will not take place until the meridian of life is past. I cannot say if this is truly Indian lore, I merely give it as a commonly accepted method, with which, however, I am unable to induce my experience entirely to concur, and the predictions which I most vividly remember as having been made upon this basis seem hardly likely to be realised.
The subject was a young lady, whose palm showed three marriage lines, but as the first did not appear, according to the palmist, until more than half her life had passed, the space allotted to each husband seemed somewhat scanty. The young lady married shortly afterwards, and, as her husband's hand declared two