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marriages, they are rather at a loss to imagine how Fortune intends to fit their fates.

The palmistry of different countries is divergent chiefly in its dating. The system founded by D’Arpentigny and Desbarrolles is derived from the ancient Kabala, whose origin cannot be traced, although its secrets were known both in India and Egypt, whence portions of its teaching slowly filtered into other countries. Pythagoras is said to have introduced it into Greece, where it was also studied by Anaxagoras.

Many centuries later the art of palmistry originally built upon this system was introduced into Germany by some of those Egyptians who revolted from the Turkish yoke and dispersed in small parties all over the world, while their supposed skill in the black art procured for them a universal reception in that age of credulity and superstition. The welcome given to them, however, was not universally enduring, for they were expelled from France and many other countries in less than fifty years after their advent.

Germany has produced several most interesting works on Chiromancy, and from one especially, dating from about 1600, I have learnt many things which I have failed to find elsewhere. This work declares that when the marriage line ends in a fork it indicates a broken engagement, and this reading I have invariably found correct, even in cases where it seemed most unlikely, such as that of a school girl of fifteen.

Every country has its own traditions, from each and all of which some truths doubtless may be gleaned. Hungarian gipsies still have a world-wide reputation. I am doubtful, however, whether the predictions of to-day's Italian Zingare rest greatly upon the lore chronicled in quaintest medieval writings and stored away in the British Museum.

Here, too, are books in queer old French and ancient English, all on the same subject, containing such useful hints as these : “ Beware of hurt from four-footed beasts if four lines run perpendicularly from the wrist towards the little finger"; and, “ Beware of falling from a high place if there be a star upon the ring finger.” The truth of these signs I have seen proved in many cases, but I will only instance that of one man who had a scrious attack of brain

fever, resulting from a kick on the head given to him by his hunter while struggling out of a ditch ; and of another who, returning from the country house where I had told his fortune and given him this salutary Old World warning, was next day knocked over by a hansom whilst crossing the Strand. The star on the third finger I also find a true sign.

In one instance, where it was enclosed in a small square (sign of preservation from danger), I said that death had been narrowly escaped in falling from some tremendous height. “You are right,” my subject answered ; "only a projecting plank stayed my fall from some scaffolding which was then attached to the highest part of the South Kensington Museum."

The importance of the Saturnian, or line of fate, to which I have already referred, is, I think, more keenly felt by modern than by ancient palmists. The reason is, perhaps, that in the hurried nervous life of the nineteenth century the events which chiefly affect us are those marked in the line which tells of fortune made or marred. The meanings of lines and their relative value must vary with different ages, for in these days people are not dropped into oublicttes, not often slowly poisoned, and even duels are rcgarded as the peculiar privilege of the French Ministry. Chiromantic signs, therefore, either lose their significance or disappear, much as some wild animals change their very forms when they become domesticated ; and it is because of this that so much ancient lore is mere waste paper. The chief craving of to-day is to carve out a career, and the Saturnian will tell us whether, indeed, as Lord Beaconsfield puts it, “ Youth is a blunder, manhood a mistake, and old age a regret,” or whether success, beyond our fondest hopes, awaits us in the future.

This all-important line of fate rises either from the line of life, the Plain of Mars (or space between the head and life lines), the Mount of the Moon, or the Rascette, which is the line joining hand to wrist, and which is the most favourable starting point for the Saturnian. Rising straight and clear from this line to the second finger, but without cutting its root, it promises great happiness and good fortune ; but should it cut the root of the finger, the distinguished destiny it prophesies may but be that of colossal crime, and as has been said of the youngest and worst of Roman emperors :

“Si son exécrable mémoire
Parvienne à la posterité,
C'est que le crime, ainsi que la gloire,

Conduit à l'immortalité." A good clear Saturnian commencing on the Mount of the Moon, which rises immediately above the Rascette, tells that fortune will be due to the caprice of helping hands, or favourable winds ; for when not won by human aid, other signs, such as lines running horizontally from the side of the hand towards the palm, will declare successful voyages, or ventures beyond the sea, forming Fortune's foundation.

When the line of fate starts from the Vitale it often simply reflects that line, and indicates that life is mere existence; although in an intellectual hand, where Will is strongly developed, it may mean that Genius works its own way to eminence, unaided by friends or fortune.

People who have no Saturnian drift with the stream, leaving no otter's "chain" to mark their progress, like Wordsworth's

“ Violet by a mossy stone

Half hidden from the eye!
Fair as a star, when only one

Is shining in the sky.
She lived unknown, and few could know

When Lucy ceased to be ;
But she is in her grave, and oh!

The difference to me!”

Of this possibly enviable insignificance people whose lines of fate incline towards Jupiter need entertain no fear, for distinction will be forced upon them. They will, however, take more than kindly to it, for such persons are often curiously childish, and take an infantine delight in bearing honours of any sort ; they attach vast importance to trifles, and are absurdly ready to take offence.

All small lines, not crosses, which cut the Saturnian, signify obstacles ; but crosses bear a widely different and most important interpretation, indicating changes of position, place, or life, leading (if beyond the cross the line of fate is good and clear) to fortune

and success.

In a woman's hand one of these crosses usually marks the date of marriage, if such marriage is elsewhere indicated. The date is easily ascertained by measurement, starting from the wrist, from which part to the line of head a period of between thirty and thirty-five years must be counted ; the space between the head and heart lines gives from ten to fifteen additional years; and the rest of life, as demonstrated by the Saturnian, is compressed into the short space between the line of heart and the fingers. This measurement is according to Desbarrolles, and I have always found it correct. But I feel bound to mention a curious instance of fortunetelling, on what its exponent declared to be the Chinese system, which read the line of fate and, so far as I recollect, all other lines, backwards; that is, the end of any line accepted by the Chiromancy generally known to European civilisation as representing the beginning of life is by this method regarded as the end of life. I cannot myself agree with this method, but common honesty compels me to give the fortune told upon this curious system and its corroboration.

The subject was a girl whose name, even, was unknown to this professor of Chinese Chiromancy, but who had herself studied palmistry sufficiently to be interested in his curious method. He told her that, according to his reading, she would almost immediately meet some man, then unknown to her, of whom she would see but little and think less. Two or three months later they would again meet, but again for a short time only, as he would be on the eve of a voyage. On his return from that voyage they would meet once more and she would ultimately marry him, the date of the marriage being about three years from that time. In three years this girl married an officer whom she first met at a ball about a week after the garden party at which her hand was read; she did not dance with him, but he took her in to supper. They did not meet again for some months, when, just as he was starting for the Soudan, he called upon her people as he passed through London. She had then seen so little of him that the idea of marrying him never crossed her mind, and the fortune predicted had entirely faded from her memory, as unintelligible Chinese characters; but after his return from the Soudan she saw much more of him, and in less than three years they were engaged. The curious realisation of the fate thus shadowed

forth only occurred to her one day when her fiancé referred to their first and second meetings, and in a flash of memory the Chinese puzzle became clear to her.

According to this system, middle age is of course represented by the same portion of the lines as in modern Chiromancy, but babyhood takes the place of old age, and vice versâ.

Of the strange manner in which unreciprocated passions make their mark in the hand I have not space to treat here, but all students of palmistry must open their minds to the idea that fortunetelling is chiefly a close introspection and interpretation of a particular character, and of the external influences affecting it. My decided opinion is that we create our own future, be it great or feeble. Changes in life come chiefly from the influence of individualities to which our temperament exposes us, or from that exercised by our own individuality upon the lives of others-again a question of character and temperament.

Given certain characteristics, clearly defined by the formation and lines of the hand, a clever palmist will at once divine the sort of influences likely to prove paramount, and discover the kind of person on whom the individuality studied will gain a hold. As one of Laurence Oliphant's heroines said of her own peculiar powers : “No one can foresee the future. All that we can do, if we have a little more insight than our neighbours have yet attained, is to calculate probabilities with rather more accuracy."

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EVELINE M. FORBES.

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