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Palmistry as a Fine Art.

To tho new number of the ' Universal Review' Mr W. L. Courtney contributes an informing article upon the theory of palmistry.


It is one thing to judge of a man's character by his hand ; it is another thing (Mr Courtney says) to foretell, to prophesy, to read the future in the lines of his palm. The chiromantist professes to do both, and to the sceptic he is ready to submit a kind of scientific basis for his craft. To what are the lines due ? Is it the mere clenching of the fist which causes them? No, the reason must be found partly in the nervecurrents which come down to the hand from the brain, partly to some wonderful corpuscles, called, after the inventor Pacini, pacini corpuscles, of whicli there are some 250 in the interior of the hand. But how are these nerve currents, these corpuscles, to bear witness to the future? Every man, however perfect his constitution may be, is born with a morbid tendency, a destructive germ, which is latent in some part of his organism. Now because the secrets of all organs are represented in the brain, which co-ordinates all parts of the human frame and forms their centre and rallying point, therefore in the nerves coming from the brain are found hidden in potency THE GERMS OF UNAVOIDABLE FATE. If the brain communicates with the hand by means of its nerve currents, then of course the hand will bear the marks of this continuous nerve action, and will contain also the outward and visible signs of what the brain holds within its nervous structure. Is there any further room for scepticism ? To clinch the matter, M. Desbarrolles, from whose ingenious system we have been quoting, will tell the sceptic quite a conclusive story. Once he was visited by a man who wore a cloak which he refused to take on. The left hand was only tendered to the operator, who immediately told the I patient that he was a military man, and' that he had received a wound, not in war fare, which had spoiled his career. It was too true. The man took off his cloak and revealed his right arm in a bandage. The right hand, which, he said, had been paralysed by an unintentional discharge fromj a gun while he was out shooting, was then j inspected, and found t.9 ty ß entirely devoid j of all markings whatsoever. Paralysis had; severed the connection between the brain and the hand, and the lines due to that intercommunication had consequently disappeared. Therefore M. flesbarrollea's scientific theory is true— q,e.d. THE ORIGINS OF PALMISTRY, If palmistry had no foundation in the natnral aptitudes of the mind, if it were all simple chicanery and deceit, it is reasonable to think that it would have disappeared long ago, or at least have suffered the same fate as the belief in witches and demoniac possession. Apparently palmistry, like many kindred arts, rests on such original and fundamental laws as the love of analogy, the tendency to symbolism, and the association of ideas. To these it adds certain scraps of astrological lore, and for the rest it is indebted to the vagaries of imagination and the quick intuitive insight into character which many men undoubtedly possess. The astrological part of it is, perhaps, that on which the chiromantist especially relies. The first finger is the realm of Jupiter; the middle is Saturn; the third is the Sun; the little finger is Mercury ; Venus is found in £he pad: below the thumb; the Plain of Mars is just .below the Mount of Mercury; the Moon holds sway beneath the kingdom of Mars. Moreover, there is also a caliula tion of nativities, the "ascendant" in the horoscope being the reckoning of that part of the heavens which is rising in the east at the moment of birth. THE DANGERS OF PALMISTRY.

After all, it may be urged, palmistry is only a pastime. Because some men are scientific, are there to be no more cakes and ale ? Is the world to be debarred from its tea-table and its hand-reading because astrology is exploded ? By no means, if it can be proved that pastime it is and p&stime it remainß. Yet there is Buch a tning as a prophecy bringing its own fulfilment. Not all m#i are strong-minded. Women are notoriously superstitious. And if a young girl be told on the eve of her marriage that there is in her hands the signs of unhappy wedlock, or if a wife be told that she has'in her line of life the fatal "island," which'is held to signify a not wholly innocent liaison,

does the prophet incur no responsibility? To some minds the suggestion is itself a poison, which works its own baneful ißsae.

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Palmistry as a Fine Art., Issue 8028, 3 October 1889

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Palmistry as a Fine Art. Issue 8028, 3 October 1889

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