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There is no country in the world where the "study of character" is more indulged in than in the United States of America. During my many visits there I could not help remarking how even the "hardest headed" business men used any form of this study that they could get hold of to help them in their business dealings with other men and also in endeavouring to ascertain the character of their clerks and employees. In looking over the records of my career I find that in the course of my visits to America I gave private lessons to the heads of two hundred and seventy business establishments in New York, one hundred and thirty-five in Boston, and three hundred and forty-two in Chicago.
All these men were large employers of labour and what they principally wanted was, to have some help beyond that of their own judgment in dealing with those with whom they came in contact in the regular course of their business careers. In no other country did I find the same interest taken in the study of character from a practical standpoint.
It is for this reason that I write a special Preface for this Edition, believing as I do that my American [Pg iv] readers will appreciate the added information I may be able to give regarding the obtaining by a mere glance at a hand a quick grasp of the leading characteristics of the persons with whom they are thrown into contact, or for whatever reason they choose to make use of this study.
Everyone knows that "the face can wear a mask," that a person may be a good actor and put on a certain expression that may deceive even the best judgment. But hands cannot change as the result of a mere effort to please; the character they express is the real nature of the individual —the true character that has been formed by heredity or that has grown up with the person by long years of habit. The characteristics alluded to below are those which may be easily observed and which are aids to a rapid judgment of character and which I have never before been able to give to the public in such a concise way.
The more elaborate details concerning the ultimate success of the person one is talking to, their more intimate character and their future development will be found in their proper place, in the subsequent chapters. Observe the fingers. If they look short and stumpy in proportion to the rest of the palm—one may be sure that the individual to whom they belong is of an animal nature, possessing coarse instincts, devoid of real intellectuality, and belonging to the lower order of humanity.
If the fingers and the palm appear equal in length, the owner belongs to a more cultured race. He has inherited from a more intellectual line of ancestors and for all work requiring intelligence and a higher mentality he or she could be depended on, whereas the first-mentioned type could not—no matter how well he might talk or advocate his own superiority.
If the fingers look unusually long and thin, and in this way out of proportion to the palm, the man or woman will err on the side of too much ideality and refinement and is not suited to business or work requiring "level headedness" and practicality. It would be useless, for example, to put such a person in charge of work-people or over work-rooms. His ideality and refinement would be thrown away in such positions, and even with the best will in the world he would be completely out of harmony with his surroundings.
Such a man, however, could be depended upon in all positions requiring personal mental work, research, science, literature, philosophy, educational work or, in fact, anything relating to the higher qualities of the mind. If his fingers, in addition to their length, were also knotty or jointed joints much pronounced , he could be depended on to a still greater extent for all work requiring great thoughtfulness, detail, and concentration of mind.
If, on the other hand, these long fingers were smooth jointed, he would, while having the same desire for ideality and for everything intellectual, be impulsive and inspirational, would lack a sense of detail and a love for detail in his own work, would be visionary, artistic, emotional. Such a person would be suited [Pg vi] to artistic work, such as painting, making designs, models, etc. The first finger is considered as the Dictator, the Lawgiver, the finger of Ambition, the Indicator, the Pointer, etc.
If this finger is unusually long and nearly equals the second, all these tendencies are extremely pronounced. Therefore, if your employee has this finger long, you can safely entrust him with control over, and charge of others. You will be amazed how well he or she will make rules and regulations and see that they are obeyed; but beware, Mr. Employer, lest your first finger is short in proportion as that of your employee is long, for, if such be the case, you too will have "to toe the line" and you may find yourself in a very disagreeable position.
But let me give you a further warning: Should this man or woman have a first finger that is long and crooked, you will assuredly find out to your cost that the personal ambitions of such an individual are "crooked. If the second finger is straight and well shaped, its owner will be very serious, a little inclined to melancholy, [Pg vii] but will pay due regard to whatever responsibilities with which he may be entrusted, but again beware if this finger is crooked.
In this case the owner would be, however, more subject to what may be called "a crooked fate" than wilfully "wrong. They are continually getting themselves into trouble and into false positions, but, I must admit, more by a strange fatality of things than by their own wilful actions.
Nevertheless, such infelicities might be very unpleasant for their employer, especially if he has more heart than brains. The third finger, if extremely long and straight, indicates an extraordinary desire for glory, celebrity, publicity and the like; and although this might be an extremely good quality in the case of an actor, preacher, politician or public man, it may be most undesirable if such a person is to occupy the position of a private secretary, or the confidential clerk to some family lawyer.
If this finger is crooked as well as very long, all the above qualities will be intensified and exaggerated. The love of spending money and fondness for show will also be more marked, the gambling tendencies very pronounced.
No position involving the handling of money, should be entrusted to the possessor of such a finger. The fourth, or little finger, if long passing the nail joint of the third is indicative of power of speech and subtlety in choice of language—the saying "to twist a person round one's little finger" originated from this very sign. Such people have a marvellous gift of speech, eloquence and flow of language, valuable [Pg viii] gifts, of course, for orators and public persons, but not desirable qualities in a wife if a man is fond of sleep.
A short "little finger" denotes the reverse of the above. Such persons find the greatest difficulty in expressing what they want to say, but they can write better than speak and should be encouraged to do so. These individuals have, however, not much power over others and the shorter the "little finger" is, the more timid and sensitive they are in the presence of strangers.
If this finger is crooked, then these weaknesses are all the more emphasised, but if formed crooked and long the power of eloquence is also crooked. Such people will tell any "fairy tale" to suit their purpose—they are natural born liars and the position of President of the Ananias Club is their rightful inheritance. The first and third fingers absolutely of equal length is the best sign of an equally balanced mind , but such a sign is rather rare to find.
When the fingers are very supple in the joints and turn backwards or outwards from the palm, it is an indication of a quick wit and clever brain; but such persons lack continuity of purpose. They have no "hold," as it were, on any one thing. Fingers slightly curved inwards towards the palm, denote persons slow to grasp an idea, or a subject, but such people have retentive memories and "hold" or grip, as it were, any one thing they may take up.
The thumb is in itself more expressive of character than any other member of the hand. It was D'Arpentigny [Pg ix] who wrote "the thumb individualises the man.
Medical science has proved that there is such a thing as a "thumb centre" in the brain and any pressure or disease in that part of the brain shows its effect in the thumb. A large well-made thumb is the outward and visible sign of a strong-willed, determined person, be he man or woman. The longer the thumb, the more the power of will rules the actions; the shorter the thumb, the more brute force and obstinacy sways the nature.
The shorter and more thick-set the nail phalange is, giving the appearance of a club, the more ungovernable is the person in his or her temper. Such people have no control over themselves and under the least opposition will fly into a blind rage of fury. This curious formation has been called the "Murderer's Thumb" because so many who have committed murder in a mad fit of passion have been found with this curious formation.
An employee with this class of thumb should never be given any position of authority over others, for he could not curb his ungovernable temper. He would also be absolutely unbalanced in his jealousy, and no woman who has the ambition to live to the usual "threescore-years-and-ten" should risk marriage to a man with one of these thumbs. But as "love is blind" it is useless, I know, to give advice in such a case. The first joint or nail phalange of the thumb, when long and thin, denotes the opposite of the above characteristics.
In such cases the person has the most absolute control over his temper, his will power is [Pg x] also strong but quick and unobtrusive, and in a firm, determined way people with such a thumb manage others and bend those around them to their purpose. The second joint, if delicately shaped, almost "waist like," indicates tact, diplomacy, and gentleness, also subtlety in argument; but if this part of the thumb be full looking or equal in size to that of the nail phalange, it denotes the person who cares nothing for tact but who, on all occasions, will speak his mind plainly, and with brutal frankness.
When the thumb looks as if it were "tied in" close to the hand, the person is timid, easily frightened by both people and circumstances, narrow-minded in his views, and miserly in his habits. It is a well-established fact that the thumbs of all misers are "tied in" and cramped-looking. It is perhaps this very fear of things and people that in the end makes them misers with their gold. One need never waste one's time asking a person with one of these cramped-looking thumbs to do a favour, and may God help the business man or woman who ever gets into such a person's clutches!
A thumb with the nail joint supple bending backwards or as it is also called "double jointed" indicates a character the exact opposite of that associated with the "tied in" thumb. Possessors of such a thumb are generous, adaptable to others, extravagant, and impetuous in their actions and decisions.
They promise things quickly and are more often heard to say "Yes" than "No"; but if they have time for reflection, they very often go back on their promises. Individuals having a "stiff-jointed" thumb, on the contrary, cannot easily adapt themselves to others.
They are distant and more reserved with [Pg xi] strangers. When asked to do a thing, they generally first say "No," but on reflection or when reasoned with, they often give in to the other and generally regret having done so. It is useless to oppose such people—if one cannot lead them, it is no use attempting to force them against their will. This type has more self-control than the type of people with the "supple jointed" formation, and is not so generous or extravagant.
Individuals of this group, however, make more reliable friends, so their friendship, though difficult to obtain, is generally worth having. A thumb standing very far out from the hand almost at right angles to the palm is not a good sign for ordinary success.
Such people go to extremes in everything they do and are generally fanatics in religion, social reform, or whatever line of thought occupies their attention.
Beware of any man or woman whose hand seems to slip from yours when you grasp theirs in greeting. Such persons are deceptive and treacherous. They may smile at you with their lips, but instinctively they regard you as their prey and will only use you for their own object. A very thin hand denotes a restless energetic disposition, [Pg xii] but one that is given to worry, and fretting and is generally discontented.
A thin hand that feels listless in one's grasp denotes a weak constitution that has only sufficient energy to live. A cold, clammy hand is also a sign of poor health, but generally that of a very sensitive and nervous person. A person who keeps his hands closed while talking, is distrustful in his nature, has little self-reliance and can seldom be relied on by others. A man or woman who gives a good firm grasp of the hand, is self-confident, energetic, and generally reliable.
When all the fingers especially if the fingers be long are seen always clinging, sticking, as it were, or folding over one another it denotes very doubtful qualities in the nature of their possessor and a decided tendency towards thieving and general lack of moral principal. Remember that the hands are the immediate servants or instruments of the brain.
There are more motive and sensory nerves from the brain to the hand than to any other portion of the body and, whether sleeping or waking, they continually and unconsciously reflect the thought and character of the mind or soul of the individual. It will, then, be seen from these observations that without looking at the lines of the hand, one may be able to obtain certain details of character that are more trustworthy than those given by the face, and that these rules, if followed, should be of the greatest assistance and value to people in all walks of life.
Many of these observations are further amplified [Pg xiii] in subsequent chapters of this work. There is not a single one of these rules that has not been proved by me in my long professional career, and knowing that they will bear the strictest inquiry and observation, it gives me pleasure now to offer them to the readers of the American Edition of Palmistry for All.
It was on July 21, , that I had the honour of meeting Lord Kitchener and getting the autographed impression of his right hand, which I now publish for the first time as frontispiece to this volume. The day I had this interview, Lord Kitchener, or, as he was then, Major-General Kitchener, was at the War Office, and to take this impression had to use the paper on his table, and, strangely enough, the imprint of the War Office may be seen at the top of the second finger—in itself perhaps a premonition that he would one day be the controlling force of that great department.
Lord Kitchener was at that moment Sirdar of the Egyptian Army. He had returned to England to tender his resignation on account of some hostile criticism about "the Abbas affair," and so I took the opportunity of his being in England to ask him to allow me to add his hand to my collection, which even then included some of the most famous men and women of the day.
As Mr. O'Connor, in writing recently of Lord Kitchener, said: "One of his greatest qualities, at once useful and charming, is his accessibility.
Anybody who has anything to say to him can approach him; anybody who has anything to teach him will find a ready and grateful learner. My experience can indeed bear out the truth of this clear judgment of one of the leading traits in Lord Kitchener's character.
That very year, , was a notable one in his life; his strong-willed action over the Abbas affair was completely vindicated; he was made a K.
Once in his presence he put me completely at my ease, and in a few moments he appeared to be deeply interested in observing the difference between the lines in his own clearly-marked palm and those in dozens of other impressions that I put before him.
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There is no country in the world where the "study of character" is more indulged in than in the United States of America. During my many visits there I could not help remarking how even the "hardest headed" business men used any form of this study that they could get hold of to help them in their business dealings with other men and also in endeavouring to ascertain the character of their clerks and employees. In looking over the records of my career I find that in the course of my visits to America I gave private lessons to the heads of two hundred and seventy business establishments in New York, one hundred and thirty-five in Boston, and three hundred and forty-two in Chicago. All these men were large employers of labour and what they principally wanted was, to have some help beyond that of their own judgment in dealing with those with whom they came in contact in the regular course of their business careers.
Palmistry: The Language of the Hand
William John Warner also known as Count Louis Hamon according to some sources , popularly known as Cheiro November 1, — October 8, , was an Irish astrologer and colorful occult figure of the early 20th century. His sobriquet , Cheiro, derives from the word cheiromancy , meaning palmistry. He was a self-described clairvoyant who learned palmistry, astrology , and Chaldean numerology in India during his stay there. He was celebrated for using these forms of divination to make personal predictions for famous clients and to foresee world events.