YOU AND YOUR HAND
An officer in Marlborough’s day declared war to consist of ‘long periods of intense boredom punctuated by short intervals of acute fear’; and two hundred years later I found that to be a perfect description of the time I spent on the Western Front.
Occasionally, I was absolutely terrified; but for days on end, as we could not leave our positions, we simply sat about waiting for the next meal or hoping for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Reading or playing cards were the only forms of relief and even they become wearisome if continued hour after hour for week after week; so I wrote home for some books on palmistry and taught myself how to read hands.
The books I learned from were by Cheiro. It was he who caused palmistry to become a serious study, owing to the accuracy of his predictions from the hands he read of many famous people, including King Edward VII. This volume, You and Your Hand, was his last work, first published in 1932, and contains his final assessments on this fascinating subject. In 1969, it was revised and brought up to date by that distinguished teacher of cheirology, Mrs Louise Owen.
Cheirognomy is the technical term for telling character from the shape of the hands, and cheiromancy for the ability to interpret the meaning of the lines on the palm.
Telling character from the shape of the hands I found easy and infallible. One cannot possibly go wrong. But interpreting the lines on the palms is a very different matter, because each either strengthens or modifies the tendencies disclosed by the shape of the hand and the other lines on it. Moreover, it is from the lines that the highly skilled palmist can also tell the subject’s past and predict his future. This last ability can be achieved by prolonged and intense study, but I am strongly of the opinion that the finest palmists owe much to clairvoyance, and it is this which links telling the future by the hands to the occult.
After I had read several score of hands I found that I could be much more accurate about the characters of people I hardly knew than I could about those of friends. In the latter case one is prejudiced by what one thinks one knows, whereas with casual acquaintances one is guided only by the shape and the lines.
My greatest success was after the war on an occasion when I read hands at a fête given for a charity in which my mother was interested. With a succession of complete strangers I proved extraordinarily accurate. One lady said to my mother in amazement: ‘How could he possibly know that I have been married twice and had a child when I was very young? I’ve never been in this part of England before and nobody here could have told him anything about my past.’ Well, I don’t consider myself psychic. It was simply written on the lines of her hand.
One word of warning. If you think you see death, a severe illness or a bad accident in a person’s hand, never tell them. It can do no good, only cause them to worry; and you may be wrong.