This section is from the book "The Practice Of Palmistry For Professional Purposes", by C. de Saint-Germain. Also available from Amazon: The Practice of Palmistry for Professional Purposes.
By a Necessary Hand is meant one, the nailed phalanges of whose fingers present the appearance of a more or less flattened out spatula. I want to deal here with those Spatulate Hands whose Thumbs are large, with those in which the instinct peculiar to these hands, supported by the promptings of the brain, makes itself the most clearly manifest. (As to consistency, the Palm is always elastic and often quite hard.)
"The Necessary Hand," writes d"Arpentigny, "has undoubtedly its origin in the latitudes where the inclemency of the climate, and the comparatively sterile nature of the soil render locomotion, action, movement, and the practice of the arts whereby the physical weakness of man is protected, more obligatory than they are under more southern skies. Larger Spatulate Hands are therefore much more numerous in Scotland than they are in England, in England than they are in France, and in France than they are in Spain, and in mountainous than in flat countries.
"For the following reasons the most stable colonies are formed by Spatulate-Handed people rather than by others. Almost insensible to art or to poetry, they are endowed with a very small share of the instincts which lead to moral instability. They attach themselves to a country for the materia] benefits which accrue to them therefrom. Manual labor is agreeable to them, and it is the same with all kinds of active exercise. They suffer from the absence of the necessaries of life, but not from the absence of the superfluous, for they are only slightly sensual.
"Their love of locomotion renders them comparatively insensible to the annoyances of expatriation. Accustomed, as they are, by the multiplicity of the wants which assail man in our northern latitudes, to rely principally on their own exertions, they have no innate objection to solitude. Finally, they are apt at sciences which are merely those of physical necessity, and which in ordinary life ai-feet only things which are constant and immovable."
Whence comes the severely practical common sense of the North Americans, if it is not from these "working hands," scattered over a space which they can cover and conquer, whilst resting their faith upon institutions that harmonize with their instincts?
Wherever they are in majority, as is the case in England and the United States, liberty, in its broadest meaning, is the base of all political institutions: a fact which does not prevent, but rather proves, that of all nations in the world the English and the Americans are the most prone to exclusiveness and individuality.
The self-confidence of Spatulate subjects is extreme; they possess in the highest degree the instincts of real life, and by their natural intelligence they rule matters mundane and material interests.
"With smooth Fingers, the Necessary Hands like comfort as well as elegance, but their elegance is of a fashionable rather than artistic kind. It is from the restless crowd of Spatulate subjects that we get these everlasting measurers, whose admiration for works of architecture is in exact proportion with the greater or less bulk of these monuments; their instinct of grandeur is not in the form, it is in the mass; they are governed by mathematics.
"In the north, where Spatulate and Square hands arc in a majority, the artist is swallowed up by the artisan; in Italy, in Spain, in France, the artisan is effaced by the artist. In the North there is more opulence than luxury, in the South there is more luxury than wealth.
"Spatulate hands are valiant, industrious, and active; they have the power and the genius of Cyclops; in old days they forged impregnable armor, and covered the earth with battlemented castles which they reared themselves upon the crests of rock promontories, protected by deep waters and impenetrable forests. Every gentleman, descended from the old fighting nobility, has necessarily a Spatulate hand. If his fingers be Pointed, he must search his pedigree for some infusion of gentle or ecclesiastical blood, or else must resign himself to the presence of a bar sinister in his escutcheon.
"In religious matters, the lovers of art, of poetry, of romance, and of mystery, endowed with Psychic Hands require a Deity such as they imagine Him to be. The lovers of science and of reality, gifted with Necessary Hands, require a Deity fulfilling the requirements of their reason. For the first, with its festivals and its contemplation, we have Roman Catholicism; for the others, with its rigorous deductions and its activity, we have Protestantism.
"Protestantism has increased rapidly in the north, where Necessary Hands abound, and has hardly penetrated at all in the south, save in mountainous districts, where the same hands, for the same reasons, are equally abundant.
"Tactics, manœuvres, encampments, sieges, military and naval architecture, strategy of temporization and delay, are the especial qualities of the Military- or Naval Commander whose Hands are Spatulate. He has theory, method, and science, and cares more for success than for glory. His subordinates are well fed and housed, for he attends to those details upon which success is so often based."
Platonic affections, filial, paternal and parental, are distinctly the attribute of the Necessary (and often of the Useful) Hands.
Devoted to manual labor and to action, and consequently endowed with feelings which are more energetic than delicate, constancy in love is more easy to them than it is to minds which are poetic, and which are more attracted by the charms of youth and beauty than restrained by a sense of duty,
Finally, the large, fat, soft, Spatulate Hands, (forming a sort of abnormal type) do not do much themselves, but like to see others working hard; they do not travel themselves, but delight in reading tales of voyages, traversing the habitable globe, riding, as one might say, on the shoulders of the energetic and actual traveler. These are not any longer, in spite of the shape of the Finger-tips, the Necessary Hands so highly praised by d'Arpentigny.