"From a cursory examination of the animal world, we may gather the important conclusion that from the structure of an extremity we may obtain a complete insight into the entire organism of an animal, and thus the paws furnished with sharp retractile claws of the lion indicate at once to a naturalis: its strong teeth, its powerful jaws, its muscular strength of limbs; while from the cleft of the cow the complicated structure of its stomach, the definite peculiarities of its jaws and its vegetable diet may with equal certainty be predicted." - The Hand Phrenologically Considered.

Introducing The Introduction

Adrien Adolphe Desbarrolles was born in Paris, August 22, 1801; or, as they used to call it then, according- to the poetical calendar of the Revolution, "on the 4th of frucidor of the year IX. of the Republic, one and indivisible," He died in his beloved Paris, February 11, 1886, at the age of eighty-five, after devoting fully 50 years of his life to the study of Palmistry, or, as he preferred to call it, Chiromancy, To that favorite and absorbing occupation - which, with him, was not only theoretical, but practical, since he gave daily consultations in his apartment in the Rue d'Enter (now Boulevard St. Michel), No. 95 - he added profound researches into the kindred, semi-occult sciences of Phrenology. Physiognomy and Graphology, even going to the extent of writing an elaborate work upon this new addition to the cir-cle of rtivinatory arts. Finally, he never allowed himself to doubt that in the ancient teachings of the Kabbala lay the key to all these strange manifestations that have puzzled the human brain since the dawn of civilization.

According to him, from the Kabbala emanates all wisdom, all knowledge, all guidance; it reveals the existence of three worlds, the divine, the moral or mental, the material those three elements so universally recognised by the great religions of the earth - Soul. Mind. Body.

This constantly repeated division into three component elements, Desbarrolles, logician of high degree, followed it up patiently through the various outward and inward manifestations of aspiration, action, realization. In this body of ours he recognized three forces ever at work and seldom in peaceful accord: the lowest - the material body, all instinct; the highest - the "mens" or divine projection of the body, and, between them, the connecting link so persistently searched after by the scientists of all ages - the astral body that serves as a bond between the heart and the brain, between physical and mental life.

Upon these premises, the great French chirumant built a marvelous edifice, borrowing each of its stones from the sadly neglected quarry out of which the phllos-ophers of antiquity have drawn the grandest monuments ever conceived by human intelligence. The deepest researches of the Hindoo Brahmines, and, before them, of the Egyptian priests and Chaldean shepherds, were put to contribution, as well as Pythagoras' stupendous vision of the world and Aristotle's extraordinary divination of many of our modern problems. The Middle Age alchemists and astrologers, the profound Arabs as well as the Italian, the Dutch, the German, the French, the English savants were interrogated in the ponderous works they left behind them, for some more light upon the fate of man, before, during and after life. And, coming down to our times, the most advanced representatives of medical science as welt as of natural and mental philosophy furnished their quota of demonstration and indirect approval to the theory constructed by this patient scholar, whose great common sense never allowed him to be waylaid toward the treacherous bogs of deceptive sophistry.

Desbarrolles absorbed this immense knowledge; he digested it; he used the brain food thus obtained to enlighten others who had neither time nor capacity to bring to a finish such a huge enterprise. With his Own tactful hands, fortified by the daily experiments of half a century, he prepared a book that would be for all times a standard work, in its special domain, and upon it has truly been founded what is becoming, every year, more universally recognized as the Science of Palmistry.

Not that the last word has been written yet upon this weighty subject, so infinitely varied in its capacity; that last word will never be penned as long as baby boys and baby girls will open their wondering eyes to the light of this world of ours.

New hands, new dicoveries the whole of Palmistry is condensed in these four words. But the principles that explain ninety per cent., or more, of these Curious forms and markings offered us by hands and palms have been formulated once for all by the master-mind from whom our inspiration, as well as most of our knowledge, proceeds. To wander away from his teachings, in a fretful, childish effort toward originality, is about as silly and imprudent as would he the attempt of a village mason to erect a towering cathedral; it smacks of utter foolishness, and In the transitory period the science of Palmistry is now traversing, it is infinitely more harmful to it than the bitterest attacks of honest - if ignorant - adversaries. "From my friends preserve me, O Lord: I'll take care of my enemies," would doubtless be the first exclamation of poor Palmistry her-self, if ever she appeared in propria persona to defend her cause at the bar of public opinion.

But what reverent hands are called upon to do. now that general curiosity is gradually being transformed into a serious thirst for knowledge, is to gather those teachings of the master, to strip them - for the time being - of their dazzling garb of old lore and immense learning, and to re-classify them in such a manner that the simplest minds may enjoy, and profit by, a thorough acquaintance with Desbarrolles' practical views on Palmistry in all its details.

Here and there a touch of novelty may be introduced, if really based upon repeated observations; always remembering, however, that each of the 650 cases described by Desbarrolles in his Revelations Completes - a book never fully understood by its many English plagiarists and purloiners - rests upon the solid basis of scores and scores of similar observations and covers the ground completely enough for the average amateur or even professional palmist.

The need, really, has always been one of classification and illustration; in neither was Desbarrolles himself particularly successful; or, rather, his classification suited him to perfection and is strong and logical enough all through.

Only that logic is too deep for the average reader; he needs a whiter thread to lead him along this labyrinth wherein so many before him have pitifully lost their way.

And this white thread I have tried, by the labor of many years, to twist solid enough and to stretch with sufficiently minute care to guide the chiromants of either sex out of their discouraged meanderings to the blessed gate that opens into Daylight, Pure Air and Truth.

A few words now, pro domo mea, in my own defense.

Of course, Adrien Desbarrolles never penned a line of this Introduction of his; he had died years before I wrote the first word of this, my third and final effort in Palmistic literature.

And yet, innocent though he be of any complicity with the author, every sentence that will be presented now over his signature expresses his inmost conviction, and expresses it in an exact translation of the very words he used. Only this Introduction represents, so to speak, the synthesis of his best thoughts, freed from many a theory the reading of which would doubtless prove most attractive - for few such masters of style ever lived - but would not be really helpful to the student. Thus the Kabbala, the ancient astrology, and the astral influences, as they were understood and presented by Desbarrolles, find no place, either in the Introduction, or in the body of this work.

As I stated in my short Preface to be Read, the object of this manual is to teach the student to interpret hands, not to fill his head with a number of theories - however ingenious, marvelous even, they may be. Thus, without desiring to belittle the superb "tout ensemble" of Desbarrolles' magnum opus, I feel that I am doing my duty in concentrating all my efforts within the scope I have already outlined and in calling upon modern science only for whatever doctrines or theory I shall think necessary to lighten the path of the reader.

With those few remarks and this ever frank declaration of principles and object, I beg leave to close my Introduction to.