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.
Another argument, just as important, in favor of the theory of the vital fluid penetrating the body through the fingers, is found in d'Arpentigny's statements concerning smooth and knotted fingers; and I repeat that he gave it to the world "by the inspiration of God," as he modestly stated to me, and certainly without attempting to connect it with the physiological fact of the vital fluid aspired through the fingers.*
Smooth fingers are distinguished from knotted fingers by the absence of knots, Or visible joints, between the phalanges of the finger. D'Arpentigny declares that they give to all kinds of fingers a large amount of intuition, of instinctive, unreasoned understanding of things in general, varying of course with the degrees of pointedness of the tips. I add to this that the fact of the vital fluid traversing the length of the fingers without meeting these strong impediments named knots must necessarily endow the subjects with the free inspiration resulting from that liberty of access of the fluid.
Knotted fingers, on the contrary, opposing barriers to the running-in of the fluid, will endow their possessors with a reasoning power, a classifying instinct which is the natural counterpart of the lightning-like intuition and decision of the smooth fingered subjects. You see how completely the statements of d'Arpenttgny, left unexplained by their brilliant author, fit in with the more elaborate, thoroughly logical theory of the vital fluid entering the hand, and through it the brains by way of the finger tips.
Again, short hands, says, d'Arpen-tigny, are synthetical; they grasp ideas as a whole, not in their details. I add, the fluid has so little space to run over in such hands that reflection has hardly time to awaken, Long hands, on the contrary, are analytical in their tendencies, slow to decide, slow to act. Here again I call the reader's attention to the fact that the long stretch covered by the fluid has allowed reflection to interfere and to affirm itself.
And thus could the whole of d'Arpentigny's system be made strikingly stronger and clearer and logical, while standing in its entirety and its beauty as a monument of an intellect almost akin to genius. By its help I have been able to demonstrate the conquering influence of the vital fluid over man's tendencies and the development of his physical, mental and moral being. I have already briefly explained how the fluid, penetrating through the finger tips, accumulating in the Pacinian Corpuscles and tracing deep channels at the surface of the palm, finally reached the brain and from it was redistributed through the whole body by means of the innumerable ramifications of nerves; finally to return to the common ocean of nature's vital fluid, this time being respired through the finger tips just as it had been aspired through them. In this aspir and respir resides the whole mystery of human life, unexplained, of course, in its deepest aspects, but fairly well followed up in some of its inward manifestations - notably in the markings it leaves in the hands.*
*To confirm this theory of Dcsbarrolles - which he could honestly claim as his own splendid discovery - I beg leave to call the reader a attention to the fact that in 99 hands out of 100 the first finger - the Index - which is by excellence the Attractor of the vital fluid, the tip is always more cynically inclined than that of the other fingers in the same hand. [St-G.1.
And thus I reach this much more bitterly contested portion of my theory, that which concerns the interpretation of these markings according to fixed, logical rules, and, these failing, according to the traditional readings left behind by the earnest chiromants of centuries past, many of them scientists of no mean degree, whose works have survived them in the memories of men.
I shall here reverse the order of arguments and speak first of those observations of the hand whose interpretation is purely traditional; i. e., based upon empiricism and not upon any logical doctrine. The word empiricism in this instance must be taken in its favorable, original meaning, that of a scientific practice depending purely on experiments, not on theories. This is, after all, and in spite of the protests of prejudiced and narrow-minded contradictors, the only method that helps us reach any degree of accuracy in the diagnosis and cure of human diseases. Now, for centuries and centuries past, the eminent scientists I spoke of in the preceding paragraph, gathered an immense number of observations concerning the lines and signs found in man's hand, and compared these with facts known to them in the lives of the subjects. Repeated coincidences between certain facts and certain lines or signs gradually convinced them that there was in these coincidences something worth patient and prolonged study. Gradually they were enabled to formulate precise statements, solely based on these experiments, and which pointed out the existence of certain chiromantic indications invariably corresponding with certain duly investigated facts.
From one student to the next, the torch of light was transmitted; each one adding a new series of observations to those collected by his predecessors - until, in this XIX. Century, it became my congenial task to submit this enormous mass of documentary evidence to a thoroughly conscientious and minute shifting process that threw out the chaff and kept in the rich and nourishing grain. During this close observation of facts, I met with a certain percentage - not a high one - of statements that failed to exactly fit in with my theory of the vital fluid, of its penetrating through the fingers and leaving, in the palm, traces of its constant flowing from the tips to the brain and from the brain to the tips. And yet my personal examination of thousands of hands compelled me to admit, in many cases, the exactness of these apparently illogical readings. Many of them I managed, through long study over an ever widening field, to gradually gather into the fold, making them part and parcel of my homogeneous system.