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.
Here we have a not infrequent improvement on the Elementary Hand, an improvement one meets especially among those men of talent, or even genius, who emerge from the very lowest ranks of society, urged on by an invincible force, which pushes them to the highest places in the banquet halls of humanity. Great poets, famous musicians, illustrious painters, sculptors, orators, generals, are thus coming, every day, to the front, as if a magic wand had touched them on the brow. And yet the main characteristics of their humble origin are still visible, not only in their manners, their habits, their tastes - all these may have been more or less modified by association with the tipper classes - but above all, and without possible dissembling, in the shape of their hands - the hands of their father, the clown, the peasant, the low-grade laborer. Their hands will remain to the last day - in spite of the laurel wreath voted them by popular acclaim - Elementary Hands; but they may show such modifications as will reveal to us much of the strange mystery of their surprising career, And this is especially true of heaven-inspired artists.
Many of them possess broad, heavy, almost Square Palms, rather firm, though not exactly hard, Fingers heavy at the base, but ending in Conical tips; no Knots; a Thumb better than the Fingers, with a first Phalanx broad and thrown back, and a second Phalanx short.
These are the characteristics of the Elementary Hands refined by the introduction of the Conical Tips (inspiration, intuition, artistic gifts), and of a powerful First Phalanx of the Thumb, proclaiming the determined will-power that has led the street Arab or the country churl from the gutter or the pig sty to the highest honors in the gift of the great.
I am, in all fairness, bound to add thai this interpretation of the Artistic-Elementary Type is not the d'Arpentigny reading of it; ill fact, it is diametrically opposed to it The master sees in that seventh type - created, or rather classified, by himself - a lowering of the Artistic Hand, not a raising up of the Elementary Hand.
With the reader's permission I will stand by my guns - i e., my theory in the case - for I hold it to be logical and I have proved it true in a large number of most interesting instances.
VIII. the murderer's hand.
After having considered with you an Improved Elementary Hand, I shall examine, quite independently from the d'Arpentigny doctrine - the main features of which we have gone over together - the great deterioration of the Elementary Hand, as manifested in the Brutal Murderer's Hand. Its characteristics may be enumerated as follows:
A thick, heavy Palm, reddish in tint, and broader than the average; short, awkward and stiff Fingers, generally crooked; often Spatulate; no Knots to speak of. although sometimes the second joint may be clumsy and thick; a Thumb with a "clubbed" First Phalanx and a Second Phalanx very much undersized.
These observations were made years ago in the hands of Tropmann, who, single-handed, killed a family of seven people, all in half an hour, at Pantin, near Paris; of Dumolard, the Lyons assassin, who murdered, nobody knows how many poor servant girls; of Avinain, the Parisian butcher, who killed and cut to pieces several confiding victims, and of several other infamously prominent criminals.
It is the typical hand of the drunken brute of the lower classes; rarely found among educated people, no better at heart, perhaps, but craftier in the satisfying of their murderous instincts.
Desbarrolles, whose wide experience and ever-honest investigating spirit I have trusted for so many years, insists especially upon the existence, in this particular kind of murderer, of the "clubbed" Thumb, the influence of which, the Master says, causes the possessor, when his wretched, diseased nature is moved to crime to "see red" and to strike and strike his victim with blind ferocity and with sensations akin to a horrible delight. He adds that he has often conversed with visitors to his studio in whose hands he saw the very same indications met with in the brutal murderers whom he sought in the Prisons or Penitentiaries - the indications of an uncontrollably violent temper. Whenever inclined to be confidential, these subjects confessed to him that, at certain hours in their lives, the thirst for blood had come upon them with such imperiousness as almost to swamp their reason and power of resistance; before their eyes a bloody film came to pass between sight and object, and they had felt in their very bones that they were but a hair-breadth away from becoming actual murderers.
Strange to say, this very same characteristic has been observed by the writer on the battlefields of 1870-71, in the many hand-to-hand fights he witnessed or took part in, during the Franco-Prussian war. The Soldier, when his blood has reached a certain high temperature, i. e.. after the first period of nervous emotion akin to physical cowardice has been conquered, becomes almost entirely oblivious of his nature as a civilized being, and returns with extraordinary rapidity to a state of savagery. The brutal murderer's instinct seems to fill him like rank alcohol - and the better fighter he proves to be, the nearer to the Murderer's Hand will his hand type be found.