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has of necessity an influence on the
handwriting, the amount of excitability in the
system is displayed, more or less, according to the
feelings of the moment. You may often
recognise the physical temperament very
plainly. The cold man, whose blood moves
slowly, will generally write slowly, carefully
and neatly, if not formally. The pen of the
man whose blood moves quickly, dashes along,
heedless of the shape of letters, or of making
letters at all. The man of impulse and the
man of deliberation are thus very often made
apparent. It must, however, be borne in mind
that the impulsive man may be very capable
of the most serious deliberation, and the
deliberative man (though this is less likely) be
capable of impulse. A general impression is
all that can be arrived at, in most cases.

Secondly. Let us look at this Metaphysically.
That the mind influences the body,
nobody doubts; and it is only reasonable to
admit that the peculiarity of individual minds
of any strength, will communicate itself to
the action of the hand in writing. Those who
employ the reasoning powers chiefly, will
usually write slowly and legibly—(perhaps
not with any regularity, for that depends upon
mechanical aptitude)—while those whose
imagination, passions, or fancy, is chiefly called
into play, scrawl rapidly and seldom very
legibly. We expect the logician to write
every word with clearness and precision; we
expect nothing of the sort from the dramatist.
But even logicians are sometimes in a hurry;
may occasionally scrawl wildly as the dramatist,
so that a judgment on general principles
is all that can reasonably be expected.

Thirdly, we will look at the question
Biographically. How were my previous positions
borne out? I found, by reference to Nichols's
and Smith's collection of Autographs, and the
Isographie des Hommes Célèbres (which I one
day went to see at the British Museum, leaving
my shop in charge of a youth), that in many
cases the writing was very much what I
should have expected; in others, it was just
the opposite. Here are a few of those I most
especially noted.

Queen Elizabeth. She was taught writing
by Roger Ascham. Her first copy-book is to
be seen in the Bodleian Library. She began
well, and improved rapidly. While Princess,
she came to write a beautiful engrossing hand
clear and regular almost as an engraving of
letters. I turned to another signature after
she had been queen a long time,—and what
was my dismay! Melancholy change! The
letters were now thin, spiteful,—the lines
irregularan ugly old maid's version of her
former handand the signature was a thing to
make one bless one's self! It was an immense,
thin, mountebank's letterand then another
such letter, with a signature worked between,
the whole having the appearance of an
outline of some wild scaffolding whereon stood
the pale grotesque skeletons of fireworks, as
they look before explosion.

Martin Luther. The writing was firm and
legible, though not very equal nor very straight.
This I thought a true version; as he had
strong passions, as well as strong reasons for
what he did.

Sir Thomas More. By no means displaying
the calm firmness he possessed; the lines
crooked, and tumbling down hill.

Rubens. Manly, bold, with a careless ease
and clearness denoting mastery of hand.

Lord Bacon. Very like an elegant modern
short-hand. Clear, neat, and regular. The
signature involved with broken lines, as if
a fly had struggled and died in a spider's

Voltaire. Very clear, regular, steady, and
straight; evidently not written rapidly, but
with a continuous ease, which might go on
writing book after book in just the same way.

Oliver Cromwell. Large, bold, legible, steady,
sharp, and straight. The signature made
up of halberds and pointed palisades. But
another letter of his was not at all of this
character. It displayed a perplexed and
undecided mindat the time it was written.

Prince de Condé. Not at all in accordance
with the strong expression and buffalo-features
of his face.

Charlotte Corday. Firm, clear, steady, but
not without emotion.

Cuvier. Very like the writing of Charlotte
Corday, but not so strong and compact.

Danton. Wilful, daring, without method or

George the Fourth. Not at all the very
gentlemanly hand most people would expect
rather like a housemaid's.

Pope. Very bad, small, full of indecision;
a very hedge-row of corrections and erasures.

Cardinal Wolsey. A good hand, disturbed
only by nervous energy and self-will.

Porson. Correct and steady; the reverse oi
his personal appearance and habits.

Shakspeare. A very bad hand indeed,
confused, crowded, crooked in the lines, and
scarcely legible.

Napoleon. Still more illegible. No letters
formed at all; the signature a mere hasty
"scrimmage " with the pen.

A few words of general gossip on the
subject. Of women's hand- writing not so
much can be said, at least, in our own day,
when the system of writing a fine hand of a
particular kind renders so many of them all
alikehands which seem to be very beautiful
and legible, but which are often not at all so,
from the letters m, n, u, i, and very often a, s,
and r, being a mere series of up and down
elegancies, which are indistinguishable. But
among those which display character, it has
often been of a very different kind to the one
expected. On the other side, see what
Shakspeare's experience has noticed-

Malvolio. By my life, this is my lady's hand!—
These be her very c's, her u's, and her t's; and
thus makes she her great P's. It is in contempt
of question my lady's hand.—Twelfth Night.