Friday, September 14, 2007

Palmistry in Venice

[Evelyn Underhill to her future husband Herbert Stuart Moore]

Grand Hotel

May 1st [1905]

We've been pottering about seeing our pet things a second time, and digging out a few isolated pictures in different churches as to-morrow will be our last day in Venice. This afternoon was roastingly hot so we took a steamer to the Lido and lay out on the sands looking at the Adriatic--so blue, just the colour of turquoise: but it seemed very shadeless and dusty there after Venice, which has no dust, and heaps of shade in the narrow alleys and canals. We walked along to St. Niccolo di Lido, where my patron saint, St. Nicholas, is buried, quite forgotten now, poor dear, though he did such lots of nice miracles in the Middle Ages! His Church was locked so I couldn't go and pay my respects to his tomb.

By way of a complete change from Tintoretto and St. Marco, last night a very smart professional palmist arrived here and proceeded to give a most absurd lecture with limelight illustrations of characteristic paws, in the hotel drawing-room. I learnt from it several curious things, chiefly that my affections are more sensual than platonic, that I have no self-confidence, am inconstant, but literary, and that people who sleep with their thumbs tucked inside their clenched hands are by nature maniacs. I hope you don't do that. The lecturer pleasantly added, "All young infants clasp their thumbs in this manner." So nice for fond mothers.
[Evelyn Underhill]

-from The Letters of Evelyn Underhill edited with an introduction by Charles Williams (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1945) p. 54-55.

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