Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/119

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83
LIFE IN THE CAPITAL

men abound. Their only dangerous competitors are the founders of new religions. This latter is to-day, perhaps, the most profitable and easily operated swindle in the world."

Closely allied to the astrological practice of medicine were the arts of palmistry and physiognomy, which Nash bitterly attacks in The Terrors of the Night.

"Just such like impostures as is this art of exposition of dreams are the arts of Physiognomy and Palmistry: wherein who beareth most palm and praise, is the palpablest fool and Crepundio. Lives there any such slow, itch-brained, beef-witted gull, who by the riveld bark or outward rind of a tree will take upon himself to forespeak how long it will stand, what mischaices of worms, caterpillars, boughs breaking, frost bitings, catel rubbing against, it shall have? As absurd is it by the external branched seams of furrowed wrinkles in a man's face or hand, in particular or in general to conjecture and foredoom his fate.

"According to every ones labour or exercise, the palm of the hand is wrythen and pleyted, and every day alters as he alters his employments or pastimes; wherefore well may we collect, that he which hath a hand so brawned and interlined, useth such and such tools or recreations; but for the mind or disposition we can no more look