Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 75.djvu/160

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Much work to-day still needs to be done in the collection, according to well-formulated plans, of material for the study of handwriting. In the matter of family resemblances in chirography, for instance, there is scarcely any material at hand, a fact not surprising since such work of collection must needs run over years. An instructive series of family autographs would be one showing handwriting at different periods of development. Any resemblance here in the handwriting at the same period of life of individuals differing considerably in age would testify directly to hereditary motor tendencies of some fineness, since suggestibility as a contributing cause would be ruled out.

Doubtless the day is far in the future when we shall be able to solve such historic enigmas as Mary, Queen of Scots, by an appeal as Tarde, the French sociologist, suggests, to her handwriting; or be proficient enough in the art of interpretation to proffer our services, as other enthusiasts predict, to the benevolent advocates of scientific match-making; but such suggestions carry with them a faith in the interpretation of this finest, subtlest of movements which time will perhaps justify. Nor will a scientific interpretation of individual chirography come merely to gratify an idle curiosity or a secret malice. It will be of immense value. All the arts remedial and educative will have need of it. Physician and educator, criminologist and sociologist, will make their appeal to it. Strange, if in time these tiny written gestures should be found to be all-revealing; if in them should be found the most intimate expression of the dramatic instinct.