Charles Dickens: A Brain on Fire! 🔥

Dickens' Handwriting: with Emma Bache

June 30, 2023 Dominic Gerrard Episode 34
Charles Dickens: A Brain on Fire! 🔥
Dickens' Handwriting: with Emma Bache
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if their scribbles on paper could reveal intimate details about a person’s character, personality, and even their health? Charles Dickens, one of the greatest authors in the annals of literature, is under the microscope in this riveting conversation with Emma Bache, one of the UK's top graphologists.

Emma offers her expert analysis on Dickens' handwriting, hinting at revelations that range from potential bisexuality, to insights into his tumultuous relationships with women. From the youthful writing of Pickwick to the poignant final page of The Mystery of Edwin Drood ...

Emma's book Reading Between The Lines is fun way for you, the listener, to examine your own writing and what it could say about you!

For full links to the manuscripts and other writing mentioned in the episode  go to @DickensFire on twitter.
The three Dickens extract links are here also:
1. The Pickwick Papers (The New York Public Library, Berg Collection)
2. A Christmas Carol (The Morgan Library & Museum)
3. The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Victoria & Albert Museum)

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If you like to make a donation to support the costs of producing this series you can buy 'coffees' right here https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dominicgerrard

Host: Dominic Gerrard
Series Artwork: Léna Gibert
Original Music: Dominic Gerrard

Thank you for listening!

Speaker 1:

Hi everyone.

Speaker 1:

I'm thrilled to be joined by one of the UK's leading handwriting experts, Emma Bache, Graphologist, psychotherapist and columnist for both the Times and Financial Times, with frequent appearances on radio and TV.

Speaker 1:

Emma's book Reading Between the Lines, published by Quirkus, is a fascinating insight into what a professional eye can detect from anyone's handwriting, With analysis of people such as Shakespeare, Beyonce and the reader, who is also encouraged to write sentences for examination. In this episode, Emma looks at the original manuscripts of the Pickwick papers, A Christmas Carol and the final page of the Mystery of Edwin Drude to see what the strokes of Dickens' pen on the paper each time can tell us about the personality, character traits, health and emotion of the man in the moment of writing. And if you'd like to see all the handwriting samples as we talk about them, go to at Dickens' Fire on Twitter, and there are links or images to each one. But of course, if you're driving or walking the dog, you can still follow what is said clearly enough without the pages in front of you. Our conversation starts now, mid-sentence, with a potential bombshell discovery from Emma.

Speaker 2:

You know, i analysed Dickens' handwriting I think I told you, didn't I? It was years ago when I was doing a job for ancestry and it was a letter that he wrote to his father apparently the night before his wedding, and it just showed that he was nervous. But I mean looking at his writing, something I feel quite strongly about which I didn't feel strongly before, and I'm looking at the letter that he wrote when he was 24, i think he was bisexual.

Speaker 1:

Really, that's so interesting.

Speaker 2:

Let's face it, he's not alive to take issue with it. But there are aspects of handwriting that can show sexuality, and not all gay people or bisexuals would have these elements to their writing, but when I do see it, they do tend to Do. you see what I'm saying.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I do.

Speaker 2:

And he does have these aspects, which is quite interesting. Now, whether I didn't pick this up before or what now I know that some people think maybe he was a bit of a sex addict. possibly, obviously in those days men were allowed to behave in a certain way without being called an addict or whatever. But obviously with any addiction then any sort of discernment that somebody might have goes out the window anyway. So it's just an interesting aspect.

Speaker 1:

Oh gosh, emma. Well, we've really really gone straight into the depths.

Speaker 2:

That should get a few conversations.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, I'll be getting lots of emails.

Speaker 2:

I'm sort of bemused as to why I didn't see it before.

Speaker 1:

Do you find, though, with your work hello. By the way, i don't think I've welcomed you properly to the episode, but that's quite alright. I have to say, emma, ever since I started this series, i've been wanting to talk.

Speaker 1:

I didn't know it was you that I was looking for, but I have been wanting to talk Oh that's great Graphologist, handwriting expert, because it's so fascinating to just look into that, But he was married at 24 and actually the first extract that we picked out is that same year with Pickup. So my first question though actually just thinking that, and maybe that's why you didn't detect what you saw this time, going back to that first letter is that if you know something about this person, if they're a famous person, a famous historical person, do you have to work harder to see beyond that, to get to the human at all?

Speaker 2:

What do you mean? Because I have preconceived, i think, with somebody like Dickens not so much. I mean, i'm not a historian myself, so I really didn't know that much about the man. So I think not. I think when it becomes more difficult for me is when I'm analysing somebody more controversial and more contemporary and more written about ie Trump or Boris Johnson or whatever you know, because we all have an opinion, don't we, on these people, because we are bombarded with the visual and the written and everything else about them, and so, and like any celebrity you know, we feel as though we know them, and so if I detect things in their writing that everybody would know, it's not of no interest. But for me to see something that is controversial and it's only controversial because it would go against what most people's idea of that person already is That's what makes it interesting, whereas with Dickens, you know, he's not a contemporary character and I didn't know that much about him. So, yeah, so that's really.

Speaker 1:

That's interesting. That's interesting From my position. I'm trying to slightly unlearn all the things I think I know about him, because it's very interesting to just go straight to the manuscript and everything. And of course we'll be talking about your work and your book Reading Between the Lines, which will have a link in the description for people to look at, and I've really enjoyed working my way through that And you're in no danger of losing your profession, your work, to other people because it's so complicated. I mean it's very clearly put.

Speaker 1:

But that's you go deeper and deeper, you think, my God, the years that you've put into all of this.

Speaker 2:

Well, i suppose it is really. I mean, it's sort of horrific for me to think about how many years I've been doing it. Somebody says how how many years have you been a pathologist? You know, I want to say like 10, 15, but it's not. I mean, it's like decades and decades, which is just, you know, a terrible reflection on my decrepitude really.

Speaker 1:

We've got three Dickens manuscripts to look at from different points in his life, and the first one is when he was 24. And it's an installment of the Pickwick Papers from the Christmas chapter of 1836. So what can you tell us about it?

Speaker 2:

I mean it's a first of all, it's a lovely handwriting aesthetically. But of course I'm not really just interested in the aesthetics, because somebody can have a pretty hand writing and not be very pretty inside. you know what I mean. But his handwriting as a young man here is very fluid, got a lovely rhythm to it And you've got to remember that the time that he was taught to write in, you know, more than one century ago, things were very different And he would have been taught to write in a very formalized, slow writing. But actually his script he's gone against that And it's very fast. he's highly intelligent, but he's also there's also aspects of it would show how well organized he is as well, because the spacing is quite regular between the words. So although it's speedy writing, he is actually able to keep it relatively legible in a neat and orderly way.

Speaker 2:

There's a great sense of humor there. There's lots of loops. There aren't many angles with the connecting strokes between the letters. there aren't many angles which would suggest that perhaps he's not particularly aggressive and that he sort of goes with the flow. But actually when you look at the t bars, you know the bars that cross the letter t. they're actually quite thick, which shows an enormous sensuality which I think we can talk about later on in his life. But t bars are quite thick, slightly dagger, like some of them, and so they go from being picked quite pointy, which does show quite a cutting aspect to his writing lot of sarcasm, which also can be like a cutting wit, which obviously is a sign of intelligence.

Speaker 2:

But despite the fact that he's very emotional and creative, this isn't a man I suspect that you would want to trump the wool over his eyes or to be or to be rude to, because he would come back with something far ruder. So he's not somebody who takes fools, very likely, i would say, even though he would say it with a lot of charm and a sense of humor. There are lots of signs of good literary brain. The letter D often sort of goes back in on itself in a leftward stroke, which can mean a slightly self protective thing. But I don't see the other self protecting signs in his handwriting. But that's often a sort of literary or highly intelligent aspect to his writing. But everything's speedy. This is a very, very sophisticated brain here. But there's a lot of sensuality. I think with Dickens the way things felt and the way things looked was highly important to him. This is not a mathematician.

Speaker 2:

Right, well, i rude to mathematicians, but you know that.

Speaker 1:

Yes, of course, of course. And there's a phrase, there's a three words that I noticed on this page, about 12 lines down And talking about what you just said about those shooting teas with the phrase, just when they laughed and it's a big, that's such an interesting, it really jumped out at me And, of course, that whole passage is about people starting to laugh and having drinks and fun at a party.

Speaker 2:

Well, the thing is, I mean it's, it's, you've read it, But as a graphologist, I'm looking at the handwriting and I never read what's on there. So because I don't want to be put off by the script, I don't want to put off by what the person has said, Yeah, because that I can go off on a completely. you know, I'm a human being and I could be go off on a tangent thinking about what the person has actually said. So I tend to look at the writing as a sort of picture, if you like, as a pictorial sort of pattern, but I'm trying to find what you've just said. and they laughed.

Speaker 1:

When they laugh about 12 lines, really kind of, it's sort of in the middle. I don't know if I think I've put a little highlight around it. If I show you, hold up the page. I should say also for listeners, i will post links to these readings.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yes, I've got it, Yes, yes, I've got it. And in fact, oh yes, look at the T bar of the they. it's not just thick, that's very, very long, and that shows strong willpower and determination.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And good physical energy, but also a lot of mental energy as well. And if you look at the last, the L almost looks like a C, doesn't it In the curved realm? And if you look at it as a picture, if you like, the L curves in and the D curves in and there's a sort of symmetry there which is visually quite pleasing.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I like the W as well.

Speaker 2:

There's a W I was going to get to the I mean, I was going to be quite stylized, you know, but that's rather nice.

Speaker 2:

But it's, and it's a little bit, you know. It looks a little bit like the Dan D, doesn't it? It's sort of somebody you know. Dickens is certainly affected by the way things look and feel and everything to do with sensuality, but that would, I would imagine, also tip over into slight vanity and it would be important for him to look his best. And also on that theme, it's not just visually looking his best. He's got a lot of strokes from the middle zone And when middle zone letters like the small a's and e's and o's and use that curve upwards into the upper zone which is like the tall bits of the F's and the H's and the T's, and that's often, that's a sort of intellectual vanity in that he knows he's clever and he wants other people to know it too.

Speaker 1:

I've just seen the word laughed a couple of lines before that as well, and he's so consistent in the way that he writes that word, it seems to me.

Speaker 2:

Well, it probably means that you know it's a word that he's used to performing, if you like. I think Dickens would have been tremendously good company.

Speaker 1:

What struck me Emma as well about this first one is compared to what's going to come later is that he seems to care that what he's writing is readable, that it's easily transcribed for the printers.

Speaker 2:

Well, that is very true. I mean, the thing is that speed often makes handwriting illegible. So a lot of people think that actually sign of high intelligence is when it's legible. Well, it can actually be the reverse of that. But the whole aging process does change us, obviously physically, but it changes us emotionally and mentally as well And just put into the pot any form of illness or physical ailment And it does affect your handwriting. So you know, hopefully at 24, he was relatively I don't know his medical history really, but I hopefully at 24, he was relatively fit.

Speaker 1:

Yes, he was. I think he was and had lots of energy in life And was at the very beginning of it all. So exactly, Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, gosh that's wonderful. Shall we just talk a little bit about his sexuality. What do you think?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, because I have a little bit of extra things that can probably add to that as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Okay, i mean. What I'm also finding quite interesting here is that the lower zones of the writing if you think of the letter Y or whatever, the loop or the downward stroke, and you'd have it on a G as well and an F ordinarily we're taught, and he would have been taught as well as us to go to make the stroke go to the left of the line. Now he does do that sometimes, but if you look at the lower zone strokes, quite often it actually goes to the right, whether it's a sharp angle or a curve. Now this is quite unusual.

Speaker 2:

Now the lower zone is to do with physicality and energy, but also sexuality, and it is very rare for me to see a writing where there's consistently lower zones going to the right, in other words, bucking the trend and going against the norm of what he'd been taught, without some form of either homosexuality or bisexuality. Now I know that obviously he got married, he had many children, he was considered to be a lady's man, but because of the extreme pastiness of the writing and the fact that I think it would have been very heavy pressure, obviously it's hopeless to form any opinion about pressure without the actual original. But I think there are aspects of this which show that he could be somebody who was quite an addictive personality, and there is a strong chance that he was actually had a sexual addiction, which would mean that he was possibly attracted to men as well as women.

Speaker 1:

While you're saying all this and I can see the thing you're describing about it looping to the right, that lower zone, the wire, and I can see at the end of the margins the word lady twice.

Speaker 2:

See, i haven't even spotted. Oh yes, i've seen the lady now actually.

Speaker 1:

And it's twice Yeah.

Speaker 2:

What's quite interesting about that, dominic? well, i'm looking at the lady where it says the old lady.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

That, oh, and I have seen the other lady. Now I've found it. Now, do you see that those are quite sharp angles?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Well, that reflects how he feels about women, which and there is a little bit of tension there in that the softness of his writing and the emotional side seems to have gone And there's a lot more tension. Now I don't know what Dickens relationship was like. I mean, we're going into the whole psychotherapy thing here, but I am actually a qualified psychotherapist as well, So I'm just wondering what his relationship was like with his mother. possibly.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's very interesting because he blamed her a lot for the misfortune in his childhood of having to work in a blackened factory in the shame of family moving into a debtor's prison.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

When really it was the actions of his father. But his father was, i think he had that element again of a showman and a bit and embracing and fun. And of course later on with his wife Catherine, he did enforcer separation. So that turns very, quite, really quite nasty towards the end of his life And it's, you know, it's not looking. he tried to, he actually tried to have his wife committed.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, i mean we have to hope that he actually maybe he just didn't like women very much, but you know, it's possible that he saw elements of himself and his father So he'd be protective towards his father. But also, you know, often when you get a you know young man with a certain amount of ego and everything else, he will blame the mother, i'm afraid. So you know, maybe maybe we're uncovering here a man that his, his social reputation was of. You know, a charming ladies man, but deep down he didn't like women very much.

Speaker 1:

That's interesting, isn't it? Because, combined with that, i think, reading Claire Tomlin's biography of Dickens, she said that he spent his life trying to impress women as well. So that, mixed in, is a need to have their adulation.

Speaker 2:

Well then, trying to impress his mother, possibly, and maybe his relationship with his mother was poor, so he was, well, you know, going slightly outside the ground.

Speaker 1:

No, but this, this is so interesting.

Speaker 2:

It's some. And I mean I suppose we need to look at how Dickens portrayed women in his, in his novels.

Speaker 1:

Yes, this stage early on in the Pickwick papers the portrayal of women and talked about quite a lot in the series is a lot of sort of either old bags, grumpy or very, very attractive, pretty sort of giggly things that scream when you help them over, return style kind of thing.

Speaker 2:

Well, and nothing and nothing in between now, obviously now obviously, in that, you know, in those days, as a woman as obviously we're all you know, i consider myself a feminist of sorts. You know, i think women obviously had a pretty bad deal And maybe that's how they were regarded generally. But but possibly, dickens, you know, it's some maybe, maybe not a particularly nice man to be married to.

Speaker 1:

Oh gosh, it's. all it's funny is that you can see the signs early on here. It's. but his characters, the rights of women later on become fantastic, Really, really good, But I think they start off a little bit too dimensional.

Speaker 2:

Quite. Well, you know, it's some that there is. there is something of the narcissist about Dickens, but not in an appalling murderous way, but but yeah, there is a narcissistic element there in that he's. he's so impressed with the way things look And, and you know, there is this strong determination, strong willpower. I wouldn't have thought he was particularly open to other people's suggestions, whether they were women or or men.

Speaker 1:

And on the bisexuality it's been commented on as well by biographers. He had very intense friendships with men, very intense. You know, his friend John Forster. They were there, all these letters and things, backwards and forwards, and though they would literally be sort of falling in each other's arms and sobbing at having seen each other again, and you know so there was a lot of big display of big emotion.

Speaker 2:

I mean again, again, that's sort of well, it's, it's all, isn't it? When we look back at history, and certainly the English, we often think, oh well, you know, stiff up a lip, and and men didn't sort of show any emotion to each other, whatever. But then they also had these big sort of romances, as I suppose we call them now, with men, which could, i suppose, these days be considered slightly odd for a heterosexual man. But everything was extremes, wasn't it really? Probably because there was so much repression, particularly in the Victorian era, so much repression of sexuality, that you know on this and this will apply obviously to all the extracts we've got.

Speaker 1:

Can you detect the 1830s or the 19th century in how it looks, going beyond the colour of the page and everything is?

Speaker 2:

Not well, no, not particularly, actually, i would say. I mean sometimes I can, but I'd say with Dickens, handwriting, his writing is is actually much more modern, much more modern. And of course, when I'm analysing handwriting, you know if I'm analysing somebody who was born in the 20th century or, i suppose, 21st century now. Um, people were pretty much taught the same sort of way of writing and everything else. But as we go historically, the copybook style was very different, um, and it certainly would have been with Dickens, but actually his writing is is much more contemporary. He has gone away from that copybook style that he would have been taught quite a lot. So there's a high intelligence, high IQ, but a little bit of rebellion as well. I like that.

Speaker 1:

Yes, that's good, we all like that. Yeah, we all like that. Yeah, his true self being uncovered as well. Exactly He expressed on the page. So, emma, our second extract is the opening of a Christmas carol. What can you see here? It seems to have changed quite a lot.

Speaker 2:

Well, you see, he was still 31. I mean, still a young man, obviously, and it's just not. You know what are we talking about? It's only, um, you know, a few years after.

Speaker 2:

I'm 61 but the slant of the right, and we didn't really talk about the slant, particularly the other one. But he has a slight right slant when he was 24 and the slant is really to do with your communication skills, your outward motion to other people, if you like. Now, when we go forward a little bit, when he's 31, the slant is more pronounced to the right, which shows you know, obviously, that he was sociable and And communicative, but there's an element of, dare I say, desperation, of a sort of need to be with other people, and even the spaces between the words appear to have become smaller. So there's a need for him to um, it's almost an invasion of Emotional space with other people.

Speaker 2:

Obviously, this writing has been corrected by himself many times. I think there's an order to the disorder, if you like. He knows exactly what he's doing, but the pressure appears to be a little bit more irregular, which could almost be the very Beginnings of high blood pressure, that sort of thing. I would imagine that any ailments he's beginning to get is Probably down to his emotional state. I mean, he's very much a, an alpha male, but he's also a A type, a personality, i suppose you'd say, because he's so full on. Um Yeah, i feel as though there's almost here a deterioration of dare I say it's stability or Just a sense of calm.

Speaker 1:

Yes, it's really interesting you say that, because there is one piece of information about this time that I know is that he was under a huge financial pressure at this moment and he and he and he wrote this whole book in six weeks under that big pressure And obviously things turned around for him. But at this point it's a bit of a shaky Moment in his life, is a lot riding on this story for him.

Speaker 2:

Well, there's also I don't know if you can see, if just comparing it to the one at 24 The base lines, you know the imaginary lines on the paper that he's stuck to and he has got quite strong Um, they're slightly, just slightly, rising on the first thing, which means is sort of he feels quite enthusiastic and buoyant, but if you look at this one, if you look at the straight, they're slightly falling. I mean, i've seen a lot worse. It's not too bad.

Speaker 2:

Yes but it's slightly, and that could of course be the angle that he's got the paper. But, all things being equal, if the angle of the paper is normal, then it's sort of he feels. I mean I couldn't tell whether it's financial pressure, but I certainly he's under some sort of pressure.

Speaker 1:

And more crossings out, and I get the impression that he doesn't really care as much what it looks like. There's something a bit more. You know, he's just going to rattle this off and send it and they're going to have to fix it at the other end to print it.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, and there's almost something a little bit more elderly about it as well. It's ridiculous to think of somebody at 31 as being elderly, you know. But can you see that, the horizontal Pressure, that the, the t-bars, can you see that? that looks much Darker than the downstrokes, and it's quite unusual to have more pressure in the horizontal as opposed to the vertical, and that's beginning to show a little bit of a temper there. Now that could be because he's under pressure.

Speaker 1:

Yes, certainly shorter temper here, possibly losing maybe a little bit of his charm and the crossings out as well, are interesting, aren't they the kind of prison bars? That's quite a thing He does, i think, when he wants to get rid of a paragraph. He, he, he does that.

Speaker 2:

I ordinarily wouldn't make too much of that because I can see what he's done, because you know he he wants to make clear that I don't know all that needs to go or Moved or something. I mean it makes you realize how much easier it is, although it's not. It's not great for my profession for people to type something on a computer and then just like delete it and stuff. But you know the energy and the mental and physical Stress and energy and handwriting a whole book I think we forget. Anybody who's written a book and has typed it out on computer Should think about what it was like a hundred years ago to write it all. You know We think of the stress of typing a book. But I mean just imagine, especially with pen, which he would be constantly dipping into ink.

Speaker 1:

Yes, it occurred to me also. Just Obviously I'm taking this from what you're saying and from your book and the previous manuscript is the words themselves Are more measured in their, in their height and depth, aren't they a little bit? the the upper and the lower zone seem to be Nearer each other, maybe.

Speaker 2:

Well, the whole thing looks more constricted. I mean, all the spacing seems to have got smaller and this isn't such a good copy visually for me to see, but I talked in the first sample of the middle zones going up into the upper zones, which is a sort of slightly flamboyant thing, but it's look. You know I'm intelligent. I want you to understand that I'm intelligent and acknowledge it. That seems to have gone, but it's almost as if? um, yes, you mentioned he doesn't care so much, but if he had to write in tar book in six weeks then I don't think he had time to care so much.

Speaker 1:

You know, and some of the crossings out, the loopiness of the crossings out. Is there anything in that? the kind of you mean going over and over Um that is because he's got quite loopy writing.

Speaker 2:

Anyway, i would expect all the strokes He does to be quite loopy, so that's No, i mean I wouldn't again, i wouldn't make. I mean if, if it was all angular and it was so heavy Crossings out that it's scored through the paper, um, that would Obviously be an indication of of anger, if not violence. He doesn't have that, and who knows how many times he read through this before he crossed it out.

Speaker 1:

and yeah, anything more on this one, emma. What do you think?

Speaker 2:

Well, i just I'm, you know, i'm just slightly shocked really at slight The deterioration in just a few short years. But of course you know, when I'm looking at writing I'm looking at how the person is at that time, not the day before, the day after, but also what they're writing about and who they're writing to will have an effect On the handwriting. But I didn't know that he was under External stresses like financial and things. But that would obviously make sense.

Speaker 1:

He's a father as well, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and his father? He might have just been feeling, you know, pretty, you know, under, under an enormous amount of pressure. It's possible that writing this, he wasn't enjoying it so much because he felt as though he was having to do this for moment to regain, as opposed to literary Acclaim it's so interesting, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

well, because what the story became and what it meant for people and the effect it has on people, and then that Just to position with what it was like for him to be writing it in the moment Is so but of course, you know, christmas Carol itself, you know, has has quite a lot of dark elements to it, doesn't it?

Speaker 2:

and it's, you know, somebody, an old man looking back on his life and Realizing lost opportunities and where he's gone wrong and bad choices in life, and it's, it's quite an unusual Seem for 31 year old to write about, you know. Yes so it's possible that he was feeling He'd made some poor choices even at that age.

Speaker 1:

It's always very astonishing to find out, but he's so young when he writes that.

Speaker 2:

I know exactly So.

Speaker 1:

I wondered Emma at this point, before we go to the final Dickens manuscripts, whether you'd be interested in having a look at something I sent you which I wrote myself.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, i've got it here. It's so nice that you've actually written it in my book. I can see that, which is like my experience.

Speaker 1:

Yes, we should explain what's happening there, because your book Reading Between the Lines. There are sample pages for the readers to write down sentences so that they can analyse. Try and analyse a little bit of their own handwriting.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So I've got it here And I've got a lot to say about it. Actually, after you, i think I can answer, hopefully in quite a bit of detail, because I really remember what it was as I did it.

Speaker 2:

Dude, that's good, That's good. Seven in the morning. Again, I haven't read what you've put Now. Ok, so if we look at your writing, what sort of pen did you use, Dominic? What did you use?

Speaker 1:

I used a gel pen, which is always my preferred.

Speaker 2:

No, no, don't you say it in an embarrassed fashion, everybody uses it OK. So first one, you've got really good balance. If we look at the word on the first line forward now, the letter F is the only letter in the alphabet that goes through all three zones the upper, middle and the lower zone And it just shows how well balanced you are in between you know the intellectual and the physical. Now the middle zone, which is to do with day to day practicality and ego, is quite small, very small really, compared to the others, which shows that you're highly intelligent. But you don't have a massive ego, which is obviously good, and you're not obsessed with the practicality. Serable matters are more important to you. At the bottom of that F you slight retracing and I can see that the stroke is heavier pressure because you retraced it. So you can feel you put yourself under quite a lot of pressure. You have very high goals for yourself and you put yourself under pressure for that. There's quite a strong right Slant, a little bit like Dickens there, which makes you an excellent communicator And you're certainly very sociable, but the space between the words quite large compared to the size of the middle zone, which means that however sociable you are, you need time on your own as well And you're probably quite happy to I don't know about live alone, but quite happy to work alone. You're independent, your independent spirit, but you actually need to get away sometimes from everybody.

Speaker 2:

When you've written on the this line down and you put Charles Dickens's life, the Charles Dickens actually leans to the left so good as a Charles. So you've stopped and paused before you've put that And it's you have done a sort of accidental emphasis, if you like, on his name, which is fair enough, because that's what we're talking about. And can you see you put, i think, gel pens. Well, the L is actually going to the right there And that's the intellectual side. So your ideas are very creative. You can think quite differently from other people, but even if you come maybe to the same conclusion. You've got this investigative mind, but it's also very creative. You're not influenced by what other people think and what other people say to you. You really got your own ideas about things. Your signature now signatures how you want to be seen by other people. It's a bit like your business card or shopfront. So it may or may not have any reflection on how you really are And it looks to me as though your signature is paler pressure And it's not really very legible, whereas the rest of the script is.

Speaker 2:

You're actually quite a private person, despite your extraversion or seemingly extrovert character. But it's got again like Dickens, it's got a great fluidity to it. You would have a very high form level, which is to do with intelligence and creativity, and can you see again, if we look at that word forward, your connecting strokes are sort of arcaded, like they sort of go around, but there's a sort of going to the right, going forward. So you can be impatient with things, mainly impatient with yourself, because you've got this very quick mind. There's a lack of aggression here, really, i think. But I would imagine that you would just walk away from people that you find quite forish, which is obviously a good thing. I mean, you know, and your personal pronoun, the, i you've talked and tell that sort of like a Roman column. You know that's somebody who likes mental ball games and you know things that stimulate your mind. I mean, there are some aspects to your character the good ones, right But quite like Dickens, you do share this literary love, but also very quick-minded and quick-witted sense of humour.

Speaker 1:

What you're saying, the thing you're saying about the signature. it's so interesting because I remember and I wrote at the bottom of the page my signature changed when I was 19. My signature used to be legible when I was in my late teens. you would be able to read my name. But then I went to work in a tax office for a year where I had to sign so much in my year out, you know, saving up and everything. I had to sign my signature and counter sign so much and I saw that other people just scribbled when they signed it And so my signature then and I really remember it it became a bit more of a scribble.

Speaker 2:

So you basically turned into a doctor.

Speaker 2:

Right Dr Dom Although doctors now don't have that excuse of signing prescriptions because it's all done, you know, online, isn't it, and they don't have to sign anything. But I think the more you sign things, the quicker it becomes And your signature can almost become like a logo. And I don't think anybody expects to be able to really read a signature. But sometimes I'm looking at someone's handwriting and their signature is exactly the same as their writing, and their writing is often exactly the same as how they would have been taught, which isn't necessarily a positive thing. It's often somebody who's terrified of going out of their comfort zone, or perhaps they haven't really progressed that much since they were, since they were at school. But, dominic, i would imagine working in a tax office wouldn't have been brilliant.

Speaker 1:

No, it was. It served its purpose.

Speaker 2:

I hope you got paid a lot of money.

Speaker 1:

Unfortunately not, but I did move on from that. I didn't move on eventually from that.

Speaker 2:

It wasn't where. It wasn't where it was meant to be.

Speaker 1:

But I could tell you some extra things if you're interested. But I really remember. I really remember. So the first thing with the the I, my eyes. I am very and I would have done it when I emailed you initially. I would have been. I'm very careful not to start too many sentences with I, me or anything like that, because I feel embarrassed that it's, that, it's too much I me, i. You know personal pronouns but I do it here. But I have this tendency. I think I'm quite strong at the start of a sentence, but I feel like I always have this anxiety when I'm writing something that I don't have enough space towards the end of the line to fit in everything I want to say, so things can start to crush a little bit towards the end. I don't do it too much here.

Speaker 2:

You haven't done it actually.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

The reason why you'd be like that is because you are. You know those spaces between the words. You are well organized, you are creative, but not all creative people are well organized. You are, and actually you know Dickens. He's left very small, if any, margins right and left, so there's a sort of thing of invading personal space as well. You don't have that, because actually, what is quite different about you from Dickens? there's a lot of things that are obviously quite, but you need more privacy time than he does.

Speaker 1:

That's interesting. There's something else When I refer to you. You rang me very soon after I'd sent the email and you're the first guest that's ever done that And we had a. Really you know, I got a good chat and I thought, oh, you're going to be great to talk to, And so I had that kind of slight impression and inside as I was writing it, But then I remember consciously saying I'm so looking forward to talking to the author And I didn't put Emma because I was aware that I was going to send it to you, and so a little formality crept in and I noticed Why didn't you even notice that?

Speaker 2:

You see, I'm still looking forward to talking to the author about her work.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would have said.

Speaker 2:

You were distancing yourself.

Speaker 1:

I am, I am. The space is no offense, but the space is between the words. To the author open up a bit as well there as well. And because if I'd written, if I write your name, if I just do it, if I write your name with my eyes shut, it's I really go for people's first, the first letter of people's name. You know, I really make it their super hero symbol.

Speaker 2:

I like the way you've done the E Yes, it would be that sort of goes with your personal pronoun. So you select top and tail of it And you see I got. you see, i don't like the way I write my own name And I don't know why I do it. Well, i do know why.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we haven't started on you yet. We're ready, i'm ready to, i'm ready to really turn the tables very soon.

Speaker 2:

That aspect of my personality, so I need to do something about that's interesting?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because because people that's one thing that people will say to me if I write them cards or letters or something. They're very aware of how I kind of lionized their names. I make their names very big, but that's certainly the first letter Really big, like a superhero symbol. Yeah, it's, but because I I got a good feeling talking to you on the phone But then I thought, oh no, i better just just be careful. Just backped a little bit. You don't really know Emma yet, you know so you never have to worry about that.

Speaker 2:

But the way you've written. I mean, i'm so jealous of you because the way you've written my name is how I want to write my name. But I write my name in a really well, giving away secrets now so slightly self defensive, tragic, david, too horrible about me. It's the way, and I think that I shouldn't be that person I should be. I should be a more confident, upfront person, which is how you've written my name. So you might have changed me, actually Dominic. So I think I might have changed, even at my enormously advanced age. I think I'm about to change my signature.

Speaker 1:

That's so funny because you are confident, you're very personable. You rang me to talk to me. No one's ever done that. You know that I've message. They've always replied through their agent or there's been an email back and forward a little bit. I've never had that. You were straight on there And so now and I had a good feeling talking to you- Yeah, it made me, thought you'd be a great guest and everything. It's so interesting that you say that has your work as a graphologist impacted the way that you write yourself?

Speaker 2:

Do you know this is going to sound incredibly arrogant? No, because, probably because subconsciously or consciously, i've completely avoided mixing with any other graphologist in my entire life.

Speaker 1:

Because your enemies.

Speaker 2:

So well they are actually. But I, when I studied graphology a million years ago, we had to analyze our own handwriting. And then, even worse, we were encouraged to bring in the handwriting of our husbands, wives, girls, men, boyfriends, and I think the woman who taught me actually wanted to split us all up. All a nightmare. The divorces were flowing, you know, and we analyzed ourselves. And it's the thing is, you can't. You can't analyze yourself, just in the same way as I didn't analyze my children's handwriting or whatever you know, because I feel as I know, enough already.

Speaker 2:

But I haven't really changed my writing because I don't mix with other graphologists. But, having said that, i can see when I'm under a lot of stress, or I'm not feeling very well, or I'm feeling particularly anxious about the subject I'm writing about, or whatever. So I can see the changes that have just happened organically when I've written something. But I'm not Going to change it, except for, as I said, that signature, i think, is. I think I do need to change that. But again, you see, signatures, not really me, is it how I want to come across?

Speaker 1:

so That's interesting because I think, when my signature change from being very legible to not being led to all That's just a speedy It's.

Speaker 2:

that's You've got. you still got this strong D, You know yes yeah.

Speaker 1:

But I'm also aware of I'm going to be self-critical is that in my life There have been times when I've lacked staying power, so I've had the energy to start something and not quite see it. Sometimes. Look at my signature thing Oh well, very strong D there, but that it kind of comes back from a bit for the G for my surname, and then falls away.

Speaker 2:

I actually think staying power is overweight.

Speaker 1:

I'm glad I'm talking to you.

Speaker 2:

Because, you know, staying power sounds Obviously, it's got a positive ring to it. But also staying in something, whether it's a job or Relationship or just an emotion that doesn't serve you anymore, just because you feel you should, isn't such a positive thing and it can impede progress, you know yes, of all sorts, so I wouldn't get too hung up about get to hung up on that.

Speaker 1:

All right, okay, that's good. The only thing I think I would say about my writing, when I refer to you as the author, is our age difference as well. That's not meant to sort of say that it's gigantic when it isn't, but it's just it's enough of me to think that I'm addressing You know almost like a teacher pupil relationship there.

Speaker 2:

So I'm I know I know what you mean, but but actually I'm a. I mean, my children have no respect for me whatsoever, So I was going to say the other things.

Speaker 1:

The other thing that maybe shows up is it actually rings, it doesn't. There's a moment in the writing that I put down that doesn't ring true to me, because I did want to write your name.

Speaker 2:

I was going to, and then for some reason, i just made a glass fraction of a second decision to say to the author of this kind of Breckton I think that, i think I'll only take it as a compliment, but I think, come, yeah, i think the age difference thing, the generation difference thing, is quite interesting because, certainly, when I was, you know, in my 20s, whatever I did have a certain amount of respect for people who my parents say, but I think that's sort of gone now, hasn't it? I mean, i, i didn't know that anybody has any respect for anyone anymore.

Speaker 1:

Not as a well, maybe not as a default. I think you take it person by person really possibly up and You want to be able to communicate with people on a level that makes them comfortable And so you know, and I suppose then if that means I am a little bit more formal in the way I speak, then fine.

Speaker 2:

Or I think I mean I'm somebody who still shakes hands with people when I eat them, and they and I. Sometimes people look at me and go, you know, as though I'm some sort of pervert, because I still, i still shake hands. I mean, it's you, don't?

Speaker 1:

do the fist bumping or the elder stuff?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I'm a pleasing and so it feels very fake.

Speaker 1:

Maybe it needs a few more centuries to bed in. It doesn't feel, doesn't strike, it doesn't mean anything.

Speaker 2:

I think. But there is a reason why we shake hands. It's so we show we don't have a weapon in our hand. That's how it started.

Speaker 1:

So the fist bump I don't even know what that's saying, really no, anyway, there was something that I liked very much at the start of your book were you saying about people can be reluctant to send you letters or Christmas cards and written because they know that you can. If you Choose to, you can. You can analyze them exactly.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's true, and It's funny enough. I probably get a few more Handwritten letters and cards now than I did 25 years ago, you know, earlier on in my career, probably because people have either forgotten what I do or think, oh you know, or they don't care anymore, you know, and I don't look at that writing so much. But I will notice, in the same way as I notice things that have changed in my handwriting. I will notice if I think things have changed in their writing, if I think, oh, so and so Maybe going through a bit of a bad time or not very well or Stressed out or something. But I'm not one of these people who phone up and say, oh, i think you know, because obviously I'll have even less friends. Yes, i can notice things, i suppose.

Speaker 1:

There's something just from talking to you that I find really fascinating and I suppose it makes total sense is When you're analyzing written text, how you have to, in a way, not read it To be able to see clearly what you're looking for, that you can be thrown off if you start reading What's actually being said and then I can be totally thrown off and the thing is that sometimes if I'm in a situation like it, an event, i would really talk about an aspect of my work where I might be having to analyze, oh I don't know, 60 people in an hour and a half or whatever.

Speaker 2:

Obviously I've got very little time. I haven't got time. I mean I haven't got the inclination, but I haven't got time to read what someone's put. And I'm sure sometimes and when I was younger I did a lot of sort of Parties and things like 21st parties or 40th part and I'm sure after a few drinks that were all sorts of You know drunken comments of people are doing and of course it never got the reaction that they wanted. I Must be quite frustrating and on that note I mean slight adjunct, that is some. I do look at potential fordures sometimes as baked.

Speaker 2:

My work and If you ever thinking about going into that line, not as a graphologist But actually as a fordure is that you have to stop looking at the word as a word or as a name, and so If you turn the page upside down, you see it more as a picture, and it's much easier to copy a picture and get a good match than it is to copy a signature or name, because Even writing somebody else's name, we are influenced by the way we write that letter. So take the letter away and just see it as a pop it there for anybody who's thinking about a different level of crime and Should we now turn to the final Dickens extract, which is The final page of the mystery of Edward drew that he never.

Speaker 1:

The novel he never finishes because he dies the next day. I think he has a stroke that very evening.

Speaker 2:

Was it the next day? It was the next day.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, he died. He has a stroke that night.

Speaker 2:

Right Well.

Speaker 1:

I've told you too much already before, before you.

Speaker 2:

I knew he died of a stroke but I didn't gosh okay. So If we remember what I was saying about the, the middle sample, in that it was slightly going down, look at those lines really going down on it, going down to the left. Now, obviously, i'm looking at the scan here. It looks as though there was no Left hand margin as well as, again, a desperation to get things down. But the almost, the pastiness of the writing is becoming more pronounced. It's very difficult to read, but even things that he hasn't necessarily scribbled out or crossed out, it's very pasty and that can be a sign of and again, i'm not medically trained, although I have, i have actually worked with some medical institutions can be a sign of high blood pressure.

Speaker 2:

Now I don't really know enough about Strokes, but presumably he had high blood blood pressure before. But the size of the writing has got a lot smaller as well. Sometimes with micrographia you get that happens in with things like Parkinson's, but I don't necessarily see that here. But certainly the pressure of this and the stress of it Would suggest that there was something going on with his blood pressure and possibly a lot of stress in his life. That would just tip him over the balance, because 58 is not even for those days was was quite early today. There's something rather sad about him. He's lost his you know He's. He's lost his vitality. Of course he would have done that age from the age of 24. But he also appears to have lost his sense of humor a little bit and his Zest for life. You know the flamboyancy the dandy appears to have gone here. Apart from that, can you see that sort of coiled squiggle at the bottom?

Speaker 1:

I was gonna ask about that. So interesting. That's his final marking. I mean possibly his final marking, isn't it that?

Speaker 2:

squiggle? Yeah, I don't quite. Did he do that at the bottom of every?

Speaker 1:

page of. I don't think. He does. Certainly not them in other manuscripts that I've Seen. No, no, i don't think so.

Speaker 2:

But have you thought also, i mean, could have been something as mundane as testing the ink, you know, but it's very non-aggressive, that it's all, it's all curves, it's all emotion. I just feel as though this is a man who's become much more introspective and obviously at that age You've got and certainly that era, less to look forward to, more. Looking back now, whether I think he did have various health complaints, didn't he? I'm not quite sure what they were, yeah, but it would have been quite interesting.

Speaker 1:

He had a stroke already. Oh, he took a stroke or whatever You know a couple of years before, or maybe a year earlier, i think. Okay, that's, i've just seen, only just noticed there's this word that's written in the far right margin. That's shooting down. It's obviously inserting something.

Speaker 2:

Oh, yes, i see that near the top. Yeah, is it something like This support or something? is it double P or I can't tell if it's a double P or something Backport or support or something.

Speaker 1:

Maybe I'll see if I can.

Speaker 2:

But that's poor planning, isn't it? He's filled those margins and somebody who leaves very little margin on the left where you start, that's a sort of impatience. I mean, it shows slightly poor organizational skills now, which he had better when he was 24. But it's like desperation for people to know what he's doing And he's almost lost his visual creative sense in a way. And then the right hand margin is pretty narrow as well. If you'd already had a stroke, you can't have anything major happen in your brain without repercussions.

Speaker 1:

No, as you've already said, the downward slant is extraordinary, isn't it Starting up? and then shoot, and really at the end of every sentence. Like you said, with the Christmas Carol manuscript you have to be careful. He may be holding the manuscript on the table at a funny angle, but it really, really.

Speaker 2:

And also, and the reason why I think in the final one it was actually more his mental state, because if you look at the top of the page, it goes down a little bit just at the end, doesn't it? But those final. Well, after that first paragraph, all the lines are going right down, which can be tiredness as well. I mean, if he was just about to die as well, you know who knows how he was feeling physically.

Speaker 1:

The word that's going down. I thought it could be flapping or straggling. No, it's not that.

Speaker 2:

It's a double something, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

Yes, i mean. it tells us a lot that the word is hard to read, doesn't it? Well?

Speaker 2:

exactly. It almost looks like a K, though that it begins. It can't be.

Speaker 1:

Yes, a K or an H, i'll say out every word that has two letters. So the first word is a tendon. No, peeping wouldn't be too easy, would it? Flapping A tendon.

Speaker 2:

But where do you see the L? You think that could be an F. It could be flapping, but I don't see that last letter as a G. Is it clear with yours? Does it look like a G?

Speaker 1:

No, it doesn't. No, you're right, it doesn't. It doesn't look like that to me. I've got the text here as well, the printed text.

Speaker 2:

Is it? I can't see that.

Speaker 1:

It could be something that never made it into the text. It could be an instruction or a.

Speaker 2:

Yes, exactly.

Speaker 1:

Something that he never.

Speaker 2:

Because? is that an asterisk? No, I don't know. No, it's very difficult to read, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, i'm so struck though, just by looking at this again. blowing it up is the smallness of the words, the writing, and all that vivacity and charm and excitement and showman.

Speaker 2:

I know It's all been constricted. I mean, if I saw the words themselves in the same line, getting smaller and smaller and smaller, it started to me I would be looking at something like Parkinson's, but actually it's all consistently small, So Yes, Well. I just feel, just instinctively, he's lost, and obviously he's about to die, but he's lost his zest for life. This is somebody who sort of everything's turned a little bit inwards.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it's drained out of him, hasn't it?

Speaker 2:

It's drained out of him. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, gosh.

Speaker 2:

Bit sad really yeah.

Speaker 1:

Bit sad. Well, emma, this has been amazing. I know it's been great fun for me. Thanks so much Dominic. Not at all. Bye, bye, yeah, have a lovely day.

Dickens' Handwriting
Dickens' Handwriting and Possible Bisexuality
Analyzing Handwriting and Personal Reflections
Analyzing Handwriting and Signatures
Analyzing Communication and Social Etiquette
Analyzing Charles Dickens' Final Manuscript
Loss of Zest for Life