From Hensleigh Wedgwood [1867–72]1
1 Cumberland Place, | Regent’s Park. N.W.
My dear Charles
I am afraid I can throw no light on any of your queries A brown study sounds like a modern expression. It has an odd coincidence with the old French embruns or embrun, which signifies exactly the same thing, absorbed in thought.2 I should think that shaking hands is not so much a rudimentary embrace as a remnant of giving the hand in token of good faith, “Theres my hand upon it”. A bet according to boys tradition requires the sanction of shaking hands. This explains handfestning (in Old Swedish) the promise of fidelity which a subject makes to her prince, or an engagement of marriage with the hand given in token of fidelity
Old Norse handa band, the joining of hands as solemn confirmation of a concluded agreement; handfesta, to confirm in such a manner, to assure by joining hands.
I do not know the paper to which you refer and am much obliged for the reference
Ever yours | HW.
On origin of hand-shaking.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7041,” accessed on 29 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7041