Wanted: 150-year-old palmist

I think I can show that the term guiri is traceable to Semitic roots, and I will do at some stage, but I’d just like to add a little bit of very vaguely circumstantial evidence to an alternative hypothesis discussed here. At the time I turned over in bed and muttered:

So was the term guiri coined for application to northerners (Brits and French were involved in the war, principally on the liberal side), was it then applied, willy-nilly, to all outsiders in the Carlist regions of the north, and did it then reappear in its original usage a century or so later? If there were slightly more evidence, then I’d be strongly in favour of this hypothesis, simply because it would explain more of the evidence more simply. Given that the French (and not the numerous Irish generals serving in the Spanish military) seem to have introduced the Spanish to potatoes, I think it most likely that the original guiris were French.

Since the French are generally paler than the Spanish, it’s kind of interesting to discover that Blasco Ibáñez in La horda has gypsy fortune-tellers in 1900-ish Madrid associate blondness with possession of a sword and a fine dapple-grey, suggesting that racial stereotyping of military men may have spread beyond the principal war zones (or were the gypsies thinking back to Napoleon and handsome Brits?). I’ll check out a couple of 150-year-old palmists in the neighbourhood this evening and report back tomorrow.

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