Owing to their large size and more complex form the capital letters
offer much more material for tests than the smalls. They yield more
scope for tricks and eccentricity, though, at the same time, their extra
prominence, and the clearness with which their outlines strike the eye
of the writer render it more likely that he will detect glaring
departures from the orthodox model. In other words, a writer would
more attention to accuracy in forming, and particularly in
copying, a capital than a small letter. This is generally found to be
the case in signature forgeries, the capitals being, as a rule, much
nearer the original than the small letters. But there is this great
advantage in favour of the student in examining capitals--the strokes
being more expansive supply a larger field and material for examination.
For example, a ragged or diamond stroke in a much flourished capital
like _M_, _W_, _R_ or _B_ would be more apparent than the same kind of
stroke in a small letter.
There is no need to take the capital letters seriatim, as was the case
with the smalls, for the same principles and rules for examination apply
in both cases. The same care is necessary in examining the arcs, hooks
and shoulders of loops, with their general conformation. The angle of
slope is more noticeable in capitals, and they reveal the
characteristics of the writer more than small letters. Persons who
profess to delineate character from handwriting always pay great
attention to the capitals, doubtless with good reason, and as the result
of long experience.
An examination will show that about ten capitals can be formed with two
disconnected strokes. They are _A_, _B_, _F_, _H_, _K_, _P_, _Q_, _R_,
_T_ and _X_. These are known as double capitals. These doubles should
be carefully looked for, and the frequency, or otherwise, of their
recurrence noted, as it is probable they will be found to be nearly
always used under the same circumstances; that is, a writer may have a
habit of beginning with a double capital when possible, but revert to
the single form of the same letter in the body of the writing. Another
writer will almost invariably disconnect the capitals from the rest of
the word, while a third as regularly connects them. Some writers affect
the more simple form, approximating to the printed character. Others
again indulge in inordinate flourishes, particularly in their
signatures. Such writers prove easy prey to the forger.
A feature very easy of detection in capitals is the "diamond." It is
formed by a sudden thickening of the downstroke. It is particularly
noticeable in the writing of those who have been instructed in the
old-fashioned school, where a distinction between the heavy downstroke
and the light upstroke was insisted upon. The diamond habit once formed
is very difficult to eradicate, and traces of it always remain in the
writing of persons thus taught.
An important and significant part of a capital letter is the beard. It
is an automatic trick, and always repays careful examination. It may be
a spurred, ticked or dotted beard, but in any case the initial stroke
must be carefully examined, whatever form it may assume, for the
oft-emphasized reason that it belongs so essentially to the
clue-providing class of unguarded and unpremeditated automatic strokes
that are overlooked by the writer.
Variations in the form of a capital must be noted, and a record kept,
for, however great the variety, it will be found that one particular
form is more used than another, and may be regarded as the normal type
of the writer.
A peculiarity of some writers is the use of an enlarged form of the
small letter for a capital. The letters so made to serve a double
purpose are generally _A_, _C_, _E_, _G_, _M_, _N_, _O_, _P_, _Q_, _S_,
_U_, _V_ and _W_. They are referred to as small capitals.