Hitherto I had noticed the backs of his hands as they lay on his knees in the firelight, and they had seemed rather white and fine. But seeing them now close to me, I could not but notice that they were rather coarse — broad, with squat fingers. Strange to say, there were hairs in the centre of the palm.
Show of hands, please: who else read the hairy palms bit and thought “Chronic masturbator!”
Okay, yes, I am indulging my inner 13-year-old a bit here, but note that the super-serious Norton Critical Edition of Dracula does give a rather coy endorsement to the Transylvanian Monkey-Spanker interpretation in the following footnote:
These hairy palms are one of Dracula’s few affinities with the werewolf (and, in the opinion of some commentators, with the Victorian masturbator as well).
If we’re going to go 100% Freudian and read the book as a case study in repressed Victorian sexuality then yes, okay, this makes some sense. But I’d be hesitant to fully sign on with this unless we knew for certain when hairy palms became associated with jacking off — maybe we should page Dr. Miller on this? But regardless of which direction the influence runs — that is, whether anti-wanking crusaders adapted Stoker’s description of the vampire for their own uses, or whether Stoker used a well-known trope to convey conspicuous ickiness and imply that maybe Drac has been sucking his own blood, so to speak — it’s pretty interesting to see this imagery show up here.