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This fault coincides, in most instances, with the wide position of the feet formerly objected to, as producing an overbearing and swaggering mien.
6. A leaning over to the side on which gesture is made.
This fault presents the speaker very awkwardly to the eye, -somewhat in the manner of figures in the drawings of young children who have not yet acquired a perfect idea of a perpendicular line, and who represent all objects in a picture as if in the act of falling. The apparent want of security and firmness in this attitude, enfeebles to the eye every action of the speaker's arm. [See Fig. 18.]
Rule. The trunk, or main part of the body, should always be in a firm, but free and graceful posture, exposing the full front, and not the side; avoiding equally rigidity and display, and yielding to every impulse of gesture. (See Figs. 10, 11, 12, 13.)
POSITION AND MOVEMENT OF THE HEAD AND THE COUNTE
NANCE. Remarks. The bearing of the head decides the general mien of the body, as haughty and condescending, as spiritless, dejected, embarrassed, -or as free from the influence of such feelings, and wearing an easy, self-possessed, and unassuming expression, arising from tranquillity and serenity of mind. The firstmentioned of these states of feeling inclines the head upward; the second causes it to droop, or keeps it fixed by constraint; the last preserves it from these extremes, and allows it an easy and natural motion. The recitation of poetry may, in particular instances, authorize or require a very erect, or a drooping posture of the head; but declamation, or public speaking, implies a state of self-command, a rational consideration of effect, and an avoiding of the appearances of extreme emotion. In the latter exercise, therefore, the general air of the head bespeaks respect for the audience, mingling with
a just self-respect, and avoids alike a lofty or a submissive carriage. The eyes and the other features correspond to this manner.
ERRORS in the position of the head are as follows:
1. A distant and lofty, or indifferent air, throwing back the head, or carrying it too erect. [See Fig. 16.]
This fault is generally unintentional, and arises, in many instances, from an error in the posture of the Jimbs, as mentioned before.
2. A bashful drooping of the head, accompanied with downcast eyes.
This manner takes away the effect of delivery. As. the mind always appears to follow the eye, the speaker's attention seems not to be directed to his audience.
3. The head remaining fired and still, under the influence of embarrassment and constraint.
This fault is much aggravated, if attended, as it usually is, by a vague wandering, or a motionless abstraction of the eye, and, perhaps, an occasional working of the eyebrows. The effect of these manifestations of uneasiness is, of course, very unfavourable to the influei ce of the speaker's delivery.
4. An objectionable movement of the muscles of the countenance.
This fault sometimes assumes the form of an unmeaning smile, or an equally unmeaning frown; soinetimes, of too much excited play of the features, with an incessant and inappropriate turning or staring of the eyes; and sometimes, in vehement declamation, an ungraceful protrusion of the lips.
RULE. The head should neither be hung bashfully down, nor carried haughtily erect: it should turn easily
but not rapidly, from side to side; the eyes being directed generally to those of the persons who are addressed, but not fastening particularly on individuals. The abstraction of the mind, implied in the appropriate recitation of some pieces in poetry, may, however, render it inconsistent to give to delivery the air of address; as, for example, in the reciting of any pássage in which a distant or imaginary scene is called up vividly to the thoughts. The eyes should, in such cases, be directed away from those of the audience, and be fixed on vacancy. All inappropriate and ungraceful play or working of the features, should be carefully avoided.
POSITION AND MOVEMENT OF THE HAND.
Remarks. The hand is, in most forms of action, the great organ of the mind. Its power of expression in communication, when used alone, or accompanied by speech, is peculiar and extensive. The position or action of the hand invites, repels, refuses, rejects, implores, or threatens, more forcibly than even the voice or the countenance. The language and meaning of gesture lie in the hand; and these cannot be expressed without an appropriate use of this organ. The arm is, in gesture, but the inferior agent to move and exert the hand, the great instrument of all expression addressed to the eye. The tones of the voice, and the action of the features, are, no doubt, the chief vehicles of meaning. But next to these comes the hand, as an important agent in delivery; and, in some kinds of emotion, it even takes the precedence of the voice :in all those passions, for instance, which by their excess tend to render the tongue mute. In unimpassioned speaking, the gesture of the hand is not so prominent; but it still serves a useful purpose in
accompanying, aiding, and enforcing the impressions produced by the voice. It helps to concentrate the action of the senses towards the objects which are presented to the mind, and, though a subordinate, is yet an indispensable, instrument of appropriate and impressive delivery.
ERRORS. The chief faults in the position of the hand, are,
1. A feeble gathering in of the fingers towards the palm. [See Fig. 19.]
The proper use of the hand is thus lost. As the fingers are bent in, in this position, they hide the palm, -a part which bears the same reference to the use of the hand in gesture, that the countenance does to the head. Without the exhibition of the features, there can be no meaning gathered from the view of the head; so without the exposure of the palm, there is no expression in the hand. The open hand is essential to most gestures, on the principle that such a position, and no other, harmonizes with the idea of communication. The error now objected to will appear in its true light, if we advert to the difference between the .acts of giving and receiving, as they influence the position of the hand. Suppose, for a moment, the case of two persons in the attitudes relatively, of giving and receiving alms. The individual who receives the gift, holds his hand in a hollow position, for the sake of receiving and retaining what is bestowed; while the individual who bestows, necessarily opens the hand, to convey to that of the other the gift which is conferred. The position, in the former case, which is nearly that now mentioned as a fault, is that of reception, and cannot be appropriate in delivery, which is an act of communication or of transferring. The hand partly closed has no speaking expression to the eye; to produce this effect, it must be opened fully and freely. [See Fig. 20.]
2. A flat and square position of the hand, with the fingers straight and close. [See Figs. 21 and 22.]
This position has to the eye the effect of the mechanical placing of a piece of board, rather than the appropriate appearance of a human hand,-from which the idea of pliancy can never be naturally separated. The awkward air of this position is much increased, if the thumb is placed close to the fingers. [See Fig. 22.] The want of separation in the placing of the fingers, has an influence nearly as unfavourable as that of allowing the hand to be partly closed.
3. A half pointing position of the fingers, which has neither the definiteness of pointing, nor the speaking expression of the open hand. [See Fig. 23.)
This fault savours of studied and artificial grace, whilst every point of detail in gesture should be characterized by a natural and manly freedom.
4. An indefinite spreading of the fingers, which lacks energy and expression. [See Fig. 24.]
This style of position has, unavoidably, a vague and feeble character, which impairs the effect of gesture, and seems to take away the expression of life from the hand.
5. A displayed position of the fingers, differing from the correct position, by inclining the little finger outward and downward, instead of inward; and parting it too widely from the other fingers. [See Fig. 25.]
This position seems studied, finical, and affected; it produces the effect of caricature, and, from its mincing style, is unavoidably associated with feebleness.
6. Too frequent use of the repressing gesture which turns the palm downward. [See Fig. 26.]
This gesture is appropriate in particular descriptive passages of poetry, but is unsuitable for prose, unless in a highly imaginative style.
7. Too frequent use of the pointing gesture, which