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a.ly placed. The notation letter by which these are represented, is a capital; and it occupies the place in




the Systematic Table (to be found in another part of this work), of those two small letters which represent the position of the arm in the vertical and transverse direction. The parts of the body and head most remarkable, in this respect, are, the breast, noted B (Fig. 80); the eyes, E (Fig. 81); the lips, L (Fig. 82); the forehead, F (Fig. 83); the chin, C (Fig. 84).




The Motions of the Arms and Hands.

In ascertaining the import of any posture of either arm, or hand, it is important to consider the posture in connexion with the action by which it is produced;

for any posture of the arm, or hand, may sustain different significant characters, because different actions give the same posture an entirely different import. This must be obvious to all who reflect that the effect of the posture greatly depends upon the exact character of the motion, which is produced partly by the direction which the motion takes, partly by the force with which it is commenced, and partly by the distance through which it passes.

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The motions of the hands and arms together, are, therefore, considered; first, as to their direction; and, secondly, as to their manner of moving. The energy is not here taken into account. These motions are noted by the fourth and fifth small letters, should so many be necessary.

In the direction of the motion (Fig. 85), gestures are considered as ascending, noted a; descending, d; to the right, r; to the left, 7; forwards, f; backwards, b; revolving, v. The stars, connected with the hand by dots, show the various points from which the mo tion of the gestures has commenced.

As to the manner of motion, gesture may be considered as

Noting, noted n, Fig. 11, page 71. When the hand is first drawn back and raised, and then advanced, and, with a gentle stroke, depressed.

Projecting, or pushing, p, Fig. 86. When the arm is first retracted, and then thrust forward in the direction in which the hand points.


Waving, w, Fig. 87. When the fingers are first pointed downwards, and then, by a smart motion of the elbow and wrist, the hand is flung upward in a vertical direction. The flourish, fl, Fig. 88. A circular movement above the head.


The sweep, sw, Fig. 89. A curved movement, descending from the opposite shoulder, and rising with velocity to the utmost extent of the arm, or


the reverse; changing the position of the hand from

supine to vertical, in the first case, and from vertical to supine, in the latter. The sweep is sometimes doubled, by returning the arm through the same arch.*

Beckoning, bk. When with the fore-finger, or the whole hand, the palm being turned inwards, a motion is made in the direction of the breast.

Repressing, rp. The reverse of the preceding gesture, when the fore-finger, or the whole hand, the palm turned outwards, makes a motion in opposition to the person addressed. The motions, in these last two gestures, are often repeated.



Striking, st, Fig. 90. When the whole fore-arm, and the hand along with it, descend from a higher elevation rapidly, and with a degree of force like a stroke which is arrested, when it has struck what it was aimed against.

Recoiling, rc, Fig. 91. When after a stroke, as in the former gesture, the arm and hand return to the position whence they proceeded.

The late John Kemble, says Mr. Austin, used the double sweep, with fine effect, on these words:

The play 's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king. — Hamlet.

Advancing, ad. When the hand being first moved downwards and backwards, in order to obtain greater space for action, is then moved regularly forwards, and raised as high as the horizontal position, a step being, at the same time, made in advance, to aid the action.

Springing, sp. When the hand, having nearly arrived at the intended limit of gesture, flies suddenly up to it by a quick motion of the wrist, like the blade of a pocket-knife, when it suddenly and decidedly snaps into its proper situation by the recoil of the spring.

Throwing, th. When the arm, by the force of the gesture, is thrown, as it were, in the direction of the person addressed.

Clinching, cl. When the hand is suddenly clinched, and the arm raised in a posture of threatening, or contempt.

Collecting, ll. When the arm, from an extended posture, sweeps inwards.

Shaking, sh. When a tremulous motion is made by the arm and hand.

Pressing, pr. When the hand, already laid on some part, the effort of pressing is marked by raising the elbow, and contracting the fingers.

Retracting, rt. When the arm is withdrawn, preparatory to projecting, or pushing, as may be imagined in Fig. 47, if supposed to prepare to push towards the star, and as in the dotted hand and arm of Fig. 91, or in the right arm of Fig. 96; or, in order to avoid an object either hateful or horrible, as in Fig. 95 and 105.

Rejecting, rj. Is the action of pushing the hand vertically towards the object, and, at the same time, averting the head, as in Fig. 97, for which Fig. 96 is preparatory.

Bending, bn, is the gesture preparatory to striking. It is represented by the uppermost dotted hand and arm of Fig. 90, and by the strongly marked elevated right arm of Fig. 91.

The gestures here given will suffice, as a specimen

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