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less bold than the primary postures. The fore arm, in the horizontal elevation, instead of being raised to the
height of the shoulder, points about as high as the middle. of the breast; the hand, in the elevated position, is not raised above the eyes; and in the position downwards, it is held but little below the waist.
In delineating the primary postures, the boldest and most decided action has been chosen, which is suited to the epic style; because, in this style, the different postures are the most strongly discriminated. The colloquial elevations are similar, but In them the distinctive character is, that the
arm, at the elbow, is bent, and the upper arm held closer to the side.
The degree of energy proceeding from the sentiment of desire, or aversion, with which a passage is delivered, influences much the character of the gesture, in the same manner that it does the tones and expressions of the voice; the language still remaining unaltered. If the passage to be delivered may properly be illustrated by the arm in the posture horizontal extended (hx), the degree of that extension should vary with the spirit of
the passage. If an object is simply pointed to in the hori-xzon, the arm should be moderately extended (Fig. 45), and slightly bent at the shoulder, the elbow, and the wrist. If the object is highly interesting, and supposed to be in the same situation as if a general pointed to those troops which he required to be instantly sustained, the arm should be extended to the utmost, the wrist thrown up, and the fingers down, whilst
the whole body should be projected forwards. (Fig.
46.) The arm, in this posture, as in the last, is COL sidered still to be horizontal extended, but in the extreme degree, and is marked with an additional x (hxx). If the object in the same situation as before be supposed something producing disappointment, or horror the arm should be contracted, and the whole person should recoil. (Fig. 47.) And this also is considered horizontal extended; horizontal, because the hand is directed towards the horizon; and extended, because the arm continues in the same plane as in the former instances. But the eharacter of this gesture differs; and, in order to express it by the notation letters, a c is added, thus, hxc. This notation is read, horizontal extended contracted.
There are other postures of the arm, which require a separate consideration. These postures are named from the manner of holding the arm, or resting it upon the body. They admit of considerable variety; but the description of the following, will suffice to explain the class to which they are to be referred.
Encumbered, or folded, noted en. (Fig. 48.) When the arms are crossed, and enclose each other, the left
hand holding the upper right arm, and the right hand passing under the upper left arm.
Kimbo, k. The posture into which the arm is thrown by resting the hand upon the hip, as in Fig. 49.
Reposed, pd. When one fore arm rests upon the other, as in Fig. 50. This posture is peculiar to ladies.
POSTURES AND MOTIONS OF THE HANDS.
THE Roman critics and orators attributed considerable importance to the manner of disposing the fingers, in delivery, ascribing to each particular disposition of them, a significancy, or suitableness for certain expressions, of which we do not always see the force. Several of these dispositions of the fingers are employed by our speakers, but without attaching to them any particular significancy. Either they are natural gestures, or they are imitations, of which the origin is not remembered, or regarded, as many of our apparently original actions are.
The postures of the hand are determined by four different circumstances:
1. By the disposition of the fingers.
2. By the manner of presenting the palm.
3. By the combined disposition of both hands.
4. By the part of the body on which they are occasionally placed.
First Class of the Postures of the Hands, depending on the Disposition of the Fingers.
The natural state, noted n., Fig. 51. The hand, when unconstrained, in its natural, and relaxed state, either hanging down at rest, or raised moderately up has all the fingers a little bent inwards towards the
palm; the middle and third finger lightly touch; the fore-finger is separated from the middle finger, and less bent, and the little finger separated from the third, and more bent. The extremity of the thumb bends a little outwards; and, in its general length and disposition, is nearly parallel with the fore-finger. When the arm is raised horizontal, the hand is held obliquely between the postures inward and supine. Cresollius recommends the public speaker to adopt this posture of the hand, and for this preference he adduces the authority of Hippocrates and Galen. But it is not necessary that a speaker should confine himself to any one posture of the hand; variety may often demand the contrary: if, however, he should prefer using only
one, this posture merits the preference.
Clinched, c, Fig. 52. The fingers, in this disposition, are firmly closed, and press their extremities upon the palm; the thumb aids the pressure, and is lapped, particularly, over the middle finger.
Extended, x, Fig. 53. The fingers, in this state, whatever may be the general position of the hand, are separated from each other with energy in proportion to the excitation of the speaker.
Index, i, Fig. 54, 55, 56. Pointing with the forefinger, and sometimes also with the middle finger extended, the other fingers turned inwards, and contracted with more or less force, according to the energy of
The letter chosen for the notation of a particular gesture, is not always the initial letter, because the names of many of the gestures begin with the same letter. It becomes necessary, therefore, to employ some remarkable letter in the word; thus, a is used for extended, and I for collected, which may be easily remembered. Of the many names of gestures which begin with the same letter, the gesture most used is marked by the initial letter.