Imágenes de páginas

the arms and lower limbs. Embarrassment sometimes keeps the body fixed like a post, and makes the head motionless. These are faults; and so also are all writhings of the body, shrugging of the shoulders, and sudden turning and jerking of the head, as well as all gestures of the head for the enforcing of sentiment, when not accompanied with the hand.

The Eyes and Countenance of the speaker are always to be employed. It is by these that an audience conceives itself able to read the real feelings of the speaker, and to judge of his sincerity. While in the act of speaking, the eye of the speaker should search out the eye of every hearer, to give to his address the character of a personal appeal; but without being fixed on any one so as to call the attention of others to him as the subject of remark. This caution is particularly necessary, when employing the language of invective or public censure, lest individuals should be offended with the idea of being publicly held up as examples of the vices condemned. Even during the rests of the voice, and particularly during the emphatic pauses, the eye and countenance of the orator are full of expression. That which is uttered after such pause receives a part of its impressiveness from the idea that it comes forth warm from the heart, the very operations of which have been seen in the countenance and the gesture.

Of the movements of the Hands and Arms I shall speak more at length; and for this purpose shall devote to them the next section. Here however it may be remarked, that the arms and hands of the speaker, when not employed in gesture, should hang freely by the side, without the action of a muscle. When entering upon the stage then, and till they are called into requisition for gesture, the young declaimer is simply " to let them alone.” If he can succeed in doing this, the idea of awkwardness, so far as they are concerned, will occur only to himself. At the close of the last gesture, likewise, prior to the termination of a piéce or paragraph, the hands should fall to rest by the side.—Thus it

appears that the rest of the hand, after it has once been raiseu in gesture, has a meaning, not less than any other action.


Fig. 46.

OF THE MOVEMENTS OF THE HANDS AND ARMS. 1. Of the hand to be employed.—A full development of this subject will involve a brief reference to a variety of circumstances connected with delivery.—When the speaker is reading the sentiments of another from the page of a book, the book should be held in the left hand, directly in front of the breast, and some six inches from the body; and should be so far depressed as not to conceal from the audi

Fig. 47. ence the face of the reader.

Any gesture made by the reader thus embarrassed, must be made with the right hand; and even this hand, when not needed for purposes of gesture, may gently touch the margin or corner of the book, to assist in turning over the leaves. (See Fig. 46.) In reading an original compo

sition, more gesture is expected, but yet it must be confined to the right hand. (See Fig. 47.) In either case the eyes should be taken from the book as often as possible without producing embarrassment; and this should be done particularly at the close of the periods.-Any paper which the orator may choose to hold should be held in the left hand; and except in cases of marked energy, this hand thus employed should not be used in gesture; and then, never except in connection with the other.-In reading from a manuscript, as in the pulpit, the left hand should rarely be used.

Even in ordinary delivery, when both hands are free, the right hand takes the decided precedence in gesture. It will be sufficient, therefore, to enumerate some of the occasions on which the left hand may be employed.—The matter of the oration may furnish occasion for the use of the left hand. When, in narrative or descriptive pieces, different persons or things are represented as variously disposed, or as occupying different positions, the hands may be alternately employed; also when there is antithesis in the sentiment, or even in the structure of the sentences. On introducing a new argument, or on presenting some new point of discussion, after one in which the right hand has been for considerable time employed, the left hand may even take the principal gesture. Such alternation of the hands, however, should not be frequent; nor should the gestures of the left hand be long continued.

The situation of the speaker may also lead to the employment of the left hand,—as when the persons

addressed on his left side. This may occur on the stage; and will often occur both at the bar and in halls of legislation, where the judges and the jury, in the one case, and the chair and the house, in the other,—are to be addressed. The one or the other of these will often be at the speaker's left hand. So with the preacher, who wishes to address himself particularly to that portion of his hearers who are on his left.Variety may occasionally though rarely lead to the use of


the left hand; as may also the attitude of the speaker. Thus, when in earnest gesture, the left foot is projected forward, as it must be, if in such case it is found to be the free foot; or when, in starting back, the right foot has left the other far in advance, it would be improper to use the right hand for the principal gesture

Fig. 49

Fig. 50.

Fig. 48.

Both hands

may be employed at the same time, in earnest appeal, in expressing the ideas of extent or vastness, and often in animated poetic recitation. In such cases, if the persons addressed are precisely in front of the speaker, the gestures of the two hands will correspond, and will be exactly similar, (see Figs. 48, 49 ;) but if the body of the speaker is presented a little obliquely, which is deemed more graceful, then the right hand is usually more elevated or more advanced than the left, (see Figs. 34, 50,—that of the one being called the principal, that of the other the subordinate gesture.

2. Of Gesture as Principal and Subordinate.—When both hands are employed in gesture, as just intimated, the one is usually more advanced or more elevated than the

other. Either hand may take the precedence, though this honor is more generally conferred upon the right hand. The hand which performs the principal gesture is called the advanced, and the other the retired hand. The subordinate gesture frequently imitates that of the other hand, and is always in the same direction with it; but is more moderate and reserved. The employment of both hands thus is peculiarly graceful, and is more forcible and expressive than the use of either hand alone. From the part which this subordinate gesture performs, it is not inaptly compared, by Austin, to the accompaniment in music.

3. Of the Accompaniments of Gesture. The subordinate gesture is one of the accompaniments of the principal. But there are other accompaniments to be attended to. The movements of the lower limbs, of the body, and of the head must all join in harmony with the principal gesture of the hand; otherwise the movement will be but a mere imitation of nature. And even though the body and limbs should move in perfect concert, while the countenance should remain unmoved and unexcited, the entire action would be but that of a well-contrived automaton. With all of these at perfect command, and employed in harmony with the diversified melodies of the voice, nothing can be wanting for the enforcement of either thought or feeling

4. Of Gesture as Preparatory and Terminating.Every act of gesture consists of two parts—the preparatory and the terminating movement. The last is that for which the gesture is made; and the former is but the preliminary movement, which of necessity precedes it. The collected state of the hand, for example, belongs exclusively to the preparatory part of gesture. Again, the hand cannot be brought downward in emphatic expression, till it has been

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