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They are cast on vacancy, in thought.
They are cast in various directions, in doubt and anxiety.
The Arms. The placing of the hand on the head, indicates pain or distress.
On the eyes, shame or sorrow.
Both hands are held supine, or they are applied, or clasped, in prayer.
Both are held prone, in blessing.
The Louer Limbs. The firm position of the lower limbs signifies courage, or obstinacy.
Bended knees indicate timidity, or weakness.
These are a few of the simple gestures which may be termed significant.
COMPLEX SIGNIFICANT GESTURES.
Complex Significant Gestures are employed chiefly in dramatic representation. They are combinations of simple significant gestures, variously associated according to the mingled passions which they represent. The boldest and most magnificent of them are termed attitudes. The following are examples of complex significant gestures :
Reproach puts on a stern aspect: the brow is contracted, the lip is turned up with scorn, and the whole body is expressive of aversion. Fig. 166 represents Queen Katharine, in the trial scene, in the play of Henry VIII. reproaching Wolsey for the injuries which had been heaped upon her.
Apprehension is the prospect of future evil accompanied with un. easiness of mind. Fig. 167 is a good example. It represents Hamlet 166
167 in the act of exclaiming, “Ay, there's the rub.” [See Hamlet's Soliloquy, p. 249.]
Terror excites the person who suffers under it, to avoid the dreaded object, or to escape from it. If it be some dangerous reptile on the ground, and very near, the expression is represented by starting back and look
ing downwards. If the danger threaten from a dis. tance, the terror arising is expressed by looking for. wards, and not starting back, but merely in the retired position. But if the dread of impending death from the hand of an enemy awaken this passion, the coward flies. Of this there is a fine example in the battles of
Alexander, by Le Brun. Fig. 168represents terror as de. scribed by Engel. It is that of a man aTarmed by lightning and thunder. He shuts his eyes, covers them
with one hand 168
and extends the other behind hiin, as if to ward off the dreaded stroke.
Aversion, as already observed, is expressed by two gestures. (See p. 122.)
Horror, which is aversion or astonishment mingled with terror, is seldom capable of retreating, but remains in one attitude, with the eyes riveted on the object, the arms, with the hands vertical, held forward to guard the person, and the whole frame trembling. (Fig. 169.)
Listening in order to obtain the surest and most various information, first casts the eye quickly in the ap. parent direction of the sounds; if nothing is seen, the ear is turned towards the point of expectation, the eye is bent on vacancy, and the arm is extended, with the hand vertical; but all this passes in a moment. If the sounds proceed from different points at the same time, both hands are held up, and the face and eyes alternately change from one side to the other with a rapidity governed by the nature of the sound; if it be alarming, with
trepidation ; if pleasing, with gentle motion. (Fig. 99 ) The figure is listening fear.
100 Admiration, if of surrounding natural objects, of a pleasing kind, holds both hands vertical, and across, and then moves them outwards to the position extended as in the figure. (Fig. 100.) In admiration arising from some extraordinary or unexpected circumstances, the hands are thrown up supine elevated, together with the face and the eyes. Veneration crosses both hands on the breast, casts
down the eyes slowly, and bows the head. (Fig. 101.)
Deprecation advances in the extended position of the feet, approaching to kneeling, clasps the hands forcibly together throws back the
head, sinking it be101
tween the shoul ders, and looks earnestly up to the person implored (Fig. 102.)
In appealing to heaven, the right hand is laid on the breast, then the left is projected supine upwards; the eyes are first directed forwards, and then upwards. (Fig. 103.)
In the appeal to conscience, the right hand is laid on the breast, the left drops unmoved, the eyes are fixed upon the person addressed (Fig. 80, p. 99); sometimes both hands press the breast.
Shame in the extreme sinks on the knee, and covers the eyes with both hands. (Fig. 104.) This is a feminine expression of it.
Mild resignation falls on the knee, crosses the arms on the breast, and looks forwards and upwards towards heaven. (Fig. 105.)
105 Resignation mired with desperation, stands erect and unmoved, the head thrown back, the eyes turned upward, and fixed, the arms crossed. A fine instance is seen in Fig. 106, from an attitude of Mrs. Siddons.
Grief arising from sudden and afflicting intelligence, covers the eyes with one hand, advances forwards, and throws back ine other hand. (Fig. 107, and Fig. 81, p. 99.)