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tions only as consist with manly and simple grace. The toes are to be moderately turned outward, but not to be constrained; the limbs are to be disposed so as to support the body with ease, and to admit of flowing and graceful movement. The sustaining foot is to be planted firmly; the leg braced, but not contracted; the other foot and limb must press lightly, and be held relaxed, so as to be ready for immediate change and
“In changing the positions of the feet, the motions are to be made with the utmost simplicity, and free from the parade and sweep of dancing. The speaker must advance, retire, or change, almost imperceptibly; and it is to be particularly observed that changes should not be too frequent. Frequent change gives the idea of anxiety or instability, both of which are unfavourable.”
ERRORS. The common faults in the position of the feet, are,
1. That of resting on both feet equally, which gives the whole frame a set and rigid attitude. [See Figs. 4 and 5.]
2. Pointing the toes straight forward, which, when combined with the preceding fault, forms the climax of awkwardness and squareness of attitude, and, even when unaccompanied by any other error, has the bad effect of exposing the speaker's side, instead of his full front, and consequently assimilating all his movements and gestures to those of attack in fencing. [See Fig. 6.]
3. Placing the feet too close to one another, which gives the whole body a feeble and constrained appearance, and destroys the possibility of energy in gesture. [See Fig. 7.]
4. The placing of the feet too widely distant, and parallel to each other, which gives the speaker's attitude a careless and slovenly air. [See Fig. 8.]
5. The placing of the feet at too wide a distance
from each other, but with the one in advance of the other. This is the attitude of assumption, or of a boasting and overbearing manner. It would be appropriate in the swaggering air of Pistol or of Captain Bobadil. It is only through gross inattention that it can be exhibited, as it not unfrequently is, on occasions of public declamation. [See Fig. 9.]
Rule, The body should rest so fully on one foot, that the other could be raised, for a moment, without loss of balance; the toes turned outward; the feet neither more nor less distant than a space equal to the broadest part of the foot; and the relative position of the feet such, that if two lines were drawn on the floor, under the middle of the sole of each foot, from the toes to the heel, the lines would intersect each other under the middle of the heel of that foot which is placed behind the other. [See Figs. 10, 11, 12, 13.]
This general rule is applied in detail as follows. The recitation of poetry, as it gives scope to vivid expression, and sometimes requires actual delineation or personation, is not confined to any one, or even to a few attitudes. The position of the feet, therefore, is various, as accommodated to the different passions or emotions introduced in the piece which is spoken. Declamation, or the delivery of common speeches in prose, does not admit of any degree of representation; the attitude is that of self-possession, and of energetic or persuasive address; and the positions of the feet are limited to the following:
1. The first position of the right foot, -at the distance and in the relative situation mentioned before; the right foot is planted firmly, and supports the weight of the body; the left touches the floor but slightly, rising a little at the heel.* [See Fig. 10.]
* This position is denominated the second, in the Chironomia. But as it is usually the first in the commencement of a speech, the natural order would seem to present it as the first in instruction and exercise.
2. The second position of the right foot keeps the same distance and relative situation of the feet as in the first, (except a slight outward inclination of the left heel, for firm and easy support.) The weight of the body, however, is on the left foot, which is, of course, firmly placed; while the right foot rests lightly on the floor, without rising from it. [See Fig. 11.]
3. The first position of the left foot* is exactly as the first of the right;—the left taking the place of the right, and the right that of the left. [See Fig. 12.]
4. The second position of the left is the same, in all respects, as the second of the right; substituting the left for the right, and the right for the left. (See Fig. 13.]
Note.—The observance of these different positions will produce a firm, easy, and graceful attitude, appropriate to earnest and natural delivery. In complying with rules, however, there should be no anxiety about measured exactness, and no appearance of studied precision. Force and freedom, and general propriety of manner, are the main points to be aimed at; grace is but a subordinate consideration; and strict accuracy is apt to become but a mechanical excellence.
MOVEMENT OF THE FEET. Remarks. An occasional change of the position of the feet, is a natural and necessary relief to the speaker, in the delivery of a speech or piece of considerable length; it associates, also, in an appropriate and agreeable manner, with the introduction of a
* Attitude as affected by the advanced foot. " The ancients restricted their orators to the advance of the left foot. From this rule modern practice deviates entirely. The best speakers, thongh they occasionally advance the left foot, give the preference to the right, and adhere undeviatingly to the rule, that when the left hand is used in the principal gesture, the left foot must be advanced ; and when the principal gesture is made with the right hand, that the right foot should be advanced, unless the use of the retired hand is very brief, and soon to give place to the advanced.”
new train of thought, or a new topic of discourse; and it is the instinctive expression of energy, warmth, and liveliness of manner. Without movement, the speaker's body becomes, as it were, a mass of inanimate matter. Motion, when carried to excess, how. ever, becomes childish in its effect, as it substitutes restlessness for animation.
Errors. The principal errors in movement are,
1. The pointing of the foot straight forward, and neglecting to turn the toes outward in advancing, by which the speaker's body is partly swung round, so as to expose the side, instead of the full front, and to produce the awkward position and gesture mentioned before, under the second error' in position. [See Fig. 6.]
2. Moving sidelong, and, perhaps, with a sliding motion, instead of stepping freely forward. The whole manner of this change resembles that of a preparatory movement in dancing, but has no natural connexion with speaking.
3. Advancing with a full walking step, approaching nearly to a stride, and producing the swaggering gait mentioned in speaking of the fifth error' in position.
4. A short, feeble, and shuffling step, as if the speaker were half resisting, and half yielding to, an external force applied to push him forward.
5. A set and formal change of position, rendered very apparent, and wearing the air of artificial and studied manner.
6. An ill-timed movement, not connected with the sense of what is spoken, but made at random.
7. A motionless and lifeless posture, throwing a constrained and rigid, or very dull aspect over the speaker's whole manner.
8 An incessant and restless shifting of the feet, and perhaps a perpetual gliding from side to side, which is unavoidably associated with childishness of manner.
Rule. The movement of the feet should always be performed with the toes turned outward, (pointing towards the corners of the room, nearly;) and the movement should be positively advancing or retiring, and not intermediate, unless in actual dialogue, or when a single speaker personates two, in imaginary dialogue. The step should always be free, and should terminate with a firm planting of the foot, but should never be wide: half a common walking step is sufficient for change in posture; and, in changing position, that foot which follows the other, should be preserved at its usual distance from it; so that, when the step is finished, the feet are still found at their former distance, and not drawn close to each other, as sometimes inadvertently happens in shifting position.
The motion of the feet should be carefully timed, so as to occur at the commencement of the parts or divisions of a speech or discourse, at the introduction of new and distinct thoughts, or in the expression of forcible or lively emotion. The true time of movement is in exact coincidence with emphasis, and falls appropriately on the accented syllable of the emphatic word. The voice and the bodily frame are thus kept in simultaneous action with the mind. Movement, so performed, never obtrudes itself on the attention, but becomes a natural part of the whole delivery. The changes of position should always be made, (except only the retiring movement, at the close of a paragraph, or of a division of the subject,) during the act of speaking, and not at the pauses; and even the change of posture which necessarily follows the bow, and opens the delivery of the piece, should not be