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Second Position of the Left Foot, noted L. 2. (See Fig. 18).
This position of the left foot is, in all respects, analogous to the second position of the right; and, in the figure, it is represented in the same manner, only reversed.
In the first posi
Figure 19 is a better plan of the feet than that annexed to the elevations. In both positions the right foot advances about half its own length, as may be seen by comparing it with the equidistant parallel lines. tion of the right foot, the lines ff, ff, passing through the centre of the feet, make an angle of about seventy-five degrees; and in the second position, the lines SS make an angle of about ninety degrees. These angles are nearly bisected by the line EE, which goes to the eye of the person addressed. In the first position, the lines c, f, q, x, b. annexed
to the dotted prints of both the feet, mark the manner in which they are shifted, without altering their own angle, according as the gesture is directed. In the plan the gesture is supposed to be directed forwards. This figure may be supposed to be reversed for the first and the second position of the left foot.
The first position of either foot, but particularly that
* These are notation letters, which will be explained in their place.
of the right (because the more graceful), is the proper reading position. It is also the proper rising position of the orator. But should he stretch forth his arms towards the audience, when he begins to speak, he should take the second position.
Besides the four positions above mentioned, there are two others, which may be called positions in front. The heels are placed nearly together, and the body is supported, alternately, on the right and left foot, whilst the toes of the other lightly touch the floor. The angle formed by the feet, in these positions, is somewhat greater than a right angle. In other respects they are similar to the ordinary positions. The right position in front, noted R. F., is when the body is supported on the left foot. The left position in front, noted L. F., is when the body is supported on the left foot. The position in front is used when persons are addressed alternately, on either side, whilst the auditors are in front, as on the stage. It is not graceful, and should not often be used; it is too stiff and formal, like the military figure, and presents the body with too much uniformity and flatness.*
This appears to be the position condemned by Quintilian : "The swing of those who balance their body to the right side and left, upon the alternate feet, is very ungraceful.”
Connected with these positions which express the moderate state of the feet, are marked the same positions in the extended state. (Fig. 20.) These differ from the moderate, principally, in the greater separation of the feet. The second position extended, enlarges the angle a few degrees by drawing up the heel of the retired foot. (See Fig. 46 and 89.) The first extended position is made when a person retires in any degree of alarm; and the second, when he advances with boldness. (See Fig. 106 and 108.) An x is added to the notation to express the extended position, thus R. 1. x; R. 2. x; &c.
The contracted position may be easily understood by supposing the heels to be brought close together. A c is added to the notation, to express the contracted position, thus: R. 1. c.
The attitude of the orator should not be like that of the affected dancing-master, which is adapted to springing agility and conceited display. The orator should adopt such attitudes and positions only as consist with manly simplicity and grace. The toes should be turned, not inwards, like those of the awkward rustic, but moderately outwards; and the limbs should be so disposed as to support the body with ease, and to change with facility. The sustaining foot should be planted firmly; the leg braced, but not contracted; and the knee straightened (contraction suits the spring necessary for the dancer, and bent knees belong to feebleness, or timidity); the other foot and limb should press lightly, and be held relaxed, so as to be ready for immediate change and action, except in very energetic delivery, where both limbs should be braced. The trunk of the body should be well balanced, and sustained erect upon the supporting limb, except in such instances as particularly require its inclination, as veneration, supplication, &c. The orator should face his audience. Whatever his position may be, he should present himself, as Quintilian expresses, æquo pectore (Fig. 13), and never in the fencer's attitude.
In changing the positions of the feet, the motions should be made with the utmost simplicity, and free from the parade and sweep of dancing. All changes, except where particular energy requires the speaker to stamp, start back, or advance with marked decision, should be made almost imperceptibly. The changes should not be too frequent: frequent change gives the idea of anxiety and instability, which are unfavourable
to an orator.
The several acts resulting from the changes in the positions of the feet, are, advancing (noted a); retiring (r); traversing (tr.); starting (s. or st.); stamping (sp.), &c.
If more steps than one are to be expressed (as in the business of the theatre) the number may be introduced in a parenthesis, after the letter marking the step, and then the position follows which finishes the movement ; thus, a (2) R. 2, means, advance two steps to the second position of the right foot. In private declamations, or recitations on a platform, or rostrum, these figures are not necessary, as a single step, in advancing or retiring, is sufficient.*
Changes of position, or steps, are considered to be made only by the foot on which the body is not supported, for that alone is free. Should it be required to move the foot which supports the body (suppose the left, in the first position of the right, Fig. 15), two mo
* I have frequently seen college students take three steps to the right, then three to the left, then three again to the right, and so on, till they had changed their position fifteen times during the delivery of a discourse which did not occupy them more than ten minutes. And I have known a clergyman to traverse the whole length of his pulpit twenty-three times during the delivery of a sermon. Such erratic movements in a public speaker are undignified: they betray a want of judgment, and are exceedingly annoying to an audience. An orator should "keep in his place:" he should perform all the movements of his feet within the limits of thirty-six square inches, and not be continually running about the room as if labouring under the effects of nitrous oxide.
tions are necessary; in the first the position must be changed to R. 2. (Fig. 16), so as to throw the weight of the body on the right foot, then the left may be moved as required.
According to this principle, it will be found that from each original position four steps may be made. (See Fig. 21 and 22.) The plan of the steps, in the original position, is in the centre, and drawn larger; the plan of the steps, made from that original position, is represented smaller. The line of motions of the feet, is represented by a line of dots, nearly of the same form which each foot should trace; the line of the free, or firstmoving foot, is marked with a star. In the figures, it will be observed, that from each position four steps may be made the speaker may advance, retire, traverse, and cross. In advancing and traversing, each step finishes on the second position of the advancing foot; and, in retiring from the first position, the step finishes on the first position of the contrary foot; but, in retiring from the second position, it finishes on the first