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it at a distance from the body, the action of the arm will natural ly grow into that we have just described. So the diagonial position of the arm, though the most graceful and easy when the body is at rest, may be too difficult for boys to fall into at first; and therefore it may be necessary, in order to avoid the worst extreme, for sometime to make them extend the arm as far from the body as they can, in a somewhat similar direction, but higher from the ground and inclining more to the back. Great care must be taken to keep the hand open, and the thumb at some distance from the fingers; and particular attention must be paid to keeping the hand in an exact line with the lower part of the arm, so as not to bend at the wrist, either when it is held out without motion or when it gives the emphatic stroke. And above all, the body inust be kept in a strait line with the leg on which it bears, and not suffered to bend to the opposite side.

At first it may not be improper for the teacher, after placing the pupil in the position (plate I.) to stand at some distance exactly opposite to him in the same position, the right and left sides on reversed, and while the pupil is speaking to shew him by ex, ample the action he is to make use of. In this case the teacher's left hand will correspond to the pupil's right, by which means he will see as in a looking-glass, how to regulate his gesture, and will soon catch the method of doing it by himself.

It is expected the master will be a little discouraged at the awkward figure his pupil makes in his first attempts to teach him. But this is no more than what happens in dancing, fencing, or any other exercise which depends on habit. By practice, the pupil will soon begin to feel his position and be easy in it. Those positions which were at first distressing to him, he will fall into naturally, and if they are such as are really graceful and becoming, (and such it is presumed are those which have been just described) they will be adopted with more facility than any other that can be taught him.


On the Acting of Plays at School.
THOUGH the acting of plays at schools has been universally

supposed a very useful practice, it has of late years been much laid aside. The advantages arising from it have not been judged equal to the inconveniencies, and the speaking of single speeches, or the acting of single scenes, has been generally substituted in its stead. Indeed when we consider the leading principle and prevailing sentiments of most plays, we shall not wonder that they are not always thought to be the most suitable employment for youth at school : nor, when we reflect on the long interruption to the common school exercises, which the preparar

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tion for a play must necessarily occasion, shall we think it consistent with general improvement;—But ko wave every objection from prudence or mortality, it may be confidently affirmed, that the acting of a play is not so conducive to improvement in elocution, as the speaking of single speeches.

In the first place, the acting of plays is of all kinds of delivery the most difficult; and therefore cannot be the most suitable exercise for boys at school. In the next place, a dramatic performance requires so much attention to the deportment of the body, so varied an expression of the passions, and so strict an adherrence to character, that elocution is in danger of being neglected: Besides, exact propriety of action, and a nice discrimination of the passions, however essential on the stage, are but of secondary importance in a school. It is a plain, open distinct and forcible pronunciation which school-boys should aim at; and not that quick transition from one passion to another, that archness of look, and that jue de theatre, as it is called, so essential to a tolerable dramatic exhibition, and which actors themselves can scarcely arrive at. In short it is speaking, rather than acting, which school-boys should be taught, while the performance of plays is calculated to teach them acting rather than speaking.

But there is a contrary extreme into which many teachers are apt to run, and chiefly those who are incapable of speaking themselves, and that is to condemn every thing which is vehement and forcible, as theatrical. It is an old trick to depreciate what we cannot attain, and calling a spirited pronunciation theatrical, is but an artful method of hiding an utter inability of speaking with force and energy. But though school-boys ought not to be taught those nice touches which form the greatest difficulties in the profession of an actor, they should not be too much restrained from an exertion of voice so necessary to strengthening the organs of sound, because they may sometimes be too loud and vociferous. Perhaps nine out of ten, instead of too much confi. dence and too violent a manner of speaking, which these teachers seem so much to dread, have as Dr. Johnson calls it, a frigid equality, a stupid languor, and a torpid apathy. These must be roused by something strong and excessive, or they will never rise even to mediocrity; while the few who have a tendency to rant, are very easily reclaimed; and ought to be treated in pronunciation and action, as Quintillian advises us to do in compo

that is, we should rather allow of an exuberance, than, by too much correctness check the vigour and luxuriancy of nature.

Though school-boys, therefore, ought not to be taught the fineness of acting, they should as much us possible be accustomed to speak such speeches as require a full, open, animated pro

sition ;

nunciation; for which purpose, they should be confided chiefly to orations, odes, and such single speeches of plays as are in the declamatory and vehement style. But as there are many scenes of plays, which are justly reckoned among the finest compositions in the language, some of these may be adopted among the upper class of boys, and those more particularly who have the best deportment: for action in scenes will be found much more difficult than in single speeches. And here it will be necessary to give some additional instructions respecting action, as a speak. er who delivers himself singly to an auditory, and one who ade dresses another speaker in view of an auditory, are under very different predicaments. The first has only one object to address, the last has too; For if a speaker on the stage were to address, the person he speaks to, without any regard to the point of view in which he stands with respect to the audience, he would be apt to turn his back on them, and to place himself in such positions, as would be highly ungraceful and disgusting. When a scene, therefore, is represented, it is necessary that the two personages who speak should form a sort of picture and place themselves in a position agreeable to the laws of perspective. In order to do this, it will be necessary, that each of them should stand obliquely; and chiefly make use of one hand : That is, supposing the stage or platform where they stand to be a quadrangle, each speaker should respectively face that corner of it next to the audience, and use that hand and rest upon that leg which is next to the pere son he speaks to, and which is the farthest from the audience, This disposition is absolutely necessary to form any thing like a pituresque grouping of objects, and without it, that is if both speakers use the right hand, and stand exactly fronting each other, the impropriety will be palpable, and the spectacle disgus ting.

It need scarcely be noted, that if the speaker in a scene uses that hand which is next to the audience, he ought likewise to poize his body on the same leg: this is almost an invariable rule in action; the hand should act on that side only, on which the body bears. Good actors and speakers may sometimes depart from this rule, but such only will know when to do it with pro priety.

Occasion may be taken in the course of the scene to change sidcs. One speaker at the end of an impassioned speech, may cross over to the place of the other, while the latter at the same nioment crosses over to the place of the former. This however, must be done with great care, and so as to keep the back from being turned to the audience; but if this transition be performed adroitly, it will have a very good effect in varying the position of the speakers, and giving each an opportunity of using his

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