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Chest and Shoulders.
I tell thee, thou'rt defied!
And dar'st thou, then, to beard the lion in his den,
Thou, too, sail on, O ship of state!
O Union, strong and great!-Longfellow.
Half choked with rage, King Robert fiercely said:
Open; 'tis I, the king! Art thou afraid?"
The frightened sexton, muttering with a curse,
"This is some drunken vagabond, or worse!"
Turned the great key and flung the portal wide.-Longfellow.
The second and fourth lines of this last selection are examples of what we call impersonation; that is, speaking or acting not in our own but in another's character. Here you impersonate King Robert and afterward the sexton. Where, as in this example, description of an action or condition is followed by its representation,
as in lines 1, 2, 3, and 4, we save our action for the portion where we impersonate. When the lines are descriptive only, however, we accompany the description with the appropriate action, as in line 5, where it is very effective to imitate, or rather suggest, the turning of the huge key and the opening of the heavy door, while we describe those actions.
He stops-will he fall? Lo! for answer, a gleam like a meteor's track,
And, hurled on the stones of the pavement, the red brand lies shattered and black.-Stansbury.
The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
How do you do, Cornelia? I heard you were sick, and I stopped in to cheer you up a little. My friends often say: “It's such a comfort to see you, Aunty Doleful. You have such a flow of conversation, and are so lively." Besides, I said to myself, as I came up the stairs: "Perhaps it's the last time I'll ever see Cornelia Jane
NEPHEW. A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!
I rise-I rise-with unaffected fear,
(Louder! speak louder! who the deuce can hear?)
FALSTAFF. I have pepper'd two of them; two I am sure I have paid, two rogues in buckram suits. Thou knowest my old ward; here I lay, and thus [taking attitude of fencer] I bore my point. -Shakespeare.
FALSTAFF. Was it for me to kill the heir-apparent; should I turn upon the true prince? Why, thou knowest I am as valiant as Her. cules. But beware instinct; the lion will not touch the true prince. Instinct is a great matter; I was a coward on instinct, I shall think the better of myself and thee during my life; I for a valiant lion, and thou for a true prince.—Shakespeare.
We are very 'umble here, Mister Copperfield.-Dickens.
Work out the proper attitudes for these examples by referring to the suggestions in Lesson XX. Of course, there are many actions of the head, feet, and arms that would be necessary to their full expression. These, however, we must leave for the future.
Attitudes in many cases become habits, and are then called bearings. For instance, a pompous individual would carry the hips forward; while a timid or very deferential person would draw the hips back. Aunty Doleful carries her body in quite a different manner from Marmion or Douglas, even when moved by no particular emotion, because the doleful condition of mind has become a habit and is reflected in
the outward appearance. We have three sorts of pantomimic expression:
Actions or gestures, which are momentary.
Attitudes or positions, which last for a longer or shorter time, but disappear when the emotion changes.
Bearings, which are permanent habits of carrying the body or the limbs, and indicate peculiarities of disposition or mind.
Beside the simple rising and falling inflections we have various combinations of rising and falling which are called circumflex inflections. Circumflex inflections are always used when we wish to say something that the words themselves do not express. We often say, "oh, yes" or "oh, no" when it is clear that we mean just the opposite, and this meaning is conveyed to the listener by a circumflex inflection. Here follow a number of examples for practice. Try to put into each the meaning that is indicated. Suppose in reply to a question like "will you do it?" the answer "of course" is given, it may have many meanings, as will be seen.
“Of course,” with simple falling inflection, meaning exactly what it says, "I will."
"Of course," with surprise, giving "course" with much higher pitch and a slight circumflex turn, meaning “how could you suppose I would do anything else ?”
"Of course," with contempt, "why do you ask such a foolish question?"
"Of course," with a sigh, "I suppose
“Of course,” with sarcasm (double circumflex), meaning “that is about the last thing I would do."
The question may be asked in many ways also, e.g., with reproach, "will you" (of whom I thought better things); with contempt, "you are a likely person to undertake it." with joy, surprise, etc. "Ah!" Calling some one at a distance.
"Ah?" Surprise, with rising inflection, "is it really so?" For information.
"Ah!" Surprise, with falling inflection, "is it possible !" "well you do astonish me!"
"Ah!" Playfully, "now I've caught you;" "I see through you." "Ah!" Playfully, but with rising inflection, “did you think you could catch me?"
"Oh!" Distress, pain.
Oh!" Meaning, "that relieves my mind:" "that satisfies me;" that alters the question."
"Yes." Simple assertion, falling inflection.
"Yes." Indifferently, “I don't care particularly about it, but if you wish it I will."
"Yes." "I suppose I must."
"Yes." Joyfully, "I am glad to;" "of course I will, with pleasure."
None dared withstand him to his face,
But one sly maiden spoke aside:
Her mother only killed a côw,
Or witched a chûrn or dâiry pan,
But shê, forsooth, must charm a mân."—Whittier.
Oh, then, I see Queen Mah hath been with you.-Shakespeare.