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THE PRINCIPLES OF GESTURE, . .
The Field of Battle. — Robert Hall, . . . . . 395
ON MODES OF PERSONAL TRAINING,
IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE USE OF THIS VOLUME.
INDIVIDUALS who have not convenient access to instruction, and are desirous of prosecuting the study and practice of elocution, as a matter of self-cultivation, may be aided by the following suggestions.
1. The preliminary condition to success in the cultivation of any branch of practical oratory, is a healthy condition of the bodily frame. El. ocution, as the exterior part of eloquence, is altogether dependent on the vigor and flexibility of the muscular system. Flaccid, rigid, and clumsy muscles render expression by voice and action impracticable. Muscular energy and pliancy demand habits of free exposure to the open air, and the vigorous use of the arms and limbs, in daily exertions of adequate force.
No man can be effectively eloquent without energy; and the attaining of energy is, to the student and the sedentary man, a thing compare atively arduous. Several hours — not one, merely — of every day, are due to the renovation of the body; and the student who tries to evade this condition, although he may do well, apparently, for a few years, usually sinks into debility, or contracts a decided – perhaps a fatal bronchial affection. The sedentary man who is, at the same time, & public speaker, needs a double allowance of air end exercise, to counteract the injurious tendency of the union of two modes of life naturally incompatible. The nervous excitation, and the cerebral exhileration, arising from continued intellectual action, by the deceptive inspiration which they impart, — often lead the student to slight physical ex. ercise, as a thing unnecessary. A few years, sometimes even a few months, are sufficient to undeceive the individual, and disclose all the accumulation of unsuspected injury to which he had been subjecting himself. The student is ever prone to forget that the body is a machine designed for action, and one which he is bound to keep in use, and so to keep in repair. - under a penalty not less severe than is attached to a desecration. The statistics of elocution, however, if faithfully record. ed, would not show a result, usually, of one sound voice in ten, anong young men who are adieted to sedentary and studious habits.
An individual who wishes to acquire or retain the power of speaking or reading with true effect, must, in the first instance, be willing to assign a considerable portion of every day to invigorating exercise and exposure.
2. It is, farther, an indispensable prerequisite to effective elocution that the student accustom himself to activity, as a habit both of body and mind. Expression, in elocutionary forms, is action: it is a thing utterly