The arms are sometimes both thrown out, sometimes the right alone. Sometimes they are lifted up as high as the face, to express wonder; sometimes held out before the breast, to shew fear; spread forth with the hands open to express desire or affection; the hands clapped in surprise, and in sudden joy and grief; the right hand clenched, and the arms brandished, to threaten; the two arms set a-kimbo, to look big, and express contempt or courage. With the hands, we solicit, we refuse, we promise, we threaten, we dismiss, we invite, we in treat, we express aversion, fear, doubting, denial, asking, affirmation, negation, joy, grief, confession, penitence. With the hands we describe, and point out all circumstances of time, place and manner of what we relate; we excite the passions of others, and soothe them: we approve and disapprove, permit or prohibit, admire or despise. The hands serve us instead of many sorts of words, and where the language of the tongue is unknown, that of the hands is understood, being universal and common to all nations.
The legs advance, or retreat, to express desire, or aversion, love or hatred, courage or fear, and produce exultation, or leaping in sudden joy; and the stamping of the foot expresses earnestness, anger, and threatening.
Especially the face, being furnished with a variety of muscles, does more in expressing the passions of the mind, than the whole human frame besides. The change of colour (in white people) shews, by turns, anger by redness, and sometimes by paleness; fear likewise by paleness, and shame by blushing. Every feature contributes its part. The mouth open, shews one state of the mind, shut, another; the gnashing of the teeth another. The forehead smooth, eyebrows arched and easy, shew tranquility or joy. Mirth opens the mouth towards the ears, crisps the nose, half shuts the eyes, and sometimes fills them with tears. The front wrinkled into frowns, and the eyebrows overhanging the eyes, like clouds fraught with tempest, shew a mind agitated with fury. Above all, the eye shews the very spirit in a visible form. In every different state of the mind, it assumes a different appearance. Joy brightens and opens it. Grief half-closes, and drowns it in tears. Hatred and anger, flash from it like lightning. Love darts from it in glances, like the orient beam. Jealousy, and squinting envy, dart their contagious blasts from the eye. And devotion raises it to the skies, as if the soul of the holy man were going to take its flight to heaven.
The force of attitude and looks alone appears in a wonderously striking manner, in the works of the painter and statuary, who have the delicate art of making the flat canvas and rocky marble utter every passion of the human mind, and touch the soul of the spectator, as if the picture, or statue, spoke the pathetic language of Shakspear. It is no wonder, then, that masterly action, joined with powerful elocution, should be irresistible. And the variety of expression, by looks and gestures, is so great, that, as is well known, a whole play can be represented without a word spoken.