Page:Theory and Practice of Handwriting.djvu/30

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present day but few teachers would be found to spontaneously admit any possible connection between Hygiene and Handwriting. That these Hygienic principles should be an integral part of any system of penmanship whatever, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt, but it may be emphatically stated that the existing style of oblique or slant writing has been elaborated not only independently, but in spite of every physiological demand. Awkward and painful postures have always accompanied the practice of sloping writing. It is more than surprising that such injurious distortions should ever have been for one moment tolerated, but the power or dominance of fashion over our minds is incredibly imperious and overwhelming. It is not the less remarkable that when the subject of school postures first engaged the attention of the medical faculty the real root of the malady was never for one moment suspected and that it remained for so long a time undiscovered. Possibly this was after all not unnatural as the idea of a flaw or defect in the writing itself would be the last to strike the mind of the enquirer.

Hence the various and contradictory charges that have been made. First, the Instruction was at fault. Teachers were indifferent or not sufficiently careful to inculcate correct position. It only needed strict attention efficient and constant supervision to remedy the evil. Time and experience however proved the contrary, for unhealthy postures were found co-existent with the most sedulous care and perfect instruction. A crusade was then inaugurated against Desks and Seats—and not before time. The former were too sloping or otherwise, too high or too low, and furthermore they were not adjustable, so we got adjustable desks and broader seats, both being brought to a state of almost perfect Hygienic and mechanical excellence. Nevertheless the Bad Postures survived still.

The question of Light was next considered, but when that was set right the positions were still wrong and the matter remained in abeyance for a brief space. Last of all attention was directed to the Writing (the Sloping Writing) itself, and it is cause for congratulation that this attack was made; for the unanimous opinion