f the different Methods of fixing on Skates.
VARIOUS methods have been made ufe of, to faſten on the fkates; fome have done this by means of a ftrong tape put through the holes in the front of the ſkate, which is then tied acroſs the toes, and from thence being carried through the rings in the heel ftrap, is brought back again, and tightly faſtened by a knot, over the instep; fome have their fhoes ferewed to the ſtocks of skates; others have them faftened to plates of brafs, which are fixed to the skate irons, inftead of wooden ftocks: there is alfo another method practifed by many, which is, the having a piece of plate iron fixed acrofs the ftock at the heel, and a piece of the fame fort on the tread, theſe pieces of iron have their ends turned up; that on the thread; to fit over the edges of the fhoe foles; and the other over the heel, to which the iron is fcrewed on both fides.
The method which is taken by the common people is fo well known, as not to need any particular defcription; they only make ufe of buckles, ftraps, rings, and heel pegs*; which method may be well enough for thofe who continue this diverfion for a few minutes at a time, and think skating confifts in an awkward fhuffling over the ice, for ten or a dozen yards, for they feldom or ever are able to go any greater length with out falling, or at leaft being obliged to ftop to re-tighten their skates, which by this method of faſtening are continually getting loofe: as they are prevented from flipping behind, by means of the heel pegs before-mentioned, fo they endeavour to keep them steady at the toe, by means of fmall pieces of iron, fo fharply pointed as to enter eaſily into the fole of the fhoe.
* — Quadrilateral pyramids of iron, about three quarters of an inch in length, joining to the head of the heel fcrews.
I have made repeated tryals of all the above methods of faftening the skate, but have found none of them fucceed to my fatisfaction; and I think the reafons why they do not are pretty obvious. Tape never can be made a proper faftening; as it is liable to stretch, the knottied with it muft be continually growing flack: to obviate this defeƈt, it is stretched to the utmoſt tightneſs it will bear, ſo that the blood vefſels and tendons of the feet are fo violently preffed, that a numbnefs, or cramp, is in general the confequence; another objećtion to tape is, that, by its fretting againſt the foles of the fhoes, it oftentimes breaks on a ſudden, which accident if it ſhould happen to a perſon skating with any degree of velocity, the conſequence may be fatal.
When the ſhoes are ſcrewed to the ſtocks, as mentioned in the fecond method, the skates have no proper play; for, unleſs the ſhoes be large, the ankles will run great risk of being ſprained by the fudden jirks of the skates, which often happens in going over rough ice; if the ſhoes be too large, the feet will then have fo much play, that motion must be irregular and uneafy.
As to the third method, where the ſtocks are made of braſs, the fame objećtion will lye as to the fecond; and they will have this defećt, that the ſtocks may be eaſily broken.
In the laft method, we find the skates are ſcrewed by pieces of iron being fixed acroſs the ſtocks, which produces almoſt the fame bad effećts as ſcrewing on the ſhoes: this me thod is likewife very dangerous; for, on any extraordinary inclination of the body fideways, the iron on the tread may touch the ice, and, by not being pliable, prevent the ſhoe from bending, and throw the skate off its edge; or, by ſticking in the ice, be forced either from the ſtock or from the ſhoe,
The method of faſtening on skates, with ſtraps at the toes and heels, has long been approved of, by moſt skaters who have not arrived to great erfećtion; it is certainly the beſt method yet known, for plain skating and travelling, becauſe the skates and feet have ſufficient play, and are no ways conftrained. The reaſon why this method is only fit for plain skating, and travelling, is on ac count of the following defećt, namely, that in any other fort of skating, where fudden and irregular motions are made ufe of, the peg will come out of the heel of the shoe, and cauſe a fall.
All the preceding methods being defećtive in fome particular or other; I ſhall now give one both fafe and fimple, which I have praćtifed for many years, without the leaft in conveniency. My method is this: Let the skates be prepared with toe and heel ſtraps, as uſual; but inſtead of heel pegs, let the heel ſcrews be made with flat heads, and longenough to go through the heels of the ſhoes, in which holes muſt be bored, and the heads of the ſcrews funk even with the leather, to prevent hurting the feet; to guard againſt which more effećtually, let a piece of leather be fewed to the quarter of the ſhoe, large enough to cover the whole heel, which will defend it fufficiently from the ſcrew.
The reader will eaſily conceive what advantage this method has over all thoſe before mentioned, from the following obſervations: Firſt, by the fcrew going through the lifts of the heel, the skate is prevented from altering its poſition in that part; fecondly, when thoſe fort of heel ſcrews are uſed, the ſtraps are not required to be drawn fo tight as to give pain to the feet: I have made, it is true, an objećtion before, to faſtening the ſhoe to the skates without ſtraps; but this method of ſcrewing them at the heel has by no means the fame bad effećt; for, the ſcrews being in the centre, and the leather pliable, the ſhoes have their liberty at the fides. I have found by experience, that the skate muſt not be confined at the toes, and yet that is neceffary to prevent it there alſo from flipping. The points of iron on the tread are continued for that purpoſe.
Of the Construdion of skates.
I will venture to fay, thoſe who have skated in England and in Holland, or have made uſe of Engliſh and Dutch skates, will give the preference to thoſe made after the Engliſh faſhion; not that it is fair to condemn the conſtrućtion of Dutch skates, as that nation makes uſe of them chiefly for travelling; and here indeed they exceed ours; for, by reafon of their great length, flat and broad furface, they run over rough ice with eaſe and expedition; their irons are likewife made low, confequently not fo heavy as the Engliſh: ours would by no means be proper for travelling, becauſe the irons are ſhort and circular; not above two inches of their furface touch the ice at a time; all our at tention is required, to keep the body in an equilibrum on fo ſmall a bafe, which would be almost impoffible to continue for any length of time; and the weight of the irons would add to the fatigue.
The Dutch, finding by experience: that the length and straightneſs of their skate irons increaſed the friction upon the ice, have of late years made them ſhorter and more curved. Skating among the Dutch, is not fo much an exercife or diverfion, as bufineſs and neceſfity; the nature of their country and the continuance of their froſts make it fo; confequently, fafety and expedition is all they have to confider; and I have before ſhewn that this is fufficiently attended to, in the formation of their skates. In England, the cafe is different; skating is uſed here as an exercife and diverſion only; hence an eaſy movement and graceful attitude are the fole objećts of our at tention. To arrive at theſe, nothing can be better imagined than the preſent form of our skates.
The reafon we differ from them in the make of our skates is, that moſt of the graceful attitudes and movements are performed on the outfide edges, with variety of curved lines; fome of which being made in finitely ſhort, if the irons were not of a circular form, it would be impoſfible to turn info fmalla ſpace: as this circular form accelerated the motion, and was the firſt improvement on Dutch skates, fo the lowneſs of the iron was foon found to be an hindrance to a proper inclination of the body. Hence their heightwasincreaſed, which alteration anſwered extremely well, particularly in affifting the long roll, which before could not be done in a proper and becoming poſition.
Thefe amendments and alterations being made with fo much fucceſs, many others foon followed, which would be difficult and tedious to explain by words only: I ſhall there fore refer the reader to the Plates. Plate I. Fig. I. repreſents a ſkate, made after the Engliſh faſhion, with fome improvements; the proportions are as follows: Let the diſtance from the point of the fender, A, to the toe hook*, which is ſhewn by the pricked line, be one inch, and three quarters; B, the fort of the iron, whoſe lower furface is five fixteenths of an inch in breadth, and gradually. increaſes to five eighths of an inch, at the point of the fender; and from B, muft gradually decreaſe to a bare quarter of an inch, at the heel D. C, the arch where the height of the iron is one inch three eighths; at B, one inch one eighth; and at D, one inch and a quarter: the groove that is cutin the stock, to receive the upper edge of the iron, is feldom made more than a quarter of an inch deep, fo that the height of the iron from the ftock will be at the arch one inch and one eighth, which is high enough for any fort of ſkating. E, the toe ftrap hole; F, the under strap hole; each of thefe holes muſt be cut fo that the ſtraps may go in very tight. G, the heel peg, whoſe diameter at bottom is a quarter of an inch, and at top one eighth ; its height is determined by the heel of the ſhoe with which it is to be worn, but is feldom leſs than halfan inch. H, the heel ſcrew, which ſhould always be made ſhort.
* — This hook is made of the fame piece with the skate iron; it goes into the ſtock at the toe, over the strap hole, to keep the iron and ſtock together.
Fig. II. is a plan of a ſkate compleat, with ftraps, &c. M, the heel of the ftock, whoſe diameter is two inches and three eighths. G, the waift, whoſe diameter is one inch one eighth. L, the tread, which is two inches and feven eighths in breadth. The thickneſs of the ftock is three quarters of an inch; but the furface of the tread muſt be depreffed a quarter of an inch, that the ball of the foot may reſt eaſy.
I. I. I. are little ſharp points of iron, each of which projećts from the ftock about one eighth of an inch; the distance from the centre of the under strap hole, to the extremity of the heel, is two inches and a half; and from the centre of the heel peg, A, to the extremity of the heel, one inch one eighth; K, the under strap; P, the heel ftrap, N. N. rings to which the ſtraps are fewed; the length of the under ſtrap from ring to ring is five inches and a half, and the heel ftrap ſeven inches; the length of the toe ftrap is deter mined by the fize of the foot, but it muſt always fit very tight in the ftock.
N. B. Theſe proportions are for a middle-fized foot.
I have faid nothing of thoſe ſkates whoſe furfaces are grooved, and are commonly called fluted ſkates, be cauſe I think their conſtru&tion is fo bad, that they are not fit to be uſed; in fact, they are fo generally diſapproved of, that I ſhall diſpenſe with explaining their defećts.
Of the Firſt Poſition.
Having fixed on the fkates, according to any of the preceding methods, or in what manner you like best, place your heels together, with the toes inclining outwards; then lift up the left foot, without bending the instep, and put it down again in the fame poſition, with your heel facing the ball of the right foot, at fix inches diſtance; then with a fmall force throw your body forwards, bending the left knee a little more than in common walking; at the fame time you throw yourſelf forwards, ſtrengthen the right knee, fo that you may preſs on the infide edge of the ſkate, and force yourſelf forwards on the left leg; this method muſt be obſerved with both legs, and is called a Stroke.
As it would be difficult for be ginners to continue long on one leg; which to attempt, they would get many falls; therefore I would adviſe them, to make their ſtrokes as ſhort as poffible.
There are, befides thefe inſtrućtions for managing the feet, others as neceffary for the head and arms; which in ſkating muſt cooperate with the legs. It is remarkable that learners throw their arms about careleſsly, or in a wild manner, as if they were catching at fomething to prevent their falling; which is the very means of throwing them down : the body being ſupported on fo ſmall a bafe as the edge of the skate, the poize is very difficult to attain, and I believe equal to that of walking on the tight rope, in which it is feen how effential the arms are, in preſerving a proper balance; on the fame principle, the arms act in skating, ferving as a counterpoife when they are moved; and if they are not properly diſpoſed, it will be im poffible to stand, on either the out or infide edge, with any certainty. At firſt, the arms ſhould be held out before, where they may be uſed to affift the body; but if you throw one of them behind in going on, you will find it immediately retard your motion, as well as alter your intended courſe.
The head ſhould alſo be held still; but as that is rather difficult at firſt, you may move it from fide to fide as often as you change your feet, and let the eyes be fixed on the fender of the skate you are moving: in chang ing the feet in order to make a new ftroke, the motion muft not be the fame as in walking, which is a thing that often eſcapes young beginners; who are often obſerved, when changing their feet, to bend the knee only, and lift their legs up too high behind them; when on skates, we have not the power of rifing on the toes, or of even bending knee, as we do in walking, where we are obliged to rife ourſelves upon the toes of one foot, in order to bring the other for ward, without its touching the ground; for want of making theſe obſervations, young beginners make no difference between skating and walking, in the uſe of their legs; forgetting that thay cannot bend the joints of their feet, nor rife on the toes, as they endeavour to do; which cauſes their feet to flip up fo fuddenly behind, and which not only appears very aukward, but hinders them from performing any one ſtroke they attempt. With great pains indeed and long labour, many infenſibly arrive to a tolerable proficiency; but this they might have acquired in half the time, with a very little trouble, had they received proper inſtrućtions at first.
As wehave explained the difference between skating and walking, and proved that the feet cannot aćt in both alike; it is proper next to teach in what manner you muftaćt, to fup ply the place of bending the feet; which may be done, by lifting the knees confiderably higher than in walking; and putting them down bent, and with a ſtiff inſtep (as be fore direćted), ſo that the irons of the skate may always come down par allel to the ice; which method muft be followed on all occaſions, with this difference only, that they are fome times put down flat, and fometimes on their edges, according to the ſtroke intended.
The rules which I have here laid down, are much more neceffary for grown perſons than for youth: the latter, beginning with ſpirit and refolution, fcramble on in a careleſs manner, not regarding a few falls, which feldom affećt them: in grown perſons, the cafe is different; their joints are not fo pliable as eaſily to be bent into various pofitions; and whenever they fall, they come down with fuch violence as often proves fatal. The firſt poſition is nothing more than learning to ſtand firm on the ice; which having learned, you are properly prepared to proceed with the more agreeable part of the art; for the firſt poſition may be faid to be only a preparative to skating, as turning out the toes is to dancing
Of the Infide Edge.
As moſt people fall into this man ner of skating before they attempt any other, I ſhall lay down fome plain rules, by it may be learned with eaſe and certainty in a very ſhort time, Let it then be remembered, that nature may be almoſt always im proved; and that whatever contributes towards that improvement, ought not to be eſteemed trifling or unneceffary: the infide edge is fome times required, in performing fome of the more difficult manoeuvres; therefore it ought not to be forgot, nor neglected, as it is by many, when they have learned to go ón the outfide; not reflećting within themſelves, that the perfećtion of every art depends on its firſt principles; and to attain true perfection, all its different branches must concur.
When you have learned to stand firm, and to move about, without falling; the method of proceeding, in order to gain the infide edge, is this: ſuppofing you would make a ftroke with the right foot, you muft, as foon as your foot fets off, lift up the left foot behind the right, with the toe inclining downwards, at about fix or ſeven inches diſtance from the right heel, and with the fender two or three inches from the ice; this poſition of the left leg, with the head at the fame time turned to the left, the right arm a little bent, and held out on the right fide nearly as high as the ſhoulder, and the left arm held ſtill cloſe to the fide, will cauſe you to make a ſweep to the left on the infide edge. This poſition reverſed, will carry you with a ſweep on the left leg to the right; in going on the infide edge, keep the inſtep ftiff, fo as not to bend on either fide; your obſerving this attitude will always bring you on the infide edge, though you ſhould begin the ftroke on the flat. When you have praćtiſed theſe rules, fo as to be able to keep your poize on the edge, and to make long and ſhort ſtrokes at pleaſure, and with certainty; you maynext proceed to travelling, which we will next treat of.
Of* travelling on the Infide Edge.
Travelling on the infide edge is by no means pleaſant, nor is it often praćtifed by thoſe who are further advanced in skating: yet it is fometimes neceffary, to relieve, when we are tired of going on the outſide edge; which, though an agreeable motion, and pleaſing to the spectator, is fatiguing if continued long without changing to the infide.
* — By travelling, is not meant going a journey, as the common ufe of the word ſeems to imply, but a term for a particular movement on the ſkates.
It is amazing what relief is given, by changing from one edge to the other, in going a journey of forty or fifty miles, which is frequently done in Holland and many other countries; and fometimes twice that diſtance in one day. Perhaps fome of our Engliſh skaters will deſpife learning the infide edge, becauſe it is not a graceful attitude, and that they have no occafion to make fuch long journies; therefore would rather chuſe to travel on the outfide edge, as it is more pleafing.
Tho' theſeobjećtions may be made, and perhaps appear reaſonable to the unexperienced; yet, I would not adviſe any one to neglećt making himſelf mafter of the infide edge, be fore he attempts proceeding any further; by the help of which, he will not only be able to roll fooner, but with more eaſe; becauſe the finiſhing of every roll is on the infide edge.
That changing from one method of travelling to the other, muft give relief, is obvious; and may be proved by any one aćtion of our bodies, which, if continued to a certain time, becomes tirefome, the tone of the muſcles and finews being ſtrained.
The reaſon why it is neceffary, in skating, to alter our attitude pretty frequently, is, that every motion, being in æquilibrio, is confequently more fatiguing than when we do not depend on fo nice a poize.
Having theoretically proved the utility of travelling on the infide edge; I ſhall proceed with giving fuch inſtrućtions, as, if duly ob ferved, any perſon may eaſily become maſter of the fame. When you have made yourſelf perfect on the infide edge, and on both legs alike; begin to travel in this manner: Having put one foot down, to make a ſtroke, fo far advanced, that the diſtance from the heel to the toe of the other foot be about twelve inches; fet off on the flat of the skate, and gradually incline to the infide edge: we will ſuppoſe this ſtroke to be made on the right foot, with no other affistance than the preffure of the body; by this method, it would be impoffible to travel faſt; which to do, you muſt force yourſelf on with the other foot, as deſcribed in page 16; and direćtly upon the beginning of the ftroke raife the left foot, about eight inches behind the right heel: this poſition muſt be continued till you change the ſtroke on the other leg; which muſt be done according to the preceding direćtions, reverſed: a fucceffion of theſe ſtrokes, made alternately, will accelerate your motion, in proportion to the curves you form ; and the diſtance of time, in going any determined diſtance, will be as the curvature of the lines of direćtion you move in: as curves thus made are indefinite, I ſhall not pretend to give any particular form of them; inſtead of which, let us defcribe a channel or road, in order to regulate the curves or ſweeps in the beſt manner for expeditious travelling.
Suppoſe a journey often miles, to be perfomed by two skaters, who shall move with equal velocity, one on a road fix feet broad, which is deſcribed by the lines below, 1, 2, 3, 4, Fig. 3 ; and the other on a road eight feet broad, as deſcribed by the lines 5, 6, 7, 8, Fig. 4.
In figure 3, the curve lines A, B, C, repreſent the lines of direction; A, a ftroke made on the right foot, from D to E; B, the fecond ftroke on the left foot, from F to G; C, the third on the right foot, from H to I: in this manner the curves are formed, between the lines I, 2, 3, 4, alternately, from one foot to the other.
Again, we will ſuppoſe another skater, forming the curves K, L, M, in Fig. 4, and moving with the fame velocity as the former in Fig. 3. We ſhall find that the different times of performing their journey will be as the length and flexure of the curves they deſcribe, which curves will differ according to the breadth of the roads. Now the difference of time cannot be afcertained, bacaufe of the uncertainty of forming the curves: yet I think that the figures already deſcribed, give ſufficient proof, that the traveller in the road of fix feet broad will arrive at his journey’s end a confiderable time before the other in the road of eight feet broad. Although what has been faid may be conceived on firſt fight of the figures, and any further demonſtration difpenſed with; yet, according to the rules of art, we muſt proceed, in a regular manner, to prove the moſt trifling propoſition.
It would be fomewhat difficult for any one to know, when he is travelling, whether he makes his road fix or eight feet broad, the breadth being intirely imaginary: but let this rule be obſerved; which is, always to make the ſweeps as ſtraight as poſfible, the more ſo the better; and the more direćt the courſe, the leſs will be the reſiſtance and frićtion; which fufficiently ficiently proves, that narrow roads are beſt.
In travelling on the infide edge, the head and arms are not to be uſed in the fame manner as in beginning to skate. The manner in which they ſhould be employed may eaſily be conceived, being no other than that poſition in which they are held at the beginning of a minuet, only that the arms ſhould be a little more advanced; and if they are ſuffered to hang with freedom, their motions will begoverned by thoſeofthebody, which. I think is the moſt graceful way they can be employed: the head muſt in cline from fide to fide, gradually, as the ſtroke is changed, always looking forward to the way you are going.
The above inſtrućtions, followed with attention, added to a little praćtice, will foon make every motion become eaſy and familiar, and to feem in a manner natural.
Of the Outſide Edge.
Young beginners will be a little ſurprized, when they find they have not yet come to that movement, which appears fo agreeable to the eye, and which they are all fo ambitious of attaining; and imagine, by the preceding inſtructions, that there is more difficulty in their way than they are aware: but they may be affured, that it will be eafier in praćtice than it appears in theory.
I hope what has been faid, will give the reader fufficient encourage ment, to attend with patience to the following inſtrućtions; which, when put in praćtice, will give full fatisfaćtion for the difagreeable time fpent in learning the firſt principles.
To preferve the balance on the outfide edge, requires more skill than any of the former poſitions; and is fo difficult to be acquired, that I have known many to ſpend three or four winters in learning it. This I can impute to no other cauſe than their not having purſued a proper method at firſt fetting out. It is common for thoſe who firſt attempt moving on the outfide edge, to inquire of others, in what manner they muft begin; and upon not finding themſelves immediately fucceed, attribute it to the fault of their advifers; and apply to fome others, for different inſtructions: theſe inſtructions being generally different, and: the learner not having a proper perfeverance to continue his attempts, but continually changing from one method to another; is the reaſon we fee ſo very few arrive at any perfećtion, on the outfide edge.
To prevent theſe diſappointments, I will lay down one general rule, which I have never known to fail, even with thoſe who at firſt feem the moſt aukward.
Suppoſe a ftroke to be made on the left leg; it muſt be put down on the flat, with the knee bent, the head inclined to the left, the right arm held out nearly upon a line with the ſhoulder; and the left arm held cloſe to the fide: then, with the right foot, impelyourſelf to theleft, by often prefſing the infide edge of the skate on the ice; the left foot is not to be taken off: by this method, you will make a fweep, which you muſt endeavour to increaſe, by inclining the body to the left; and bearing on the outfide edge of the skate, and by gradually increafing your inclination, and turning the head more and more to the left ſhoulder, you will form a fpiral line: this method must be reverſed, for the right leg; and if praćtifed for two or three days, the outfide edge may be acquired.
The impellent foot being wholly employed at firſt learning the outfide, no regard is paid to its poſition during the intervals of each ſtroke: but when the outfide is acquired, it muft then be thus diſpoſed of. Suppoſe a stroke to be made on the left leg, raiſe the right leg behind, by bending the knee only; which knee muft not be more than three or four inches from the left ham, and the foot hung in an eaſy manner, with the toe downwards, within two or three inches of the ice.
When you can follow this method with both legs, and change the pofition of the arms with the ſtroke, you will then be prepared for travelling; which I ſhall treat of next.
Of travelling on the Outfide Edge.
This fort of travelling is thought to be móre pleaſing and expeditious than any other: it is the method which the Dutch chiefly make uſe of, in performing their long journies, fometimes with heavy loads balanced upon their heads.
They travel on the outfide edge, with their hands in their fide pockets; this poſition of the arms I would recommend, as the moſt eaſy: but for expedition, they muſt be held forwards, and uſed occafionally to affist the motion; in what particular manner they are to be employed on fuch occaſions, experience will teach beſt; for moſt people differ in the manner of uſing their arms when going faſt on the ice, as they do when running on the ground; to strike on the outſide edge, has already been taught; but to travel on the outſide, you muft make ſtrokes alternately with both legs: and at every ſtroke, let the impellent foot be held, nearly parallel to the other, at about twelve inches diſtance, for about two or three paces; and then brought up fuddenly to the other, in order to make a new ſtroke; the faſter you would go, the farther the foot muſt be advanced in taking the ſtrokes; but to move ſlowly and gracefully, it muſt be put down, with the heel at a little distance from the toe of the other foot.
The head is governed by the changing of the legs, and muft be gradually moved from fide to fide, fo that you may always look in the fame direćtion with the curve you make; to be more explicit, the whole body and head muſt be inclined alternately from one fide to the other, with as much eaſe and regularity as poffible. When all theſe motions become familiar, travelling at a moderate rate will not be in the leaft fatiguing.
To travel very fast, the ſtrokes muft be made as ſhort, and the curves as nearly approaching to right lines, as poffible.
Of the Curved Line on the Outſide Edge, called Rolling.
This fort of skating, performed by a perſon of a genteel figure, is the moſt graceful and becoming move ment of all others; and appear to thoſe who neither confider, nor understand, the reaſon of the body's being preferved fo long in a falling fiate, as if were fomewhat amazing: but, if mechanically confidered, it may eaſily be conceived, with this allowance, that nature here, as well as on many occaſions, aćts in a manner that cannot be intirely reduced to mechanical principles. This may be proved, by ſuppofing a figure of a man, made of wood; and that the centre of gravity in fuch a figure was in the fame point as it is faid to be in the human body; in which it is fituated in the middle between the two hips, or in that part called the Pelvis. Now fuppoſe the figure to ſtand erećt, with the feet placed parallel to each other, within a ſquare oftwelve inches; then, if a perpendicular be let fall from the centre of gravity, it will meet the ground nearly in the middle of the ſquare: but if the body be inclined any way, fo that the perpendicular ſhould not touch the ground in the centre of the ſquare, the figure will immediately fall: even ſuppoſing the limbs moveable, and placed in the beſt manner for preſerving the poize: in the human body the cafe is different; which I have found by experience, that a man may stand, though he be fo inclined, that the perpendicular fhould fall at the toes (provided he has the proper uſe of his limbs). I can affign no other reaſon for his being capable of ſupporting himſelf in fuch an attitude, than the wonderful construction, and manner of acting of the muſcles.
By the preceding remarks, as well as by the following inſtructions we ſhall find that ſkating manæúvres are mechanically performed; rolling, ought not to be learned in a hurry, nor with both legs, till you are per fećt on one ; and it is difficult to roll well, after you have contraćted a bad habit, which is always the confequence of learning too foon on both legs. This I have obſerved in many, who, though they were firm on their fkates, could not move equally well on both legs.
Rolling muſt be learned in this manner. Take a ſtep with the left foot, putting it down flat, at about ten inches from the ball of the right foot; and let the toe be turned pretty much out: incline the body forwards, and the head to the left, directing the eyes that way; let the arms be eaſily croffed over the breaſt; fome chuſe to let them hang down at their fides, and others put them behind their backs: both theſe methods are straining, and not graceful.
At fetting off, the left knee muſt be a little bent, and gradually ftraightened, as you move, till it is quite ſtraight; which it muſt be at the end of the curve. The right leg muſt be flowly raiſed behind, with the toe out, and pointing downwards: this leg ferves as a counter poize to the inclining body; when you have made about half the ſweep, bring the right leg flowly forward, in order to take another ſtroke, in the fame manner as with the left, only that the motions and poſitions muſt be reverſed; in rolling faſt, you muſt force yourſelf on with the impellent foot: but for flow rolling, the inclination of the body will be fufficient; to what height the leg is to be raiſed behind, cannot be determined, that depending intirely on the fize of the curve; that is, the larger the curve, the higher the leg muſt be raiſed: but in common rolling, the toe need not be above three or four inches from the ice. The figure in the fecond plate reprefents a proper attitude for genteel rolling,
Running is abſolutely neceffary in performing fome of the maſterly parts of this art; without which, it would be impoffible to make the movements ſufficiently large; any tolerable ſkater could run, were he not afraid of falling; which moft are, becauſe fuch fort of skating appears wild and dangerous; and in deed is fo in thoſe who attempt running in the fame manner as on the ground. That thoſe who choofe to be maſters of fuch manoeuvres** as are facilitated by running, may not be diſcouraged in their attempts; I will give fuch instrućtions, that they may venture without danger of falling.
It may be obſerved of skaters in general, who attempt to run, that, instead of doing fo, they rather keep fliding along, with their feet nearly parallel, and often fall: the cauſe of their falling is, that they cannot ftop the foremoſt foot, in order to take a ſtep with the other; for the skate, moving forward in a right line, can have no hold on the ice, to check the motion; ſo that when the other foot is brought forward, that on which you are moving immediately flips back. The principal intent of running, is to add to the force of the body. Whenever we are defirous to make a very large roll or circle, &c. in the fame manner as in leaping on the ground; we find ourſelves affifted byrunning: but the above deſcribed method of doing this would not affift the velocity of the body, becauſe, the skates having no hold of the ice (as was before obferved), it would be difficult to ſtop, fo as to make a ſpring, at the begin ning of any manoeuvre. If the following method be obſerved by a good skater, he may run as firm, and leap nearly as high with skates as without. In running, take ſhort ſteps, turn out the toes, as much as you can with eaſe, and bring down each foot on the infide edge; at every step, ftrike on the ice, in the fame manner as if you were ſtamping on the ground, and let the heel of the iron touch the ice firſt; the arms muft be uſed as they are in running on the ground, the body inclined forwards, the head kept ftill, and the eyes fixed on the ſpot where you intend fetting off with the ſpiral line, circle, &c.
Many accidents happen upon the ice, from the ſkaters running violently againſt each other; which is only to be prevented by learning the me thod of ſtopping themſelves fuddenly. This, after they have acquired the art of running, may be eaſily done, by leaping up, and coming down with the feet parallel, at about twelve inches afunder, and turned as much as poffible to the right or left; fo that according to the feaman's phraſe, the broad fides of the ſkates may be before you: when travelling, you may ſtop yourſelf, by only turning the feet to the right or left, as be fore defcribed, and prefſing on the infide edge of the foremoſt foot. By theſe methods you.may avoid many dangers, fuch as banks of ſnow, broken ice, &c. But the method which ſkaters generally make ufe of to ſtop themfelves, is by no means fo certain; for as they only bear on the heels of their ſkates, they run a confiderable distance before they ftop, by which means they not only fpoil the ice, but often break their fkates; and, unleſs they perceive the danger at fome diſtance, are not able to eſcape it.