62 THE PRINCIPLE OF ANTITHESIS. CHAP. II. how few unequivocal instances can be adduced. This depends partly on all the signs having commonly had some natural origin; and partly on the practice of the deaf and dumb and of savages to contract their signs as much as possible for the sake of rapidity/5 Hence their natural source or origin often becomes doubtful or is completely lost; as is likewise the case with articulate language. Many signs, moreover,, which plainly stand in oppo- sition to each other, appear to have had on both sides a significant origin. This seems to hold good with the signs used by the deaf and dumb for light and dark- ness, for strength and weakness, &c. In a future chap- ter I shall endeavour to show that the opposite gestures of affirmation and negation, namely, vertically nodding and laterally shaking the head, have both probably had a natural beginning. The waving of the hand from right to left, which is used as a negative by some savages, may have been invented in imitation of shaking the head; but whether the opposite movement of waving the hand in a straight line from the f^ce, which is used in affirmation, has arisen through antithesis or in some quite distinct manner, is doubtful. If we now turn to the gestures which are-innate or common to all the individuals of the same species, and which come under the present head of antithesis, it is extremely doubtful, whether any of them were at first deliberately invented and consciously performed. With mankind the best instance of a gesture standing in direct 8 See on this subject Dr. W. R. Scott's interesting work, ' The Deaf and Dumb,' 2nd edit. 1870, p. 12. He says, " This contracting- of natural gestures into much shorter gestures than the natural expression requires, is very common among-st the deaf and dumb. This contracted gesture is frequently so shortened as nearly to lose all semblance of the natural one, but to the deaf and dumb who use it, it still has the force of the original expression."