In order to render the description of a writing perfectly clear, a
system of terminology is adopted which is invariable. That is, the same
terms are always employed in indicating the same parts of a letter.
These are simple, and for the most part self-explanatory, so that no
effort is required to commit them to memory.
Every part of a letter has a distinctive name, so that it would be
possible to reproduce a script character very closely by a verbal
The following are the terms used in describing a letter:--
_Letter_ means the whole of any script character, capital or small. For
the sake of brevity in notes and reports capital is written Cp.; small,
_Arc._--An arc is the curve formed _inside_ the top loop or curve, as in
_f_, _m_, _h_, _o_. In _o_, the inside top half of the letter is the
arc; the inside bottom half is the hook.
_Buckle._--The buckle is the separate stroke added to such letters as
_k_, _f_, and capitals _A_, _F_, _H_.
_Beard._--The beard is the preliminary stroke that often appears in
_Body._--The body of a letter is that portion of it which rests on the
line and could be contained in a small circle. For example, in a small
_d_ the body consists of the circle and the final upward curve or toe.
In a small _g_ the body is the circle minus the tail.
_Eye_ is the small circle formed by the continuation of a stroke as in
the shoulder _r_.
_Finals._--A final is the finishing stroke not carried beyond the shank
in capitals, and in a few smalls like _y_, _g_, _z_.
_Foot._--The foot of a letter is that portion of it that rests on the
line. Small _m_ has three feet, _h_ has two, etc.
_Hook._--The hook is the inside of a bottom curve. It is the opposite of
_Link._--The link is that portion of the stroke which connects two
_Broken link._--A broken link is a disconnection in the link joining two
_Loop._--A loop is that portion of a letter which forms the top or tail.
Unlooped tops and tails are called "barred." For example, small _f_ has
two loops, top and bottom; _f_, _h_, _l_ have one top loop; _g_, _y_,
_z_ have one bottom loop.
_Shank._--The shank of a letter is the principal long downstroke that
forms the backbone.
_Shoulder._--The shoulder is the outside of the top of the curve as seen
in small _m_, _n_, _o_, _h_. Small _m_ has three shoulders, _n_ two, _h_
_Spur._--The spur is to the small letter what the beard is to the
capital. It is the initial stroke.
_Tick._--A tick is a small stroke generally at the beginning of a
letter, sometimes at the end.
_Toe._--The toe is the concluding upward stroke of a letter, as seen in
small _e_, _n_, _h_, &c.
_Whirl._--The whirl is the upstroke in all looped letters. It is a
continuation of the spur in _b_, _h_, _f_, _l_, and is always an
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