|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Adam Bede by George Eliot:
injure her. I deceived you afterwards--and that led on to worse;
but I thought it was forced upon me, I thought it was the best
thing I could do. And in that letter I told her to let me know if
she were in any trouble: don't think I would not have done
everything I could. But I was all wrong from the very first, and
horrible wrong has come of it. God knows, I'd give my life if I
could undo it."
They sat down again opposite each other, and Adam said,
tremulously, "How did she seem when you left her, sir?"
"Don't ask me, Adam," Arthur said; "I feel sometimes as if I
should go mad with thinking of her looks and what she said to me,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Nada the Lily by H. Rider Haggard:
did not believe all the tale that I had told him of the death of
Umslopogaas in the jaws of a lion and the tale of those who were with
me. How that company fared at the hands of Umslopogaas and of Galazi
the Wolf, and at the fangs of the people black and grey, I have told
you, my father. None of them ever came back again. In after days it
was reported to the king that these soldiers were missing, never
having returned, but he only laughed, saying that the lion which ate
Umslopogaas, son of Mopo, was a fierce one, and had eaten them also.
At last came the night of the new moon, that dreadful night to be
followed by a more dreadful morrow. I sat in the kraal of Chaka, and
he put his arm about my neck and groaned and wept for his mother, whom
Nada the Lily
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Life of the Spider by J. Henri Fabre:
cervical nerve-centres, the seat of energy. The paralyzers, those
accomplished anatomists, poison the motor nerve-centres, of which
they know the number and position. The Epeira possesses none of
this fearsome knowledge. She inserts her fangs at random, as the
Bee does her sting. She does not select one spot rather than
another; she bites indifferently at whatever comes within reach.
This being so, her poison would have to possess unparalleled
virulence to produce a corpse-like inertia no matter which the
point attacked. I can scarcely believe in instantaneous death
resulting from the bite, especially in the case of insects, with
their highly-resistant organisms.
The Life of the Spider
|The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Enemies of Books by William Blades:
unknown and perished for ever when used as "pye-bottoms."
Mr. W. B. Rye, late Keeper of the Printed Books at our great
National Library, thus writes:--
"On the subject of ignorance you should some day, when at the
British Museum, look at Lydgate's translation of Boccaccio's `Fall
of Princes,' printed by Pynson in 1494. It is `liber rarissimus.'
This copy when perfect had been very fine and quite uncut.
On one fine summer afternoon in 1874 it was brought to me by a
tradesman living at Lamberhurst. Many of the leaves had been cut
into squares, and the whole had been rescued from a tobacconist's shop,
where the pieces were being used to wrap up tobacco and snuff.