|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Life of the Spider by J. Henri Fabre:
judging by the Spider's general immunity.
But here is something that wholly alters the result. I put the leg
to soak for a quarter of an hour in disulphide of carbon, the best
solvent of fatty matters. I wash it carefully with a brush dipped
in the same fluid. When this washing is finished, the leg sticks
to the snaring-thread quite easily and adheres to it just as well
as anything else would, the unoiled straw, for instance.
Did I guess aright when I judged that it was a fatty substance that
preserved the Epeira from the snares of her sticky Catherine-wheel?
The action of the carbon disulphide seems to say yes. Besides,
there is no reason why a substance of this kind, which plays so
The Life of the Spider
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe:
consented to our marrying privately, and leaving her to mange
the father afterwards.
Then he cajoled with his brother, and persuaded him what
service he had done him, and how he had brought his mother
to consent, which, though true, was not indeed done to serve
him, but to serve himself; but thus diligently did he cheat him,
and had the thanks of a faithful friend for shifting off his whore
into his brother's arms for a wife. So certainly does interest
banish all manner of affection, and so naturally do men give
up honour and justice, humanity, and even Christianity, to
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Salammbo by Gustave Flaubert:
facing him Matho was examining the multitude, trying to recognise some
one whom he might have seen at Salammbo's palace.
The camp was like a town, so full of people and of movement was it.
The two distinct crowds mingled without blending, one dressed in linen
or wool, with felt caps like fir-cones, and the other clad in iron and
wearing helmets. Amid serving men and itinerant vendors there moved
women of all nations, as brown as ripe dates, as greenish as olives,
as yellow as oranges, sold by sailors, picked out of dens, stolen from
caravans, taken in the sacking of towns, women that were jaded with
love so long as they were young, and plied with blows when they were
old, and that died in routs on the roadsides among the baggage and the
|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 Salome by Oscar Wilde:
tres heureux. J'ai le droit d'etre heureux, n'est-ce pas? Votre
fille va danser pour moi. N'est-ce pas que vous allez danser pour
moi, Salome? Vous avez promis de danser pour moi.
HERODIAS. Je ne veux pas qu'elle danse.
SALOME. Je danserai pour vous, tetrarque.
HERODE. Vous entendez ce que dit votre fille. Elle va danser pour
moi. Vous avez bien raison, Salome, de danser pour moi. Et, apres
que vous aurez danse n'oubliez pas de me demander tout ce que vous
voudrez. Tout ce que vous voudrez je vous le donnerai, fut-ce la
moitie de mon royaume. J'ai jure, n'est-ce pas?
SALOME. Vous avez jure, tetrarque.