|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Vailima Letters by Robert Louis Stevenson:
'Ulufanua the isle of the sea,' read that verse dactylically
and you get the beat; the u's are like our double oo; did
ever you hear a prettier word?
I do not feel inclined to make a volume of Essays, but if I
did, and perhaps the idea is good - and any idea is better
than South Seas - here would be my choice of the Scribner
articles: DREAMS, BEGGARS, LANTERN-BEARERS, RANDOM MEMORIES.
There was a paper called the OLD PACIFIC CAPITAL in Fraser,
in Tulloch's time, which had merit; there were two on
Fontainebleau in the MAGAZINE OF ART in Henley's time. I
have no idea if they're any good; then there's the EMIGRANT
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Secrets of the Princesse de Cadignan by Honore de Balzac:
which well-born and well-bred women could inspire and feel; he knew
nothing of the charming refinements of language, nothing of the proofs
of affection incessantly given by refined women to the commonest
things. He might, perhaps, know woman; but he knew nothing of the
divinity. Why not take his rightful place in the world, and taste the
delights of Parisian society?
"Why doesn't a man who bears party per bend gules and or, a bezant and
crab counterchanged," cried Rastignac, "display that ancient
escutcheon of Picardy on the panels of a carriage? You have thirty
thousand francs a year, and the proceeds of your pen; you have
justified your motto: Ars thesaurusque virtus, that punning device our
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Lysis by Plato:
time, you would have plagued him to death by talking about nothing else.
Indeed, Socrates, he has literally deafened us, and stopped our ears with
the praises of Lysis; and if he is a little intoxicated, there is every
likelihood that we may have our sleep murdered with a cry of Lysis. His
performances in prose are bad enough, but nothing at all in comparison with
his verse; and when he drenches us with his poems and other compositions,
it is really too bad; and worse still is his manner of singing them to his
love; he has a voice which is truly appalling, and we cannot help hearing
him: and now having a question put to him by you, behold he is blushing.
Who is Lysis? I said: I suppose that he must be young; for the name does
not recall any one to me.
|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 Court Life in China by Isaac Taylor Headland:
There are no images of any kind connected with the temple or the
worship, the only offerings being a bullock, the various
productions of the soil, and a cylindrical piece of jade about a
foot long, formerly used as a symbol of sovereignty. Twelve
bundles of cloth are offered to Heaven, and only one to each of
the emperors, and to the sun and moon. The bullocks must be two
years old, the best of their kind, without blemish, and while
they were formerly killed by the Emperor they are now slaughtered
by an official appointed for that purpose.
The covered altar is, I think, the most beautiful piece of
architecture in China. It is smaller than the one already