|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:
the web and lifting it, I take away a few pieces of thread to
study, pieces that remain fixed to the glass in parallel lines.
Lens and microscope can now play their part.
The sight is perfectly astounding. Those threads, on the
borderland between the visible and the invisible, are very closely
twisted twine, similar to the gold cord of our officers' sword-
knots. Moreover, they are hollow. The infinitely slender is a
tube, a channel full of a viscous moisture resembling a strong
solution of gum arabic. I can see a diaphanous trail of this
moisture trickling through the broken ends. Under the pressure of
the thin glass slide that covers them on the stage of the
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 Fisherman's Luck by Henry van Dyke:
reputations; but they are death to talk.
In talk it is not correctness of grammar nor elegance of enunciation
that charms us; it is spirit, VERVE, the sudden turn of humour, the
keen, pungent taste of life. For this reason a touch of dialect, a
flavour of brogue, is delightful. Any dialect is classic that has
conveyed beautiful thoughts. Who that ever talked with the poet
Tennyson, when he let himself go, over the pipes, would miss the
savour of his broad-rolling Lincolnshire vowels, now heightening the
humour, now deepening the pathos, of his genuine manly speech?
There are many good stories lingering in the memories of those who
knew Dr. James McCosh, the late president of Princeton University,--
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from 1984 by George Orwell:
cling together with a sort of despairing sensuality, like a damned soul
grasping at his last morsel of pleasure when the clock is within five
minutes of striking. But there were also times when they had the illusion
not only of safety but of permanence. So long as they were actually in
this room, they both felt, no harm could come to them. Getting there was
difficult and dangerous, but the room itself was sanctuary. It was as when
Winston had gazed into the heart of the paperweight, with the feeling that
it would be possible to get inside that glassy world, and that once inside
it time could be arrested. Often they gave themselves up to daydreams of
escape. Their luck would hold indefinitely, and they would carry on their
intrigue, just like this, for the remainder of their natural lives. Or
|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 Daisy Miller by Henry James:
with each other. When they reached the low garden wall,
they stood a moment looking off at the great flat-topped
pine clusters of the Villa Borghese; then Giovanelli
seated himself, familiarly, upon the broad ledge of the wall.
The western sun in the opposite sky sent out a brilliant
shaft through a couple of cloud bars, whereupon Daisy's
companion took her parasol out of her hands and opened it.
She came a little nearer, and he held the parasol over her;
then, still holding it, he let it rest upon her shoulder,
so that both of their heads were hidden from Winterbourne.
This young man lingered a moment, then he began to walk.