|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Enemies of Books by William Blades:
The covers are first carefully dissected, the eye of the operator
keeping a careful outlook for any fragments of old MSS.
or early printed books, which may have been used by the original binder.
No force should be applied to separate parts which adhere together;
a little warm water and care is sure to overcome that difficulty.
When all the sections are loose, the separate sheets are placed
singly in a bath of cold water, and allowed to remain there until
all the dirt has soaked out. If not sufficiently purified,
a little hydrochloric or oxalic acid, or caustic potash may be put
in the water, according as the stains are from grease or from ink.
Here is where an unpractised binder will probably injure a book for life.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart:
everything was cleared up. The firm of expert accountants who
had examined the books some two months before testified that
every bond, every piece of valuable paper, was there at that
time. It had been shortly after their examination that the
president, who had been in bad health, had gone to California.
Mr. Bailey was still ill at the Knickerbocker, and in this, as in
other ways, Gertrude's conduct puzzled me. She seemed
indifferent, refused to discuss matters pertaining to the bank,
and never, to my knowledge, either wrote to him or went to see
Gradually I came to the conclusion that Gertrude, with the rest
The Circular Staircase
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Hated Son by Honore de Balzac:
on the milky whiteness of the neck. This was neither Norman beauty,
where flesh abounds, nor French beauty, as fugitive as its own
expressions, nor the beauty of the North, cold and melancholy as the
North itself--it was the deep seraphic beauty of the Catholic Church,
supple and rigid, severe but tender.
"Where could one find a prettier duchess?" thought Beauvouloir,
contemplating his daughter with delight. As she stood there slightly
bending, her neck stretched out to watch the flight of a bird past the
windows, he could only compare her to a gazelle pausing to listen for
the ripple of the water where she seeks to drink.
"Come and sit here," said Beauvouloir, tapping his knee and making a
|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 Ten Years Later by Alexandre Dumas:
"Oh, my companions have remained on board; they are sailors
without the least instruction."
"Whilst you ---- " said Monk.
"Who, I?" said the patron, laughing; "I have sailed about
with my father, and I know what is called a sou, a crown, a
pistole, a louis, and a double louis, in all the languages
of Europe; my crew, therefore, listen to me as they would to
an oracle, and obey me as if I were an admiral."
"Then it was you who preferred M. Lambert as the best
"Yes, certainly. And, to be frank, my lord, was I wrong?"
Ten Years Later