"It is hard to believe that our solid earth was once a ball of seething liquid, like the red-hot iron that is poured out of the big clay cups into the sand moulds at an iron foundry. But when a mountain like Vesuvius sets up a mighty rumbling, and finally a mass of white-hot lava bursts from the centre and streams down the sides, covering the vineyards and olive orchards, and driving the people out of their homes in terror, it seems as if the earth's crust must be but a thin and frail affair, covering a fiery interior, which might at any time break out. The people who live near volcanoes might easily get this idea."
"In that old time of the great sea that covered the globe, we are told that there was a dense atmosphere over the face of the deep. So things were shaping themselves for the far-off time when life should exist, not only in the sea, where the first life did appear, but on land. But it took millions of years to fit the earth for living things."
"Most of the beautiful things that surround us and make our lives full of happiness appeal to one or more of our five senses. The green trees we can see, the bird songs we hear, the perfume of honey-laden flowers we smell, the velvety smoothness of a peach we feel, and its rich pulp we taste. But over all and through all the things we see and feel and hear and taste and smell, is the life-giving air, that lies like a blanket, miles in depth, upon the earth. The substance which makes the life of plants and animals possible is, when motionless, an invisible, tasteless, odourless substance, which makes no sound and is not perceptible to the touch."