|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Ball at Sceaux by Honore de Balzac:
was his courtier-like calculation one of these rash speculations which
promise splendid results on paper, and are ruinous in effect. He was--
to quote the wittiest and most successful of our diplomates--one of
the faithful five hundred who shared the exile of the Court at Ghent,
and one of the fifty thousand who returned with it. During the short
banishment of royalty, Monsieur de Fontaine was so happy as to be
employed by Louis XVIII., and found more than one opportunity of
giving him proofs of great political honesty and sincere attachment.
One evening, when the King had nothing better to do, he recalled
Monsieur de Fontaine's witticism at the Tuileries. The old Vendeen did
not let such a happy chance slip; he told his history with so much
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne:
at that moment quite courage enough to strap my knapsack to my
shoulders and start.
But I must confess that in another hour this unnatural excitement
abated, my nerves became unstrung, and from the depths of the abysses
of this earth I ascended to its surface again.
"It is quite absurd!" I cried, "there is no sense about it. No
sensible young man should for a moment entertain such a proposal. The
whole thing is non-existent. I have had a bad night, I have been
dreaming of horrors."
But I had followed the banks of the Elbe and passed the town. After
passing the port too, I had reached the Altona road. I was led by a
Journey to the Center of the Earth
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Twelve Stories and a Dream by H. G. Wells:
He was at a loss to account for Mr. Bessel's conduct on any sane
hypothesis. He tried to read, but he could not do so; he went for
a short walk, and was so preoccupied that he narrowly escaped
a cab at the top of Chancery Lane; and at last--a full hour before
his usual time--he went to bed. For a considerable time he could not
sleep because of his memory of the silent confusion of Mr. Bessel's
apartment, and when at length he did attain an uneasy slumber it was
at once disturbed by a very vivid and distressing dream of Mr. Bessel.
He saw Mr. Bessel gesticulating wildly, and with his face white
and contorted. And, inexplicably mingled with his appearance,
suggested perhaps by his gestures, was an intense fear, an urgency
|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 The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson by Robert Louis Stevenson:
thunder of an excited foreigner often miscarries. One stands
aghast, marvelling how such a colossus of a man, in such a great
commotion of spirit, can open his mouth so much and emit such a
still small voice at the hinder end of it all. All this while he
walks about the room, smokes cigarettes, occupies divers chairs for
divers brief spaces, and casts his huge arms to the four winds like
the sails of a mill. He is a most sportive Prince.
R. L. S.
Letter: TO MRS. SITWELL
[SWANSTON], MAY 1874, MONDAY.
WE are now at Swanston Cottage, Lothianburn, Edinburgh. The garden