|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne:
man naturally does upon a sudden reverse of sentiment, - base,
ungentle passion! thy hand is against every man, and every man's
hand against thee. - Heaven forbid! said she, raising her hand up
to her forehead, for I had turned full in front upon the lady whom
I had seen in conference with the monk: - she had followed us
unperceived. - Heaven forbid, indeed! said I, offering her my own;
- she had a black pair of silk gloves, open only at the thumb and
two fore-fingers, so accepted it without reserve, - and I led her
up to the door of the Remise.
Monsieur Dessein had DIABLED the key above fifty times before he
had found out he had come with a wrong one in his hand: we were as
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) by Dante Alighieri:
Whence I: "Their sense is, Master, hard to me!"
And he to me, as one experienced:
"Here all suspicion needs must be abandoned,
All cowardice must needs be here extinct.
We to the place have come, where I have told thee
Thou shalt behold the people dolorous
Who have foregone the good of intellect."
And after he had laid his hand on mine
With joyful mien, whence I was comforted,
He led me in among the secret things.
There sighs, complaints, and ululations loud
The Divine Comedy (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories by Alice Dunbar:
"I did not know that you were going to take fishermen and
marchands into the bosom of your social set when you came here,"
growled Philip, at last.
"But, Cousin Phil, can't you see he is a gentleman? The fact
that he makes no excuses or protestations is a proof."
"You are a fool," was the polite response.
Still, at six o'clock next morning, there was a little crowd of
seven upon the pier, laughing and chatting at the little
"Virginie" dipping her bows in the water and flapping her sails
in the brisk wind. Natalie's pink bonnet blushed in the early
The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories
|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 Vicar of Tours by Honore de Balzac:
pangs of womanhood is to abjure its poetry and cease to merit the
consolations to which mothers have inalienable rights.
Moreover, the generous sentiments, the exquisite qualities of a woman
will not develop unless by constant exercise. By remaining unmarried,
a creature of the female sex becomes void of meaning; selfish and
cold, she creates repulsion. This implacable judgment of the world is
unfortunately too just to leave old maids in ignorance of its causes.
Such ideas shoot up in their hearts as naturally as the effects of
their saddened lives appear upon their features. Consequently they
wither, because the constant expression of happiness which blooms on
the faces of other women and gives so soft a grace to their movements