|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from La Grande Breteche by Honore de Balzac:
this monumental embodiment of woe. I returned to my inn, lost in
gloomy thoughts. When I had supped, the hostess came into my room with
an air of mystery, and said, 'Monsieur, here is Monsieur Regnault.'
" 'Who is Monsieur Regnault?'
" 'What, sir, do you not know Monsieur Regnault?--Well, that's odd,'
said she, leaving the room.
"On a sudden I saw a man appear, tall, slim, dressed in black, hat in
hand, who came in like a ram ready to butt his opponent, showing a
receding forehead, a small pointed head, and a colorless face of the
hue of a glass of dirty water. You would have taken him for an usher.
The stranger wore an old coat, much worn at the seams; but he had a
La Grande Breteche
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson by Robert Louis Stevenson:
words of my Plymouth Brother, 'who knows the Lord,' must needs,
from time to time, write less emphatically. It is a fetter dance
to the music of minute guns - not at sea, but in a region not a
thousand miles from the Sahara. Still, I am half-way through
volume three, and shall count myself unworthy of the name of an
Englishman if I do not see the back of volume six. The countryman
of Livingstone, Burton, Speke, Drake, Cook, etc.!
I have been sweated not only out of my pleuritic fever, but out of
all my eating cares, and the better part of my brains (strange
coincidence!), by aconite. I have that peculiar and delicious
sense of being born again in an expurgated edition which belongs to
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from A Book of Remarkable Criminals by H. B. Irving:
of Justice, limiting the powers of presidents of assize in
admitting visitors into the reserved part of the court.
The proceedings at the trial added little to the known facts
of the case. Both Eyraud and Bompard continued to endeavour to
shift the blame on to each other's shoulders. A curious feature
of the trial was the appearance for the defence of a M.
Liegeois, a professor of law at Nancy. To the dismay of the
Court, he took advantage of a clause in the Code of Criminal
Instruction which permits a witness to give his evidence without
interruption, to deliver an address lasting four hours on
hypnotic suggestion. He undertook to prove that, not only
A Book of Remarkable Criminals
|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 Varieties of Religious Experience by William James:
unhesitating and unreasoning way in which we feel that we must
inflict our civilization upon "lower" races, by means of
Hotchkiss guns, etc., reminds one of nothing so much as of the
early spirit of Islam spreading its religion by the sword.
 In his book (too little read, I fear), Natural Religion, 3d
edition, Boston, 1886, pp. 91, 122.
In my last lecture I quoted to you the ultra-radical opinion of
Mr. Havelock Ellis, that laughter of any sort may be considered a
religious exercise, for it bears witness to the soul's
emancipation. I quoted this opinion in order to deny its
adequacy. But we must now settle our scores more carefully with