|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad:
(while her father was one of the trustees of the
Baptist Chapel)--and wore a little steel cross at
her waist. She dressed severely in black, in mem-
ory of one of the innumerable Bradleys of the
neighbourhood, to whom she had been engaged
some twenty-five years ago--a young farmer who
broke his neck out hunting on the eve of the wed-
ding day. She had the unmoved countenance of
the deaf, spoke very seldom, and her lips, thin like
her father's, astonished one sometimes by a myste-
riously ironic curl.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Art of Writing by Robert Louis Stevenson:
paused to calculate the wage. The other day an author was
complimented on a piece of work, good in itself and
exceptionally good for him, and replied, in terms unworthy of
a commercial traveller that as the book was not briskly
selling he did not give a copper farthing for its merit. It
must not be supposed that the person to whom this answer was
addressed received it as a profession of faith; he knew, on
the other hand, that it was only a whiff of irritation; just
as we know, when a respectable writer talks of literature as
a way of life, like shoemaking, but not so useful, that he is
only debating one aspect of a question, and is still clearly
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Purse by Honore de Balzac:
more than fifty years of age, and seemed to enjoy robust health.
While wearing the frank and loyal expression of the old emigres,
his countenance also hinted at the easy habits of a libertine, at
the light and reckless passions of the Musketeers formerly so
famous in the annals of gallantry. His gestures, his attitude,
and his manner proclaimed that he had no intention of correcting
himself of his royalism, of his religion, or of his love affairs.
A really fantastic figure came in behind this specimen of "Louis
XIV.'s light infantry"--a nickname given by the Bonapartists to
these venerable survivors of the Monarchy. To do it justice it
ought to be made the principal object in the picture, and it is
|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 Maid Marian by Thomas Love Peacock:
her from one, while a well-applied blow of her sword struck off
the helmet of the other, who fell on his knees to beg a boon,
and she recognised Sir Ralph Montfaucon. The men who were engaged
with the baron and the peasant, seeing their leader subdued,
immediately laid down their arms and cried for quarter.
The wife brought some strong rope, and the baron tied their
arms behind them.
"Now, Sir Ralph," said Marian, "once more you are at my mercy."
"That I always am, cruel beauty," said the discomfited lover.
"Odso! courteous knight," said the baron, "is this the return you
make for my beef and canary, when you kissed my daughter's hand