|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Adieu by Honore de Balzac:
five years in Siberia; he recovered his liberty a few months ago."
"Come in, monsieur," said the master of the house, leading the marquis
into a room on the lower floor where everything bore the marks of
capricious destruction. The silken curtains beside the windows were
torn, while those of muslin remained intact.
"You see," said the tall old man, as they entered, "the ravages
committed by that dear creature, to whom I devote myself. She is my
niece; in spite of the impotence of my art, I hope some day to restore
her reason by attempting a method which can only be employed,
unfortunately, by very rich people."
Then, like all persons living in solitude who are afflicted with an
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Tour Through Eastern Counties of England by Daniel Defoe:
that had so rashly entered were cut in pieces.
Thus they were repulsed at the south entrance into the town; and
though they attempted to storm three times after that with great
resolution, yet they were as often beaten back, and that with great
havoc of their men; and the cannon from the fort all the while did
execution upon those who stood drawn up to support them; so that at
last, seeing no good to be done, they retreated, having small joy
of their pretended victory.
They lost in this action Colonel Needham, who commanded a regiment
called the Tower Guards, and who fought very desperately; Captain
Cox, an old experienced horse officer, and several other officers
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
"What does this mean?" thought she. "It was an enchanted torch,
and should have kept burning till my child came back."
Lifting her eyes, she was surprised to see a sudden verdure
flashing over the brown and barren fields, exactly as you may
have observed a golden hue gleaming far and wide across the
landscape, from the just risen sun.
"Does the earth disobey me?" xclaimed Mother Ceres,
indignantly. "Does it presume to be green, when I have bidden
it be barren, until my daughter shall be restored to my arms?"
"Then open your arms, dear mother," cried a well-known voice,
"and take your little daughter into them."
|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 Memories and Portraits by Robert Louis Stevenson:
with life": not even history, built indeed of indisputable facts,
but these facts robbed of their vivacity and sting; so that even
when we read of the sack of a city or the fall of an empire, we are
surprised, and justly commend the author's talent, if our pulse be
quickened. And mark, for a last differentia, that this quickening
of the pulse is, in almost every case, purely agreeable; that these
phantom reproductions of experience, even at their most acute,
convey decided pleasure; while experience itself, in the cockpit of
life, can torture and slay.
What, then, is the object, what the method, of an art, and what the
source of its power? The whole secret is that no art does "compete