|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Sons of the Soil by Honore de Balzac:
at least as rich as she, you hunt us like wild beasts, neither more
nor less, and drag the poor before the courts. Well, evil will come of
it! you'll be the cause of some great calamity. Haven't I just seen
your keeper, that shuffling Vatel, half kill a poor old woman for a
stick of wood? It is such fellows as that who make you an enemy to the
poor; and the talk is very bitter against you. They curse you every
bit as hard as they used to bless the late Madame. The curse of the
poor, monseigneur, is a seed that grows,--grows taller than your tall
oaks, and oak-wood builds the scaffold. Nobody here tells you the
truth; and here it is, yes, the truth! I expect to die before long,
and I risk very little in telling it to you, the TRUTH! I, who play
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Virginibus Puerisque by Robert Louis Stevenson:
letters as an occupation. There is no end, indeed, to making
books or experiments, or to travel, or to gathering wealth.
Problem gives rise to problem. We may study for ever, and we
are never as learned as we would. We have never made a statue
worthy of our dreams. And when we have discovered a
continent, or crossed a chain of mountains, it is only to find
another ocean or another plain upon the further side. In the
infinite universe there is room for our swiftest diligence and
to spare. It is not like the works of Carlyle, which can be
read to an end. Even in a corner of it, in a private park, or
in the neighbourhood of a single hamlet, the weather and the
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from My Antonia by Willa Cather:
Mrs. Cutter avouched, nodding her horse-like head and
rolling her eyes.
Grandmother said she hadn't a doubt of it.
Certainly Cutter liked to have his wife think him a devil.
In some way he depended upon the excitement He could arouse in her
hysterical nature. Perhaps he got the feeling of being a rake more from
his wife's rage and amazement than from any experiences of his own.
His zest in debauchery might wane, but never Mrs. Cutter's belief in it.
The reckoning with his wife at the end of an escapade was something
he counted on--like the last powerful liqueur after a long dinner.
The one excitement he really couldn't do without was quarrelling
|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 Wife, et al by Anton Chekhov:
"I am in trouble, my dears!" she began, sighing. "You see brother
has brought a valet with him, and the valet, God bless him, is
not one you can put in the kitchen or in the hall; we must give
him a room apart. I can't think what I am to do! I tell you what,
children, couldn't you move out somewhere -- to Fyodor's lodge,
for instance -- and give your room to the valet? What do you
We gave our ready consent, for living in the lodge was a great
deal more free than in the house, under mother's eye.
"It's a nuisance, and that's a fact!" said mother. "Brother says
he won't have dinner in the middle of the day, but between six