|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Memories and Portraits by Robert Louis Stevenson:
sun-burning was for me but a holiday. In that year cannon were
roaring for days together on French battlefields; and I would sit
in my isle (I call it mine, after the use of lovers) and think upon
the war, and the loudness of these far-away battles, and the pain
of the men's wounds, and the weariness of their marching. And I
would think too of that other war which is as old as mankind, and
is indeed the life of man: the unsparing war, the grinding slavery
of competition; the toil of seventy years, dear-bought bread,
precarious honour, the perils and pitfalls, and the poor rewards.
It was a long look forward; the future summoned me as with trumpet
calls, it warned me back as with a voice of weeping and beseeching;
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy:
and defiant, with one hand still upon her daughter's arm, seemed
the very personification of unbending pride. For the moment Marguerite's
sweet face had become as white as the soft fichu which swathed her throat,
and a very keen observer might have noted that the hand which held the tall,
beribboned stick was clenched, and trembled somewhat.
But this was only momentary; the next instant the delicate
eyebrows were raised slightly, the lips curved sarcastically upwards,
the clear blue eyes looked straight at the rigid Comtesse, and with a
slight shrug of the shoulders--
"Hoity-toity, citizeness," she said gaily, "what fly stings you, pray?"
"We are in England now, Madame," rejoined the Comtesse, coldly,
The Scarlet Pimpernel
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Ten Years Later by Alexandre Dumas:
remembering, he divines. The devil!"
"Your sentence," continued Louis, "fell upon the king and
fell upon the man. But, Monsieur d'Artagnan, that weakness,
for you considered it a weakness?" -- D'Artagnan made no
reply -- "you reproached me also with regard to monsieur,
the defunct cardinal. Now, monsieur le cardinal, did he not
bring me up, did he not support me? -- elevating himself and
supporting himself at the same time, I admit; but the
benefit was discharged. As an ingrate or an egotist, would
you, then, have better loved or served me?"
Ten Years Later
|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 Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin by Robert Louis Stevenson:
so that we no longer study it in quest of the Guaith Voeths, but to
trace out some of the secrets of descent and destiny; and as we
study, we think less of Sir Bernard Burke and more of Mr. Galton.
Not only do our character and talents lie upon the anvil and
receive their temper during generations; but the very plot of our
life's story unfolds itself on a scale of centuries, and the
biography of the man is only an episode in the epic of the family.
From this point of view I ask the reader's leave to begin this
notice of a remarkable man who was my friend, with the accession of
his great-grandfather, John Jenkin.
This John Jenkin, a grandson of Damaris Kingsley, of the family of