|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Essays of Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson:
Friday instead of the Saturday, and there was his wife to receive him
reeling drunk. He 'took and gave her a pair o' black eyes,' for
which I pardon him, nailed up the cook-shop door, gave up his
situation, and resigned himself to a life of poverty, with the
workhouse at the end. As the children came to their full age they
fled the house, and established themselves in other countries; some
did well, some not so well; but the father remained at home alone
with his drunken wife, all his sound-hearted pluck and varied
accomplishments depressed and negatived.
Was she dead now? or, after all these years, had he broken the chain,
and run from home like a schoolboy? I could not discover which; but
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Ruling Passion by Henry van Dyke:
Circassian father trains his daughters, with an eye to the market.
They come into my house for my own pleasure, and when the time
arrives that I can see them no longer, it will not matter much to me
what price they bring in the auction-room. This landscape pleases
me so thoroughly that, if you will let us take it with us this
evening, I will send you a check for the amount in the morning."
So we carried off the painting in a cab; and all the way home I was
in the pleasant excitement of a man who is about to make an addition
to his house; while Pierrepont was conscious of the glow of virtue
which comes of having done a favour to a friend and justified your
own critical judgment at one stroke.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton:
intrusion on them of two or three other customers, were of no
avail, for Mr. Ramy was not among those who entered the shop; and
at last Ann Eliza, ashamed of staying longer, reluctantly claimed
her steak, and walked home through the thickening snow.
Even to her simple judgment the vanity of her hopes was plain,
and in the clear light that disappointment turns upon our actions
she wondered how she could have been foolish enough to suppose
that, even if Mr. Ramy DID go to that particular market, he
would hit on the same day and hour as herself.
There followed a colourless week unmarked by farther incident.
The old stocking cured Evelina's throat, and Mrs. Hawkins dropped
|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 Child of Storm by H. Rider Haggard:
"He refuses six hundred cattle which are fairly his! He must be mad!"
"No friends," I answered, "I am not mad, but neither am I bad. I
accompanied Saduko on this raid because he is dear to me and stood by me
once in the hour of danger. But I do not love killing men with whom I
have no quarrel, and I will not take the price of blood."
"Wow!" said old Tshoza again, for Saduko seemed too astonished to speak,
"he is a spirit, not a man. He is _holy!_"
"Not a bit of it," I answered. "If you think that, ask Mameena"--a dark
saying which they did not understand. "Now, listen. I will not take
those cattle because I do not think as you Kafirs think. But as they
are mine, according to your law, I am going to dispose of them. I give
Child of Storm