|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Intentions by Oscar Wilde:
been put into his lips to say. For, just as it is only by contact
with the art of foreign nations that the art of a country gains
that individual and separate life that we call nationality, so, by
curious inversion, it is only by intensifying his own personality
that the critic can interpret the personality and work of others,
and the more strongly this personality enters into the
interpretation the more real the interpretation becomes, the more
satisfying, the more convincing, and the more true.
ERNEST. I would have said that personality would have been a
GILBERT. No; it is an element of revelation. If you wish to
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Ferragus by Honore de Balzac:
desired by Clemence, who wished to spare him the sight of the
religious paraphernalia, so terrible to tender imaginations, which the
Church displays when conferring the last sacraments upon the dying.
"You could not have borne it," said his brother. "I could hardly bear
the sight myself, and all the servants wept. Clemence was like a
saint. She gathered strength to bid us all good-bye, and that voice,
heard for the last time, rent our hearts. When she asked pardon for
the pain she might unwillingly have caused her servants, there were
cries and sobs and--"
"Enough! enough!" said Jules.
He wanted to be alone, that he might read the last words of the woman
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories by Mark Twain:
her heart, she knew it would, and so on; but duty was duty.
So she married George, and Edward's heart came very near breaking,
as well as her own. However, Edward recovered, and married another girl--
a very excellent one she was, too.
Children came to both families. Mary did her honest best to reform
her husband, but the contract was too large. George went on drinking,
and by and by he fell to misusing her and the little ones sadly.
A great many good people strove with George--they were always at it,
in fact--but he calmly took such efforts as his due and their duty,
and did not mend his ways. He added a vice, presently--that of
secret gambling. He got deeply in debt; he borrowed money on the
|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 Figure in the Carpet by Henry James:
him in a spirit comparatively selfish. It was very discouraging:
I almost felt the liberty had been taken with myself.
I had had on my tongue's end, for my own part, a phrase or two
about the right word at the right time; but later on I was glad not
to have spoken, for when on our return we clustered at tea I
perceived Lady Jane, who had not been out with us, brandishing THE
MIDDLE with her longest arm. She had taken it up at her leisure;
she was delighted with what she had found, and I saw that, as a
mistake in a man may often be a felicity in a woman, she would
practically do for me what I hadn't been able to do for myself.
"Some sweet little truths that needed to be spoken," I heard her