|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson by Robert Louis Stevenson:
imaginary of course, my own unregenerate idea of what Italy then
was. O, when shall I find the story of my dreams, that shall never
halt nor wander nor step aside, but go ever before its face, and
ever swifter and louder, until the pit receives it, roaring? The
Portfolio paper will be about Scotland and England. - Ever yours,
R. L. STEVENSON.
Letter: TO MRS. SITWELL
EDINBURGH, TUESDAY [FEBRUARY 1875].
I GOT your nice long gossiping letter to-day - I mean by that that
there was more news in it than usual - and so, of course, I am
pretty jolly. I am in the house, however, with such a beastly cold
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Pool in the Desert by Sara Jeanette Duncan:
evidently in no sense a connoisseur beyond that of natural instinct.
Some of those he had picked up in India I could tell him about, but
I had no impression that he would remember what I said. There was
one Bokhara tapestry I examined with a good deal of interest.
'Yes,' he said, 'they told me I shouldn't get anything as good as
that out here, so I brought it,' but I had to explain to him why it
was anomalous that this should be so.
'It came a good many miles over desert from somewhere,' he remarked,
as I made a note of inquiry as to the present direction of trade in
woven goods from Persia, 'I had to pound it for a week to get the
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Ball at Sceaux by Honore de Balzac:
France had married Monsieur So-and-So with no title to his name. The
Vicomtesse de Fontaine amused herself by eclipsing Emilie in the taste
and magnificence that were conspicuous in her dress, her furniture,
and her carriages. The satirical spirit in which her brothers and
sisters sometimes received the claims avowed by Mademoiselle de
Fontaine roused her to wrath that a perfect hailstorm of sharp sayings
could hardly mitigate. So when the head of the family felt a slight
chill in the King's tacit and precarious friendship, he trembled all
the more because, as a result of her sisters' defiant mockery, his
favorite daughter had never looked so high.
In the midst of these circumstances, and at a moment when this petty
|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 Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling:
Hobden he'd have stood both barrels for half the money.'
'He doesn't understand,'Una cried, watching the pale,
troubled face. 'Oh, I wish -'
She had scarcely said it when Puck rustled out of the
hollies and spoke to the man quickly in foreign words.
Puck wore a long cloak too - the afternoon was just frosting
down - and it changed his appearance altogether.
'Nay, nay!'he said at last. 'You did not understand the
boy. A freeman was a little hurt, by pure mischance, at
'I know that mischance! What did his lord do? Laugh