|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Moby Dick by Herman Melville:
feelings; but whereto does all that circumnavigation conduct? Only
through numberless perils to the very point whence we started, where
those that we left behind secure, were all the time before us.
Were this world an endless plain, and by sailing eastward we could
for ever reach new distances, and discover sights more sweet and
strange than any Cyclades or Islands of King Solomon, then there were
promise in the voyage. But in pursuit of those far mysteries we
dream of, or in tormented chase of that demon phantom that, some time
or other, swims before all human hearts; while chasing such over this
round globe, they either lead us on in barren mazes or midway leave
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Roads of Destiny by O. Henry:
"Whatever prestige," pursued the parent, "I may be possessed of, by
virtue of my name and services to the state, has been yours to draw
upon freely. I have not hesitated to exert it in your behalf whenever
opportunity offered. And you have deserved it, William. You've been
the best of sons. And now this appointment comes to take you away from
me. I have but a few years left to live. I am almost dependent upon
others now, even in walking and dressing. What would I do without you,
The Governor's pipe dropped to the floor. A tear trickled from his
eye. His voice had risen, and crumbled to a weakling falsetto, and
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Wrecker by Stevenson & Osbourne:
back, and a pen and ink-pot stood on the bare table. Stools
were here and there about the table, irregularly placed, as
though the meal had been finished and the men smoking and
chatting; and one of the stools lay on the floor, broken.
"See! they were writing up the log," said Nares, pointing to the
ink-bottle. "Caught napping, as usual. I wonder if there ever
was a captain yet, that lost a ship with his log-book up to date?
He generally has about a month to fill up on a clean break, like
Charles Dickens and his serial novels.--What a regular, lime-
juicer spread!" he added contemptuously. "Marmalade--and
toast for the old man! Nasty, slovenly pigs!"
|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 Soul of the Far East by Percival Lowell:
the dumb animals are as speaking likenesses as their human fellows.
The other arts show the same motif in their decorations. Pottery
and lacquer alike witness the respective positions assigned to the
serious and the comic in Far Eastern feeling.
The Far Oriental makes fun of man and makes love to Nature; and it
almost seems as if Nature heard his silent prayer, and smiled upon
him in acceptance; as if the love-light lent her face the added
beauty that it lends the maid's. For nowhere in this world,
probably, is she lovelier than in Japan: a climate of long, happy
means and short extremes, months of spring and months of autumn,
with but a few weeks of winter in between; a land of flowers, where