|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Edition of The Ambassadors by Henry James:
first night, and Strether, no doubt, looked blank. "Affects, you
mean, the sale of the object advertised?"
"Yes--but affects it extraordinarily; really beyond what one had
supposed. I mean of course when it's done as one makes out that in
our roaring age, it CAN be done. I've been finding out a little,
though it doubtless doesn't amount to much more than what you
originally, so awfully vividly--and all, very nearly, that first
night--put before me. It's an art like another, and infinite like
all the arts." He went on as if for the joke of it--almost as if
his friend's face amused him. "In the hands, naturally, of a master.
The right man must take hold. With the right man to work it
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Familiar Studies of Men and Books by Robert Louis Stevenson:
or laughter, or kisses, or any quality of flesh and blood.
It was not inappropriate, surely, that he had such close
relations with the fish. We can understand the friend
already quoted, when he cried: "As for taking his arm, I
would as soon think of taking the arm of an elm-tree!"
As a matter of fact he experienced but a broken enjoyment in
his intimacies. He says he has been perpetually on the brink
of the sort of intercourse he wanted, and yet never
completely attained it. And what else had he to expect when
he would not, in a happy phrase of Carlyle's, "nestle down
into it"? Truly, so it will be always if you only stroll in
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Commission in Lunacy by Honore de Balzac:
the ground floor. At first sight it would seem as though the piers
between the windows, though strengthened by the stone mullions, must
give way, but the observer presently perceives that, as in the tower
at Bologna, the old bricks and old time-eaten stones of this house
persistently preserve their centre of gravity.
At every season of the year the solid piers of the ground floor have
the yellow tone and the imperceptible sweating surface that moisture
gives to stone. The passer-by feels chilled as he walks close to this
wall, where worn corner-stones ineffectually shelter him from the
wheels of vehicles. As is always the case in houses built before
carriages were in use, the vault of the doorway forms a very low
|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 Jolly Corner by Henry James:
"You came to yourself," she beautifully smiled.
"Ah I've come to myself now - thanks to you, dearest. But this
brute, with his awful face - this brute's a black stranger. He's
none of ME, even as I MIGHT have been," Brydon sturdily declared.
But she kept the clearness that was like the breath of
infallibility. "Isn't the whole point that you'd have been
He almost scowled for it. "As different as THAT - ?"
Her look again was more beautiful to him than the things of this
world. "Haven't you exactly wanted to know HOW different? So this
morning," she said, "you appeared to me."