|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The American by Henry James:
I try to be, but I can't manage it; it goes against the grain.
My business habits are too deep-seated. Then, I haven't any
house to call my own, or anything in the way of a family.
My sisters are five thousand miles away, my mother died when I
was a youngster, and I haven't any wife; I wish I had!
So, you see, I don't exactly know what to do with myself.
I am not fond of books, as you are, sir, and I get tired of dining
out and going to the opera. I miss my business activity.
You see, I began to earn my living when I was almost a baby,
and until a few months ago I have never had my hand off the plow.
Elegant leisure comes hard."
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane:
in den, won' I?"
"Well, I didn' mean none of dis prod'gal bus'ness anyway,"
"It wasn't no prod'gal dauter, yeh damn fool," said the
mother. "It was prod'gal son, anyhow."
"I know dat," said Jimmie.
For a time they sat in silence. The mother's eyes gloated on
a scene her imagination could call before her. Her lips were set
in a vindictive smile.
"Aye, she'll cry, won' she, an' carry on, an' tell how Pete,
or some odder feller, beats 'er an' she'll say she's sorry an' all
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from De Profundis by Oscar Wilde:
seven heavens star by star, there still remains oneself. Who can
calculate the orbit of his own soul? When the son went out to look
for his father's asses, he did not know that a man of God was
waiting for him with the very chrism of coronation, and that his
own soul was already the soul of a king.
I hope to live long enough and to produce work of such a character
that I shall be able at the end of my days to say, 'Yes! this is
just where the artistic life leads a man!' Two of the most perfect
lives I have come across in my own experience are the lives of
Verlaine and of Prince Kropotkin: both of them men who have passed
years in prison: the first, the one Christian poet since Dante;
|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 Cousin Pons by Honore de Balzac:
"Your supper is ready, M. Pastelot," she said, addressing the priest,
and they went.
Schmucke, left alone in the room, smiled to himself like a madman free
at last to gratify a desire like the longing of pregnancy. He flung
himself down beside Pons, and yet again he held his friend in a long,
close embrace. At midnight the priest came back and scolded him, and
Schmucke returned to his prayers. At daybreak the priest went, and at
seven o'clock in the morning the doctor came to see Schmucke, and
spoke kindly and tried hard to persuade him to eat, but the German
"If you do not eat now you will feel very hungry when you come back,"