|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Lesson of the Master by Henry James:
at such a juncture in her history, perhaps in the other days too it
had meant just as little or as much - a mere mechanical charity,
with the difference now that she was satisfied, ready to give but
in want of nothing. Oh she was satisfied - and why shouldn't she
be? Why shouldn't she have been surprised at his coming the first
day - for all the good she had ever got from him? As the lady
continued to hold her attention Paul turned from her with a strange
irritation in his complicated artistic soul and a sort of
disinterested disappointment. She was so happy that it was almost
stupid - a disproof of the extraordinary intelligence he had
formerly found in her. Didn't she know how bad St. George could
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Muse of the Department by Honore de Balzac:
satisfied to move with the deliberate tenacity of an insect.
Dinah, adored for her beauty, in which she had no rival, and admired
for her cleverness by the most gentlemanly men of the place,
encouraged their admiration by conversations, for which it was
subsequently asserted, she prepared herself beforehand. Finding
herself listened to with rapture, she soon began to listen to herself,
enjoyed haranguing her audience, and at last regarded her friends as
the chorus in a tragedy, there only to give her her cues. In fact, she
had a very fine collection of phrases and ideas, derived either from
books or by assimilating the opinions of her companions, and thus
became a sort of mechanical instrument, going off on a round of
The Muse of the Department
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Dracula by Bram Stoker:
He was still in the strait waistcoat and in the padded room,
but the suffused look had gone from his face, and his eyes had something
of their old pleading. I might almost say, cringing, softness. I was
satisfied with his present condition, and directed him to be relieved.
The attendants hesitated, but finally carried out my wishes without protest.
It was a strange thing that the patient had humour enough to see
their distrust, for, coming close to me, he said in a whisper,
all the while looking furtively at them, "They think I could hurt you!
Fancy me hurting you! The fools!"
It was soothing, somehow, to the feelings to find myself
disassociated even in the mind of this poor madman from
|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 Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett:
I turned with interest to hear the worst. Mrs. Caplin's tone
was both zealous and impressive.
"Stim'lates," she explained scornfully.
"No, Santin never was in the war," said Mrs. Todd with lofty
indifference. "It was a cause of real distress to him. He kep'
enlistin', and traveled far an' wide about here, an' even took the
bo't and went to Boston to volunteer; but he ain't a sound man, an'
they wouldn't have him. They say he knows all their
tactics, an' can tell all about the battle o' Waterloo well's he
can Bunker Hill. I told him once the country'd lost a great
general, an' I meant it, too."