|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Black Dwarf by Walter Scott:
the learned gentleman where his own character and conduct are
concerned; and surely he must be the best judge of the style in
which his own character and conduct should be treated of.]
"Hout awa, man," answered the farmer, "ye'll hae heard o' Canny
Elshie the Black Dwarf, or I am muckle mistaen--A' the warld
tells tales about him, but it's but daft nonsense after a'--I
dinna believe a word o't frae beginning to end."
"Your father believed it unco stievely, though," said the old
man, to whom the scepticism of his master gave obvious
"Ay, very true, Bauldie, but that was in the time o' the
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland by Olive Schreiner:
to Peter more important than going to Sandringham.
He took out his flask of Cape Smoke, and drew a tiny draught from it.
Other men had come to South Africa with nothing, and had made everything!
Why should not he?
He stuck small branches under the two great logs, and a glorious flame
burst out. Then he listened again intently. The wind was falling and the
night was becoming very still. It was a quarter to twelve now. His back
ached, and he would have liked to lie down; but he dared not, for fear he
should drop asleep. He leaned forward with his hands between his crossed
knees, and watched the blaze he had made.
Then, after a while, Peter Halket's thoughts became less clear: they
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from A Personal Record by Joseph Conrad:
in the fog on the very brink of the eight-foot-deep well in which
he kept his store of guttah. The cover was off, with no one near
by, and the whole of my crew just missed going heels over head
into that beastly hole. Jurumudi Itam, our best quartermaster,
deft at fine needlework, he who mended the ship's flags and sewed
buttons on our coats, was disabled by a kick on the shoulder.
Both remorse and gratitude seemed foreign to Almayer's character.
"Do you mean that pirate fellow?"
"What pirate fellow? The man has been in the ship eleven years,"
I said, indignantly.
A Personal Record
|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 Agesilaus by Xenophon:
And in these matters he was not like a man who chances upon a treasure
and thereby becomes wealthier, albeit none the more skilful in
economy; nor yet like him who, when a plague has fallen upon an enemy,
wrests a victory, whereby he may add to his reputation for success,
but not for strategy. Rather was his example that of one who in each
emergency will take the lead; at a crisis where toil is needful, by
endurance; or in the battle-lists of bravery by prowess; or when the
function of the counsellor is uppermost, by the soundness of his
judgment. Of such a man I say, he has obtained by warrant indefeasible
the title peerless.
And if, as a means towards good workmanship, we count among the noble