|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy:
director. Here in the monastery, besides the feeling of
ascendency over others that such a life gave him, he felt much as
he had done in the world: he found satisfaction in attaining the
greatest possible perfection outwardly as well as inwardly. As
in the regiment he had been not merely an irreproachable officer
but had even exceeded his duties and widened the borders of
perfection, so also as a monk he tried to be perfect, and was
always industrious, abstemious, submissive, and meek, as well as
pure both in deed and in thought, and obedient. This last
quality in particular made life far easier for him. If many of
the demands of life in the monastery, which was near the capital
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Baby Mine by Margaret Mayo:
called to the taxi driver to "wait."
"Are you in trouble?" asked the guileless Jimmy.
"Yes, dreadful," answered Zoie, and she thrust a half-dozen small
parcels into Jimmy's arms. "I have to be at my dressmaker's in
half an hour; and I haven't had a bite of lunch. I'm miles and
miles from home; and I can't go into a restaurant and eat just by
myself without being stared at. Wasn't it lucky that I saw you
when I did?"
There was really very little left for Jimmy to say, so he said
it; and a few minutes later they were seated tete-a-tete in one
of Chicago's most fashionable restaurants, and Zoie the
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Enemies of Books by William Blades:
Mr. Rye, lately the Keeper of the Printed Books there,
writes me "Two or three were discovered in my time, but they
were weakly creatures. One, I remember, was conveyed into
the Natural History Department, and was taken into custody
by Mr. Adam White who pronounced it to be Anobium pertinax.
I never heard of it after."
The reader, who has not had an opportunity of examining old libraries,
can have no idea of the dreadful havoc which these pests are
capable of making.
I have now before me a fine folio volume, printed on very good
unbleached paper, as thick as stout cartridge, in the year 1477,
|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 Pool in the Desert by Sara Jeanette Duncan:
either of us would have preferred to grill out our days in the
plains; we always had a saving clause for the climate, the altitude,
the scenery; it was Simla intrinsic, Simla as its other conditions
made it, with which we found such liberal fault. Again I should
have to explain Simla, at the length of an essay at least, to
justify our condemnation. This difficulty confronts me everywhere.
I must ask you instead to imagine a small colony of superior--very
superior--officials, of British origin and traditions, set on the
top of a hill, years and miles away from literature, music,
pictures, politics, existing like a harem on the gossip of the
Viceroy's intentions, and depending for amusement on tennis and