|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Jungle by Upton Sinclair:
shelves in them, and make them into bureaus and places to keep things for
the bedrooms. The nest which had been advertised had not included feathers
for quite so many birds as there were in this family.
They had, of course, put their dining table in the kitchen, and the
dining room was used as the bedroom of Teta Elzbieta and five of her
children. She and the two youngest slept in the only bed, and the
other three had a mattress on the floor. Ona and her cousin dragged a
mattress into the parlor and slept at night, and the three men and the
oldest boy slept in the other room, having nothing but the very level
floor to rest on for the present. Even so, however, they slept soundly--
it was necessary for Teta Elzbieta to pound more than once on the at a
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Madame Firmiani by Honore de Balzac:
Monsieur Firmiani. His social position is that of looking after
property in Italy. Madame Firmiani is a Frenchwoman, and spends her
money like a Parisian. She has excellent tea. It is one of the few
houses where you can amuse yourself; the refreshments are exquisite.
It is very difficult to get admitted; therefore, of course, one meets
only the best society in her salons." Here the Lounger takes a pinch
of snuff; he inhales it slowly and seems to say: "I go there, but
don't expect me to present YOU."
Evidently the Lounger considers that Madame Firmiani keeps a sort of
inn, without a sign.
"Why do you want to know Madame Firmiani? Her parties are as dull as
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Exiles by Honore de Balzac:
preserved the piles of the landing-place by meeting the rush of water
and ice at the upper end of the Island. The constable had taken
advantage of this for the foundation of his house, so that there were
several steps up to his door.
Like all the houses of that date, this cottage was crowned by a peaked
roof, forming a gable-end to the front, or half a diamond. To the
great regret of historians, but two or three examples of such roofs
survive in Paris. A round opening gave light to a loft, where the
constable's wife dried the linen of the Chapter, for she had the honor
of washing for the Cathedral--which was certainly not a bad customer.
On the first floor were two rooms, let to lodgers at a rent, one year
|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 Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis:
Actually, the content of his theology was that there was a supreme being who
had tried to make us perfect, but presumably had failed; that if one was a
Good Man he would go to a place called Heaven (Babbitt unconsciously pictured
it as rather like an excellent hotel with a private garden), but if one was a
Bad Man, that is, if he murdered or committed burglary or used cocaine or had
mistresses or sold non-existent real estate, he would be punished. Babbitt was
uncertain, however, about what he called "this business of Hell." He
explained to Ted, "Of course I'm pretty liberal; I don't exactly believe in a
fire-and-brimstone Hell. Stands to reason, though, that a fellow can't get
away with all sorts of Vice and not get nicked for it, see how I mean?"
Upon this theology he rarely pondered. The kernel of his practical religion