|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Daughter of Eve by Honore de Balzac:
somersets of wit, which at times are somewhat wearying. In society, he
is boldly awkward, and exhibits a contempt for conventions and a
critical air about things respected which makes him unpleasant to
narrow minds, and also to those who strive to preserve the doctrines
of old-fashioned, gentlemanly politeness; but for all that there is a
sort of lawless originality about him which women do not dislike.
Besides, to them, he is often most amiably courteous; he seems to take
pleasure in making them forget his personal singularities, and thus
obtains a victory over antipathies which flatters either his vanity,
his self-love, or his pride.
"Why do you present yourself like that?" said the Marquise de
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Memorabilia by Xenophon:
angry venture to say of myself, that I am as capable as any one of
devising and explaining a sound policy."--Jowett.
Now I admit the language about fathers and the rest of a man's
relations. I can go further, and add some other sayings of his, that
"when the soul (which is alone the indwelling centre of intelligence)
is gone out of a man, be he our nearest and dearest friend, we carry
the body forth and bury it out of sight." "Even in life," he used to
say, "each of us is ready to part with any portion of his best
possession--to wit, his own body--if it be useless and unprofitable.
He will remove it himself, or suffer another to do so in his stead.
Thus men cut off their own nails, hair, or corns; they allow surgeons
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain:
words with them, the lucky parties took upon them-
selves a sort of sacred importance, and were gaped at
and envied by all the rest. One poor chap, who had no
other grandeur to offer, said with tolerably manifest
pride in the remembrance:
"Well, Tom Sawyer he licked me once."
But that bid for glory was a failure. Most of the
boys could say that, and so that cheapened the dis-
tinction too much. The group loitered away, still re-
calling memories of the lost heroes, in awed voices.
When the Sunday-school hour was finished, the next
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
|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 Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce:
that tails are given to conceal thought. It is my dearest ambition
to be as impassive as the Sphinx."
"My friend, you must recognise the laws and limitations of your
being," replied the Tail, with flexions appropriate to the
sentiments uttered, "and try to be great some other way. The
Sphinx has one hundred and fifty qualifications for impassiveness
which you lack."
"What are they?" the Dog asked.
"One hundred and forty-nine tons of sand on her tail."
"And - ?"
"A stone tail."