|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Buttered Side Down by Edna Ferber:
belonged to me. Somebody to worry about me, and to sit up
nights--somebody that just naturally felt they had to come
tiptoeing into my room every three or four minutes to see if I was
sleeping, or had enough covers on, or wanted a drink, or something.
I got to thinking what it would have been like if I had a husband
and a--home. You'll think I'm daffy, maybe."
Gabie took Effie's limp white hand in his, and stroked it
gently. Effie's face was turned away from him, toward the noisy
"I used to imagine how he'd come home at six, stamping his
feet, maybe, and making a lot of noise the way men do. And then
Buttered Side Down
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Pocket Diary Found in the Snow by Grace Isabel Colbron and Augusta Groner:
of the fortune which is to be mine when I come of age; for if I die,
my father has willed it to various charitable institutions. I have
no relatives, at least none who could inherit my money. I had never
harmed any one; who can wish for my death?
"There is somebody with her, somebody was listening at the door.
I have a feeling as if I was being watched. And yet - I examined
the door, but there is no crack anywhere and the key is in the lock.
Still I seem to feel a burning glance resting on me. Ah! the
parrot! is this another delusion? Oh God, let it end soon! I am
not yet quite insane, but all these unknown dangers around me will
drive me mad. I must fight against them.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Art of Writing by Robert Louis Stevenson:
he should recognise from the first that he has only one tool
in his workshop, and that tool is sympathy. (13)
The second duty, far harder to define, is moral. There are a
thousand different humours in the mind, and about each of
them, when it is uppermost, some literature tends to be
deposited. Is this to be allowed? Not certainly in every
case, and yet perhaps in more than rigourists would fancy.
It were to be desired that all literary work, and chiefly
works of art, issued from sound, human, healthy, and potent
impulses, whether grave or laughing, humorous, romantic, or
|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 Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne:
amusement to Mr. ... when out of place--operates more forcibly at present,
as half an hour's amusement will be more serviceable and refreshing after
labour and sorrow, than after a philosophical repast.
Nothing is so perfectly amusement as a total change of ideas; no ideas are
so totally different as those of Ministers, and innocent Lovers: for which
reason, when I come to talk of Statesmen and Patriots, and set such marks
upon them as will prevent confusion and mistakes concerning them for the
future--I propose to dedicate that Volume to some gentle Shepherd,
Whose thoughts proud Science never taught to stray,
Far as the Statesman's walk or Patriot-way;
Yet simple Nature to his hopes had given