|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Ruling Passion by Henry van Dyke:
recognized the favourite tenet of his sect,--the doctrine that
"blood will tell." He was also a Harvard man, knowing almost
everything and believing hardly anything. Heredity was one of the
few unquestioned articles of his creed. But the form in which this
familiar confession of faith came to him, on the banks of the Grande
Decharge, from the lips of a somewhat ragged and distinctly
illiterate Canadian guide, was grotesque enough to satisfy the most
modern taste for new sensations. He listened with an air of
gravity, and a delighted sense of the humour of the situation.
"How did you find it out?" he asked.
"Well, then," continued Jean, "I will tell you how the news came to
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Call of the Wild by Jack London:
North. But Buck did not read the newspapers, and he did not know
that Manuel, one of the gardener's helpers, was an undesirable
acquaintance. Manuel had one besetting sin. He loved to play
Chinese lottery. Also, in his gambling, he had one besetting
weakness--faith in a system; and this made his damnation certain.
For to play a system requires money, while the wages of a
gardener's helper do not lap over the needs of a wife and numerous
The Judge was at a meeting of the Raisin Growers' Association, and
the boys were busy organizing an athletic club, on the memorable
night of Manuel's treachery. No one saw him and Buck go off
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Daisy Miller by Henry James:
Winterbourne was not pleased with what he heard, but when,
coming out upon the great steps of the church, he saw Daisy,
who had emerged before him, get into an open cab with her
accomplice and roll away through the cynical streets of Rome,
he could not deny to himself that she was going very far indeed.
He felt very sorry for her--not exactly that he believed that
she had completely lost her head, but because it was painful
to hear so much that was pretty, and undefended, and natural
assigned to a vulgar place among the categories of disorder.
He made an attempt after this to give a hint to Mrs. Miller.
He met one day in the Corso a friend, a tourist like himself,
|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 Extracts From Adam's Diary by Mark Twain:
used to carry the young tigers around so, and play with them,
before we lost our property; but it was only play; she never took
on about them like this when their dinner disagreed with them.
She doesn't work Sundays, but lies around all tired out, and likes
to have the fish wallow over her; and she makes fool noises to
amuse it, and pretends to chew its paws, and that makes it laugh.
I have not seen a fish before that could laugh. This makes me
doubt. ... I have come to like Sunday myself. Superintending
all the week tires a body so. There ought to be more Sundays.
In the old days they were tough, but now they come handy.