|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Virginibus Puerisque by Robert Louis Stevenson:
impoverishments, till their life and influence narrow
gradually into the meagre limit of their own spirits, and
death, when he comes at last, can destroy them at one blow.
NOTE. - To this essay I must in honesty append a word or
two of qualification; for this is one of the points on which a
slightly greater age teaches us a slightly different wisdom:
A youth delights in generalities, and keeps loose from
particular obligations; he jogs on the footpath way, himself
pursuing butterflies, but courteously lending his applause to
the advance of the human species and the coming of the kingdom
of justice and love. As he grows older, he begins to think
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from A Hero of Our Time by M.Y. Lermontov:
The first day I found the time hang on my
hands dreadfully. Early next morning a vehicle
drove into the courtyard. . . Aha! Maksim
Maksimych! . . . We met like a couple of old
friends. I offered to share my own room with
him, and he accepted my hospitality without
standing upon ceremony; he even clapped me
on the shoulder and puckered up his mouth by
way of a smile -- a queer fellow, that! . . .
Maksim Maksimych was profoundly versed in
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe:
from his mother, sir."
"O, you do?--La! yes--something of that ar natur. I
understand, perfectly. It is mighty onpleasant getting on with
women, sometimes, I al'ays hates these yer screechin,' screamin'
times. They are _mighty_ onpleasant; but, as I manages business,
I generally avoids 'em, sir. Now, what if you get the girl off
for a day, or a week, or so; then the thing's done quietly,--all
over before she comes home. Your wife might get her some ear-rings,
or a new gown, or some such truck, to make up with her."
"I'm afraid not."
"Lor bless ye, yes! These critters ain't like white folks,
Uncle Tom's Cabin
|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 From London to Land's End by Daniel Defoe:
I reserved this account for this place, because I passed in this
journey over the very spot where the design was laid out--namely,
near Lyndhurst, in the road from Rumsey to Lymington, whither I now
directed my course.
Lymington is a little but populous seaport standing opposite to the
Isle of Wight, in the narrow part of the strait which ships
sometimes pass through in fair weather, called the Needles; and
right against an ancient town of that island called Yarmouth, and
which, in distinction from the great town of Yarmouth in Norfolk,
is called South Yarmouth. This town of Lymington is chiefly noted
for making fine salt, which is indeed excellent good; and from