|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James:
of illness, danger, and disaster are always interposed?
Unsuspectedly from the bottom of every fountain of pleasure, as
the old poet said, something bitter rises up: a touch of nausea,
a falling dead of the delight, a whiff of melancholy, things that
sound a knell, for fugitive as they may be, they bring a feeling
of coming from a deeper region and often have an appalling
convincingness. The buzz of life ceases at their touch as a
piano-string stops sounding when the damper falls upon it.
Of course the music can commence again;--and again and again--at
intervals. But with this the healthy-minded consciousness is
left with an irremediable sense of precariousness. It is a bell
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte:
should speak so uncivilly to me, their governess, and a perfect
stranger to himself. Presently the bell rang to summon us in. I
dined with the children at one, while he and his lady took their
luncheon at the same table. His conduct there did not greatly
raise him in my estimation. He was a man of ordinary stature -
rather below than above - and rather thin than stout, apparently
between thirty and forty years of age: he had a large mouth, pale,
dingy complexion, milky blue eyes, and hair the colour of a hempen
cord. There was a roast leg of mutton before him: he helped Mrs.
Bloomfield, the children, and me, desiring me to cut up the
children's meat; then, after twisting about the mutton in various
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from An Unsocial Socialist by George Bernard Shaw:
glances at the bereaved parents. She was displaced from the focus
of attention by the appearance of the two policemen who had been
sent to the chalet. Smilash was between them, apparently a
prisoner. At a distance, he seemed to have suffered some
frightful injury to his head, but when he was brought into the
midst of the company it appeared that he had twisted a red
handkerchief about his face as if to soothe a toothache. He had a
particularly hangdog expression as he stood before the inspector
with his head bowed and his countenance averted from Mr.
Jansenius, who, attempting to scrutinize his features, could see
nothing but a patch of red handkerchief.
|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 Vailima Letters by Robert Louis Stevenson:
those who have been two years or upwards in the family. I
note all my old boys have the cross of honour, except
Misifolo; well, poor dog, he does his best, I suppose. You
should see him scour. It is a remark that has often been
made by visitors: you never see a Samoan run, except at
Vailima. Do you not suppose that makes me proud?
I am pleased to see what a success THE WRECKER was, having
already in little more than a year outstripped THE MASTER OF
About DAVID BALFOUR in two volumes, do see that they make it
a decent-looking book, and tell me, do you think a little