|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Boys' Life of Abraham Lincoln by Helen Nicolay:
Lincoln did not attempt to shine forth in debate, either by a
stinging retort, or burst of inspired eloquence. He went about
his task quietly and earnestly, performing his share of duty with
industry and a hearty admiration for the ability of better-known
members. "I just take my pen," he wrote enthusiastically to a
friend after listening to a speech which pleased him much, "to
say that Mr. Stephens, of Georgia, is a little slim, pale-faced
consumptive man, with a voice like Logan's, has just concluded
the very best speech of an hour's length I ever heard. My old
withered, dry eyes are full of tears yet."
During the first session of his term Lincoln made three long
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy:
the provincial elections," said Levin.
The landowner looked at him.
"Why, what is there to understand? There's no meaning in it at
all. It's a decaying institution that goes on running only by the
force of inertia. Just look, the very uniforms tell you that it's
an assembly of justices of the peace, permanent members of the
court, and so on, but not of noblemen."
"Then why do you come?" asked Levin.
"From habit, nothing else. Then, too, one must keep up
connections. It's a moral obligation of a sort. And then, to tell
the truth, there's one's own interests. My son-in-law wants to
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Options by O. Henry:
he was present when you--when it happened. I thought you might want
to talk things over before--well, before any action is taken, as I
believe the lawyers say."
"Have you anything in the way of a proposition to make?" asked Black-
Miss De Ormond looked reflectively at the neat toe of one of her dull
"I had a proposal made to me," she said. "If the proposal sticks it
cuts out the proposition. Let's have that settled first."
"Well, as far as--" began Blue-Tie.
"Excuse me, cousin," interrupted Black-Tie, "if you don't mind my
|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 The Message by Honore de Balzac:
filled me with dumb amazement.
Those few hours had bleached her; she had lost a woman's last
glow of autumn color. Her eyes were red and swollen, nothing of
their beauty remained, nothing looked out of them save her bitter
and exceeding grief; it was as if a gray cloud covered the place
through which the sun had shone.
I gave her the story of the accident in a few words, without
laying too much stress on some too harrowing details. I told her
about our first day's journey, and how it had been filled with
recollections of her and of love. And she listened eagerly,
without shedding a tear, leaning her face towards me, as some