|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain:
of the window left above water, was Mrs. Ellis, who is in feeble health,
whilst at the door were her seven children, the oldest not fourteen years.
One side of the house was given up to the work animals, some twelve head,
besides hogs. In the next room the family lived, the water coming within two
inches of the bed-rail. The stove was below water, and the cooking was done
on a fire on top of it. The house threatened to give way at any moment:
one end of it was sinking, and, in fact, the building looked a mere shell.
As the boat rounded to, Mr. Ellis came out in a dug-out, and General
York told him that he had come to his relief; that 'The Times-Democrat'
boat was at his service, and would remove his family at once to the hills,
and on Monday a flat would take out his stock, as, until that time,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Tono Bungay by H. G. Wells:
describe just the horrible disgust I felt at that.
"This blood must be stopped, anyhow," I said, thickheadedly.
"I wonder where there's a spider's web"--an odd twist for my
mind to take. But it was the only treatment that occurred to me.
I must have conceived some idea of going home unaided, because I
was thirty yards from the tree before I dropped.
Then a kind of black disc appeared in the middle of the world and
rushed out to the edge of things and blotted them out. I don't
remember falling down. I fainted from excitement, disgust at my
injury and loss of blood, and lay there until Cothope found me.
He was the first to find me, scorching as he did over the
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Vicar of Tours by Honore de Balzac:
the candlesticks and a clock all of crystal struck the eye with sharp
brilliancy. As to the private apartment of Mademoiselle Gamard, no one
had ever been permitted to look into it. Conjecture alone suggested
that it was full of odds and ends, worn-out furniture, and bits of
stuff and pieces dear to the hearts of all old maids.
Such was the woman destined to exert a vast influence on the last
years of the Abbe Birotteau.
For want of exercising in nature's own way the activity bestowed upon
women, and yet impelled to spend it in some way or other, Mademoiselle
Gamard had acquired the habit of using it in petty intrigues,
provincial cabals, and those self-seeking schemes which occupy, sooner
|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 King Lear by William Shakespeare:
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge
That on th' unnumb'red idle pebble chafes
Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more,
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.
Glou. Set me where you stand.
Edg. Give me your hand. You are now within a foot
Of th' extreme verge. For all beneath the moon
Would I not leap upright.
Glou. Let go my hand.
Here, friend, is another purse; in it a jewel