|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Enemies of Books by William Blades:
In 1775, the Recollet Monks of Antwerp, wishing to make a reform,
examined their library, and determined to get rid of about 1,500 volumes--
some manuscript and some printed, but all of which they considered
as old rubbish of no value.
At first they were thrown into the gardener's rooms; but, after some months,
they decided in their wisdom to give the whole refuse to the gardener
as a recognition of his long services.
This man, wiser in his generation than these simple fathers,
took the lot to M. Vanderberg, an amateur and man of education.
M. Vanderberg took a cursory view, and then offered to buy them
by weight at sixpence per pound. The bargain was at once concluded,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Phoenix and the Turtle by William Shakespeare:
To the phoenix and the dove,
Co-supreme and stars of love;
As chorus to their tragic scene.
Beauty, truth, and rarity.
Grace in all simplicity,
Here enclos'd in cinders lie.
Death is now the phoenix' nest;
And the turtle's loyal breast
To eternity doth rest,
Leaving no posterity:--
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Domestic Peace by Honore de Balzac:
"Oh! I will talk to him!" said she to Madame de Lansac.
"Do nothing of the kind, my dear!" cried the old lady, as she went
back to her armchair. "Choose a good husband, and shut your door to my
nephew. Believe me, my child, a wife cannot accept her husband's heart
as the gift of another woman; she is a hundred times happier in the
belief that she has reconquered it. By bringing my niece here I
believe I have given her an excellent chance of regaining her
husband's affection. All the assistance I need of you is to play the
Colonel." She pointed to the Baron's friend, and the Countess smiled.
"Well, madame, do you at last know the name of the unknown?" asked
Martial, with an air of pique, to the Countess when he saw her alone.
|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 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott:
not attend to what I say," and once there was a loud rap, as
if he struck the table with his book, followed by the despairing
exclamation, "Prut! It all goes bad this day."
Poor man, I pitied him, and when the girls were gone, took
just one more peep to see if he survived it. He seemed to have
thrown himself back in his chair, tired out, and sat there with
his eyes shut till the clock struck two, when he jumped up, put
his books in his pocket, as if ready for another lesson, and
taking little Tina who had fallen asleep on the sofa in his
arms, he carried her quietly away. I fancy he has a hard life
of it. Mrs. Kirke asked me if I wouldn't go down to the five