|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Gambara by Honore de Balzac:
considered highly important. During his absence, which was brief,
Gambara leaned across to address Andrea.
"Our worthy host," said he, in an undertone, "threatens to regale us
to-day with a dish of his own concocting, which I recommend you to
avoid, though his wife has had an eye on him. The good man has a mania
for innovations. He ruined himself by experiments, the last of which
compelled him to fly from Rome without a passport--a circumstance he
does not talk about. After purchasing the good-will of a popular
restaurant he was trusted to prepare a banquet given by a lately made
Cardinal, whose household was not yet complete. Giardini fancied he
had an opportunity for distinguishing himself--and he succeeded! for
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Love Songs by Sara Teasdale:
"`Rivers to the Sea' is the best book of pure lyrics
that has appeared in English since A. E. Housman's `A Shropshire Lad'."
-- William Marion Reedy, in `The Mirror'.
"`Rivers to the Sea' is the most beautiful book of pure lyrics
that has come to my hand in years." -- `Los Angeles Graphic'.
"Sara Teasdale sings about love better than any other contemporary
American poet." -- `The Boston Transcript'.
"`Rivers to the Sea' is the most charming volume of poetry that has appeared
on either side of the Atlantic in a score of years." -- `St. Louis Republic'.
Sara Teasdale (1884-1933):
Teasdale was born in St. Louis, Missouri, where she attended a school
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Village Rector by Honore de Balzac:
valleys, broad open spaces with moss and heather still in bloom
(though some was dried), utter solitudes overgrown with juniper and
caper-bushes; sometimes uplands with short grass, small spaces
enriched by an oozing spring,--in short, much sadness, many splendors,
things sweet, things strong, and all the singular aspects of
mountainous Nature in the heart of France.
As she watched these many pictures, varied in form but all inspired
with the same thought, the awful sadness of this Nature, so wild, so
ruined, abandoned, fruitless, barren, filled her soul and answered to
her secret feelings. And when, through an opening among the trees, she
caught a glimpse of the plain below her, when she crossed some arid
|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 Wrong Box by Stevenson & Osbourne:
'Well, well, you shall name your own, and the whole affair can be
put on a more regular footing tomorrow,' replied Michael, taking
a chair and motioning Pitman to do the same. 'But you see we
didn't know any solicitors; we did happen to know of you, and
'May I enquire, gentlemen,' asked Gideon, 'to whom it was I am
indebted for a recommendation?'
'You may enquire,' returned the lawyer, with a foolish laugh;
'but I was invited not to tell you--till the thing was done.'
'My uncle, no doubt,' was the barrister's conclusion.
'My name is John Dickson,' continued Michael; 'a pretty