|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Arrow of Gold by Joseph Conrad:
that I had some ideas at least) but of what it really contains. I
knew very well that I was utterly insignificant in these men's
eyes. Yet my attention was not checked by that knowledge. It's
true they were talking of a woman, but I was yet at the age when
this subject by itself is not of overwhelming interest. My
imagination would have been more stimulated probably by the
adventures and fortunes of a man. What kept my interest from
flagging was Mr. Blunt himself. The play of the white gleams of
his smile round the suspicion of grimness of his tone fascinated me
like a moral incongruity.
So at the age when one sleeps well indeed but does feel sometimes
The Arrow of Gold
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Daisy Miller by Henry James:
country have a dreadfully poky time of it, so far as I can learn;
I don't see why I should change my habits for THEM."
"I am afraid your habits are those of a flirt," said Winterbourne gravely.
"Of course they are," she cried, giving him her little smiling stare again.
"I'm a fearful, frightful flirt! Did you ever hear of a nice girl that
was not? But I suppose you will tell me now that I am not a nice girl."
"You're a very nice girl; but I wish you would flirt with me,
and me only," said Winterbourne.
"Ah! thank you--thank you very much; you are the last man I should
think of flirting with. As I have had the pleasure of informing you,
you are too stiff."
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Illustrious Gaudissart by Honore de Balzac:
part of the country goes along, as it were, in the rough,--"suo modo."
It is a country where new ideas don't take hold. We live as our
fathers lived, we amuse ourselves with four meals a day, and we
cultivate our vineyards and sell our wines to the best advantage. Our
business principle is to sell things for more than they cost us; we
shall stick in that rut, and neither God nor the devil can get us out
of it. I will, however, give you some advice, and good advice is an
egg in the hand. There is in this town a retired banker in whose
wisdom I have--I, particularly--the greatest confidence. If you can
obtain his support, I will add mine. If your proposals have real
merit, if we are convinced of the advantage of your enterprise, the
|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 Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad:
blind and orderly and absorbed, impervious to sentiment, to logic,
to terror too perhaps.
That was the form of doubt he feared most. Impervious to fear!
Often while walking abroad, when he happened also to come out of
himself, he had such moments of dreadful and sane mistrust of
mankind. What if nothing could move them? Such moments come to
all men whose ambition aims at a direct grasp upon humanity - to
artists, politicians, thinkers, reformers, or saints. A despicable
emotional state this, against which solitude fortifies a superior
character; and with severe exultation the Professor thought of the
refuge of his room, with its padlocked cupboard, lost in a
The Secret Agent