|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Some Reminiscences by Joseph Conrad:
the truth of the matter is that on board that ship we were
leading just then a contemplative life. I will not say anything
of my privileged position. I was there "just to oblige," as an
actor of standing may take a small part in the benefit
performance of a friend.
As far as my feelings were concerned I did not wish to be in that
steamer at that time and in those circumstances. And perhaps I
was not even wanted there in the usual sense in which a ship
"wants" an officer. It was the first and last instance in my sea
life when I served ship-owners who have remained completely
shadowy to my apprehension. I do not mean this for the well-
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen:
And as to most matters, to say the truth, there are not
many that I know my own mind about."
"By Jove, no more do I. It is not my way to bother
my brains with what does not concern me. My notion
of things is simple enough. Let me only have the girl
I like, say I, with a comfortable house over my head,
and what care I for all the rest? Fortune is nothing.
I am sure of a good income of my own; and if she had not
a penny, why, so much the better."
"Very true. I think like you there. If there is a good
fortune on one side, there can be no occasion for any on
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Intentions by Oscar Wilde:
the painting of its fair colours, but shows us by the use of a new
material its true colour-quality, its tones and values, and the
relations of its masses, and so is, in his way, a critic of it, for
the critic is he who exhibits to us a work of art in a form
different from that of the work itself, and the employment of a new
material is a critical as well as a creative element. Sculpture,
too, has its critic, who may be either the carver of a gem, as he
was in Greek days, or some painter like Mantegna, who sought to
reproduce on canvas the beauty of plastic line and the symphonic
dignity of processional bas-relief. And in the case of all these
creative critics of art it is evident that personality is an
|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 Ruling Passion by Henry van Dyke:
"Monsieur Thibault," he said, "you talk well, but you talk too late.
It is of a past age, your talk. A new time comes to the Cote Nord.
We begin to civilize ourselves. To hold back against the light
would be our shame. Tell me this, Marcel Thibault, what men are
they that love darkness?"
"TORRIEUX!" growled Thibault, "that is a little strong. You say my
deeds are evil?"
"No, no," answered Fortin; "I say not that, my friend, but I say
this lighthouse means good: good for us, and good for all who come
to this coast. It will bring more trade to us. It will bring a
boat with the mail, with newspapers, perhaps once, perhaps twice a