|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes:
one can't pretend to preach to all the pews at once. One can't be
all the time trying to do the best of one's best if a company works
a steam fire-engine, the firemen needn't be straining themselves
all day to squirt over the top of the flagstaff. Let them wash
some of those lower-story windows a little. Besides, there is no
use in our quarrelling now, as you will find out when you get
through this paper.]
- Travel, according to my experience, does not exactly correspond
to the idea one gets of it out of most books of travels. I am
thinking of travel as it was when I made the Grand Tour, especially
in Italy. Memory is a net; one finds it full of fish when he takes
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Rape of Lucrece by William Shakespeare:
Poor women's faults, that they are so fulfill'd
With men's abuses! those proud lords, to blame,
Make weak-made women tenants to their shame.
The precedent whereof in Lucrece view,
Assail'd by night with circumstances strong
Of present death, and shame that might ensue
By that her death, to do her husband wrong:
Such danger to resistance did belong;
The dying fear through all her body spread;
And who cannot abuse a body dead?
By this, mild Patience bid fair Lucrece speak
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Frances Waldeaux by Rebecca Davis:
began to work, glancing up at it, half smiling as to
a friend who talked to her. She thought of Furst Hugo
boiling soap, with a gentle pity, and of Jean with hot
disdain. What had Jean to do with it? The prince was
her own lover, as her gloves were her own.
But indeed, the prince and love were but shadows on the
far sky line to the little girl; the real things were her
work and her Bible, and George's mother talking to her.
She often traced remembered expressions on Mrs.
Waldeaux's face; the gayety, the sympathy, a strange
foreboding in the eyes. Finer meanings, surely, than any
|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 Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft:
of women, equally oppressive, though, from the difference of
education, necessarily various.
ABODES OF HORROR have frequently been described, and castles, filled
with spectres and chimeras, conjured up by the magic spell of genius
to harrow the soul, and absorb the wondering mind. But, formed of
such stuff as dreams are made of, what were they to the mansion of
despair, in one corner of which Maria sat, endeavouring to recall
her scattered thoughts!
Surprise, astonishment, that bordered on distraction, seemed
to have suspended her faculties, till, waking by degrees to a keen