|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Letters of Two Brides by Honore de Balzac:
serve your passion. What! must nature and society alike be in bondage
to your caprice? You are the old Louise; you have never acquired the
qualities which ought to be a woman's; self-willed and unreasonable as
a girl, you introduce withal into your love the keenest and most
mercenary of calculations! Are you sure that, after all, the price you
ask for your toilets is not too high? All these precautions are to my
mind very suggestive of mistrust.
Oh, dear Louise, if only you knew the sweetness of a mother's efforts
to discipline herself in kindness and gentleness to all about her! My
proud, self-sufficing temper gradually dissolved into a soft
melancholy, which in turn has been swallowed up by those delights of
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Youth by Joseph Conrad:
that jetty, sir,' I cried.
"He approached cautiously, and brought up with the
deep-sea lead-line which we had saved--for the under-
writers. I eased my painter and fell alongside. He
sat, a broken figure at the stern, wet with dew, his hands
clasped in his lap. His men were asleep already. 'I
had a terrible time of it,' he murmured. 'Mahon is be-
hind--not very far.' We conversed in whispers, in low
whispers, as if afraid to wake up the land. Guns, thun-
der, earthquakes would not have awakened the men just
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Four Arthurian Romances by Chretien DeTroyes:
happened to be the third day after the Queen had returned from
the captivity in which Maleagant had detained her with all the
other prisoners; but Lancelot had remained behind, treacherously
confined within a tower. And on that very day, when the damsel
came to court, news was received of the cruel and wicked giant
whom the knight with the lion had killed in battle. In his name,
my lord Gawain was greeted by his nephews and niece, who told him
in detail of all the great service and great deeds of prowess he
had done for them for his sake, and how that he was well
acquainted with him, though not aware of his identity.
(Vv. 4759-4820.) All this was heard by her, who was plunged
|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 Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde:
of pale green jade, and his hands are like withered leaves."
"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not
stay with me for one night, and be my messenger? The boy is so
thirsty, and the mother so sad."
"I don't think I like boys," answered the Swallow. "Last summer,
when I was staying on the river, there were two rude boys, the
miller's sons, who were always throwing stones at me. They never
hit me, of course; we swallows fly far too well for that, and
besides, I come of a family famous for its agility; but still, it
was a mark of disrespect."
But the Happy Prince looked so sad that the little Swallow was