|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Professor by Charlotte Bronte:
learnt) took the first sentence. The "livre de lecture" was the
"Vicar of Wakefield," much used in foreign schools because it is
supposed to contain prime samples of conversational English; it
might, however, have been a Runic scroll for any resemblance the
words, as enunciated by Jules, bore to the language in ordinary
use amongst the natives of Great Britain. My God! how he did
snuffle, snort, and wheeze! All he said was said in his throat
and nose, for it is thus the Flamands speak, but I heard him to
the end of his paragraph without proffering a word of correction,
whereat he looked vastly self-complacent, convinced, no doubt,
that he had acquitted himself like a real born and bred
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Maid Marian by Thomas Love Peacock:
like a young eagle from its eerie; and, father, while I go out freely,
I will return willingly: but if once I slip out through a loop-hole----"
She paused a moment, and then added, singing,--
The love that follows fain
Will never its faith betray:
But the faith that is held in a chain
Will never be found again,
If a single link give way.
The melody acted irresistibly on the harmonious propensities of the friar,
who accordingly sang in his turn,--
For hark! hark! hark!
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Edingburgh Picturesque Notes by Robert Louis Stevenson:
heaven's secrets, is your only neighbour; and yet from
all round you there come up the dull hum of the city, the
tramp of countless people marching out of time, the
rattle of carriages and the continuous keen jingle of the
tramway bells. An hour or so before, the gas was turned
on; lamplighters scoured the city; in every house, from
kitchen to attic, the windows kindled and gleamed forth
into the dusk. And so now, although the town lies blue
and darkling on her hills, innumerable spots of the
bright element shine far and near along the pavements and
upon the high facades. Moving lights of the railway pass
|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 Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin:
or a bird. All was stillness and desolation. Yet in passing
over these scenes, without one bright object near, an
ill-defined but strong sense of pleasure is vividly excited.
One asked how many ages the plain had thus lasted, and how
many more it was doomed thus to continue.
"None can reply -- all seems eternal now.
The wilderness has a mysterious tongue,
Which teaches awful doubt." 
In the evening we sailed a few miles further up, and then
pitched the tents for the night. By the middle of the next
day the yawl was aground, and from the shoalness of the
The Voyage of the Beagle