|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Hated Son by Honore de Balzac:
live and die in the clouds of melancholy; and to him, from his birth
up, she was the only being that existed on the earth, and filled for
him the desert. Like all frail children, Etienne's attitude was
passive, and in that he resembled his mother. The delicacy of his
organs was such that a sudden noise, or the presence of a boisterous
person gave him a sort of fever. He was like those little insects for
whom God seems to temper the violence of the wind and the heat of the
sun; incapable, like them, of struggling against the slightest
obstacle, he yielded, as they do, without resistance or complaint, to
everything that seemed to him aggressive. This angelic patience
inspired in the mother a sentiment which took away all fatigue from
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Chance by Joseph Conrad:
course. And remorseful too. Naturally. She threw her arms round
his neck. He returned that hug awkwardly, as if not in perfect
control of his arms, with a fumbling and uncertain pressure. She
hid her face on his breast. It was as though she were pressing it
against a stone. They released each other and presently the cab was
rolling along at a jog-trot to the docks with those two people as
far apart as they could get from each other, in opposite corners.
After a silence given up to mutual examination he uttered his first
coherent sentence outside the walls of the prison.
"What has done for me was envy. Envy. There was a lot of them just
bursting with it every time they looked my way. I was doing too
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Middlemarch by George Eliot:
with some confidence before.
"I will not deny that you conjecture rightly," he answered,
with a faltering in his tone. "And I wish to make atonement to you
as the one still remaining who has suffered a loss through me.
You enter, I trust, into my purpose, Mr. Ladislaw, which has a reference
to higher than merely human claims, and as I have already said,
is entirely independent of any legal compulsion. I am ready to
narrow my own resources and the prospects of my family by binding
myself to allow you five hundred pounds yearly during my life,
and to leave you a proportional capital at my death--nay, to do
still more, if more should be definitely necessary to any laudable
|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 Father Damien by Robert Louis Stevenson:
'Damien's Chinatown.' 'Well,' they would say, 'your Chinatown
keeps growing.' And he would laugh with perfect good-nature, and
adhere to his errors with perfect obstinacy. So much I have
gathered of truth about this plain, noble human brother and father
of ours; his imperfections are the traits of his face, by which we
know him for our fellow; his martyrdom and his example nothing can
lessen or annul; and only a person here on the spot can properly
appreciate their greatness."
I have set down these private passages, as you perceive, without
correction; thanks to you, the public has them in their bluntness.
They are almost a list of the man's faults, for it is rather these