|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard:
My life was an old and worthless one, hers was young and valuable.
Her death would pretty well kill her father and mother also,
whilst nobody would be much the worse for mine; indeed, several
charitable institutions would have cause to rejoice thereat.
It was indirectly through me that the dear little girl was in
her present position. Lastly, a man was better fitted to meet
death in such a peculiarly awful form than a sweet young girl.
Not, however, that I meant to let these gentry torture me to
death -- I am far too much of a coward to allow that, being naturally
a timid man; my plan was to see the girl safely exchanged and
then to shoot myself, trusting that the Almighty would take the
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Talisman by Walter Scott:
accepts of our imperfect obedience, and hath delayed, though not
averted, the bloody end of thy daring life. The destroying angel
hath stood still, as of old by the threshing-floor of Araunah the
Jebusite, and the blade is drawn in his hand, by which, at no
distant date, Richard, the lion-hearted, shall be as low as the
"Must it, then, be so soon?" said Richard. "Yet, even so be it.
May my course be bright, if it be but brief!"
"Alas! noble King," said the solitary, and it seemed as if a
tear (unwonted guest) were gathering in his dry and glazened eye,
"short and melancholy, marked with mortification, and calamity,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Virginibus Puerisque by Robert Louis Stevenson:
on the smooth ballroom floor; the hooves of many horses,
beating the wide pastures in alarm; the song of hurrying
rivers; the colour of clear skies; and smiles and the live
touch of hands; and the voice of things, and their significant
look, and the renovating influence they breathe forth - these
are his joyful measures, to which the whole earth treads in
choral harmony. To this music the young lambs bound as to a
tabor, and the London shop-girl skips rudely in the dance.
For it puts a spirit of gladness in all hearts; and to look on
the happy side of nature is common, in their hours, to all
created things. Some are vocal under a good influence, are
|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 Maitre Cornelius by Honore de Balzac:
The first effect of these rumors was to isolate Maitre Cornelius. The
Touraineans treated him like a leper, called him the "tortionnaire,"
and named his house Malemaison. If the Fleming had found strangers to
the town bold enough to enter it, the inhabitants would have warned
them against doing so. The most favorable opinion of Maitre Cornelius
was that of persons who thought him merely baneful. Some he inspired
with instinctive terror; others he impressed with the deep respect
that most men feel for limitless power and money, while to a few he
certainly possessed the attraction of mystery. His way of life, his
countenance, and the favor of the king, justified all the tales of
which he had now become the subject.