|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Little Britain by Washington Irving:
an old woman that lives in Bull-and-Mouth Street makes a
tolerable subsistence by detecting stolen goods, and promising
the girls good husbands. They are apt to be rendered
uncomfortable by comets and eclipses; and if a dog howls
dolefully at night, it is looked upon as a sure sign of a death
the place. There are even many ghost stories current,
particularly concerning the old mansion-houses; in several of
which it is said strange sights are sometimes seen. Lords and
ladies, the former in full bottomed wigs, hanging sleeves, and
swords, the latter in lappets, stays, hoops and brocade, have
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Glasses by Henry James:
the humiliations, the forms of anguish, it was given some natures
to survive. That Flora had survived was perhaps after all a proof
she was reserved for some final mercy. "But she has been in the
abysses at any rate," said Mrs. Meldrum, "and I really don't think
I can tell you what pulled her through."
"I think I can tell YOU," I returned. "What in the world but Mrs.
At the end of an hour Flora had not come in, and I was obliged to
announce that I should have but time to reach the station, where I
was to find my luggage in charge of my mother's servant. Mrs.
Meldrum put before me the question of waiting till a later train,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Christ in Flanders by Honore de Balzac:
inscriptions on the bases of the statues--Science, History,
The light died out. Again I faced the young girl. Gradually she
slipped into the dreary sheath, into the ragged cere-cloths, and
became an aged woman again. Her familiar brought her a little dust,
and she stirred it into the ashes of her chafing-dish, for the weather
was cold and stormy; and then he lighted for her, whose palaces had
been lit with thousands of wax-tapers, a little cresset, that she
might see to read her prayers through the hours of night.
"There is no faith left in the earth! . . ." she said.
In such a perilous plight did I behold the fairest and the greatest,
|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 Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson:
packets. Heretofore you have been called Captain Teach, but I
think you are now rather Captain Learn."
That was our last word on board the SARAH. We four, with our four
packets, lowered ourselves softly into a skiff, and left that ship
behind us as silent as the grave, only for the moaning of some of
the drunkards. There was a fog about breast-high on the waters; so
that Dutton, who knew the passage, must stand on his feet to direct
our rowing; and this, as it forced us to row gently, was the means
of our deliverance. We were yet but a little way from the ship,
when it began to come grey, and the birds to fly abroad upon the
water. All of a sudden Dutton clapped down upon his hams, and