|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Contrast by Royall Tyler:
fashionable society is finely delineated, and no doubt
suggested the name of the play. Thoroughly natural
in its plan and characters, it was a bold venture of a
young writer in a new literary domain.
The character of Jonathan is a thoroughly original
conception; nothing of the typical Yankee, since so
familiar and popular, had as yet appeared, either on
the stage or in print.
The 'Contrast' was first performed<2> at the John
Street Theater, New-York City, on the 16th of April,
1787, and undoubtedly met with the approval of the
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Dynamiter by Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Van De Grift Stevenson:
askance. Here, too, were many of the brick-fronted barracks
of the poor; a plaster cow, perhaps, serving as ensign to a
dairy, or a ticket announcing the business of the mangler.
Before one such house, that stood a little separate among
walled gardens, a cat was playing with a straw, and Challoner
paused a moment, looking on this sleek and solitary creature,
who seemed an emblem of the neighbouring peace. With the
cessation of the sound of his own steps the silence fell
dead; the house stood smokeless: the blinds down, the whole
machinery of life arrested; and it seemed to Challoner that
he should hear the breathing of the sleepers.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Court Life in China by Isaac Taylor Headland:
furniture for a well-equipped schoolroom, it was heated with a
foreign stove, had glass cases for their embroidery and drawing
materials, and a good American organ to direct them in singing,
dancing and calisthenics.
I arrived at recess. The Princess took me into the teacher's den,
which was cut off from the main room by a beautifully carved
screen. Here I was introduced to the Japanese lady teacher and
served with tea. She spoke no English and but little Chinese, and
the embarrassment of our effort to converse was only relieved by
the ringing of the bell for school. The pupils, consisting of the
secondary wives and daughters of the Prince, his son's wife, and
|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 King Henry VI by William Shakespeare:
[Sennet. Enter King, Gloucester, and Exeter.]
Have you perused the letters from the pope,
The emperor, and the Earl of Armagnac?
I have, my lord: and their intent is this:
They humbly sue unto your excellence
To have a godly peace concluded of
Between the realms of England and of France.
How doth your grace affect their motion?