|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Turn of the Screw by Henry James:
and had placed at the head of their little establishment--
but below stairs only--an excellent woman, Mrs. Grose,
whom he was sure his visitor would like and who had formerly been
maid to his mother. She was now housekeeper and was also acting
for the time as superintendent to the little girl, of whom,
without children of her own, she was, by good luck, extremely fond.
There were plenty of people to help, but of course the young lady
who should go down as governess would be in supreme authority.
She would also have, in holidays, to look after the small boy,
who had been for a term at school--young as he was to be sent,
but what else could be done?--and who, as the holidays were
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Chinese Boy and Girl by Isaac Taylor Headland:
suspended by black threads as I afterwards discovered from
small sticks or a framework which the manager manipulated
behind the screen. When one finished its part of the
performance, it either walked off the stage, or the stick was
fastened in such a way as to leave it in a position conducive
to the amusement of the crowd. These were puppet shows, and were
put through entire performances or plays, the manager doing the
talking as in Punch and Judy.
After the performance several of the students passed around the
hat, each person present giving one-fifth or one-tenth of a cent.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Troll Garden and Selected Stories by Willa Cather:
great family. She had to fight her own way from the first. She
got to Chicago, and then to New York, and then to Europe, where
she went up like lightning, and got a taste for it all; and now
she's dying here like a rat in a hole, out of her own world, and
she can't fall back into ours. We've grown apart, some way--
miles and miles apart--and I'm afraid she's fearfully unhappy."
"It's a very tragic story that you are telling me, Gaylord,"
said Everett. They were well out into the country now, spinning
along over the dusty plains of red grass, with the ragged-blue
outline of the mountains before them.
"Tragic!" cried Gaylord, starting up in his seat, "my God, man,
The Troll Garden and Selected Stories
|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 Off on a Comet by Jules Verne:
and arid bottom.
In the course of the day the schooner rounded the point where,
five weeks previously, Cape Blanc had been so conspicuous an object,
and she was now stemming the waters of what once had been
the Bay of Tunis. But bay there was none, and the town from
which it had derived its name, with the Arsenal, the Goletta,
and the two peaks of Bou-Kournein, had all vanished from the view.
Cape Bon, too, the most northern promontory of Africa and
the point of the continent nearest to the island of Sicily,
had been included in the general devastation.
Before the occurrence of the recent prodigy, the bottom of