|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Enemies of Books by William Blades:
of his native country, they never reached their destination,
the vessel having foundered in a storm.
In 1785 died the famous Maffei Pinelli, whose library was
celebrated throughout the world. It had been collected
by the Pinelli family for many generations and comprised
an extraordinary number of Greek, Latin, and Italian works,
many of them first editions, beautifully illuminated, together with
numerous MSS. dating from the 11th to the 16th century.
The whole library was sold by the Executors to Mr. Edwards,
bookseller, of Pall Mall, who placed the volumes in three vessels
for transport from Venice to London. Pursued by Corsairs,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs:
my first inspection of them.
Just then I was absorbed in them only as a medium of
escape, and so, as my gaze ran quickly, time and again,
over their vast expanse in search of some cranny or crevice,
I came suddenly to loathe them as the prisoner must loathe
the cruel and impregnable walls of his dungeon.
Tars Tarkas was approaching me rapidly, and still more
rapidly came the awful horde at his heels.
It seemed the forest now or nothing, and I was just on the
point of motioning Tars Tarkas to follow me in that direction
when the sun passed the cliff's zenith, and as the bright rays
The Gods of Mars
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Hidden Masterpiece by Honore de Balzac:
that count for anything. Porbus put on a hundred; I have only put on
one or two. Nobody will thank us for what is underneath, remember
At last the demon paused; the old man turned to Porbus and Poussin,
who stood mute with admiration, and said to them,--
"It is not yet equal to my Beautiful Nut-girl; still, one can put
one's name to such a work. Yes, I will sign it," he added, rising to
fetch a mirror in which to look at what he had done. "Now let us go
and breakfast. Come, both of you, to my house. I have some smoked ham
and good wine. Hey! hey! in spite of the degenerate times we will talk
painting; we are strong ourselves. Here is a little man," he
|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 Glasses by Henry James:
"Oh a gentleman I met at Boulogne. He has come over to see me."
After a moment she added: "Lord Iffield."
I had never heard of Lord Iffield, but her mention of his having
been at Boulogne helped me to give him a niche. Mrs. Meldrum had
incidentally thrown a certain light on the manners of Mrs. Floyd-
Taylor, Flora's recent hostess in that charming town, a lady who,
it appeared, had a special vocation for helping rich young men to
find a use for their leisure. She had always one or other in hand
and had apparently on this occasion pointed her lesson at the rare
creature on the opposite coast. I had a vague idea that Boulogne