|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:
spoke the hideous plain presence stood undimmed and undaunted.
It had already lasted a minute, and it lasted while I continued,
seizing my colleague, quite thrusting her at it and presenting her to it,
to insist with my pointing hand. "You don't see her exactly as WE see?--
you mean to say you don't now--NOW? She's as big as a blazing fire!
Only look, dearest woman, LOOK--!" She looked, even as I did,
and gave me, with her deep groan of negation, repulsion, compassion--
the mixture with her pity of her relief at her exemption--a sense,
touching to me even then, that she would have backed me up if she could.
I might well have needed that, for with this hard blow of the proof that
her eyes were hopelessly sealed I felt my own situation horribly crumble,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Damaged Goods by Upton Sinclair:
may some day demand an accounting of you?"
Monsieur Loches let his hands fall, and stood, a picture of
crushed despair. "Tell me then," he said, in a faint voice,
"what ought I to do?"
For a while the doctor sat looking at him. "Sir," he said, at
last, "tell me one thing. You are inflexible; you feel you have
the right to be inflexible. But are you really so certain that
it was not your duty, once upon a time, to save your daughter
from the possibility of such misfortune?"
"What?" cried the other. "My duty? What do you mean?"
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Ferragus by Honore de Balzac:
Melisse/ for faintness, sugarplums for the children, and English
court-plaster in case of cuts.
Jules studied all. He looked attentively at Madame Gruget's yellow
visage, at her gray eyes without either brows or lashes, her toothless
mouth, her wrinkles marked in black, her rusty cap, her still more
rusty ruffles, her cotton petticoat full of holes, her worn-out
slippers, her disabled fire-pot, her table heaped with dishes and
silks and work begun or finished, in wool or cotton, in the midst of
which stood a bottle of wine. Then he said to himself: "This old woman
has some passion, some strong liking or vice; I can make her do my
|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 Laches by Plato:
exercised under a skilful master?
MELESIAS: The latter, Socrates; as would surely be reasonable.
SOCRATES: His one vote would be worth more than the vote of all us four?
SOCRATES: And for this reason, as I imagine,--because a good decision is
based on knowledge and not on numbers?
MELESIAS: To be sure.
SOCRATES: Must we not then first of all ask, whether there is any one of
us who has knowledge of that about which we are deliberating? If there is,
let us take his advice, though he be one only, and not mind the rest; if
there is not, let us seek further counsel. Is this a slight matter about