|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Tales and Fantasies by Robert Louis Stevenson:
guess, while I refuse to dwell longer on its agony, these
were the whole of God's world for John Nicholson.
When at last, as by the touching of a spring, he returned
again to clearness of consciousness and even a measure of
composure, the bells had but just done ringing, and the
Sabbath silence was still marred by the patter of belated
feet. By the clock above the fire, as well as by these more
speaking signs, the service had not long begun; and the
unhappy sinner, if his father had really gone to church,
might count on near two hours of only comparative
unhappiness. With his father, the superlative degree
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Blue Flower by Henry van Dyke:
The singular smile deepened on his companion's face. "You
are ready, then," he suggested, "to renounce your new religion
and go back to that of your father?"
"No; I renounce nothing, I accept nothing. I do not wish
to think about it. I only wish to live."
"A very reasonable wish, and I think you are about to see
its accomplishment. Indeed, I may even say that I can put you
in the way of securing it. Do you believe in magic?"
"I do not know whether I believe in anything. This is not
a day on which I care to make professions of faith. I believe
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Reason Discourse by Rene Descartes:
histories and fables. For to hold converse with those of other ages and
to travel, are almost the same thing. It is useful to know something of
the manners of different nations, that we may be enabled to form a more
correct judgment regarding our own, and be prevented from thinking that
everything contrary to our customs is ridiculous and irrational, a
conclusion usually come to by those whose experience has been limited to
their own country. On the other hand, when too much time is occupied in
traveling, we become strangers to our native country; and the over
curious in the customs of the past are generally ignorant of those of the
present. Besides, fictitious narratives lead us to imagine the possibility
of many events that are impossible; and even the most faithful histories,
|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 Adieu by Honore de Balzac:
who can save Stephanie. Ha! by and bye you and I may be able to rest--
and die," he added.
Philippe, wrapped in a fur pelisse, to which he owed his preservation
and his energy, began to run, striking his feet hard upon the frozen
snow to keep them warm. Scarcely had he gone a few hundred yards from
the village than he saw a blaze in the direction of the place where,
since morning, he had left his carriage in charge of his former
orderly, an old soldier. Horrible anxiety laid hold of him. Like all
others who were controlled during this fatal retreat by some powerful
sentiment, he found a strength to save his friends which he could not
have put forth to save himself.