|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Margret Howth: A Story of To-day by Rebecca Harding Davis:
"It is true, then, Stephen?"
"It is true,--yes."
She lifted her hand to her head, uncertainly: he held it tightly,
and then let it go. What right had he to touch the dust upon her
shoes,--he, bought and sold? She did not speak for a time; when
she did, it was a weak and sick voice.
"I am glad. I saw her, you know. She is very beautiful."
The fingers were plucking at each other again; and a strange,
vacant smile on her face, trying to look glad.
"You love her, Stephen?"
He was quiet and firm enough now.
Margret Howth: A Story of To-day
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Art of Writing by Robert Louis Stevenson:
art, if you like, but it belongs purely to didactic art, and
from all the novels I have read (and I have read thousands)
stands in a place by itself. Here is a Nathan for the modern
David; here is a book to send the blood into men's faces.
Satire, the angry picture of human faults, is not great art;
we can all be angry with our neighbour; what we want is to be
shown, not his defects, of which we are too conscious, but
his merits, to which we are too blind. And THE EGOIST is a
satire; so much must be allowed; but it is a satire of a
singular quality, which tells you nothing of that obvious
mote, which is engaged from first to last with that invisible
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Nada the Lily by H. Rider Haggard:
came at him from all sides at once with a roar. He smote to the right
and the left, and so swiftly that men could scarcely see the blows
fall, for he struck with Groan-Maker's beak. But though men scarcely
saw the blows, yet, my father, men fell beneath them. Now foes were
all around, leaping up at the Slaughterer as rushing water leaps to
hide a rock--everywhere shone spears, thrusting at him from this side
and from that. Those in front and to the side Groan-Maker served to
stay, but one wounded Umslopogaas in the neck, and another was lifted
to pierce his back when the strength of its holder was bowed to the
dust--to the dust, to become of the dust.
For now the Wolf was through the hole also, and the Watcher grew very
Nada the Lily
|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 A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne:
door of the Remise, whilst she walk'd musing on one side.
IN THE STREET. CALAIS.
HAVING, on the first sight of the lady, settled the affair in my
fancy "that she was of the better order of beings;" - and then laid
it down as a second axiom, as indisputable as the first, that she
was a widow, and wore a character of distress, - I went no further;
I got ground enough for the situation which pleased me; - and had
she remained close beside my elbow till midnight, I should have
held true to my system, and considered her only under that general
She had scarce got twenty paces distant from me, ere something