|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Personal Record by Joseph Conrad:
and there is nothing wonderful in that. Everybody keeps a pen
(the cold steel of our days) in his rooms, in this enlightened
age of penny stamps and halfpenny post-cards. In fact, this was
the epoch when by means of postcard and pen Mr. Gladstone had
made the reputation of a novel or two. And I, too, had a pen
rolling about somewhere--the seldom-used, the reluctantly
taken-up pen of a sailor ashore, the pen rugged with the dried
ink of abandoned attempts, of answers delayed longer than decency
permitted, of letters begun with infinite reluctance, and put off
suddenly till next day--till next week, as like as not! The
neglected, uncared-for pen, flung away at the slightest
A Personal Record
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell:
heavy a penance on his shoulders. Suppose Rhett, like Frank--
One night when he was out later than usual she could stand the
strain no longer. When she heard the rasp of his key in the lock,
she threw on a wrapper and, going into the gas lit upper hall, met
him at the top of the stairs. His expression, absent, thoughtful,
changed to surprise when he saw her standing there.
"Rhett, I've got to know! I've got to know if you--if it's the
Klan--is that why you stay out so late? Do you belong--"
In the flaring gas light he looked at her incuriously and then he
"You are way behind the times," he said. "There is no Klan in
Gone With the Wind
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Master of the World by Jules Verne:
"No; I left after an hour's watching, and rode straight for the
telegraph station at Toledo. I reached there late at night and sent
immediate word to Washington."
"That was night before last. Did you return yesterday to Black Rock
"The submarine was still there?"
"In the same spot."
"And the two men?"
"The same two men. I judge that some accident had happened, and they
came to this lonely spot to repair it."
|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 Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln:
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . .
we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead,
who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power
to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember,
what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished
work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining
before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion
to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . .
that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . .