|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart:
office boy had given way to his confidential clerk, and that
functionary had condescended to connect his employer's desk
telephone, I was somewhat at a loss as to how to begin.
"Why, how are you, Rachel?" Sam said sonorously. "Going to build
that house at Rock View?" It was a twenty-year-old joke of his.
"Sometime, perhaps," I said. "Just now I want to ask you a
question about something which is none of my business."
"I see you haven't changed an iota in a quarter of a century,
Rachel." This was intended to be another jest. "Ask ahead:
everything but my domestic affairs is at your service."
"Try to be serious," I said. "And tell me this: has your firm
The Circular Staircase
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Meno by Plato:
of philosophy. It is a method which does not divorce the present from the
past, or the part from the whole, or the abstract from the concrete, or
theory from fact, or the divine from the human, or one science from
another, but labours to connect them. Along such a road we have proceeded
a few steps, sufficient, perhaps, to make us reflect on the want of method
which prevails in our own day. In another age, all the branches of
knowledge, whether relating to God or man or nature, will become the
knowledge of 'the revelation of a single science' (Symp.), and all things,
like the stars in heaven, will shed their light upon one another.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Frances Waldeaux by Rebecca Davis:
again. Then he folded it with shaking fingers.
"I have news here. Miss Vance thinks it time that I was
told, and I agree with her. It appears that I am a
pauper, and always have been. My father died penniless."
"Then Jacques will be poor?"
"Jacques! You think of nothing but that mewling,
senseless thing! It is mother--she always has supported
me. We are living now on the money that she earns from
week to week, while I play that I am an artist!"
Lisa listened attentively. "It does not seem strange
that a mother should work for her son," she said slowly.
|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 Legend of Montrose by Walter Scott:
From his musings, he was roused by the joyful sound of the dinner
bell, on which the Highlander, lately his guard, became his
gentleman-usher, and marshalled him to the hall, where a table
with four covers bore ample proofs of Highland hospitality. Sir
Duncan entered, conducting his lady, a tall, faded, melancholy
female, dressed in deep mourning. They were followed by a
Presbyterian clergyman, in his Geneva cloak, and wearing a black
silk skull-cap, covering his short hair so closely, that it could
scarce be seen at all, so that the unrestricted ears had an undue
predominance in the general aspect. This ungraceful fashion was
universal at the time, and partly led to the nicknames of