|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Book of Remarkable Criminals by H. B. Irving:
ingenious. The wife is to disappear to America and be given out
as dead. The husband will then marry his attractive kinswoman,
persuade her to make a will in his favour, poison her and, the
fortune secured, rejoin his wife. As if to help this cruel plan,
the young lady has developed a sentimental affection for her
relative. The wife goes to America, the husband marries the
young lady. He commences to poison her, but, in the presence of
her youth, beauty and affection for him, relents, hesitates to
commit a possibly unnecessary crime. He decides to forget and
ignore utterly his wife who is waiting patiently in America. A
year passes. The expectant wife gets no sign of her husband's
A Book of Remarkable Criminals
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from St. Ives by Robert Louis Stevenson:
these, I'm thinking. How much is it?'
'I declare to heaven I never thought to count!' I exclaimed. 'But
that is soon remedied.'
And I counted out ten notes of ten pound each, all in the name of
Abraham Newlands, and five bills of country bankers for as many
'One hundred and twenty six pound five,' cried the old lady. 'And
you carry such a sum about you, and have not so much as counted it!
If you are not a thief, you must allow you are very thief-like.'
'And yet, madam, the money is legitimately mine,' said I.
She took one of the bills and held it up. 'Is there any
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Weir of Hermiston by Robert Louis Stevenson:
words the proffered convoy of some of her nephews and nieces, she was
free to go on alone up Hermiston brae, walking on air, dwelling
intoxicated among clouds of happiness. Near to the summit she heard
steps behind her, a man's steps, light and very rapid. She knew the
foot at once and walked the faster. "If it's me he's wanting, he can
run for it," she thought, smiling.
Archie overtook her like a man whose mind was made up.
"Miss Kirstie," he began.
"Miss Christina, if you please, Mr. Weir," she interrupted. "I canna
bear the contraction."
"You forget it has a friendly sound for me. Your aunt is an old friend
|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 The Life of the Spider by J. Henri Fabre:
of his long shanks at random, often falls into the trap. One
imagines that his strength ought to frighten the Spider; the kick
of his spurred levers should enable him to make a hole, then and
there, in the web and to get away. But not at all. If he does not
free himself at the first effort, the Locust is lost.
Turning her back on the game, the Epeira works all her spinnerets,
pierced like the rose of a watering-pot, at one and the same time.
The silky spray is gathered by the hind-legs, which are longer than
the others and open into a wide arc to allow the stream to spread.
Thanks to this artifice, the Epeira this time obtains not a thread,
but an iridescent sheet, a sort of clouded fan wherein the
The Life of the Spider