|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Heart of the West by O. Henry:
fat of the land showing in their clothes. While we were looking them
over, Solly divested himself of a fearful, rusty kind of laugh--like
moving a folding bed with one roller broken. It was his first in two
weeks, and it gave me hope.
"'Right you are,' says I. 'They're a funny lot of post-cards, aren't
"'Oh, I wasn't thinking of them dudes and culls on the hoof,' says he.
'I was thinking of the time me and George put sheep-dip in Horsehead
Johnson's whisky. I wish I was back in Atascosa City,' says he.
"I felt a cold chill run down my back. 'Me to play and mate in one
move,' says I to myself.
Heart of the West
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Schoolmistress and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov:
their criticism passes little by little into vulgarity.
I was loved, happiness was not far away, and seemed to be almost
touching me; I went on living in careless ease without trying to
understand myself, not knowing what I expected or what I wanted
from life, and time went on and on. . . . People passed by me
with their love, bright days and warm nights flashed by, the
nightingales sang, the hay smelt fragrant, and all this, sweet
and overwhelming in remembrance, passed with me as with everyone
rapidly, leaving no trace, was not prized, and vanished like
mist. . . . Where is it all?
My father is dead, I have grown older; everything that delighted
The Schoolmistress and Other Stories
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Misalliance by George Bernard Shaw:
routine of their class. I saw very little of them, and thought very
little about them: how could I? with a whole province on my hands.
They and I are--acquaintances. Not perhaps, quite ordinary
acquaintances: theres a sort of--er--I should almost call it a sort
of remorse about the way we shake hands (when we do shake hands) which
means, I suppose, that we're sorry we dont care more for one another;
and I'm afraid we dont meet oftener than we can help. We put each
other too much out of countenance. It's really a very difficult
relation. To my mind not altogether a natural one.
TARLETON. _[impressed, as usual]_ Thats an idea, certainly. I dont
think anybody has ever written about that.
|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 Vicar of Tours by Honore de Balzac:
minute more the Abbe Troubert, after discreetly knocking at the door,
obeyed Birotteau's invitation and entered the room. This visit, which
the two abbe's usually paid each other once a month, was no surprise
to the vicar. The canon at once exclaimed when he saw that Marianne
had not made the fire of his quasi-colleague. He opened the window and
called to her harshly, telling her to come at once to the abbe; then,
turning round to his ecclesiastical brother, he said, "If Mademoiselle
knew that you had no fire she would scold Marianne."
After this speech he inquired about Birotteau's health, and asked in a
gentle voice if he had had any recent news that gave him hopes of his
canonry. The vicar explained the steps he had taken, and told,