|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes:
blackberries, - said he; - couldn't eat in colors, raspberries,
currants, and such, after a solemn thing like this happening. - The
conceit seemed to please the young fellow. If you will believe it,
when we came down to breakfast the next morning, he had carried it
out as follows. You know those odious little "saas-plates" that
figure so largely at boarding-houses, and especially at taverns,
into which a strenuous attendant female trowels little dabs, sombre
of tint and heterogeneous of composition, which it makes you feel
homesick to look at, and into which you poke the elastic coppery
tea-spoon with the air of a cat dipping her foot into a wash-tub, -
(not that I mean to say anything against them, for, when they are
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart:
the oppression of walls that seemed to close in on me and stifle
The first warning I had was a stealthy fumbling at the lock of
the mantel-door. With my mouth open to scream, I stopped.
Perhaps the situation had rendered me acute, perhaps it was
instinctive. Whatever it was, I sat without moving, and some one
outside, in absolute stillness, ran his fingers over the carving
of the mantel and--found the panel.
Now the sounds below redoubled: from the clatter and jarring I
knew that several people were running up the stairs, and as
the sounds approached, I could even hear what they said.
The Circular Staircase
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Crowd by Gustave le Bon:
"taille" or tallage has become the land tax; the "gabelle," the
tax on salt; the "aids," the indirect contributions and the
consolidated duties; the tax on trade companies and guilds, the
One of the most essential functions of statesmen consists, then,
in baptizing with popular or, at any rate, indifferent words
things the crowd cannot endure under their old names. The power
of words is so great that it suffices to designate in well-chosen
terms the most odious things to make them acceptable to crowds.
Taine justly observes that it was by invoking liberty and
fraternity--words very popular at the time-- that the Jacobins
|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 Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson by Robert Louis Stevenson:
you are pleased with the amount. You see, I leave this quite in
your hands. To parody an old Scotch story of servant and master:
if you don't know that you have a good author, I know that I have a
good publisher. Your fair, open, and handsome dealings are a good
point in my life, and do more for my crazy health than has yet been
done by any doctor. - Very truly yours,
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
Letter: TO W. H. LOW
BONALLIE TOWERS, BRANKSOME PARK, BOURNEMOUTH, HANTS, ENGLAND, FIRST
WEEK IN NOVEMBER, I GUESS, 1884.
MY DEAR LOW, - NOW, look here, the above is my address for three