|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Twelve Stories and a Dream by H. G. Wells:
me about that business of the Bonham drain. Things of that kind,
I observe, are apt to weigh on the minds of Medical Officers of Health.
I was as sympathetic as I knew how, and when he called the Bonham
people "asses," I said they were "thundering asses," but even that
did not allay him.
Afterwards, later in the summer, an urgent desire to seclude myself,
while finishing my chapter on Spiritual Pathology--it was really,
I believe, stiffer to write than it is to read--took me to Bignor.
I lodged at a farmhouse, and presently found myself outside that
little general shop again, in search of tobacco. "Skelmersdale,"
said I to myself at the sight of it, and went in.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Reminiscences of Tolstoy by Leo Tolstoy:
for them to teach
¹ The name we gave to the stone annex.
² The instinct for lime, necessary to feed their bones,
drives Russian children to nibble pieces of chalk or the
whitewash off the wall. In this case the boy was running to one
of the grown-ups in the house, and whom he called uncle, as
Russian children call everybody uncle or aunt, to get a piece of
the chalk that he had for writing on the blackboard.
us," he said to some one when the boy was gone. Which of us
would have expressed himself like that? You see, he did not say
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Republic by Plato:
process, in the next stage he begins to melt and waste, until he has wasted
away his spirit and cut out the sinews of his soul; and he becomes a feeble
If the element of spirit is naturally weak in him the change is speedily
accomplished, but if he have a good deal, then the power of music weakening
the spirit renders him excitable;--on the least provocation he flames up at
once, and is speedily extinguished; instead of having spirit he grows
irritable and passionate and is quite impracticable.
And so in gymnastics, if a man takes violent exercise and is a great
|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 Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe:
of the seventh or eighth day after the placing of the lady
Madeline within the donjon, that I experienced the full power of
such feelings. Sleep came not near my couch--while the hours
waned and waned away. I struggled to reason off the nervousness
which had dominion over me. I endeavoured to believe that much,
if not all of what I felt, was due to the bewildering influence
of the gloomy furniture of the room--of the dark and tattered
draperies, which, tortured into motion by the breath of a rising
tempest, swayed fitfully to and fro upon the walls, and rustled
uneasily about the decorations of the bed. But my efforts were
fruitless. An irrepressible tremor gradually pervaded my frame;
The Fall of the House of Usher