|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Vailima Prayers & Sabbath Morn by Robert Louis Stevenson:
Sometimes a passing band of hostile warriors, with blackened faces,
would peer in at us through the open windows, and often we were
forced to pause until the strangely savage, monotonous noise of the
native drums had ceased; but no Samoan, nor, I trust, white person,
changed his reverent attitude. Once, I remember a look of
surprised dismay crossing the countenance of Tusitala when my son,
contrary to his usual custom of reading the next chapter following
that of yesterday, turned back the leaves of his Bible to find a
chapter fiercely denunciatory, and only too applicable to the
foreign dictators of distracted Samoa. On another occasion the
chief himself brought the service to a sudden check. He had just
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Cousin Pons by Honore de Balzac:
the figure in Pons' picture suggests that it is meant for a pendant,
the position of the coat-of-arms is the same as in the Nuremberg
portrait; and, finally, the /oetatis suoe XLI./ accords perfectly with
the age inscribed on the picture religiously kept by the Holzschuers
of Nuremberg, and but recently engraved.
The tears stood in Elie Magus' eyes as he looked from one masterpiece
to another. He turned round to La Cibot, "I will give you a commission
of two thousand francs on each of the pictures if you can arrange that
I shall have them for forty thousand francs," he said. La Cibot was
amazed at this good fortune dropped from the sky. Admiration, or, to
be more accurate, delirious joy, had wrought such havoc in the Jew's
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll:
On an ancient manorial right.
"In the matter of Treason the pig would appear
To have aided, but scarcely abetted:
While the charge of Insolvency fails, it is clear,
If you grant the plea 'never indebted.'
"The fact of Desertion I will not dispute;
But its guilt, as I trust, is removed
(So far as related to the costs of this suit)
By the Alibi which has been proved.
"My poor client's fate now depends on you votes."
Here the speaker sat down in his place,
The Hunting of the Snark
|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 Soul of the Far East by Percival Lowell:
of such specification can be seen from the way in which, with us,
in many species, the name of one sex alone does duty indifferently
for both. That of the male is the one usually selected, as in the
case of the dog or horse. If, however, it be the female with which
man has most to do, she is allowed to bestow her name upon her male
partner. Examples of the latter description occur in the use of
"cows" for "cattle," and "hens" for "fowls." A Japanese can say only
"fowl," defined, if absolutely necessary, as "he-fowl" or "she-fowl."
Now such a slighting of one of the most potent springs of human
action, sex, with all that the idea involves, is not due to a
pronounced misogynism on the part of these people, but to a much