|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving:
who has to pass it alone after dark.
As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump he
summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a
score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across
the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old
animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against the
fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, jerked the
reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with the contrary
foot: it was all in vain; his steed started, it is true, but it
was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a
thicket of brambles and alder-bushes. The schoolmaster now
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie:
who had been in the boudoir with her mistress. A rather wistful
smile passed across the face of the prisoner in the dock. He
knew only too well how useless her gallant defiance was, since it
was not the object of the defence to deny this point. Mrs.
Cavendish, of course, could not be called upon to give evidence
against her husband.
After various questions on other matters, Mr. Philips asked:
"In the month of June last, do you remember a parcel arriving for
Mr. Lawrence Cavendish from Parkson's?"
Dorcas shook her head.
"I don't remember, sir. It may have done, but Mr. Lawrence was
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Snow Image by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
native valley, hoping to find repose where he remembered to have
left it. The inhabitants, his old neighbors and their grown-up
children, were resolved to welcome the renowned warrior with a
salute of cannon and a public dinner; and all the more
enthusiastically, it being affirmed that now, at last, the
likeness of the Great Stone Face had actually appeared. An
aid-de-camp of Old Blood-and-Thunder, travelling through the
valley, was said to have been struck with the resemblance.
Moreover the schoolmates and early acquaintances of the general
were ready to testify, on oath, that, to the best of their
recollection, the aforesaid general had been exceedingly like the
The Snow Image
|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 Gambara by Honore de Balzac:
strains, was the natural outcome of the form of the story; but in the
German composer's score the demons sing better than the saints. The
heavenly airs belie their origin, and when the composer abandons the
infernal motives he returns to them as soon as possible, fatigued with
the effort of keeping aloof from them. Melody, the golden thread that
ought never to be lost throughout so vast a plan, often vanishes from
Meyerbeer's work. Feeling counts for nothing, the heart has no part in
it. Hence we never come upon those happy inventions, those artless
scenes, which captivate all our sympathies and leave a blissful
impression on the soul.
"Harmony reigns supreme, instead of being the foundation from which