|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Exiles by Honore de Balzac:
images which the grave has in store for us.
Never, perhaps, had this man presented so grand an aspect. A terrible
struggle was going on in his soul, and reacted on his outer frame;
strong man as he seemed to be, he bent as a reed bows under the breeze
that comes before a storm. Godefroid stood motionless, speechless,
spellbound; some inexplicable force nailed him to the floor; and, as
happens when our attention takes us out of ourselves while watching a
fire or a battle, he was wholly unconscious of his body.
"Shall I tell you the fate to which you were hastening, poor angel of
love? Listen! It has been given to me to see immeasurable space,
bottomless gulfs in which all human creations are swallowed up, the
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Fanny Herself by Edna Ferber:
engaged in making a bungling sketch of Theodore's face, with
its ludicrous expression.
Fanny sensed the situation and saved it. She hadn't sold
goods all these years without learning the value of
advertising. She came forward now, graciously (but not too
graciously). Theodore looked relieved. Already he had
learned that one might lean on this sister who was so
capable, so bountifully alive.
"Teddy, you're much too tired to talk. Let me talk for
"My sister, Miss Brandeis," said Teddy, and waved a rather
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Beast in the Jungle by Henry James:
that he needed some straying apart to feel in a proper relation
with them, though this impulse was not, as happened, like the
gloating of some of his companions, to be compared to the movements
of a dog sniffing a cupboard. It had an issue promptly enough in a
direction that was not to have been calculated.
It led, briefly, in the course of the October afternoon, to his
closer meeting with May Bartram, whose face, a reminder, yet not
quite a remembrance, as they sat much separated at a very long
table, had begun merely by troubling him rather pleasantly. It
affected him as the sequel of something of which he had lost the
beginning. He knew it, and for the time quite welcomed it, as a
|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 Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy:
Do you hear -- he has kissed you. Deny it!"
The most tragic woman is cowed by a tragic man,
and although Boldwood was, in vehemence and glow,
nearly her own self rendered into another sex,
Bathsheba's cheek quivered. She gasped," Leave me,
sir -- leave me! I am nothing to you. Let me go on!"
"Deny that he has kissed you."
"I shall not."
"Ha -- then he has!" came hoarsely from the farmer.
"He has," she said, slowly, and, in spite of her fear,
defiantly. "I am not ashamed to speak the truth."
Far From the Madding Crowd