|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Whirligigs by O. Henry:
Later, in the afternoon, came Hamlin and Avery, big,
handsome, genial, sauntering men, clothed in white duck
and low-cut shoes. They permeated the whole office
with an aura of debonair prosperity. They passed among
the clerks and left a wake of abbreviated given names and
fat brown cigars.
These were the aristocracy of the land-sharks, who
went in for big things. Full of serene confidence in them-
selves, there was no corporation, no syndicate, no rail-
road company or attorney general too big for them to
tackle. The peculiar smoke of their rare, fat brown cigars
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Alkahest by Honore de Balzac:
coming from within, had admitted him through the side of the double-
door in which was a small grated loop-hole, that half of the door
escaped from her hand and swung back by its own weight with a solemn,
ponderous sound that echoed along the roof of a wide paved archway and
through the depths of the house, as though the door had been of iron.
This archway, painted to resemble marble, always clean and daily
sprinkled with fresh sand, led into a large court-yard paved with
smooth square stones of a greenish color. On the left were the linen-
rooms, kitchens, and servants' hall; to the right, the wood-house,
coal-house, and offices, whose doors, walls, and windows were
decorated with designs kept exquisitely clean. The daylight, threading
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells:
"But," said I, "I still do not understand. Where is your justification
for inflicting all this pain? The only thing that could excuse
vivisection to me would be some application--"
"Precisely," said he. "But, you see, I am differently constituted.
We are on different platforms. You are a materialist."
"I am not a materialist," I began hotly.
"In my view--in my view. For it is just this question of pain
that parts us. So long as visible or audible pain turns you sick;
so long as your own pains drive you; so long as pain underlies
your propositions about sin,--so long, I tell you, you are
The Island of Doctor Moreau
|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 Hated Son by Honore de Balzac:
hours, filled at first with gentle talk, had ended in meditative
silence. They began to feel within them the wish for complete
possession; and presently they reached the point of confiding to each
other their confused ideas, the reflections of two beautiful, pure
souls. During these still, serene hours, Etienne's eyes would
sometimes fill with tears as he held the hand of Gabrielle to his
lips. Like his mother, but at this moment happier in his love than she
had been in hers, the hated son looked down upon the sea, at that hour
golden on the shore, black on the horizon, and slashed here and there
with those silvery caps which betoken a coming storm. Gabrielle,
conforming to her friend's action, looked at the sight and was silent.