|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Personal Record by Joseph Conrad:
them. But the fact of the matter is, the captain of that ship
wants an officer who can speak French fluently, and that's not so
easy to find. I do not know anybody myself but you. It's a
second officer's berth and, of course, you would not care . . .
would you now? I know that it isn't what you are looking for."
It was not. I had given myself up to the idleness of a haunted
man who looks for nothing but words wherein to capture his
visions. But I admit that outwardly I resembled sufficiently a
man who could make a second officer for a steamer chartered by a
French company. I showed no sign of being haunted by the fate of
Nina and by the murmurs of tropical forests; and even my intimate
A Personal Record
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Nana, Miller's Daughter, Captain Burle, Death of Olivier Becaille by Emile Zola:
cravats and gloves, one might have supposed them to be discussing in
chosen phraseology some really serious topic. Old Mme Muffat then,
whom La Faloise had been well acquainted with, was an insufferable
old lady, always hand in glove with the priests. She had the grand
manner, besides, and an authoritative way of comporting herself,
which bent everybody to her will. As to Muffat, he was an old man's
child; his father, a general, had been created count by Napoleon I,
and naturally he had found himself in favor after the second of
December. He hadn't much gaiety of manner either, but he passed for
a very honest man of straightforward intentions and understanding.
Add to these a code of old aristocratic ideas and such a lofty
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
firmly as she spoke, was so travel-worn that she could hardly
put her foot to the ground. "Not I, for one! In the depths of
my heart, little Europa is still the rosy child who ran to
gather flowers so many years ago. She has not grown to
womanhood, nor forgotten me. At noon, at night, journeying
onward, sitting down to rest, her childish voice is always in
my ears, calling, 'Mother! mother!' Stop here who may, there is
no repose for me."
"Nor for me," said Cadmus, "while my dear mother pleases to go
And the faithful Thasus, too, was resolved to bear them
|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 Domestic Peace by Honore de Balzac:
"But she loves her husband."
"A still further obstacle that I shall have the pleasure of
"But she is married."
"A whimsical objection!"
"Ah!" said the Countess, with a bitter smile, "you punish us alike for
our faults and our repentance!"
"Do not be angry!" exclaimed Martial eagerly. "Oh, forgive me, I
beseech you. There, I will think no more of Madame de Soulanges."
"You deserve that I should send you to her."
"I am off then," said the Baron, laughing, "and I shall return more