|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin by Robert Louis Stevenson:
as 'a credit and an ornament to H. M. Naval Service.' It is plain
he must have sunk in all his powers, during the years when he was
only a figure, and often a dumb figure, in his wife's drawing-room;
but with this new term of service, he brightened visibly. He
showed tact and even invention in managing his wife, guiding or
restraining her by the touch, holding family worship so arranged
that she could follow and take part in it. He took (to the world's
surprise) to reading - voyages, biographies, Blair's SERMONS, even
(for her letter's sake) a work of Vernon Lee's, which proved,
however, more than he was quite prepared for. He shone more, in
his remarkable way, in society; and twice he had a little holiday
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
two voyagers turned out to be? Why, if you will believe me,
they were the sons of that very Phrixus, who, in his childhood,
had been carried to Colchis on the back of the golden-fleeced
ram. Since that time, Phrixus had married the king's daughter;
and the two young princes had been born and brought up at
Colchis, and had spent their play-days in the outskirts of the
grove, in the center of which the Golden Fleece was hanging
upon a tree. They were now on their way to Greece, in hopes of
getting back a kingdom that had been wrongfully taken from
When the princes understood whither the Argonauts were going,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Odyssey by Homer:
these for themselves to devour, and they care nothing for
the heir in the house, nor tremble at the vengeance of the
gods, for they are eager even now to divide among
themselves the possessions of our lord who is long afar.
Now my heart within my breast often revolves this thing.
Truly it were an evil deed, while a son of the master is
yet alive, to get me away to the land of strangers, and go
off, with cattle and all, to alien men. But this is more
grievous still, to abide here in affliction watching over
the herds of other men. Yea, long ago I would have fled and
gone forth to some other of the proud kings, for things are
|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 A Daughter of Eve by Honore de Balzac:
dropped. Florine snatched one up hap-hazard, and looked it over.
"Yes, she must be a well-bred woman. It looks to me as if there were
no mistakes in spelling here."
The count gathered up the letters hastily and gave them to his wife,
who took them to a table as if to see that they were all there.
"Now," said Vandenesse to Florine, "will you let me have those letters
for these?" showing her five bank-bills of ten thousand francs each.
"They'll replace the sums you have paid for him."
"Ah!" cried Florine, "didn't I kill myself body and soul in the
provinces to get him money,--I, who'd have cut my hand off to serve
him? But that's men! damn your soul for them and they'll march over