|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Chance by Joseph Conrad:
disregarding the side-glances of the butler as he went in and out of
the dining-room clearing away the breakfast things. It was she,
herself, who had opened the door so promptly. "It's all right," he
said touching his breast-pocket; and she did not dare, the miserable
wretch without illusions, she did not dare ask him to hand it over.
They looked at each other in silence. He nodded significantly:
"Where is she now?" and she whispered "Gone into the drawing-room.
Want to see her again?" with an archly black look which he
acknowledged by a muttered, surly: "I am damned if I do. Well, as
you want to bolt like this, why don't we go now?"
She set her lips with cruel obstinacy and shook her head. She had
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Virginibus Puerisque by Robert Louis Stevenson:
a natural compulsion; and between man and wife the language of
the body is largely developed and grown strangely eloquent.
The thought that prompted and was conveyed in a caress would
only lose to be set down in words - ay, although Shakespeare
himself should be the scribe.
(1) A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS,
Wednesday, p. 283.
Yet it is in these dear intimacies, beyond all others,
that we must strive and do battle for the truth. Let but a
doubt arise, and alas! all the previous intimacy and
confidence is but another charge against the person doubted.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Pierre Grassou by Honore de Balzac:
till the frost on his windows had melted sufficiently to let the full
light in. The weather was fine and dry. At this moment the artist, who
ate his bread with that patient, resigned air that tells so much,
heard and recognized the step of a man who had upon his life the
influence such men have on the lives of nearly all artists,--the step
of Elie Magus, a picture-dealer, a usurer in canvas. The next moment
Elie Magus entered and found the painter in the act of beginning his
work in the tidy studio.
"How are you, old rascal?" said the painter.
Fougeres had the cross of the Legion of honor, and Elie Magus bought
his pictures at two and three hundred francs apiece, so he gave
|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 Ferragus by Honore de Balzac:
telling things that the world would laugh at."
"All secrets demand, in order to be told, a friendship of which I am
no doubt unworthy, madame. But you cannot have any but noble secrets;
do you think me capable of jesting on noble things?"
"Yes," she said, "you, like all the rest, laugh at our purest
sentiments; you calumniate them. Besides, I have no secrets. I have
the right to love my husband in the face of all the world, and I say
so,--I am proud of it; and if you laugh at me when I tell you that I
dance only with him, I shall have a bad opinion of your heart."
"Have you never danced since your marriage with any one but your