|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories by Mark Twain:
but among them is not half an acre whose resentment you would not
raise if you addressed them as "Mr." instead of "Hon." The first thing
a legislature does is to convene in an impressive legislative attitude,
and get itself photographed. Each member frames his copy and takes
it to the woods and hangs it up in the most aggressively conspicuous
place in his house; and if you visit the house and fail to inquire
what that accumulation is, the conversation will be brought around
to it by that aforetime legislator, and he will show you a figure
in it which in the course of years he has almost obliterated
with the smut of his finger-marks, and say with a solemn joy, "It's me!"
Have you ever seen a country Congressman enter the hotel breakfast-room
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Meno by Plato:
another, and in the least of them the whole is contained. Here we catch a
reminiscence both of the omoiomere, or similar particles of Anaxagoras, and
of the world-animal of the Timaeus.
In Bacon and Locke we have another development in which the mind of man is
supposed to receive knowledge by a new method and to work by observation
and experience. But we may remark that it is the idea of experience,
rather than experience itself, with which the mind is filled. It is a
symbol of knowledge rather than the reality which is vouchsafed to us. The
Organon of Bacon is not much nearer to actual facts than the Organon of
Aristotle or the Platonic idea of good. Many of the old rags and ribbons
which defaced the garment of philosophy have been stripped off, but some of
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from My Aunt Margaret's Mirror by Walter Scott:
influence involved in some political matters which had been more
wisely let alone. She was a woman of high principle, however,
and masculine good sense, as some of her letters testify, which
are still in my wainscot cabinet.
Jemmie Falconer was the reverse of her sister in every respect.
Her understanding did not reach above the ordinary pitch, if,
indeed, she could be said to have attained it. Her beauty, while
it lasted, consisted, in a great measure, of delicacy of
complexion and regularity of features, without any peculiar force
of expression. Even these charms faded under the sufferings
attendant on an ill-assorted match. She was passionately
|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 Prince of Bohemia by Honore de Balzac:
business, a case submitted to us for arbitration by the commission of
dramatic authors. We were obliged to go out again; but before we
started he went to Claudine's room, knocked, as he always does, and
asked for leave to enter.
" 'We live in grand style,' said he, smiling; 'we are free. Each is
"We were admitted. Du Bruel spoke to Claudine. 'I have asked a few
people to dinner to-day--"
" 'Just like you!' cried she. 'You ask people without speaking to me;
I count for nothing here.--Now' (taking me as arbitrator by a glance)
'I ask you yourself. When a man has been so foolish as to live with a