|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Cousin Pons by Honore de Balzac:
less than sixty francs for your picture. Pons never gave more than a
hundred francs for any purchase. If he laid out as much as fifty
francs, he was careful to assure himself beforehand that the object
was worth three thousand. The most beautiful thing in the world, if it
cost three hundred francs, did not exist for Pons. Rare had been his
bargains; but he possessed the three qualifications for success--a
stag's legs, an idler's disregard of time, and the patience of a Jew.
This system, carried out for forty years, in Rome or Paris alike, had
borne its fruits. Since Pons returned from Italy, he had regularly
spent about two thousand francs a year upon a collection of
masterpieces of every sort and description, a collection hidden away
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from At the Sign of the Cat & Racket by Honore de Balzac:
silent and placid face was full of the transient melancholy which
comes over all young girls who are too weak to dare to resist their
The two sisters, always plainly dressed, could not gratify the innate
vanity of womanhood but by a luxury of cleanliness which became them
wonderfully, and made them harmonize with the polished counters and
the shining shelves, on which the old man-servant never left a speck
of dust, and with the old-world simplicity of all they saw about them.
As their style of living compelled them to find the elements of
happiness in persistent work, Augustine and Virginie had hitherto
always satisfied their mother, who secretly prided herself on the
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Ten Years Later by Alexandre Dumas:
"Eh! sire, I have performed it for thirty years, and in all
France and Navarre there is not a man in better health than
I am. Moreover, I entreat you, sire, not to trouble yourself
about me. That would appear very strange to me, seeing that
I am not accustomed to it."
The king cut short the conversation by a fresh question.
"Shall you be here, then, to-morrow morning?"
"As at present? yes, sire."
The king walked several times up and down his chamber; it
was very plain that he burned with a desire to speak, but
that he was restrained by some fear or other. The
Ten Years Later
|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 Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde:
square? I think a man should look very, very strong, and that his
chin should be quite, quite square.
MRS. ALLONBY. Then you should certainly know Ernest, Lady
Stutfield. It is only fair to tell you beforehand he has got no
conversation at all.
LADY STUTFIELD. I adore silent men.
MRS. ALLONBY. Oh, Ernest isn't silent. He talks the whole time.
But he has got no conversation. What he talks about I don't know.
I haven't listened to him for years.
LADY STUTFIELD. Have you never forgiven him then? How sad that
seems! But all life is very, very sad, is it not?