|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Lily of the Valley by Honore de Balzac:
days in this poor woman's life; a spot of brightness which often
comforted her thoughts in painful hours.
Soon, however, the riding lessons became a subject of contention. The
countess justly feared the count's harsh reprimands to his son.
Jacques grew thin, dark circles surrounded his sweet blue eyes; rather
than trouble his mother, he suffered in silence. I advised him to tell
his father he was tired when the count's temper was violent; but that
expedient proved unavailing, and it became necessary to substitute the
old huntsman as a teacher in place of the father, who could with
difficulty be induced to resign his pupil. Angry reproaches and
contentions began once more; the count found a text for his continual
The Lily of the Valley
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Juana by Honore de Balzac:
"Oh, my Juana!" said Montefiore, again pressing her in his arms. "I
should be a monster indeed if I deceived you. I will love you
Juana was thoughtful. Montefiore, reflecting that in this first
interview he ought to venture upon nothing that might frighten a young
girl so ignorantly pure, so imprudent by virtue rather than from
desire, postponed all further action to the future, relying on his
beauty, of which he knew the power, and on this innocent ring-
marriage, the hymen of the heart, the lightest, yet the strongest of
all ceremonies. For the rest of that night, and throughout the next
day, Juana's imagination was the accomplice of her passion.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad:
restaurants, streets, and suchlike public places, he indited
sonnets (in French) to the eyes, ears, chin, hair, and other
visible perfections of a nymph called Therese, the daughter,
honesty compels me to state, of a certain Madame Leonore who kept a
small cafe for sailors in one of the narrowest streets of the old
No more charming face, clear-cut like an antique gem, and delicate
in colouring like the petal of a flower, had ever been set on,
alas! a somewhat squat body. He read his verses aloud to her in
the very cafe with the innocence of a little child and the vanity
of a poet. We followed him there willingly enough, if only to
The Mirror of the Sea
|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 Animal Farm by George Orwell:
sides matted with sweat. A thin stream of blood had trickled out of his
mouth. Clover dropped to her knees at his side.
"Boxer!" she cried, "how are you?"
"It is my lung," said Boxer in a weak voice. "It does not matter. I think
you will be able to finish the windmill without me. There is a pretty good
store of stone accumulated. I had only another month to go in any case.
To tell you the truth, I had been looking forward to my retirement. And
perhaps, as Benjamin is growing old too, they will let him retire at the
same time and be a companion to me."
"We must get help at once," said Clover. "Run, somebody, and tell Squealer
what has happened."