|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:
writer; Pindar alone could give it forth to humanity in Greek that
should rekindle the dying warmth of friendship in the world.
Put the names of Fritz and Wilheim beside those of Damon and Pythias,
Castor and Pollux, Orestes and Pylades, Dubreuil and Pmejah, Schmucke
and Pons, and all the names that we imagine for the two friends of
Monomotapa, for La Fontaine (man of genius though he was) has made of
them two disembodied spirits--they lack reality. The two new names may
join the illustrious company, and with so much the more reason, since
that Wilhelm who had helped to drink Fritz's inheritance now
proceeded, with Fritz's assistance, to devour his own substance;
smoking, needless to say, every known variety of tobacco.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Alexandria and her Schools by Charles Kingsley:
atom of his originality and earnestness. He can develop an inverted
pyramid of daemonology, like Father Newman himself, but without an atom
of his art, his knowledge of human cravings. He combines all schools,
truly, Chaldee and Egyptian as well as Greek; but only scraps from their
mummies, drops from their quintessences, which satisfy the heart and
conscience as little as they do the logical faculties. His Greek gods
and heroes, even his Alcibiades and Socrates, are "ideas;" that is,
symbols of certain notions or qualities: their flesh and bones, their
heart and brain, have been distilled away, till nothing is left but a
word, a notion, which may patch a hole in his huge heaven-and-earth-
embracing system. He, too, is a commentator and a deducer; all has been
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Letters of Two Brides by Honore de Balzac:
bonds are forged. The very morrow of your marriage the graceful
structure raised by your subtle strategy may fall before that terrible
reality which makes of a girl a woman, of a gallant a husband.
Remember that there is not exemption for lovers. For them, as for
ordinary folk like Louis and me, there lurks beneath the wedding
rejoicings the great "Perhaps" of Rabelais.
I do not blame you, though, of course, it was rash, for talking with
Felipe in the garden, or for spending a night with him, you on your
balcony, he on his wall; but you make a plaything of life, and I am
afraid that life may some day turn the tables. I dare not give you the
counsel which my own experience would suggest; but let me repeat once
|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 The Schoolmistress and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov:
It was dark and cold in the garden. Rain was falling. A damp
cutting wind was racing about the garden, howling and giving the
trees no rest. The banker strained his eyes, but could see
neither the earth nor the white statues, nor the lodge, nor the
trees. Going to the spot where the lodge stood, he twice called
the watchman. No answer followed. Evidently the watchman had
sought shelter from the weather, and was now asleep somewhere
either in the kitchen or in the greenhouse.
"If I had the pluck to carry out my intention," thought the old
man, "Suspicion would fall first upon the watchman."
He felt in the darkness for the steps and the door, and went into
The Schoolmistress and Other Stories