|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Common Sense by Thomas Paine:
to foreign courts, setting forth the miseries we have endured,
and the peaceable methods we have ineffectually used for redress;
declaring, at the same time, that not being able, any longer,
to live happily or safely under the cruel disposition of the British court,
we had been driven to the necessity of breaking off all connections with her;
at the same time, assuring all such courts of our peaceable disposition
towards them, and of our desire of entering into trade with them:
Such a memorial would produce more good effects to this Continent,
than if a ship were freighted with petitions to Britain.
Under our present denomination of British subjects, we can neither
be received nor heard abroad: The custom of all courts is against us,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from A Man of Business by Honore de Balzac:
great descent, which, alas! means a great descent in fortune likewise,
had honored the notary's little establishment with his presence.
At dinner, in such a house, one does not expect to meet the
patriarchal beef, the skinny fowl and salad of domestic and family
life, nor is there any attempt at the hypocritical conversation of
drawing-rooms furnished with highly respectable matrons. When, alas!
will respectability be charming? When will the women in good society
vouchsafe to show rather less of their shoulders and rather more wit
or geniality? Marguerite Turquet, the Aspasia of the Cirque-Olympique,
is one of those frank, very living personalities to whom all is
forgiven, such unconscious sinners are they, such intelligent
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Hated Son by Honore de Balzac:
years old, broken, decrepit, almost dead, was sitting at sunset in an
immense arm-chair, before the gothic window of his bedroom, at the
place where his wife had so vainly implored, by the sounds of the horn
wasted on the air, the help of men and heaven. You might have thought
him a body resurrected from the grave. His once energetic face,
stripped of its sinister aspect by old age and suffering, was ghastly
in color, matching the long meshes of white hair which fell around his
bald head, the yellow skull of which seemed softening. The warrior and
the fanatic still shone in those yellow eyes, tempered now by
religious sentiment. Devotion had cast a monastic tone upon the face,
formerly so hard, but now marked with tints which softened its
|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 Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne:
heightened his ghostly appearance.
Fakirs and soldiers and priests, seized with instant terror,
lay there, with their faces on the ground, not daring to lift
their eyes and behold such a prodigy.
The inanimate victim was borne along by the vigorous arms which
supported her, and which she did not seem in the least to burden.
Mr. Fogg and Sir Francis stood erect, the Parsee bowed his head,
and Passepartout was, no doubt, scarcely less stupefied.
The resuscitated rajah approached Sir Francis and Mr. Fogg,
and, in an abrupt tone, said, "Let us be off!"
It was Passepartout himself, who had slipped upon the pyre
Around the World in 80 Days