|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Exiles by Honore de Balzac:
him with astonishment on his face.
"You meant to kill yourself?" he asked.
"Yes," replied Godefroid, while the stranger passed his hand about his
neck again and again to feel the place where the rope had tightened on
But for some slight bruises, the young man had been but little hurt.
His friend supposed that the nail had given way at once under the
weight of the body, and the terrible attempt had ended in a fall
"And why, dear lad, did you try to kill yourself?"
"Alas!" said Godefroid, no longer restraining the tears that rolled
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Z. Marcas by Honore de Balzac:
to look like that," he added.
"What dejection and what dignity!"
"One is the consequence of the other."
"What ruined hopes! What schemes and failures!"
"Seven leagues of ruins! Obelisks--palaces--towers!--The ruins of
Palmyra in the desert!" said Juste, laughing.
So we called him the Ruins of Palmyra.
As we went out to dine at the wretched eating-house in the Rue de la
Harpe to which we subscribed, we asked the name of Number 37, and then
heard the weird name Z. Marcas. Like boys, as we were, we repeated it
more than a hundred times with all sorts of comments, absurd or
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Salammbo by Gustave Flaubert:
not knowing where to go, wandered about among the baggage, and at
nightfall lay down in their ragged mantles on the ground.
The plain, which was wholly bounded by mountains, expanded around
them. Here and there a palm tree leaned over a sand hill, and pines
and oaks flecked the sides of the precipices: sometimes the rain of a
storm would hang from the sky like a long scarf, while the country
everywhere was still covered with azure and serenity; then a warm wind
would drive before it tornadoes of dust, and a stream would descend in
cascades from the heights of Sicca, where, with its roofing of gold on
its columns of brass, rose the temple of the Carthaginian Venus, the
mistress of the land. She seemed to fill it with her soul. In such
|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 Margret Howth: A Story of To-day by Rebecca Harding Davis:
vacantly, she remembered a time when through that shadow, she
believed more in a God than she did now. When, by the help of
that very dead hope, He of whom she read to-night stood close, an
infinitely tender Helper, that with the differing human loves she
knew, had loved His mother and Mary. Therefore, a Helper. Now,
struggle as she would for warmth or healthy hopes, the world was
gray and silent. Her defeated woman's nature called it so,
bitterly. Christ was a dim, ideal power, heaven far-off. She
doubted if it held anything as real as that which she had lost.
As if to bring back the old times more vividly to her, there
happened one of those curious little coincidences with which
Margret Howth: A Story of To-day