|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Commission in Lunacy by Honore de Balzac:
boudoir, copied from that of a famous lady then at the height of
fashion in London, was in tan-colored velvet; but she had added
various details of ornament which moderated the pompous splendor of
this royal hue. Her hair was dressed like a girl's in bands ending in
curls, which emphasized the rather long oval of her face; but an oval
face is as majestic as a round one is ignoble. The mirrors, cut with
facets to lengthen or flatten the face at will, amply proved the rule
as applied to the physiognomy.
On seeing Popinot, who stood in the doorway craning his neck like a
startled animal, with his left hand in his pocket, and the right hand
holding a hat with a greasy lining, the Marquise gave Rastignac a look
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith:
command you to leave it directly.
MARLOW. Ha! ha! ha! A puddle in a storm. I shan't stir a step, I
assure you. (In a serious tone.) This your house, fellow! It's my
house. This is my house. Mine, while I choose to stay. What right
have you to bid me leave this house, sir? I never met with such
impudence, curse me; never in my whole life before.
HARDCASTLE. Nor I, confound me if ever I did. To come to my house, to
call for what he likes, to turn me out of my own chair, to insult the
family, to order his servants to get drunk, and then to tell me, "This
house is mine, sir." By all that's impudent, it makes me laugh. Ha!
ha! ha! Pray, sir (bantering), as you take the house, what think you
She Stoops to Conquer
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Europeans by Henry James:
She came to meet Madame M; auunster on her arrival, but she
said nothing, or almost nothing, and the Baroness again reflected--
she had had occasion to do so before--that American girls had no manners.
She disliked this little American girl, and she was quite prepared
to learn that she had failed to commend herself to Miss Acton.
Lizzie struck her as positive and explicit almost to pertness;
and the idea of her combining the apparent incongruities of a taste
for housework and the wearing of fresh, Parisian-looking dresses
suggested the possession of a dangerous energy. It was a source
of irritation to the Baroness that in this country it should seem
to matter whether a little girl were a trifle less or a trifle
|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 Secrets of the Princesse de Cadignan by Honore de Balzac:
coquettish motions, in a large shawl, and rose. Blondet and Rastignac
were too much men of the world, and too polite to make the least
remonstrance, or try to detain her; but Madame d'Espard compelled her
friend to sit down again, whispering in her ear:--
"Wait till the servants have had their dinner; the carriage is not
So saying, the marquise made a sign to the footman, who was taking
away the coffee-tray. Madame de Montcornet perceived that the princess
and Madame d'Espard had a word to say to each other, and she drew
around her d'Arthez, Rastignac, and Blondet, amusing them with one of
those clever paradoxical attacks which Parisian women understand so