|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Message by Honore de Balzac:
for his young collaborator was cordial enough, and this
emboldened me to make reply as I did.
"My wife will be in despair," cried he; "I shall be obliged to
break the news of this unhappy event with great caution."
"Monsieur," said I, "I addressed myself to you in the first
instance, as in duty bound. I could not, without first informing
you, deliver a message to Mme. la Comtesse, a message intrusted
to me by an entire stranger; but this commission is a sort of
sacred trust, a secret of which I have no power to dispose. From
the high idea of your character which he gave me, I felt sure
that you would not oppose me in the fulfilment of a dying
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Droll Stories, V. 1 by Honore de Balzac:
while going to the quarter of the Marmouzets. He was greatly afraid
that he would be unable to find the house of La Pasquerette, or find
the two pigeons gone to roost, but a good angel arranged there
speedily to his satisfaction. This is how. On entering the Rue des
Marmouzets he saw several lights at the windows and night-capped heads
thrust out, and good wenches, gay girls, housewives, husbands, and
young ladies, all of them are just out of bed, looking at each other
as if a robber were being led to execution by torchlight.
"What's the matter?" said the shepherd to a citizen who in great haste
had rushed to the door with a chamber utensil in his hand.
"Oh! it's nothing," replied the good man. "We thought it was the
Droll Stories, V. 1
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll:
"It's just as bad at a picture-gallery," the Earl remarked.
"I went to the R.A. last May, with a conceited young artist: and he did
torment me! I wouldn't have minded his criticizing the pictures himself:
but I had to agree with him--or else to argue the point, which would have
"It was depreciatory criticism, of course?" said Arthur.
"I don't see the 'of course' at all."
"Why, did you ever know a conceited man dare to praise a picture?
The one thing he dreads (next to not being noticed) is to be proved
fallible! If you once praise a picture, your character for
infallibility hangs by a thread. Suppose it's a figure-picture, and
Sylvie and Bruno
|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 Out of Time's Abyss by Edgar Rice Burroughs:
and behind as the first premonition of danger he had received
was when the long, clawlike fingers had clutched him beneath
either arm. In the melee his rifle had been discharged and he
had broken away at the same instant and turned to defend himself
with the butt. The rest they had seen.
From that instant James was an absolutely broken man.
He maintained with shaking lips that his doom was sealed, that
the thing had marked him for its own, and that he was as good as
dead, nor could any amount of argument or raillery convince him
to the contrary. He had seen Tippet marked and claimed and now
he had been marked. Nor were his constant reiterations of this
Out of Time's Abyss