|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Ursula by Honore de Balzac:
future in a manner to win that old man's respect."
"If it were not you, Monsieur l'abbe," said Madame de Portenduere, "if
it were any one else who spoke to me in that way--"
"You would not see him again," said the abbe, smiling. "Let us hope
that your dear son will enlighten you as to what occurs in Paris in
these days as to marriages. You will think only of Savinien's good; as
you really have helped to compromise his future you will not stand in
the way of his making himself another position."
"And it is you who say that to me?"
"If I did not say it to you, who would?" cried the abbe rising and
making a hasty retreat.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Battle of the Books by Jonathan Swift:
the part of the aggressor.
Now whoever will please to take this scheme, and either reduce or
adapt it to an intellectual state or commonwealth of learning, will
soon discover the first ground of disagreement between the two
great parties at this time in arms, and may form just conclusions
upon the merits of either cause. But the issue or events of this
war are not so easy to conjecture at; for the present quarrel is so
inflamed by the warm heads of either faction, and the pretensions
somewhere or other so exorbitant, as not to admit the least
overtures of accommodation. This quarrel first began, as I have
heard it affirmed by an old dweller in the neighbourhood, about a
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia by Samuel Johnson:
hungry; he is again fed, and is at rest. I am hungry and thirsty,
like him, but when thirst and hunger cease, I am not at rest. I
am, like him, pained with want, but am not, like him, satisfied
with fulness. The intermediate hours are tedious and gloomy; I
long again to be hungry that I may again quicken the attention.
The birds peck the berries or the corn, and fly away to the groves,
where they sit in seeming happiness on the branches, and waste
their lives in tuning one unvaried series of sounds. I likewise
can call the lutist and the singer; but the sounds that pleased me
yesterday weary me to-day, and will grow yet more wearisome to-
morrow. I can discover in me no power of perception which is not
|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 Figure in the Carpet by Henry James:
happy pair went down to Torquay for their honeymoon, and there, in
a reckless hour, it occurred to poor Corvick to take his young
bride a drive. He had no command of that business: this had been
brought home to me of old in a little tour we had once made
together in a dogcart. In a dogcart he perched his companion for a
rattle over Devonshire hills, on one of the likeliest of which he
brought his horse, who, it was true, had bolted, down with such
violence that the occupants of the cart were hurled forward and
that he fell horribly on his head. He was killed on the spot;
Gwendolen escaped unhurt.
I pass rapidly over the question of this unmitigated tragedy, of