|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Cousin Betty by Honore de Balzac:
necessity, had discovered too late the mistakes she had been
involuntarily led into by her excessive love. Still, the worthy
daughter of her mother, her heart ached at the thought of worrying
Wenceslas; she loved her dear poet too much to become his torturer;
and she could foresee the hour when beggary awaited her, her child,
and her husband.
"Come, come, my child," said Lisbeth, seeing the tears in her cousin's
lovely eyes, "you must not despair. A glassful of tears will not buy a
plate of soup. How much do you want?"
"Well, five or six thousand francs."
"I have but three thousand at the most," said Lisbeth. "And what is
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Ten Years Later by Alexandre Dumas:
"Your pardon, young gentleman; but your name, if you
"The Vicomte de Bragelonne, on the part of his highness M.
le Prince de Conde."
The soldier made a profound bow, and, as if the name of the
conqueror of Rocroy and Sens had given him wings, he stepped
lightly up the steps leading to the ante-chamber.
M. de Bragelonne had not had time to fasten his horse to the
iron bars of the perron, when M. de Saint-Remy came running,
out of breath, supporting his capacious body with one hand,
whilst with the other he cut the air as a fisherman cleaves
Ten Years Later
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Youth by Joseph Conrad:
vast hold, gloomy like a cavern, the tallow dips stuck
and flickering on the beams, the gale howling above, the
ship tossing about like mad on her side; there we all
were, Jermyn, the captain, everyone, hardly able to keep
our feet, engaged on that gravedigger's work, and try-
ing to toss shovelfuls of wet sand up to windward. At
every tumble of the ship you could see vaguely in the
dim light men falling down with a great flourish of shov-
els. One of the ship's boys (we had two), impressed by
the weirdness of the scene, wept as if his heart would
break. We could hear him blubbering somewhere in the
|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 Illustrious Gaudissart by Honore de Balzac:
the exchequer of beneficence; a mutual insurance against poverty; or,
if you like it better, the discounting, the cashing, of talent. For
talent, Monsieur, is a bill of exchange which Nature gives to the man
of genius, and which often has a long time to run before it falls
"That is usury!" cried Margaritis.
"The devil! he's keen, the old fellow! I've made a mistake," thought
Gaudissart, "I must catch him with other chaff. I'll try humbug No. 1.
Not at all," he said aloud, "for you who--"
"Will you take a glass of wine?" asked Margaritis.
"With pleasure," replied Gaudissart.