|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Seraphita by Honore de Balzac:
grow old; you will see it pass away. You exist, but our child has
life; you have outward senses, the child has none, its being is always
inward.' These words were uttered in so strange and supernatural a
voice that I was more affected by them than by the shining of his
face, from which light appeared to exude. His appearance realized the
phantasmal ideas which we form of inspired beings as we read the
prophesies of the Bible. But such effects are not rare among our
mountains, where the nitre of perpetual snows produces extraordinary
phenomena in the human organization.
"I asked him the cause of his emotion. 'Swedenborg came to us; he has
just left me; I have breathed the air of heaven,' he replied. 'Under
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Illustrious Gaudissart by Honore de Balzac:
two casks of wine."
"But he has not got them," said Vernier.
"No matter for that; the affair can be arranged by the payment of an
indemnity. I won't have it said that Vouvray outwitted the illustrious
Madame Margaritis, alarmed at the prospect of a suit in which the
plaintiff would certainly win his case, brought thirty francs to the
placable traveller, who thereupon considered himself quits with the
happiest region of sunny France,--a region which is also, we must add,
the most recalcitrant to new and progressive ideas.
On returning from his trip through the southern departments, the
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Lucile by Owen Meredith:
Is no more, and what rests now is only, in truth,
The hard pupil of life and the world: then, oh, then,
I should wake from a dream, and my life be again
Reconciled to the world; and, released from regret,
Take the lot fate accords to my choice.'
"So we met.
But the danger I did not foresee has occurr'd:
The danger, alas, to yourself! I have err'd.
But happy for both that this error hath been
Discover'd as soon as the danger was seen!
We meet, Alfred Vargrave, no more. I, indeed,
|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 Don Quixote by Miquel de Cervantes:
in Dulcinea's disenchantment if I scourge Sancho against his will;
for, if it is the condition of the remedy that Sancho shall receive
three thousand and odd lashes, what does it matter to me whether he
inflicts them himself, or some one else inflicts them, when the
essential point is that he receives them, let them come from
whatever quarter they may?"
With this idea he went over to Sancho, having first taken
Rocinante's reins and arranged them so as to be able to flog him
with them, and began to untie the points (the common belief is he
had but one in front) by which his breeches were held up; but the
instant he approached him Sancho woke up in his full senses and