|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Daughter of Eve by Honore de Balzac:
the budget under the powers that be. When so many young ambitions,
starting on foot, give one another rendezvous at the same point, there
is always contention of wills, extreme wretchedness, bitter struggles.
In this dreadful battle, selfishness, the most overbearing or the most
adroit selfishness, gains the victory; and it is envied and applauded
in spite, as Moliere said, of outcries, and we all know it.
When, in his capacity as enemy to the new dynasty, Raoul was
introduced in the salon of Madame de Montcornet, his apparent
grandeurs were flourishing. He was accepted as the political critic of
the de Marsays, the Rastignacs, and the Roche-Hugons, who had stepped
into power. Emile Blondet, the victim of incurable hesitation and of
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott:
changed. Make your home among us, and my sister flowers will soon
learn to love you as you deserve. Not for sweet Lily-Bell's sake,
but for your own, will I become your friend; for you are kind and
gentle now, and worthy of our love. Look up, my little ones, there is
no danger near; look up, and welcome Thistle to our home."
Then the little buds raised their rosy faces, danced again upon
their stems, and nodded kindly at Thistle, who smiled on them through
happy tears, and kissed the sweet, forgiving rose, who loved and
trusted him when most forlorn and friendless.
But the other flowers wondered among themselves, and Hyacinth said,--
"If Rose-Leaf is his friend, surely we may be; yet still I fear he may
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Salammbo by Gustave Flaubert:
brimming cantharus by its rings, raised it straight up into the air
with his outstretched arms, from which his chains hung down, and then
looking to heaven, and still holding the cup he said:
"Hail first to thee, Baal-Eschmoun, the deliverer, whom the people of
my country call Aesculapius! and to you, genii of the fountains,
light, and woods! and to you, ye gods hidden beneath the mountains and
in the caverns of the earth! and to you, strong men in shining armour
who have set me free!"
Then he let fall the cup and related his history. He was called
Spendius. The Carthaginians had taken him in the battle of Aeginusae,
and he thanked the Mercenaries once more in Greek, Ligurian and Punic;
|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 Christ in Flanders by Honore de Balzac:
"Let us have no more of your Holy Virgin at present," the skipper
cried to the passengers. "Put your hands to the scoops and bail the
water out of the boat.--And the rest of you," he went on, addressing
the sailors, "pull with all your might! Now is the time; in the name
of the devil who is leaving you in this world, be your own Providence!
Every one knows that the channel is fearfully dangerous; I have been
to and fro across it these thirty years. Am I facing a storm for the
first time to-night?"
He stood at the helm, and looked, as before, at his boat and at the
sea and sky in turn.