|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Maitre Cornelius by Honore de Balzac:
would enter the body. The young man determined to use this latter
blade to saw through the wood around the lock. Happily for him the
staple of the lock was put on to the outside of the door by four stout
screws. By the help of his dagger he managed, not without great
difficulty, to unscrew and remove it altogether, carefully laying it
aside and the four screws with it. By midnight he was free, and he
went down the stairs without his shoes to reconnoitre the localities.
He was not a little astonished to find a door wide open which led down
a corridor to several chambers, at the end of which corridor was a
window opening on a depression caused by the junction of the roofs of
the hotel de Poitiers and that of the Malemaison which met there.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Don Quixote by Miquel de Cervantes:
I mean to bear in mind shall be this, not to belch, for I'm constantly
"Eruct, Sancho, not belch," said Don Quixote.
"Eruct, I shall say henceforth, and I swear not to forget it,"
"Likewise, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "thou must not mingle such a
quantity of proverbs in thy discourse as thou dost; for though
proverbs are short maxims, thou dost drag them in so often by the head
and shoulders that they savour more of nonsense than of maxims."
"God alone can cure that," said Sancho; "for I have more proverbs in
me than a book, and when I speak they come so thick together into my
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Charmides by Plato:
seizing my hand, and saying, How did you escape, Socrates?--(I should
explain that an engagement had taken place at Potidaea not long before we
came away, of which the news had only just reached Athens.)
You see, I replied, that here I am.
There was a report, he said, that the engagement was very severe, and that
many of our acquaintance had fallen.
That, I replied, was not far from the truth.
I suppose, he said, that you were present.
Then sit down, and tell us the whole story, which as yet we have only heard
|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 Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton:
breadths run together, Miss Bunner? Here's the sleeves. I'll pin
'em together." She drew a cluster of pins from her mouth, in which
she seemed to secrete them as squirrels stow away nuts. "There,"
she said, rolling up her work, "you go right away to bed, Miss
Evelina, and we'll set up a little later to-morrow night. I guess
you're a mite nervous, ain't you? I know when my turn comes I'll
be scared to death."
With this arch forecast she withdrew, and Ann Eliza, returning
to the back room, found Evelina still listlessly seated by the
table. True to her new policy of silence, the elder sister set
about folding up the bridal dress; but suddenly Evelina said in a