|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Pierrette by Honore de Balzac:
spending a fortnight in the city, he had not been able to hold out
against the desire to see her, and he had walked from Saturday night
to Monday morning. He intended to return to Paris; but the moving
sight of his little friend nailed him to Provins. A wonderful
magnetism (still denied in spite of many proofs) acted upon him
without his knowledge. Tears rolled from his eyes when they rose in
hers. If to her he was Brittany and her happy childhood, to him she
was life itself.
At sixteen years of age Brigaut did not yet know how to draw or to
model a cornice; he was ignorant of much, but he had earned, by piece-
work done in the leisure of his apprenticeship, some four or five
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Psychology of Revolution by Gustave le Bon:
to the evidence, that ``all men are equal by nature.''
It would seem that in many of the men of the Revolution
the ardent desire for equality merely concealed an intense need
of inequalities. Napoleon was obliged to re-establish titles of
nobility and decorations for their benefit. Having shown that it
was among the most rabid revolutionists that he found the most
docile instruments of domination, Taine continues:--
``Suddenly, through all their preaching of liberty and equality,
appeared their authoritative instincts, their need of commanding,
even as subordinates, and also, in most cases, an appetite for
money or for pleasure. Between the delegate of the Committee of
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Lay Morals by Robert Louis Stevenson:
Certainly I, too, was shipwrecked,' he continued, plucking at
the grass. 'There was never a more desperate castaway - to
fall from polite life, fortune, a shrine of honour, a
grateful conscience, duties willingly taken up and faithfully
discharged; and to fall to this - idleness, poverty,
inutility, remorse.' He seemed to have forgotten her
presence, but here he remembered her again. 'Nance,' said
he, 'would you have a man sit down and suffer or rise up and
'Nay,' she said. 'I would always rather see him doing.'
'Ha!' said Mr. Archer, 'but yet you speak from an imperfect
|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 Wrong Box by Stevenson & Osbourne:
intellectual effort, he stood there silent. Here was a last
injustice; he had been robbed while he was an orphan at school,
he had been lashed to a decadent leather business, he had been
saddled with Miss Hazeltine, his cousin had been defrauding him
of the tontine, and he had borne all this, we might almost say,
with dignity, and now they had gone and killed his uncle!
'Here!' he said suddenly, 'take his heels, we must get him into
the woods. I'm not going to have anybody find this.'
'O, fudge!' said John, 'where's the use?'
'Do what I tell you,' spirted Morris, as he took the corpse by
the shoulders. 'Am I to carry him myself?'