|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Atheist's Mass by Honore de Balzac:
then studied the constant assimilation by living beings, of the
elements contained in the atmosphere, or yielded by the earth to
man who absorbs them, deriving from them a particular expression
of life? Did he work it all out by the power of deduction and
analogy, to which we owe the genius of Cuvier? Be this as it may,
this man was in all the secrets of the human frame; he knew it in
the past and in the future, emphasizing the present.
But did he epitomize all science in his own person as Hippocrates
did and Galen and Aristotle? Did he guide a whole school towards
new worlds? No. Though it is impossible to deny that this
persistent observer of human chemistry possessed that antique
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Secrets of the Princesse de Cadignan by Honore de Balzac:
by her mother, the Duchesse d'Uxelles, who was living on her estate in
the country, where she economized as old duchesses alone know how to
economize; for Harpagon is a mere novice compared to them. The
princess still retained some of her past relations with the exiled
royal family; and it was in her house that the marshal to whom we owe
the conquest of Africa had conferences, at the time of "Madame's"
attempt in La Vendee, with the principal leaders of legitimist
opinion,--so great was the obscurity in which the princess lived, and
so little distrust did the government feel for her in her present
Beholding the approach of that terrible fortieth year, the bankruptcy
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Red Seal by Natalie Sumner Lincoln:
knew what it was to lack attention, even her own sex were known on
occasions to give her gowns and, (what captious critics termed her
"frivolous conduct") undivided attention.
"Can I look up the number for you?" the secretary asked as Mrs.
Brewster took up the telephone book and fumbled for the gold chain
of her lorgnette.
"Oh, thank you," her smile showed each pretty dimple. "I wish to
speak to Mr. Kent, of the firm of Rochester and Kent."
"Harry Kent?" The young secretary dropped the book without looking
at it, and gave a number to the operator, and then handed the
instrument to Mrs. Brewster.
The Red Seal
|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 A Horse's Tale by Mark Twain:
their way. It went on for an hour, then the tired child went to
sleep, and it was pitiful to hear her moan and nestle, and I
couldn't do anything for her. All the time I was laying for the
wolves. They are in my line; I have had experience. At last the
boldest one ventured within my lines, and I landed him among his
friends with some of his skull still on him, and they did the rest.
In the next hour I got a couple more, and they went the way of the
first one, down the throats of the detachment. That satisfied the
survivors, and they went away and left us in peace.
"We hadn't any more adventures, though I kept awake all night and
was ready. From midnight on the child got very restless, and out