|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Chouans by Honore de Balzac:
enemies, were apparently the best of friends. The young man then
discovered that he felt as angry with Mademoiselle de Verneuil for her
friendliness and freedom as he had been with her reserve. In fact, he
was so annoyed by it that he regretted, with a sort of dumb anger,
having allowed her to breakfast with them.
"Madame," said Mademoiselle de Verneuil, "is your son always as gloomy
as he is at this moment?"
"Mademoiselle," he replied, "I ask myself what is the good of a
fleeting happiness. The secret of my gloom is the evanescence of my
"That is a madrigal," she said, laughing, "which rings of the Court
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Hated Son by Honore de Balzac:
vigorous a movement that she cried aloud, in a voice that seemed like
a sigh, "Poor babe!"
She said no more; there are ideas that a mother cannot bear. Incapable
of reasoning at this moment, the countess was almost choked with the
intensity of a suffering as yet unknown to her. Two tears, escaping
from her eyes, rolled slowly down her cheeks, and traced two shining
lines, remaining suspended at the bottom of that white face, like
dewdrops on a lily. What learned man would take upon himself to say
that the child unborn is on some neutral ground, where the emotions of
its mother do not penetrate during those hours when soul clasps body
and communicates its impressions, when thought permeates blood with
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad:
ning to find out what sort of man she had married.
He looked upon the sea with indifferent, unseeing
eyes. His wife had snatched the child out of his
arms one day as he sat on the doorstep crooning to
it a song such as the mothers sing to babies in his
mountains. She seemed to think he was doing it
some harm. Women are funny. And she had ob-
jected to him praying aloud in the evening. Why?
He expected the boy to repeat the prayer aloud
after him by-and-by, as he used to do after his old
father when he was a child--in his own country.
|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 Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen:
John Thorpe, who had only waited its arrival to begin his
journey to London, prepared to set off. "Well, Miss Morland,"
said he, on finding her alone in the parlour, "I am come
to bid you good-bye." Catherine wished him a good journey.
Without appearing to hear her, he walked to the window,
fidgeted about, hummed a tune, and seemed wholly
"Shall not you be late at Devizes?" said Catherine.
He made no answer; but after a minute's silence burst
out with, "A famous good thing this marrying scheme,
upon my soul! A clever fancy of Morland's and Belle's.