|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Vicar of Tours by Honore de Balzac:
exacts, have, as a general thing, a mania for making others give way
to them. In Mademoiselle Gamard this sentiment had degenerated into
despotism, but a despotism that could only exercise itself on little
things. For instance (among a hundred other examples), the basket of
counters placed on the card-table for the Abbe Birotteau was to stand
exactly where she placed it; and the abbe annoyed her terribly by
moving it, which he did nearly every evening. How is this
sensitiveness stupidly spent on nothings to be accounted for? what is
the object of it? No one could have told in this case; Mademoiselle
Gamard herself knew no reason for it. The vicar, though a sheep by
nature, did not like, any more than other sheep, to feel the crook too
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Barlaam and Ioasaph by St. John of Damascus:
bondman and adulterer be a god?
"Dionysus they show as a god, who leadeth nightly orgies, and
teacheth drunkenness, and carrieth off his neighbours' wives, a
madman and an exile, finally slain by the Titans. If then
Dionysus was slain and unable to help himself, nay, further was a
madman, a drunkard, and vagabond, how could he be a god?
"Herakles, too, is represented as drunken and mad, as slaying his
own children, then consuming with fire and thus dying. How then
could a drunkard and slayer of his own children, burnt to death
by fire, be a god? Or how can he help others who could not help
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Riverman by Stewart Edward White:
blue eyes and a humorously quirked mouth redeemed his countenance
He spread his feet apart and surveyed the scene.
"Well, boys," he remarked at last in a rollicking big voice, "I'm
glad to see the situation hasn't spoiled your appetites."
At this they looked up with a spontaneous answering grin. Tom North
laid aside his plate and started to arise.
"Sit still, Tom," interposed the newcomer. "Eat hearty. I'm going
to feed yet myself. Then we'll see what's to be done. I think
first thing you'd better see to having this wind turned off."
After the meal was finished, North and his principal sauntered to
|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 Eve and David by Honore de Balzac:
judgment was given before Desroches expected it. Lucien's creditor was
pushing on the proceedings against him. A second execution was put in,
and again Coralie's pilasters were gilded with placards. Desroches
felt rather foolish; a colleague had "caught him napping," to use his
own expression. He demurred, not without reason, that the furniture
belonged to Mlle. Coralie, with whom Lucien was living, and demanded
an order for inquiry. Thereupon the judge referred the matter to the
registrar for inquiry, the furniture was proved to belong to the
actress, and judgment was entered accordingly. Metivier appealed, and
judgment was confirmed on appeal on the 30th of June.
On the 7th of August, Maitre Cachan received by the coach a bulky