|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Letters of Two Brides by Honore de Balzac:
The chalet, my dear, is a good, solid house, with its heating system
and all the conveniences of modern architecture, which can raise a
palace in the compass of a hundred square feet. It contains a suite of
rooms for Gaston and another for me. The ground-floor is occupied by
an ante-room, a parlor, and a dining room. Above our floor again are
three rooms destined for the nurseries. I have five first-rate horses,
a small light coupe, and a two-horse cabriolet. We are only forty-
minutes' drive from Paris; so that, when the spirit moves us to hear
an opera or see a new play, we can start after dinner and return the
same night to our bower. The road is a good one, and passes under the
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from A House of Pomegranates by Oscar Wilde:
sound of the woman weeping for pain.
And at last he spoke to her, and his voice was hard and bitter.
'If in very truth thou art my mother,' he said, 'it had been better
hadst thou stayed away, and not come here to bring me to shame,
seeing that I thought I was the child of some Star, and not a
beggar's child, as thou tellest me that I am. Therefore get thee
hence, and let me see thee no more.'
'Alas! my son,' she cried, 'wilt thou not kiss me before I go? For
I have suffered much to find thee.'
'Nay,' said the Star-Child, 'but thou art too foul to look at, and
rather would I kiss the adder or the toad than thee.'
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Two Poets by Honore de Balzac:
six miles away. Carriers, wheelwrights, posthouses, and inns, every
agency for public conveyance, every industry that lives by road or
river, was crowded together in Lower Angouleme, to avoid the
difficulty of the ascent of the hill. Naturally, too, tanneries,
laundries, and all such waterside trades stood within reach of the
Charente; and along the banks of the river lay the stores of brandy
and great warehouses full of the water-borne raw material; all the
carrying trade of the Charente, in short, had lined the quays with
So the Faubourg of L'Houmeau grew into a busy and prosperous city, a
second Angouleme rivaling the upper town, the residence of the powers
|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 Protagoras by Plato:
The affinity of the Protagoras to the Meno is more doubtful. For there,
although the same question is discussed, 'whether virtue can be taught,'
and the relation of Meno to the Sophists is much the same as that of
Hippocrates, the answer to the question is supplied out of the doctrine of
ideas; the real Socrates is already passing into the Platonic one. At a
later stage of the Platonic philosophy we shall find that both the paradox
and the solution of it appear to have been retracted. The Phaedo, the
Gorgias, and the Philebus offer further corrections of the teaching of the
Protagoras; in all of them the doctrine that virtue is pleasure, or that
pleasure is the chief or only good, is distinctly renounced.
Thus after many preparations and oppositions, both of the characters of men