|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Firm of Nucingen by Honore de Balzac:
a tandem dog-cart, riding on the wheeler, postilion fashion; his legs
did not reach the shafts, he looked in fact very much like one of the
cherub heads circling about the Eternal Father in old Italian
pictures. But an English journalist wrote a delicious description of
the little angel, in the course of which he said that Paddy was quite
too pretty for a tiger; in fact, he offered to bet that Paddy was a
tame tigress. The description, on the heads of it, was calculated to
poison minds and end in something 'improper.' And the superlative of
'improper' is the way to the gallows. Milord's circumspection was
highly approved by my lady.
"But poor Toby, now that his precise position in insular zoology had
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy:
rattling of wheels on the cobblestones, and the brilliant, hot
sunshine were all full of that summer languor, that content and
discontent with the present, which is most strongly felt on a
bright, hot day in town. All the Moscow notabilities, all the Rostovs'
acquaintances, were at the Razumovskis' chapel, for, as if expecting
something to happen, many wealthy families who usually left town for
their country estates had not gone away that summer. As Natasha, at
her mother's side, passed through the crowd behind a liveried
footman who cleared the way for them, she heard a young man speaking
about her in too loud a whisper.
"That's Rostova, the one who..."
War and Peace
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Coxon Fund by Henry James:
this was surely a subject on which one took everything for granted;
whereupon I admitted that I had perhaps expressed myself ill. What
I referred to was what I had referred to the night we met in Upper
Baker Street--the relative importance (relative to virtue) of other
gifts. She asked me if I called virtue a gift--a thing handed to
us in a parcel on our first birthday; and I declared that this very
enquiry proved to me the problem had already caught her by the
skirt. She would have help however, the same help I myself had
once had, in resisting its tendency to make one cross.
"What help do you mean?"
"That of the member for Clockborough."
|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 Pierrette by Honore de Balzac:
by the beautiful Bathilde de Chargeboeuf. This passion had now become
intense, like all the last passions of men. Bathilde's voice made him
tremble. Absorbed in his desires Rogron hid them; he dared not hope
for such a marriage. To sound him, the colonel mentioned that he was
thinking himself of asking for Bathilde's hand. Rogron turned pale at
the thought of such a formidable rival, and had since then shown
coldness and even hatred to Gouraud.
Thus Vinet reigned supreme in the Rogron household while he, the
colonel, had no hold there except by the extremely hypothetical tie of
his mendacious affection for Sylvie, which it was not yet clear that
Sylvie reciprocated. When the lawyer told him of the priest's