|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from At the Sign of the Cat & Racket by Honore de Balzac:
way. Outward things are, to fools, half of life; and in that matter
more than one clever man is a fool, in spite of all his talent. But I
dare wager you never could refuse your Theodore anything!"
"How refuse anything, madame, if one loves a man?"
"Poor innocent, I could adore you for your simplicity. You should know
that the more we love the less we should allow a man, above all, a
husband, to see the whole extent of our passion. The one who loves
most is tyrannized over, and, which is worse, is sooner or later
neglected. The one who wishes to rule should----"
"What, madame, must I then dissimulate, calculate, become false, form
an artificial character, and live in it? How is it possible to live in
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Falk by Joseph Conrad:
money! Eh? You are very friendly with Captain
Hermann I believe, but a man is bound to be pleased
at any little advantage he may get. Captain Her-
mann is a good business man, and there's no such
thing as a friend in business. Is there?" He
leaned forward and began to cast stealthy glances
as usual. "But Falk is, and always was, a misera-
ble fellow. I would despise him."
I muttered, grumpily, that I had no particular
respect for Falk.
"I would despise him," he insisted, with an ap-
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary) by Dante Alighieri:
v. 87. The living rafters.] The leafless woods on the Apennine.
v. 90. The land whereon no shadow falls.] "When the wind blows,
from off Africa, where, at the time of the equinox, bodies being
under the equator cast little or no shadow; or, in other words,
when the wind is south."
v. 98. The ice.] Milton has transferred this conceit, though
scarcely worth the pains of removing, into one of his Italian
v. 3. With lateral edge.] The words of Beatrice, when not
addressed directly to himself, but speaking to the angel of hell,
The Divine Comedy (translated by H.F. Cary)
|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 The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde:
"My good creature," cried the Rocket in a very haughty tone of
voice, "I see that you belong to the lower orders. A person of my
position is never useful. We have certain accomplishments, and
that is more than sufficient. I have no sympathy myself with
industry of any kind, least of all with such industries as you seem
to recommend. Indeed, I have always been of opinion that hard work
is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do."
"Well, well," said the Duck, who was of a very peaceable
disposition, and never quarrelled with any one, "everybody has
different tastes. I hope, at any rate, that you are going to take
up your residence here."