|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Z. Marcas by Honore de Balzac:
is highly venerated in Brittany, and Marcas was a Breton.
Study the name once more: Z Marcas! The man's whole life lies in this
fantastic juxtaposition of seven letters; seven! the most significant
of all the cabalistic numbers. And he died at five-and-thirty, so his
life extended over seven lustres.
Marcas! Does it not hint of some precious object that is broken with a
fall, with or without a crash?
I had finished studying the law in Paris in 1836. I lived at that time
in the Rue Corneille in a house where none but students came to lodge,
one of those large houses where there is a winding staircase quite at
the back lighted below from the street, higher up by borrowed lights,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Koran:
questioned as to that which ye have done.
Take not therefore your oaths for mutual intrigue, lest a foot
slip after being planted firmly, and ye taste of evil for that ye
turned folks off the path of God, and for you there be mighty woe!
And sell not God's covenant for a little price; with God only is
what is better for you, if ye did but know.
What ye have is spent, but what God has endures; and we will
recompense the patient with their hire for the best deeds they have
Whoso acts aright, male or female, and is a believer, we will
quicken with a goodly life; and we will recompense them with their
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Juana by Honore de Balzac:
Italian faces which a woman ever dreamed of in all its delicate
proportions. This face, not unlike the type which Girodet has given to
the dying young Turk, in the "Revolt at Cairo," was instinct with that
melancholy by which all women are more or less duped.
The Marquis de Montefiore possessed an entailed property, but his
income was mortgaged for a number of years to pay off the costs of
certain Italian escapades which are inconceivable in Paris. He had
ruined himself in supporting a theatre at Milan in order to force upon
a public a very inferior prima donna, whom he was said to love madly.
A fine future was therefore before him, and he did not care to risk it
for the paltry distinction of a bit of red ribbon. He was not a brave
|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 Persuasion by Jane Austen:
for your sex?" and she answered the question, smiling also,
"Yes. We certainly do not forget you as soon as you forget us.
It is, perhaps, our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves.
We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us.
You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits,
business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately,
and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions."
"Granting your assertion that the world does all this so soon for men
(which, however, I do not think I shall grant), it does not apply
to Benwick. He has not been forced upon any exertion. The peace
turned him on shore at the very moment, and he has been living with us,