|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Paz by Honore de Balzac:
transformation which has made it European, and far more burlesque and
otherwise lively than the late Carnival of Venice. Is it that the
diminishing fortunes of the present time have led Parisians to invent
a way of amusing themselves collectively, as for instance at their
clubs, where they hold salons without hostesses and without manners,
but very cheaply? However this may be, the month of March was prodigal
of balls, at which dancing, joking, coarse fun, excitement, grotesque
figures, and the sharp satire of Parisian wit, produced extravagant
effects. These carnival follies had their special Pandemonium in the
rue Saint-Honore and their Napoleon in Musard, a small man born
expressly to lead an orchestra as noisy as the disorderly audience,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain:
and if there was a defect anywhere, it was not his fault.
He told them a good many humorous anecdotes, and always forgot the nub,
but they were always able to furnish it, for these yarns were of a
pretty early vintage, and they had had many a rejuvenating pull
at them before. And he told them all about his several dignities,
and how he had held this and that and the other place of honor or profit,
and had once been to the legislature, and was now president of the
Society of Freethinkers. He said the society had been in existence
four years, and already had two members, and was firmly established.
He would call for the brothers in the evening, if they would like
to attend a meeting of it.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Nana, Miller's Daughter, Captain Burle, Death of Olivier Becaille by Emile Zola:
open mouth and his nose moving with each successive snore that she
was shaken with a mad fit of laughter. She left the room, followed
by Daguenet and Georges, crossed the dining room, entered the
drawing room, her merriment increasing at every step.
"Oh, my dear, you've no idea!" she cried, almost throwing herself
into Rose's arms. "Come and see it."
All the women had to follow her. She took their hands coaxingly and
drew them along with her willy-nilly, accompanying her action with
so frank an outburst of mirth that they all of them began laughing
on trust. The band vanished and returned after standing
breathlessly for a second or two round Bordenave's lordly,
|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 Spirit of the Border by Zane Grey:
"Would you kill a Christian?" pleaded Nell, her voice sweet and earnest.
"I reckon not, but this Injun ain't one," replied Wetzel slowly.
"Put away your hatchet. Let me have it. Listen, and I will tell you, after
thanking you for this rescue. Do you know of my marriage? Come, please listen!
Forget for a moment your enmity. Oh! you must be merciful! Brave men are
"Injun, are you a Christian?" hissed Wetzel.
"Oh! I know he is! I know he is!" cried Nell, still standing between Wetzel
and the chief.
Wingenund spoke no word. He did not move. His falcon eyes gazed tranquilly at
his white foe. Christian or pagan, he would not speak one word to save his
The Spirit of the Border