|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Ancient Regime by Charles Kingsley:
Are you so sure of that? There was an age of progress once. But
what is our age--what is all which has befallen since 1815--save
after-swells of that great storm, which are weakening and lulling
into heavy calm? Are we on the eve of stagnation? Of a long check
to the human intellect? Of a new Byzantine era, in which little men
will discuss, and ape, the deeds which great men did in their
What progress--it is a question which some will receive with almost
angry surprise--what progress has the human mind made since 1815?
If the thought be startling, do me the great honour of taking it
home, and verifying for yourselves its truth or its falsehood. I do
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Rig Veda:
1. PUT forth like a wide-spreading net thy vigour; go like
King with his attendants.
Thou, following thy swift net, shootest arrows: transfix the
with darts that burn most fiercely.
2 Forth go in rapid flight thy whirling weapons: follow them
glowing in thy fury.
Spread with thy tongue the winged flames, O Agni; unfettered,
The Rig Veda
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Albert Savarus by Honore de Balzac:
provinces are regarded as bigwigs. Each man represented on an average
six votes, but in estimating their values they said ten, for men
always begin by exaggerating their own influence. Among these twenty-
seven was one who was wholly devoted to the Prefet, one false brother
who secretly looked for some favor from the Ministry, either for
himself or for some one belonging to him.
At this preliminary meeting, it was agreed that Savaron the lawyer
should be named as candidate, a motion received with such enthusiasm
as no one looked for from Besancon. Albert, waiting at home for Alfred
Boucher to fetch him, was chatting with the Abbe de Grancey, who was
interested in this absorbing ambition. Albert had appreciated the
|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 Illustrious Gaudissart by Honore de Balzac:
"If you are not satisfied, Monsieur," he said, "I shall be at the
Soleil d'Or until to-morrow morning, and you will find me ready to
show you what it means to give satisfaction. I fought in July,
"And you shall fight in Vouvray," answered the dyer; "and what is
more, you shall stay here longer than you imagine."
Gaudissart marched off, turning over in his mind this prophetic
remark, which seemed to him full of sinister portent. For the first
time in his life the prince of travellers did not dine jovially. The
whole town of Vouvray was put in a ferment about the "affair" between
Monsieur Vernier and the apostle of Saint-Simonism. Never before had