|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe:
whole journey; I call it the worst, because the way was very deep
in some places, and very uneven in others; the best we had to say
for it was, that we thought we had no troops of Tartars or robbers
to fear, as they never came on this side of the river Oby, or at
least very seldom; but we found it otherwise.
My young lord had a faithful Siberian servant, who was perfectly
acquainted with the country, and led us by private roads, so that
we avoided coming into the principal towns and cities upon the
great road, such as Tumen, Soloy Kamaskoy, and several others;
because the Muscovite garrisons which are kept there are very
curious and strict in their observation upon travellers, and
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from A Daughter of Eve by Honore de Balzac:
"There's a hundred and more thousand francs in them," he remarked.
"Yes," said Raoul, sighing, as he looked at Florine's sumptuous
bedstead; "but I'd rather be a pedler all my life on the boulevard,
and live on fried potatoes, than sell one item of this apartment."
"Not one item," said Blondet; "sell all. Ambition is like death; it
takes all or nothing."
"No, a hundred times no! I would take anything from my new countess;
but rob Florine of her shell? no."
"Upset our money-box, break one's balance-pole, smash our refuge,--
yes, that would be serious," said Blondet with a tragic air.
"It seems to me from what I hear that you want to play politics
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Republic by Plato:
There may come a time when the saying, 'Have I not a right to do what I
will with my own?' will appear to be a barbarous relic of individualism;--
when the possession of a part may be a greater blessing to each and all
than the possession of the whole is now to any one.
Such reflections appear visionary to the eye of the practical statesman,
but they are within the range of possibility to the philosopher. He can
imagine that in some distant age or clime, and through the influence of
some individual, the notion of common property may or might have sunk as
deep into the heart of a race, and have become as fixed to them, as private
property is to ourselves. He knows that this latter institution is not
more than four or five thousand years old: may not the end revert to 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 Off on a Comet by Jules Verne:
rate of interest, or without demanding far more than an adequate security.
Count Timascheff, a Russian nobleman, was evidently rich;
to him perhaps, for a proper consideration, a loan might be made:
Captain Servadac was a Gascon, and Gascons are proverbially poor;
it would never do to lend any money to him; but here was a professor,
a mere man of science, with circumscribed means; did _he_ expect to borrow?
Certainly Isaac would as soon think of flying, as of lending money to him.
Such were the thoughts that made him receive all Rosette's approaches
with a careful reservation.
It was not long, however, before Hakkabut was to be called upon
to apply his money to a purpose for which he had not reckoned.