|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:
and honest as any which we may feel--at the legal murder of Calas.
We must recollect that, if he exposes baseness and foulness with too
cynical a license of speech (in which, indeed, he sinned no more
than had the average of French writers since the days of Montaigne),
he at least never advocates them, as did Le Sage. We must recollect
that, scattered throughout his writings, are words in favour of that
which is just, merciful, magnanimous, and even, at times, in favour
of that which is pure; which proves that in Voltaire, as in most
men, there was a double self--the one sickened to cynicism by the
iniquity and folly which he saw around him--the other, hungering
after a nobler life, and possibly exciting that hunger in one and
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Whirligigs by O. Henry:
from which the groping wayfarer sees, flung against the
sky, the tangled filigree of Moorish iron balconies. Ths
old houses of monsieur stand yet, indomitable against the
century, but their essence is gone. The street is one of
ghosts to whosoever can see them.
A faint heartbeat of the street's ancient glory still sur-
vives in a corner occupied by the Café Carabine d'Or.
Once men gathered there to plot against kings, and to
warn presidents. They do so yet, but they are not the
same kind of men. A brass button will scatter these;
those would have set their faces against an army. Above
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs:
returned Vas Kor. "You ask me to become an assassin in
your stead, and against your jeddak's strict injunctions.
You are in no position, Astok, to dictate to me; but
rather should you be glad to accede to my reasonable
request that you be present, thus sharing the guilt
with me. Why should I bear it all?"
The younger man scowled, but he advanced toward
the locked door, and as it swung in upon its hinges,
he entered the room beyond at the side of Vas Kor.
Across the chamber the girl, hearing them enter, rose
to her feet and faced them. Under the soft copper of her
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
|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 Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte by Karl Marx:
literature, the political names and the intellectual celebrities, the
civil and the criminal law, the "liberte', egalite', fraternite',"
together with the 2d of May 1852--all vanished like a phantasmagoria
before the ban of one man, whom his enemies themselves do not pronounce
an adept at witchcraft. Universal suffrage seems to have survived only
for a moment, to the end that, before the eyes of the whole world, it
should make its own testament with its own hands, and, in the name of
the people, declare: "All that exists deserves to perish."
It is not enough to say, as the Frenchmen do, that their nation was
taken by surprise. A nation, no more than a woman, is excused for the
unguarded hour when the first adventurer who comes along can do violence