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Today's Stichomancy for Ambrose Bierce

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Main Street by Sinclair Lewis:

but always at the end it gave a lively metallic clang, and in the stillness she heard the flump of the cut stick falling on the pile.

She threw a motor robe over her, ran out. Bjornstam welcomed her, "Well, well, well! Here's old Miles, fresh as ever. Well say, that's all right; he ain't even begun to be cheeky yet; next summer he's going to take you out on his horse-trading trip, clear into Idaho."

"Yes, and I may go!"

"How's tricks? Crazy about the town yet?"

"No, but I probably shall be, some day."

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Essays of Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson:

down about the shoulders of the hill in wide folds, instead of lying flatly along the summit. The trees grew so close, and their boughs were so matted together, that the whole wood looked as dense as a bush of heather. The prevailing colour was a dull, smouldering red, touched here and there with vivid yellow. But the autumn had scarce advanced beyond the outworks; it was still almost summer in the heart of the wood; and as soon as I had scrambled through the hedge, I found myself in a dim green forest atmosphere under eaves of virgin foliage. In places where the wood had itself for a background and the trees were massed together thickly, the colour became intensified and almost gem-like: a perfect fire green, that seemed none the less

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft:

regulations, which were generally settled before he rose, or a walk, gave a glow to my countenance, that contrasted with his squallid appearance. The squeamishness of stomach alone, produced by the last night's intemperance, which he took no pains to conceal, destroyed my appetite. I think I now see him lolling in an arm-chair, in a dirty powdering gown, soiled linen, ungartered stockings, and tangled hair, yawning and stretching himself. The newspaper was immediately called for, if not brought in on the tea-board, from which he would scarcely lift his eyes while I poured out the tea, excepting to ask for some brandy to put into it, or to declare that he could not eat. In answer to any question, in his best humour,

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 Long Odds by H. Rider Haggard:

blankets for the sake of such a worthless old creature. 'Why did I not leave her in the bush?' he asked. Those people carry the doctrine of the survival of the fittest to its extreme, you see.

"It was the night after I had got rid of the old woman that I made my first acquaintance with my friend yonder," and he nodded towards the skull that seemed to be grinning down at us in the shadow of the wide mantelshelf. "I had trekked from dawn till eleven o'clock--a long trek--but I wanted to get on, and had turned the oxen out to graze, sending the voorlooper to look after them, my intention being to inspan again about six o'clock, and trek with the moon till ten. Then I got into the waggon and had a good sleep till half-past two or so in the


Long Odds