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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 Michael Strogoff by Jules Verne:

Kimilteiskoe was at last entered. From the top of a hill, Nadia saw in the horizon a long light line. It was the Dinka River. A few lightning flashes were reflected in the water; summer lightning, without thunder. Nadia led her companion through the ruined village. The cinders were quite cold. The last of the Tartars had passed through at least five or six days before.

Beyond the village, Nadia sank down on a stone bench. "Shall we make a halt?" asked Michael.

"It is night, Michael," answered Nadia. "Do you not want to rest a few hours?"

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Margret Howth: A Story of To-day by Rebecca Harding Davis:

intolerable meaning in his eyes. Her own quailed and fell.

"Does it hurt you that I should even look at you?" he said, drawing back. "Why, even the sainted dead suffer us to come near them after they have died to us,--to touch their hands, to kiss their lips, to find what look they left in their faces for us. Be patient, for the sake of the old time. My whim is not satisfied yet."

"I am patient."

"Tell me something of yourself, to take with me when I go, for the last time. Shall I think of you as happy in these days?"

"I am contented,"--the words oozing from her white lips in the


Margret Howth: A Story of To-day
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Weir of Hermiston by Robert Louis Stevenson:

the work, by a' that I hear! God's Remnant! The deil's clavers! There wasna muckle Christianity in the way Hob guided Johnny Dickieson, at the least of it; but Guid kens! Is he a Christian even? He might be a Mahommedan or a Deevil or a Fire-worshipper, for what I ken."

The third brother had his name on a door-plate, no less, in the city of Glasgow, "Mr. Clement Elliott," as long as your arm. In his case, that spirit of innovation which had shown itself timidly in the case of Hob by the admission of new manures, and which had run to waste with Gilbert in subversive politics and heretical religions, bore useful fruit in many ingenious mechanical improvements. In boyhood, from his addiction to strange devices of sticks and string, he had been counted the most

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 Euthydemus by Plato:

thing, and sometimes another thing?

Always, I replied, when I know, I know with this.

Will you not cease adding to your answers?

My fear is that this word 'always' may get us into trouble.

You, perhaps, but certainly not us. And now answer: Do you always know with this?

Always; since I am required to withdraw the words 'when I know.'

You always know with this, or, always knowing, do you know some things with this, and some things with something else, or do you know all things with this?

All that I know, I replied, I know with this.