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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 Domestic Peace by Honore de Balzac:

to your telling me that name?"

"Will you be annoyed with me," answered Madame de Vaudremont, "if a remnant of affection prevents my telling you; and if I forbid you to make the smallest advances to that young lady? It would be at the risk of your life perhaps."

"To lose your good graces, madame, would be worse than to lose my life."

"Martial," said the Countess severely, "she is Madame de Soulanges. Her husband would blow your brains out--if, indeed, you have any----"

"Ha! ha!" laughed the coxcomb. "What! the Colonel can leave the man in peace who has robbed him of your love, and then would fight for his

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Memorabilia by Xenophon:

observation: "It would be sufficiently extraordinary if the keeper of a herd of cattle[20] who was continually thinning and impoverishing his cattle did not admit himself to be a sorry sort of herdsman, but that a ruler of the state who was continually thinning and impoverishing the citizens should neither be ashamed nor admit himself to be a sorry sort of ruler was more extraordinary still." The remark being reported to the government, Socrates was summoned by Critias and Charicles, who proceeded to point out the law and forbade him to converse with the young. "Was it open to him," Socrates inquired of the speaker, "in case he failed to understand their commands in any point, to ask for an explanation?"


The Memorabilia
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce:

defines the matrimonial situation with precision, point and poignancy. A thousand apologies for withholding it.

YOUTH, n. The Period of Possibility, when Archimedes finds a fulcrum, Cassandra has a following and seven cities compete for the honor of endowing a living Homer.

Youth is the true Saturnian Reign, the Golden Age on earth again, when figs are grown on thistles, and pigs betailed with whistles and, wearing silken bristles, live ever in clover, and clows fly over, delivering milk at every door, and Justice never is heard to snore, and every assassin is made a ghost and, howling, is cast into Baltimost!


The Devil's Dictionary
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 Secret Places of the Heart by H. G. Wells:

slightly wounded by a stray shell near Arras while I was inspecting some plant I had set up, and also I was hit by a stray knighthood. So my name is now Sir Richmond Hardy. My friend is a very distinguished Harley Street physician. Chiefly nervous and mental cases. His name is Dr. Martineau. He is quite as civilized as I am. He is also a philosophical writer. He is really a very wise and learned man indeed. He is full of ideas. He's stimulated me tremendously. You must talk to him."

Sir Richmond glanced over his shoulder at the subject of these commendations. Through the oval window glared an