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Today's Stichomancy for B. F. Skinner

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Flame and Shadow by Sara Teasdale:

I saw Orion in the east Burn steadily as long ago.

From windows in my father's house, Dreaming my dreams on winter nights, I watched Orion as a girl Above another city's lights.

Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too, The world's heart breaks beneath its wars, All things are changed, save in the east The faithful beauty of the stars.

A Boy

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain:

go to ruin like a house of cards. There, now, I've made confession, and I feel better; I am a humbug, and I've been one all my life, without knowing it. Let no man call me honest again--I will not have it."

"I-- Well, Mary, I feel a good deal as you do: I certainly do. It seems strange, too, so strange. I never could have believed it-- never."

A long silence followed; both were sunk in thought. At last the wife looked up and said:

"I know what you are thinking, Edward."

Richards had the embarrassed look of a person who is caught.


The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Atheist's Mass by Honore de Balzac:

is hanging with linen over a pot of flowers. My early life was so hard, my dear Bianchon, that I may dispute the palm of Paris suffering with any man living. I have endured everything: hunger and thirst, want of money, want of clothes, of shoes, of linen, every cruelty that penury can inflict. I have blown on my frozen fingers in that PICKLE-JAR OF GREAT MEN, which I should like to see again, now, with you. I worked through a whole winter, seeing my head steam, and perceiving the atmosphere of my own moisture as we see that of horses on a frosty day. I do not know where a man finds the fulcrum that enables him to hold out against such a life.

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 House of Mirth by Edith Wharton:

the other women's lead. But we'll talk of that by and bye--tell me now where you're staying and what your plans are. I don't suppose you're keeping house in there with Grace Stepney, eh?--and it struck me you might be rather at loose ends."

In Lily's present mood there was no resisting the honest friendliness of this appeal, and she said with a smile: "I am at loose ends for the moment, but Gerty Farish is still in town, and she's good enough to let me be with her whenever she can spare the time."

Mrs. Fisher made a slight grimace. "H'm--that's a temperate joy. Oh, I know--Gerty's a trump, and worth all the rest of us put