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Today's Stichomancy for Benjamin Franklin

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland by Olive Schreiner:

softly, on tip-toe, he followed the little footpath that the men had trodden going down to the river for water. It led straight up to the Captain's tent, and the little flat-topped tree, with its white stem, and its two gnarled branches spread out on either side. When he was within forty paces of it, he paused. Far over the other side of the camp the two men who were on guard stood chatting by the fire. A dead stillness was over the rest of the camp. The light through the walls of the Captain's tent made all clear at the stem of the little tree; but there was no sound of movement within.

For a moment Peter Halket stood motionless; then he walked up to the tree. The black man hung against the white stem, so closely bound to it that they

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

the importer of goods with open arms); sham deserters may be found occasionally useful.[10] Not, of course, that the confidence you feel in your spies must ever cause you to neglect outpost duty; indeed your state of preparation should at any moment be precisely what it ought to be, supposing the approach or the imminent arrival of the enemy were to be announced. Let a spy be ever so faithful, there is always the risk he may fail to report his intelligence at the critical moment, since the obstacles which present themselves in war are not to be counted on the fingers.

[10] Cf. "Cyrop." VI. i. 39, where one of the Persians, Araspas, undertakes to play this role to good effect.

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from End of the Tether by Joseph Conrad:

mind had remained as incapable of penetrating the sim- plest motives of those he served as they themselves were incapable of detecting through the crust of the earth the secret nature of its heart, which may be fire or may be stone. But he had no doubt whatever that the Sofala was out of the proper track for crossing the bar at Batu Beru.

It was a slight error. The ship could not have been more than twice her own length too far to the north- ward; and a white man at a loss for a cause (since it was impossible to suspect Captain Whalley of blunder-

End of the Tether
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 Dead Souls by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol:

into the hearts of ladies; wherefore, restricting ourselves to the foregoing superficialities, let us proceed further on our way.

Hitherto the ladies had paid Chichikov no particular attention, though giving him full credit for his gentlemanly and urbane demeanour; but from the moment that there arose rumours of his being a millionaire other qualities of his began to be canvassed. Nevertheless, not ALL the ladies were governed by interested motives, since it is due to the term "millionaire" rather than to the character of the person who bears it, that the mere sound of the word exercises upon rascals, upon decent folk, and upon folk who are neither the one nor the other, an undeniable influence. A millionaire suffers from the disadvantage of

Dead Souls