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Today's Stichomancy for Douglas Adams

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad:

thought of nothing else but the glory of winning the race would never attain to any eminence of reputation. The genuine masters of their craft - I say this confidently from my experience of ships - have thought of nothing but of doing their very best by the vessel under their charge. To forget one's self, to surrender all personal feeling in the service of that fine art, is the only way for a seaman to the faithful discharge of his trust.

Such is the service of a fine art and of ships that sail the sea. And therein I think I can lay my finger upon the difference between the seamen of yesterday, who are still with us, and the seamen of to-morrow, already entered upon the possession of their


The Mirror of the Sea
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas:

was walking up and down within that inclosure.

It was D'Artagnan, who was waiting for him.

"Cane hither," said Mazarin in his softest voice; "I have an order to give you."

D'Artagnan bent low and following the cardinal up the secret staircase, soon found himself in the study whence they had first set out.

The cardinal seated himself before his bureau and taking a sheet of paper wrote some lines upon it, whilst D'Artagnan stood imperturbable, without showing either impatience or curiosity. He was like a soldierly automaton, or rather,


Twenty Years After
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Confessio Amantis by John Gower:

As toward his condicioun. This yonge lord Narcizus hihte: No strengthe of love bowe mihte His herte, which is unaffiled; Bot ate laste he was beguiled: For of the goddes pourveance It fell him on a dai par chance, 2290 That he in all his proude fare Unto the forest gan to fare, Amonges othre that ther were To hunte and to desporte him there.


Confessio Amantis
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 Lin McLean by Owen Wister:

"You bet you are!" said the incorrigible McLean. He let her go into the station serenely. "You can't get used to new ideas in a minute," he remarked to me. "I've figured on all that, of course. But that's why," he broke out, impetuously, "I quit you on Bear Creek so sudden. 'When she goes back away home,' I'd been saying to myself every day, 'what'll you do then, Lin McLean?' Well, I knew I'd go to Kentucky too. Just knew I'd have to, yu' see, and it was inconvenient, turruble inconvenient--Billy here and my ranch, and the beef round-up comin'--but how could I let her go and forget me? Take up, maybe, with some Blue-grass son-of-a-gun back there? And I hated the fix I was in till that morning, getting up, I was joshin' the Virginia man that's after Miss Wood. I'd been sayin' no