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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 Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain:

a business here that would satisfy any man, don't care who he is. Five years ago, lodged in an attic; live in a swell house now, with a mansard roof, and all the modern inconveniences.'

'Does a coffin pay so well. Is there much profit on a coffin?'

'Go-way! How you talk!' Then, with a confidential wink, a dropping of the voice, and an impressive laying of his hand on my arm; 'Look here; there's one thing in this world which isn't ever cheap. That's a coffin. There's one thing in this world which a person don't ever try to jew you down on. That's a coffin. There's one thing in this world which a person don't say--"I'll look around a little, and if I find I can't do better I'll come back and take it."

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Gobseck by Honore de Balzac:

" 'Precisely,' said he. "Ah, by the by, you will allow me to go to see you?' (Plainly the old man found it not so easy to assume the air of good-humor.)

" 'I shall always be glad.'

" 'Ah! yes, but it would be very difficult to arrange of a morning. You will have your affairs to attend to, and I have mine.'

" 'Then come in the evening.'

" 'Oh, no!' he answered briskly, 'you ought to go into society and see your clients, and I myself have my friends at my cafe.'

" 'His friends!' thought I to myself.--'Very well,' said I, 'why not come at dinner-time?'

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Lesser Bourgeoisie by Honore de Balzac:

I'll break off short with your du Portail."

"Trying to overreach you, monseigneur!" replied Cerizet, in the tone and manner of Frederic Lemaitre. "Who would dare attempt it?"

As he pronounced those words in a slightly mocking tone, Dutocq appeared, accompanied by his little clerk.

"Bless me!" he exclaimed, seeing la Peyrade and Cerizet together; "here's the trinity reconstituted! but the object of the alliance, the 'casus foederis,' has floated off. What have you done to that good Brigitte, la Peyrade? She is after your blood."

"What about Thuillier?" asked la Peyrade.

Moliere was reversed; here was Tartuffe inquiring for Orgon.

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 Aeneid by Virgil:

In his strong talons truss'd a silver swan. Th' Italians wonder at th' unusual sight; But, while he lags, and labors in his flight, Behold, the dastard fowl return anew, And with united force the foe pursue: Clam'rous around the royal hawk they fly, And, thick'ning in a cloud, o'ershade the sky. They cuff, they scratch, they cross his airy course; Nor can th' incumber'd bird sustain their force; But vex'd, not vanquish'd, drops the pond'rous prey, And, lighten'd of his burthen, wings his way.