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Today's Stichomancy for Enrico Fermi

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

fourteen years old, she realised her position and came to that conclusion, the only one possible to a Malay girl, soon ripened under a tropical sun, and not unaware of her personal charms, of which she heard many a young brave warrior of her father's crew express an appreciative admiration. There was in her the dread of the unknown; otherwise she accepted her position calmly, after the manner of her people, and even considered it quite natural; for was she not a daughter of warriors, conquered in battle, and did she not belong rightfully to the victorious Rajah? Even the evident kindness of the terrible old man must spring, she thought, from admiration for his captive, and the flattered


Almayer's Folly
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Somebody's Little Girl by Martha Young:

little girl.

Always Sister Angela sat a little way off from the row of the little girls. She always sat on a bench under the great magnoliatree and watched the tiny girls as they ate their tiny cakes.

And always the pink checked towel waved itself ever so softly to and fro on the lowest limb of the arbor-vitae-tree, for that was the way that pink checked towels did to help to dry themselves after helping to dry so many little pink fingers. Often, so often, little brown sparrows came hopping to the gravel to pick up any tiny crumbs of cake that the little girls dropped, but you may be sure that they did not drop so very many, many little brown crumbs for little brown

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

almost as potent as her presence. All other women are as shadows compared with her. Not until we have lost or known the dread of losing a love so vast and glorious, do we prize it at its just worth. And if a man who has once possessed this love shuts himself out from it by his own act and deed, and sinks to some loveless marriage; if by some incident, hidden in the obscurity of married life, the woman with whom he hoped to know the same felicity makes it clear that it will never be revived for him; if, with the sweetness of divine love still on his lips, he has dealt a deadly wound to /her/, his wife in truth, whom he forsook for a social chimera,--then he must either die or take refuge in a materialistic, selfish, and heartless philosophy, from which

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 Plutarch's Lives by A. H. Clough:

leads to safety. Though it must be confessed, it is a nice point and extremely difficult, so to temper this lenity as to preserve the authority of the government. But if such a blessed mixture and temperament may be obtained, it seems to be of all concords and harmonies the most concordant and most harmonious. For thus we are taught even God governs the world, not by irresistible force, but persuasive argument and reason, controlling it into compliance with his eternal purposes.

Cato the younger is a similar instance. His manners were little agreeable or acceptable to the people, and he received very slender marks of their favor; witness his repulse when he sued for