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Today's Stichomancy for Harry Houdini

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Moby Dick by Herman Melville:

Sleet, that he was not so much immersed in those profound magnetic meditations, as to fail being attracted occasionally towards that well replenished little case-bottle, so nicely tucked in on one side of his crow's nest, within easy reach of his hand. Though, upon the whole, I greatly admire and even love the brave, the honest, and learned Captain; yet I take it very ill of him that he should so utterly ignore that case-bottle, seeing what a faithful friend and comforter it must have been, while with mittened fingers and hooded head he was studying the mathematics aloft there in that bird's nest within three or four perches of the pole.

But if we Southern whale-fishers are not so snugly housed aloft as


Moby Dick
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Altar of the Dead by Henry James:

altar matter to him, since his particular dream of keeping it up had melted away? What had harmony to do with the case if his lights were all to be quenched? What he had hoped for was an instituted thing. He might perpetuate it on some other pretext, but his special meaning would have dropped. This meaning was to have lasted with the life of the one other person who understood it.

In March he had an illness during which he spent a fortnight in bed, and when he revived a little he was told of two things that had happened. One was that a lady whose name was not known to the servants (she left none) had been three times to ask about him; the

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker:

walked cautiously along the avenue which trended towards the west. Everything was pitch dark--so dark that at times they had to feel their way by the palings and tree-trunks. They could still see, seemingly far in front of them and high up, the baleful light which at the height and distance seemed like a faint line. As they were now on the level of the ground, the light seemed infinitely higher than it had from the top of the tower. At the sight Adam's heart fell; the danger of the desperate enterprise which he had undertaken burst upon him. But this feeling was shortly followed by another which restored him to himself--a fierce loathing, and a desire to kill, such as he had never experienced before.


Lair of the White Worm
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 Vendetta by Honore de Balzac:

the contractor.

Then they walked round the hall.

"How one loses time here," said the mason, replacing a thick silver watch in his fob.

Luigi and Ginevra, sitting pressed to one another, seemed like one person. A poet would have admired their two heads, inspired by the same sentiment, colored in the same tones, silent and saddened in presence of that humming happiness sparkling in diamonds, gay with flowers,--a gayety in which there was something fleeting. The joy of those noisy and splendid groups was visible; that of Ginevra and Luigi was buried in their bosom. On one side the tumult of common pleasure,