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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 On Revenues by Xenophon:

ever to march upon the mines in force? The nearest state, Megara, is distant, I take it, a good deal over sixty miles;[59] and the next closest, Thebes, a good deal nearer seventy.[60] Supposing then an enemy to advance from some such point to attack the mines, he cannot avoid passing Athens; and presuming his force to be small, we may expect him to be annihilated by our cavalry and frontier police.[61] I say, presuming his force to be small, since to march with anything like a large force, and thereby leave his own territory denuded of troops, would be a startling achievement. Why, the fortified city of Athens will be much closer the states of the attacking parties than they themselves will be by the time they have got to the mines. But,

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield:

disappointment that he was taking nothing down to the kiddies. Poor little chaps! It was hard lines on them. Their first words always were as they ran to greet him, "What have you got for me, daddy?" and he had nothing. He would have to buy them some sweets at the station. But that was what he had done for the past four Saturdays; their faces had fallen last time when they saw the same old boxes produced again.

And Paddy had said, "I had red ribbing on mine bee-fore!"

And Johnny had said, "It's always pink on mine. I hate pink."

But what was William to do? The affair wasn't so easily settled. In the old days, of course, he would have taken a taxi off to a decent toyshop and chosen them something in five minutes. But nowadays they had Russian toys,

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Menexenus by Plato:

'Sons, the event proves that your fathers were brave men; for we might have lived dishonourably, but have preferred to die honourably rather than bring you and your children into disgrace, and rather than dishonour our own fathers and forefathers; considering that life is not life to one who is a dishonour to his race, and that to such a one neither men nor Gods are friendly, either while he is on the earth or after death in the world below. Remember our words, then, and whatever is your aim let virtue be the condition of the attainment of your aim, and know that without this all possessions and pursuits are dishonourable and evil. For neither does wealth bring honour to the owner, if he be a coward; of such a one the wealth belongs to another, and not to himself. Nor does beauty and

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 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy:

the president crossexamining my old half-witted Alioshka, 'Do you admit, prisoner in the dock, the fact of the removal of the bacon?' 'Eh?'"

Konstantin Levin had warmed to his subject, and began mimicking the president and the half-witted Alioshka: it seemed to him that it was all to the point.

But Sergey Ivanovitch shrugged his shoulders.

"Well, what do you mean to say, then?"

"I simply mean to say that those rights that touch me ...my interest, I shall always defend to the best of my ability; that when they made raids on us students, and the police read our


Anna Karenina