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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 Tales of Unrest by Joseph Conrad:

people really know nothing. We talk with indignation or enthusiasm; we talk about oppression, cruelty, crime, devotion, self-sacrifice, virtue, and we know nothing real beyond the words. Nobody knows what suffering or sacrifice mean--except, perhaps the victims of the mysterious purpose of these illusions.

Next morning they saw Makola very busy setting up in the yard the big scales used for weighing ivory. By and by Carlier said: "What's that filthy scoundrel up to?" and lounged out into the yard. Kayerts followed. They stood watching. Makola took no notice. When the balance was swung true, he tried to lift a tusk into the scale. It was too heavy. He looked up helplessly without a word, and for a minute they


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

not exceeding a thousand francs. Madame Diard made no observation on this unusual meanness. When her husband told her that he was going to the watering-places and that she would stay at Bordeaux, Juana offered no difficulty, and at once formed a plan to teach the children Spanish and Italian, and to make them read the two masterpieces of the two languages. She was glad to lead a retired life, simply and naturally economical. To spare herself the troubles of material life, she arranged with a "traiteur" the day after Diard's departure to send in their meals. Her maid then sufficed for the service of the house, and she thus found herself without money, but her wants all provided for until her husband's return. Her pleasures consisted in taking walks

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin by Robert Louis Stevenson:

vivid and interesting letter of M. Emile Trelat's. Here, admirably expressed, is how he appeared to a friend of another nation, whom he encountered only late in life. M. Trelat will pardon me if I correct, even before I quote him; but what the Frenchman supposed to flow from some particular bitterness against France, was only Fleeming's usual address. Had M. Trelat been Italian, Italy would have fared as ill; and yet Italy was Fleeming's favourite country.

Vous savez comment j'ai connu Fleeming Jenkin! C'etait en Mai 1878. Nous etions tous deux membres du jury de l'Exposition Universelle. On n'avait rien fait qui vaille a la premiere seance de notre classe, qui avait eu lieu le matin. Tout le monde avait

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 Travels and Researches in South Africa by Dr. David Livingstone:

formerly alight@mercury.interpath.net). To assure a high quality text, the original was typed in (manually) twice and electronically compared. [Note on text: Italicized words or phrases are CAPITALIZED. Some obvious errors have been corrected.]

Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa. Also called, Travels and Researches in South Africa; or, Journeys and Researches in South Africa. By David Livingstone [British (Scot) Missionary and Explorer--1813-1873.]

David Livingstone was born in Scotland, received his medical degree from the University of Glasgow, and was sent to South Africa by the London Missionary Society. Circumstances led him to try to meet