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Today's Stichomancy for Ian McKellan

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from In a German Pension by Katherine Mansfield:

"One moment, one moment."

At eight o'clock the cafe was deserted. Sabina sat down in the corner without her sewing. Nothing seemed to have happened to the Frau. A doctor had come--that was all.

"Ach," said Sabina. "I think no more of it. I listen no more. Ach, I would like to go away--I hate this talk. I will not hear it. No, it is too much." She leaned both elbows on the table--cupped her face in her hands and pouted.

But the outer door suddenly opening, she sprang to her feet and laughed. It was the Young Man again. He ordered more port, and brought no book this time.

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce:

Institutions, without removing his eyes from the horizon, "you wander away into the strangest irrelevancies! I spoke of Kings in the abstract."

The Pugilist's Diet

THE Trainer of a Pugilist consulted a Physician regarding the champion's diet.

"Beef-steaks are too tender," said the Physician; "have his meat cut from the neck of a bull."

"I thought the steaks more digestible," the Trainer explained.

"That is very true," said the Physician; "but they do not sufficiently exercise the chin."


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

shaken. In Madame Evangelista these last mutterings of the storm were overshadowed by a terrible reflection, a lurid gleam which she wanted, at any cost, to dispel.

"Has Maitre Mathias destroyed in a few minutes the work I have been doing for six months?" she asked herself. "Was he withdrawing Paul from my influence by filling his mind with suspicion during their secret conference in the next room?"

She was standing absorbed in these thoughts before the fireplace, her elbow resting on the marble mantel-shelf. When the porte-cochere closed behind the carriage of the two notaries, she turned to her future son-in-law, impatient to solve her doubts.

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 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving:

uniform tranquillity.

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontime, when all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath stillness around and was prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley.

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow