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Today's Stichomancy for Italo Calvino

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Gentle Grafter by O. Henry:

helped this graft along if it wasn't a square game, would you?"

"Why, no," says I. "I've always stood right in with Bryan's policies, and I couldn't consciously say a word against the Republican administration just now. But if Harris was a Greek, on what system of international protocols did Hay interfere?"

"It ain't exactly set forth in the papers," says Caligula. "I suppose it's a matter of sentiment. You know he wrote this poem, 'Little Breeches'; and them Greeks wear little or none. But anyhow, John Hay sends the Brooklyn and the Olympia over, and they cover Africa with thirty-inch guns. And then Hay cables after the health of the /persona grata/. 'And how are they this morning?' he wires. 'Is Burdick Harris

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Underground City by Jules Verne:

as to who he could be.

Another time an inundation took place in consequence of the stanchions of a water-tank giving way; and Mr. Starr ascertained beyond a doubt that these supports had first of all been partially sawn through. Harry, who had been overseeing the works near the place at the time, was buried in the falling rubbish, and narrowly escaped death.

A few days afterwards, on the steam tramway, a train of trucks, which Harry was passing along, met with an obstacle on the rails, and was overturned. It was then discovered that a beam had been laid across the line. In short, events of this description became so numerous that the miners were seized with a kind of panic,

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Alexander's Bridge by Willa Cather:

that? I had quite forgotten--I was back there. It was very jolly," he murmured lazily, as Marie came in to take away the coffee.

Hilda laughed and went over to the piano. "Well, we are neither of us twenty now, you know. Have I told you about my new play? Mac is writing one; really for me this time. You see, I'm coming on."

"I've seen nothing else. What kind of a part is it? Shall you wear yellow gowns? I hope so."

Alexander's Bridge
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 Vision Splendid by William MacLeod Raine:


"Don't you believe it, Val. Look how he's cutting through the water. He's trying to reach us. Oh, I hope they won't get him. Somebody get a rope to throw out."

"By Jove, you're right, Miss Alice," cried the Englishman. "It's a race, and it's going to be a near thing." He disappeared and was presently back with a rope.

"Come on! Come on!" screamed the passengers to the swimmer.

"He's ripping strong with that overhead stroke. Ye gods, it's close!" exclaimed the Britisher.

It was. The swimmer reached the side of the ship not four yards in