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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 Lamentable Tragedy of Locrine and Mucedorus by William Shakespeare:

See how the traitor doth presage his harm, See how he glories at his own decay, See how he triumphs at his proper loss; O fortune wild, unstable, fickle, frail!

HUMBER. Me thinks I see both armies in the field: The broken lances climb the crystal skies; Some headless lie, some breathless on the ground, And every place is strewed with carcasses. Behold! the grass hath lost his pleasant green, The sweetest sight that ever might be see.

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from When the Sleeper Wakes by H. G. Wells:

dancing girl, and found her an astonishing artist. And after that, more hypnotic wonders. On the third day Lincoln was moved to suggest that the Master should repair to a Pleasure City, but this Graham declined, nor would he accept the services of the hypnotists in his aeronautical experiments. The link of locality held him to London; he found a perpetual wonder in topographical identifications that he would have missed abroad. "Here--or a hundred feet below here," he could say, "I used to eat my midday cutlets during my London University days. Underneath here was

When the Sleeper Wakes
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from My Aunt Margaret's Mirror by Walter Scott:

step at the door, and will detain your ladyship and Lady Forester no longer. The next packet from the Continent will explain what you have already partly witnessed. Let it not, if I may advise, pass too suddenly into your sister's hands."

So saying, he bid Lady Bothwell good-night. She went, lighted by the adept, to the vestibule, where he hastily threw a black cloak over his singular dress, and opening the door, entrusted his visitors to the care of the servant. It was with difficulty that Lady Bothwell sustained her sister to the carriage, though it was only twenty steps distant. When they arrived at home, Lady Forester required medical assistance. The physician of the

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 This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald:

Amory, I'm very glad we're both alive; this war could easily have been the end of a brilliant family. But in regard to matrimony, you are now at the most dangerous period of your life. You might marry in haste and repent at leisure, but I think you won't. From what you write me about the present calamitous state of your finances, what you want is naturally impossible. However, if I judge you by the means I usually choose, I should say that there will be something of an emotional crisis within the next year.

Do write me. I feel annoyingly out of date on you.

With greatest affection,


This Side of Paradise