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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 Paz by Honore de Balzac:

which the Slave language protects its vowels,--probably not to lose them, considering how few there are.

The Marquis du Rouvre had squandered nearly the whole of a princely fortune, which he obtained originally through his marriage with a Demoiselle de Ronquerolles. Therefore, on her mother's side Clementine du Rouvre had the Marquis de Ronquerolles for uncle, and Madame de Serizy for aunt. On her father's side she had another uncle in the eccentric person of the Chevalier du Rouvre, a younger son of the house, an old bachelor who had become very rich by speculating in lands and houses. The Marquis de Ronquerolles had the misfortune to lose both his children at the time of the cholera, and the only son of

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott:

And when the lamps are lighted, it's like looking at a picture to see the fire, and you all around the table with your mother. Her face is right opposite, and it looks so sweet behind the flowers, I can't help watching it. I haven't got any mother, you know." And Laurie poked the fire to hide a little twitching of the lips that he could not control.

The solitary, hungry look in his eyes went straight to Jo's warm heart. she had been so simply taught that there was no nonsense in her head, and at fifteen she was as innocent and frank as any child. Laurie was sick and lonely, and feeling how rich she was in home and happiness, she gladly tried to share it with him.


Little Women
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce:

"Nothing," the Gentleman replied.

"But you will contribute something to the campaign fund to assist in your election, will you not?" asked the Party Manager, winking.

"Oh, no," said the Gentleman, gravely. "If the people wish me to work for them, they must hire me without solicitation. I am very comfortable without office."

"But," urged the Party Manager, "an election is a thing to be desired. It is a high honour to be a servant of the people."

"If servitude is a high honour," the Gentleman said, "it would be indecent for me to seek it; and if obtained by my own exertion it would be no honour."


Fantastic Fables
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 From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne:

emigrating to America.

Up to that time, however, it must be confessed, the curiosity of the numerous comers was but scantily gratified. Most had counted upon witnessing the spectacle of the casting, and they were treated to nothing but smoke. This was sorry food for hungry eyes; but Barbicane would admit no one to that operation. Then ensued grumbling, discontent, murmurs; they blamed the president, taxed him with dictatorial conduct. His proceedings were declared "un-American." There was very nearly a riot round Stones Hill; but Barbicane remained inflexible. When, however, the Columbiad was entirely finished, this state of closed doors


From the Earth to the Moon