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Today's Stichomancy for James Brown

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Enemies of Books by William Blades:

the transformation they undergo in the hands of a skilful restorer. The covers are first carefully dissected, the eye of the operator keeping a careful outlook for any fragments of old MSS. or early printed books, which may have been used by the original binder. No force should be applied to separate parts which adhere together; a little warm water and care is sure to overcome that difficulty. When all the sections are loose, the separate sheets are placed singly in a bath of cold water, and allowed to remain there until all the dirt has soaked out. If not sufficiently purified, a little hydrochloric or oxalic acid, or caustic potash may be put in the water, according as the stains are from grease or from ink.

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad:

shepherd; the beginning of his misfortunes dating from his runaway marriage with the cook of his widowed father--a well-to-do, apoplectic grazier, who passionately struck his name off his will, and had been heard to utter threats against his life. But this old affair, scandalous enough to serve as a motive for a Greek tragedy, arose from the simi- larity of their characters. There are other trage- dies, less scandalous and of a subtler poignancy, arising from irreconcilable differences and from that fear of the Incomprehensible that hangs over


Amy Foster
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from A Princess of Parms by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

Before I retired for the night he promised to give me a letter to a nearby agricultural officer who would help me on my way to Zodanga, which he said, was the nearest Martian city.

"But be sure that you do not let them know you are bound for Helium as they are at war with that country. My assistant and I are of no country, we belong to all Barsoom and this talisman which we wear protects us in all lands, even among the green men--though we do not trust ourselves to their hands if we can avoid it," he added.

"And so good-night, my friend," he continued, "may you have a long and restful sleep--yes, a long sleep."

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 Dreams & Dust by Don Marquis:

Their legends . . . Ask oblivion! . . . "They had no poet, and they died."

Heroes, the braggart trumps that dinned Their futile triumphs, monarch, pawn, Wild tribesmen, kingdoms disciplined, Passed like a whirlwind and were gone;

They built with bronze and gold and brawn, The inner Vision still denied; Their conquests . . . Ask oblivion! . . . "They had no poet, and they died."

Dumb oracles, and priests withdrawn,