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Today's Stichomancy for James Joyce

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Heritage of the Desert by Zane Grey:

hard trail forked with the road. The yellow water with its green scum made Hare sick. The horses drank with loud gulps. Naub and his sons drank of it. The women filled a pail and portioned it out in basins and washed their faces and hands with evident pleasure. Dave Naab whistled as he wielded an axe vigorously on a cedar. It came home to Hare that the tension of the past night and morning had relaxed. Whether to attribute that fact to the distance from White Sage or to the arrival at the water-hole he could not determine. But the certainty was shown in August's cheerful talk to the horses as he slipped bags of grain over their noses, and in the subdued laughter of the women. Hare sent up an unspoken thanksgiving that these good Mormons had apparently escaped from


The Heritage of the Desert
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Unconscious Comedians by Honore de Balzac:

"Shall I have the honor to cover your head?" said Vital, with joyful obsequiousness.

"At the same price as mine," interposed Bixiou.

"Of course, of course; I ask no other fee than to be quoted by you, messieurs-- Monsieur needs a picturesque hat, something in the style of Monsieur Lousteau's," he continued, looking at Gazonal with the eye of a master. "I will consider it."

"You give yourself a great deal of trouble," said Gazonal.

"Oh! for a few persons only; for those who know how to appreciate the value of the pains I bestow upon them. Now, take the aristocracy-- there is but one man there who has truly comprehended the Hat; and

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Madam How and Lady Why by Charles Kingsley:

broth. Not that there were ever (as far as I know) volcanos in Scotland or in England. Madam How has more than one string to her bow, or two strings either; so when she pours out her lavas, she does not always pour them out in the open air. Sometimes she pours them out at the bottom of the sea, as she did in the north of Ireland and the south-west of Scotland, when she made the Giant's Causeway, and Fingal's Cave in Staffa too, at the bottom of the old chalk ocean, ages and ages since. Sometimes she squirts them out between the layers of rock, or into cracks which the earthquakes have made, in what are called trap dykes, of which there are plenty to be seen in Scotland, and in Wales likewise.

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 Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll:

telegram! Shall we enquire for one?" And he and Lady Muriel strolled off in the direction of the Telegraph-Office.

"I wonder if Shakespeare had that thought in his mind," I said, "when he wrote 'All the world's a stage'?"

The old man sighed. "And so it is, "he said, "look at it as you will. Life is indeed a drama; a drama with but few encores--and no bouquets!" he added dreamily. "We spend one half of it in regretting the things we did in the other half!"

"And the secret of enjoying it," he continued, resuming his cheerful tone, "is intensity!"

"But not in the modern aesthetic sense, I presume? Like the young lady,


Sylvie and Bruno