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Today's Stichomancy for John Von Neumann

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:

two or three big boxes, opened two quarts of the red wine, set the olives and a canned oyster cocktail and a ready-made Martini by the colonel's plate, and called him to grub.

Colonel Rockingham drew up his campstool, wiped off his specs, and looked at the things on the table. Then I thought he was swearing; and I felt mean because I hadn't taken more pains with the victuals. But he wasn't; he was asking a blessing; and me and Caligula hung our heads, and I saw a tear drop from the colonel's eye into his cocktail.

I never saw a man eat with so much earnestness and application--not hastily, like a grammarian, or one of the canal, but slow and appreciative, like a anaconda, or a real /vive bonjour/.

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Yates Pride by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman:

The man swung his umbrella, then began prodding the ground with it. "Hullo, Eudora," he said again; then he added: "How are you, anyway? Fine and well?"

"I am very well, thank you," said Eudora. "So you have come home to Wellwood after all this time?"

The man made an effort and recovered himself, although his handsome face was burning.

"Yes," he remarked, with considerable ease and dignity, to which he had a right, for Harry Lawton had not made a failure of his life, even though it had not included Eudora and a fulfilled dream.

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Marie by H. Rider Haggard:

against their sovereign, and are afraid lest we should report their treason. Either they intend to rebel because of that most righteous act, the freeing of the slaves, and because we will not kill out all the Kaffirs with whom they chance to quarrel, or to trek from the Colony. For my part I think it will be the latter, for, as you have heard, some parties have already gone; and, unless I am mistaken, many more mean to follow, Marais and Retief and that plotter, Pereira, among them. Let them go; I say, the sooner the better, for I have no doubt that the English flag will follow them in due course."

"I hope that they won't," I answered with a nervous laugh; "at any rate, until I have won back my mare." (I had left her in Retief's care as

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 Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare:

Say, for non-payment that the debt should double, Is twenty hundred kisses such a trouble?'

'Fair queen,' quoth he, 'if any love you owe me, Measure my strangeness with my unripe years: 524 Before I know myself, seek not to know me; No fisher but the ungrown fry forbears: The mellow plum doth fall, the green sticks fast, Or being early pluck'd is sour to taste. 528

'Look! the world's comforter, with weary gait His day's hot task hath ended in the west; The owl, night's herald, shrieks, 'tis very late;