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Today's Stichomancy for Kurt Vonnegut

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Man of Business by Honore de Balzac:

Chamber cut short his career with a couple of years in jail?" asked the lorette.

"The same. Under the Restoration, between 1823 and 1827, Cerizet's occupation consisted in first putting his name intrepidly to various paragraphs, on which the public prosecutor fastened with avidity, and subsequently marching off to prison. A man could make a name for himself with small expense in those days. The Liberal party called their provincial champion 'the courageous Cerizet,' and towards 1828 so much zeal received its reward in 'general interest.'

" 'General interest' is a kind of civic crown bestowed on the deserving by the daily press. Cerizet tried to discount the 'general

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe:

hour loosed and parted from every hope in life that now is, and offered his own will an unquestioning sacrifice to the Infinite. Tom looked up to the silent, ever-living stars,--types of the angelic hosts who ever look down on man; and the solitude of the night rung with the triumphant words of a hymn, which he had sung often in happier days, but never with such feeling as now:

"The earth shall be dissolved like snow, The sun shall cease to shine; But God, who called me here below, Shall be forever mine.

"And when this mortal life shall fail,


Uncle Tom's Cabin
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Summer by Edith Wharton:

folks, any more'n I have. I'm the librarian and I know the by-laws. This is my library."

The young man looked profoundly surprised.

"Why, I know it is; I'm so sorry if you mind my coming."

"I suppose you came to see what more you could say to set her against me? But you needn't trouble: it's my library today, but it won't be this time tomorrow. I'm on the way now to take her back the key and the register."

Young Harney's face grew grave, but without betraying

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 The Time Machine by H. G. Wells:

about me, more massive than any buildings of our own time, and yet, as it seemed, built of glimmer and mist. I saw a richer green flow up the hill-side, and remain there, without any wintry intermission. Even through the veil of my confusion the earth seemed very fair. And so my mind came round to the business of stopping,

`The peculiar risk lay in the possibility of my finding some substance in the space which I, or the machine, occupied. So long as I travelled at a high velocity through time, this scarcely mattered; I was, so to speak, attenuated--was slipping like a vapour through the interstices of intervening substances!


The Time Machine