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Today's Stichomancy for Leonard Cohen

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

dazzled him; he stood in dreamy, almost open-mouthed admiration of the Vicomtesse. But he found nothing to say to her.

Mme. de Beauseant, by no means displeased, no doubt, by his surprise, held out her hand with a kindly but imperious gesture; then, summoning a smile to her pale lips, as if obeying, even yet, the woman's impulse to be gracious:

"I have heard from M. de Champignelles of a message which you have kindly undertaken to deliver, monsieur," she said. "Can it be from----"

With that terrible phrase Gaston understood, even more clearly than before, his own ridiculous position, the bad taste and bad faith of

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Market-Place by Harold Frederic:

lighted another cigar, and pillowed his head once more against the hard, red-plush cushion. Personally, he did not in the least resent the failure of the scenery.

For something more than three months, this purposeless pleasure-tour had been dragging him about from point to point, sleeping in strange beds, eating extraordinarily strange food, transacting the affairs of a sight-seer among people who spoke strange languages, until he was surfeited with the unusual. It had all been extremely interesting, of course, and deeply improving--but he was getting tired of talking to nobody but waiters, and still more


The Market-Place
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from A Simple Soul by Gustave Flaubert:

in the village, not a soul on the sidewalk. This silence intensified the tranquility of everything. In the distance, the hammers of some calkers pounded the hull of a ship, and the sultry breeze brought them an odour of tar.

The principal diversion consisted in watching the return of the fishing-smacks. As soon as they passed the beacons, they began to ply to windward. The sails were lowered to one third of the masts, and with their fore-sails swelled up like balloons they glided over the waves and anchored in the middle of the harbour. Then they crept up alongside of the dock and the sailors threw the quivering fish over the side of the boat; a line of carts was waiting for them, and women


A Simple Soul
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 Modeste Mignon by Honore de Balzac:

in a timid voice of Madame Latournelle.

"Hush, Butscha," she replied, taking her husband's arm.

Madame Latournelle, the daughter of a clerk of the supreme court, feels that her birth authorizes her to claim issue from a parliamentary family. This conviction explains why the lady, who is somewhat blotched as to complexion, endeavors to assume in her own person the majesty of a court whose decrees are recorded in her father's pothooks. She takes snuff, holds herself as stiff as a ramrod, poses for a person of consideration, and resembles nothing so much as a mummy brought momentarily to life by galvanism. She tries to give high-bred tones to her sharp voice, and succeeds no better in


Modeste Mignon