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Today's Stichomancy for Louis Armstrong

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Mother by Owen Wister:

my honourable course? It was a positive relief that at this crisis she went to Florida. I could think more quietly. My writing had come to be quite often accepted, sometimes even solicited. Should I speak to her, and ask her to wait until I could put a decent roof over her head, or should I keep away from her until I could offer such a roof? Her father, I supposed, could do something for us. But I was not willing to be a pensioner. His business--were he generous--would be to provide cake and butter; but the bread was to be mine and bread was still a long way off, according to New York standards. These things I thought over while she was in Florida; yet when once I should I find myself with her again, I began to fear that I could not hold myself from--but these are

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The New Machiavelli by H. G. Wells:

as people say, in them. The two persons concerned are never supposed to think of the passionate love that hovers so close to the friendship, or if they do, then they banish the thought. I think we kept the thought as permanently in exile as any one could do. If it did in odd moments come into our heads we pretended elaborately it wasn't there.

Only we were both very easily jealous of each other's attention, and tremendously insistent upon each other's preference.

I remember once during the Oxford days an intimation that should have set me thinking, and I suppose discreetly disentangling myself. It was one Sunday afternoon, and it must have been about May, for

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Several Works by Edgar Allan Poe:

strokes to be sounded by the bell of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps, that more of thought crept, with more of time, into the meditations of the thoughtful among those who revelled. And thus too, it happened, perhaps, that before the last echoes of the last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no single individual before. And the rumour of this new presence having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and surprise--then, finally, of terror, of horror,

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 When the World Shook by H. Rider Haggard:

merely a short activity bounded by nothingness before and behind; or (according to Bastin) a conventional golden-harped and haloed immortality, a word of which he did not in the least understand the meaning?

Or was it something quite different from either of these, something vast and splendid beyond the reach of vision, something God-sent, beginning and ending in the Eternal Absolute and at last partaking of His attributes and nature and from aeon to aeon shot through with His light? And how was the truth to be learned? I asked my Eastern friends, and they talked vaguely of long ascetic preparation, of years upon years of learning, from


When the World Shook