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Today's Stichomancy for Mark Twain

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Profits of Religion by Upton Sinclair:

talk leaping from the rostrum to the top of the pulpit, lying prone on the floor of the rostrum on his stomach in the presence of the vast audience and from thence into a pit to shake hands with the so-called "trail-hitters" and the vulgar use of plaintiff's thoughts contained in said books. Said harangues and vulgarisms of said defendant and horns, drums, organs and singing by said choir and vast audience which are assembled by means of said newspaper advertisements for the purpose of inducing a habit of free and copious flow of money through religious and patriotic excitement produced by and through the vulgarisms, scurrility, buffoonery, obscenity and profanity of defendant pretending to be

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Talisman by Walter Scott:

and, alas! when my actual condition is that of a slave, with a spot of dishonour on that which was once my shield! I do this! He little knows me. Yet I thank him for the opportunity which may make us all better acquainted with each other."

As he arrived at this conclusion, they paused before the entrance of the Queen's pavilion.

They were of course admitted by the guards, and Neville, leaving the Nubian in a small apartment, or antechamber, which was but too well remembered by him, passed into that which was used as the Queen's presence-chamber. He communicated his royal master's pleasure in a low and respectful tone of voice, very different

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Sons of the Soil by Honore de Balzac:

people are not to blame."

"Oh, but it is ten years since an otter has been seen about here," said the pitiless general.

"Monsieur le comte," said Francois, "the boy swears by all that's sacred that he has got one."

"If they have one I'll buy it," said the general.

"I don't suppose," remarked the Abbe Brossette, "that God has condemned Les Aigues to never have otters."

"Ah, Monsieur le cure!" cried Blondet, "if you bring the Almighty against me--"

"But what is all this? Who is here?" said the countess, hastily.

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 Shadow Line by Joseph Conrad:

who deals with the incomprehensible, that I didn't see any reason to expose myself to a snub from the fellow. He was a very unsatisfactory steward and a miserable wretch besides, but I would just as soon think of tweaking his nose.

"Tweaking his nose," said Captain Giles in a scandalized tone. "Much use it would be to you."

That remark was so irrelevant that one could make no answer to it. But the sense of the ab- surdity was beginning at last to exercise its well-


The Shadow Line