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Today's Stichomancy for Mikhail Gorbachev

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Maid Marian by Thomas Love Peacock:

which was usually charmed into silence by some sudden turn in the witching melodies of Matilda. They had therefore naturally calculated, as far as their wild spirits calculated at all, on the same effects from the same causes. But the circumstances of the preceding day had made an essential alteration in the case. The baron knew well, from the intelligence he had received, that the earl's offence was past remission: which would have been of less moment but for the awful fact of his castle being in the possession of the king's forces, and in those days possession was considerably more than eleven points of the law. The baron was therefore convinced that the earl's outlawry

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from 'Twixt Land & Sea by Joseph Conrad:

in Singapore, touched by his dumb grief and deplorable perplexity, offered to take charge of Freya. This arrangement lasted some six years, during which old Nelson (or Nielsen) "retired" and established, himself on his island, and then it was settled (the kind lady going away to Europe) that his daughter should join him.

As the first and most important preparation for that event the old fellow ordered from his Singapore agent a Steyn and Ebhart's "upright grand." I was then commanding a little steamer in the island trade, and it fell to my lot to take it out to him, so I know something of Freya's "upright grand." We landed the enormous packing-case with difficulty on a flat piece of rock amongst some

'Twixt Land & Sea
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Duchess of Padua by Oscar Wilde:

They say the bread, the very bread they eat, Is made of sorry chaff.


Ay! so it is, Nothing but chaff.


And very good food too, I give it to my horses.


[restraining herself] They say the water,

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 A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay:

"As far as death," exclaimed Maskull.

Catice picked up a flint. "With this stone I strike out one of your two probes. When you have but one, you will see with me, and you will recollect with Spadevil. Choose you then the superior faith, and I shall obey your choice."

"Endure this little pain, Maskull, for the sake of future men," said Spadevil.

"The pain is nothing," replied Maskull, "but I fear the result."

"Permit me, although I am only a woman, to take his place, Catice," said Tydomin, stretching out her hand.

He struck at it violently with the flint, and gashed it from wrist to