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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 Blix by Frank Norris:

lapsed, and lapsed, and lapsed. The breaks became more numerous and lasted longer. Condy began to wonder if he was boring her. No sooner had the suspicion entered his head than it hardened into a certainty, and at once what little fluency and freshness he yet retained forsook him on the spot. What made matters worse was his recollection of other evenings that of late he had failed in precisely the same manner. Even while he struggled to save the situation Condy was wondering if they two were talked out--if they had lost charm for each other. Did he not know Travis through and through by now--her opinions, her ideas, her convictions? Was there any more freshness in her for him? Was their little

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Exiles by Honore de Balzac:

he applied the doctrine of his system to feudalism. The poetry-- religious and profane--and the abrupt eloquence of that period had a grand opening in this vast theory, wherein the Doctor had amalgamated all the philosophical systems of the ancients, and from which he brought them out again classified, transfigured, purified. The false dogmas of two adverse principles and of Pantheism were demolished at his word, which proclaimed the Divine Unity, while ascribing to God and His angels the knowledge, the ends to which the means shone resplendent to the eyes of man. Fortified by the demonstrations that proved the existence of the world of Matter, Doctor Sigier constructed the scheme of a spiritual world dividing us from God by an ascending

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy:

boots creak the louder, and Father Sergius remained alone.

His whole life was filled by Church services and by people who came to see him, but to-day had been a particularly difficult one. In the morning an important official had arrived and had had a long conversation with him; after that a lady had come with her son. This son was a sceptical young professor whom the mother, an ardent believer and devoted to Father Sergius, had brought that he might talk to him. The conversation had been very trying. The young man, evidently not wishing to have a controversy with a monk, had agreed with him in everything as with someone who was mentally inferior. Father Sergius saw that

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 American Notes by Rudyard Kipling:

Hampshire disappeared, papa and mamma with her. Disappeared, too, the old lady from Chicago, and the others.



"I know thy cunning and thy greed,

Thy hard high lust and wilful deed,

And all thy glory loves to tell

Of specious gifts material."

I HAVE struck a city--a real city--and they call it Chicago.

The other places do not count. San Francisco was a pleasure-resort as well as a city, and Salt Lake was a