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Today's Stichomancy for Neal Stephenson

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Contrast by Royall Tyler:



Ladies, your most obedient.


Miss Van Rough, shall I present my brother Henry to you? Colonel Manly, Maria,--Miss Van Rough, brother.


Her brother! [turns and sees Manly.] Oh! my heart! the very gentleman I have been praising.


The same amiable girl I saw this morning!

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Rinkitink In Oz by L. Frank Baum:

rounded the point of that island where the city was built and noticed that the shore was lined with warriors who had discovered their boat but seemed undecided whether to pursue it or not. This was probably because they had received no commands what to do, or perhaps they had learned to fear the magic powers of these adventurers from Pingaree and were unwilling to attack them unless their King ordered them to.

The coast on the western side of the Island of Regos was very uneven and Zella, who knew fairly well the

Rinkitink In Oz
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling:

But the wind, not charging fair to the wood, started aside and shook a single oak in Gleason's pasture. Here it made itself all small and crouched among the grasses, waving the tips of them as a cat waves the tip of her tail before she springs.

'Now welcome - welcome, Sextus,' sang Una, loading the catapult -

'Now welcome to thy home! Why dost thou stay, and turn away? Here lies the road to Rome.'

She fired into the face of the lull, to wake up the

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 Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe:

term it, to her former judgment, but obtained the favour of being transported to the plantations, and left me about half a year old; and in bad hands, you may be sure.

This is too near the first hours of my life for me to relate anything of myself but by hearsay; it is enough to mention, that as I was born in such an unhappy place, I had no parish to have recourse to for my nourishment in my infancy; nor can I give the least account how I was kept alive, other than that, as I have been told, some relation of my mother's took me away for a while as a nurse, but at whose expense, or by whose direction, I know nothing at all of it.

Moll Flanders