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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 American by Henry James:

Newman had been sitting.

"Couldn't you have spoken to me alone?" said the marquis to Newman, with a strange look.

"Well, yes, if I could have been sure of speaking to your mother alone, too," Newman answered. "But I have had to take you as I could get you."

Madame de Bellegarde, with a movement very eloquent of what he would have called her "grit," her steel-cold pluck and her instinctive appeal to her own personal resources, drew her hand out of her son's arm and went and seated herself upon the bench. There she remained, with her hands folded in her lap, looking straight at Newman. The expression of her face was such that he fancied at first

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Before Adam by Jack London:

We kept to the glades as much as possible, but they always ended in more thick forest. Sometimes we thought we had escaped, and sat down to rest; but always, before we could recover our breath, we would hear the hateful "Whoo-whoo!" cries and the terrible "Goek! Goek! Goek!" This latter sometimes terminated in a savage "Ha ha ha ha haaaaa!!!"

And in this fashion were we hunted through the forest by the exasperated Tree People. At last, by mid-afternoon, the slopes began rising higher and higher and the trees were becoming smaller. Then we

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Agesilaus by Xenophon:

[14] = 25,000 pounds nearly.

It was then that the Persian king, believing that Tissaphernes was to blame for the ill success of his affairs, sent down Tithraustes and cut off the satrap's head. After this the fortunes of the barbarians grew still more desperate, whilst those of Agesilaus assumed a bolder front. On all side embassies from the surrounding nations came to make terms of friendship, and numbers even came over to him, stretching out eager arms to grasp at freedom. So that Agesilaus was now no longer the chosen captain of the Hellenes only, but of many Asiatics.

And here we may pause and consider what a weight of admiration is due to one who, being now ruler over countless cities of the continent,

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 Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde:

but of course if you refuse I will go and do it myself.'

"'Oh! on no account,' cried little Hans and he jumped out of bed, and dressed himself, and went up to the barn.

"He worked there all day long, till sunset, and at sunset the Miller came to see how he was getting on.

"'Have you mended the hole in the roof yet, little Hans?' cried the Miller in a cheery voice.

"'It is quite mended,' answered little Hans, coming down the ladder.

"'Ah'! said the Miller, 'there is no work so delightful as the work one does for others.'