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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:

don't stand high--as high as any one else. This is a line of speculation I should not have chosen, but you must remember you began it yourself. I should never have dreamed that I was on the defensive, or that I had to justify myself; but if your people will have it so, I will do my best."

"But you offered, a while ago, to make your court as we say, to my mother and my brother."

"Damn it!" cried Newman, "I want to be polite."

"Good!" rejoined Bellegarde; "this will go far, it will be very entertaining. Excuse my speaking of it in that cold-blooded fashion, but the matter must, of necessity, be for me something of a spectacle. It's positively exciting.

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from King James Bible:

DAN 12:13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. HOS 1:1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

HOS 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.

HOS 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.


King James Bible
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, etc. by Oscar Wilde:

Your name from hence immortal life shall have, Though I, once gone, to all the world must die: The earth can yield me but a common grave, When you entombed in men's eyes shall lie. Your monument shall be my gentle verse, Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read, And tongues to be your being shall rehearse, When all the breathers of this world are dead.

There were endless allusions, also, to Willie Hughes's power over his audience - the 'gazers,' as Shakespeare calls them; but perhaps the most perfect description of his wonderful mastery over dramatic

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 Call of the Wild by Jack London:

that sooner or later he would come to it. So, on this great journey into the East, straight meat was the bill of fare, ammunition and tools principally made up the load on the sled, and the time-card was drawn upon the limitless future.

To Buck it was boundless delight, this hunting, fishing, and indefinite wandering through strange places. For weeks at a time they would hold on steadily, day after day; and for weeks upon end they would camp, here and there, the dogs loafing and the men burning holes through frozen muck and gravel and washing countless pans of dirt by the heat of the fire. Sometimes they went hungry, sometimes they feasted riotously, all according to the abundance