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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 First Men In The Moon by H. G. Wells:

did so I do not know, for he never cycled and he never played cricket. It was a fortuitous concurrence of garments, arising I know not how. He gesticulated with his hands and arms, and jerked his head about and buzzed. He buzzed like something electric. You never heard such buzzing. And ever and again he cleared his throat with a most extraordinary noise.

There had been rain, and that spasmodic walk of his was enhanced by the extreme slipperiness of the footpath. Exactly as he came against the sun he stopped, pulled out a watch, hesitated. Then with a sort of convulsive gesture he turned and retreated with every manifestation of haste, no longer gesticulating, but going with ample strides that showed the relatively large size of his feet - they were, I remember, grotesquely


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

"You may search ME," said the Woozy. "I don't care for such things, myself."

"You snore terribly," asserted Toto.

"It may be," said the Woozy. "What one does when asleep one is not accountable for. I wish you would wake me up sometime when I'm snoring and let me hear the sound. Then I can judge whether it is terrible or delightful."

"It isn't pleasant, I assure you," said the Lion, yawning.

"To me it seems wholly unnecessary," declared Hank the Mule.

"You ought to break yourself of the habit," said the Sawhorse. "You never hear me snore, because I never sleep. I don't even whinny as


The Lost Princess of Oz
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Deserted Woman by Honore de Balzac:

Gaston's supposition.

The Vicomtesse took a small house by the side of the lake. As soon as she was installed in it, Gaston came one summer evening in the twilight. Jacques, that flunkey in grain, showed no sign of surprise, and announced /M. le Baron de Nueil/ like a discreet domestic well acquainted with good society. At the sound of the name, at the sight of its owner, Mme. de Beauseant let her book fall from her hands; her surprise gave him time to come close to her, and to say in tones that sounded like music in her ears:

"What a joy it was to me to take the horses that brought you on this journey!"

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 Prince Otto by Robert Louis Stevenson:

'Well, then, it was a lie!' she cried. 'The money is mine, honestly my own - now yours. This was an unworthy act that you proposed. But I love your honour, and I swore to myself that I should save it in your teeth. I beg of you to let me save it' - with a sudden lovely change of tone. 'Otto, I beseech you let me save it. Take this dross from your poor friend who loves you!'

'Madam, madam,' babbled Otto, in the extreme of misery, 'I cannot - I must go.'

And he half rose; but she was on the ground before him in an instant, clasping his knees. 'No,' she gasped, 'you shall not go. Do you despise me so entirely? It is dross; I hate it; I should