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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 Merry Men by Robert Louis Stevenson:

uncle running. I saw the black jump up in hot pursuit; and before I had time to understand, Rorie also had appeared, calling directions in Gaelic as to a dog herding sheep.

I took to my heels to interfere, and perhaps I had done better to have waited where I was, for I was the means of cutting off the madman's last escape. There was nothing before him from that moment but the grave, the wreck, and the sea in Sandag Bay. And yet Heaven knows that what I did was for the best.

My uncle Gordon saw in what direction, horrible to him, the chase was driving him. He doubled, darting to the right and left; but high as the fever ran in his veins, the black was still the

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Blix by Frank Norris:

loved me and didn't, and I want to be rid of it now when YOU pretend not to love me and I KNOW you do," and Blix leaned back her head as she spoke that "know," looking at him from under her lids, a smile upon her lips. "It's the pretence that I won't have," she added. "We must be sincere with each other, you and I." "Blix, do YOU love ME?" Condy had risen to his feet, his breath was coming quick, his cigarette was flung away, and his hands opened and shut swiftly.

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

skilful hostess had assembled us in the country, beneath a roof of New York luxury, a luxury which has come in these later days to be so much more than princely. By day, the grounds afforded us both golf and tennis, the stables provided motor cars and horses to ride or drive over admirable roads, through beautiful scenery that was embellished by a magnificent autumn season. At nightfall, the great house itself received us in the arms of supreme comfort, fed us sumptuously, and after dinner ministered to our middle-aged bodies with chairs and sofas of the highest development.

The plan devised by our hostess, Mrs. Davenport, that a story should be told by one of us each evening, had met with courtesy, but not I with

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 Travels of Sir John Mandeville by Sir John Mandeville:

and figures with their fingers. And at the year's end they came again, and found the same letters and figures, the which they had written the year before, without any default. And therefore it seemeth well, that these hills pass the clouds and join to the pure air.

At Constantinople is the palace of the emperor, right fair and well-dight: and therein is a fair place for joustings, or for other plays and desports. And it is made with stages, and hath degrees about, that every man may well see, and none grieve other. And under these stages be stables well vaulted for the emperor's horses; and all the pillars be of marble.