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Today's Stichomancy for Nellie McKay

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Personal Record by Joseph Conrad:

table-leg, and when picked up show a gaping, inefficient beak which would have discouraged any man of literary instincts. But not me! "Never mind. This will do."

O days without guile! If anybody had told me then that a devoted household, having a generally exaggerated idea of my talents and importance, would be put into a state of tremor and flurry by the fuss I would make because of a suspicion that somebody had touched my sacrosanct pen of authorship, I would have never deigned as much as the contemptuous smile of unbelief. There are imaginings too unlikely for any kind of notice, too wild for indulgence itself, too absurd for a smile. Perhaps, had that


A Personal Record
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Faith of Men by Jack London:

relaxation of the leg muscles pressed the rough-fibred noose into his neck, while the upright position caused him much pain in his wounded shoulder. He projected his under lip and expelled his breath upwards along his face to blow the mosquitoes away from his eyes. But the situation had its compensation. To be snatched from the maw of death was well worth a little bodily suffering, only it was unfortunate that he should miss the hanging of the Beaver.

And so he mused, till his eyes chanced to fall upon Batard, head between fore paws and stretched on the ground asleep. And their Leclere ceased to muse. He studied the animal closely, striving to sense if the sleep were real or feigned. Batard's sides were

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy:

And then there's this disgraceful affair of the bailiff -- but I can't speak of him now." Bathsheba had so many reasons for uneasiness that it seemed she did not think it worth while to dwell upon any particular one. "Do as I told you, then" she said in conclusion, closing the casement. "Ay, ay, mistress; we will." they replied, and moved away. That night at Coggan's, Gabriel Oak, beneath the screen of closed eyelids, was busy with fancies, and full of movement, like a river flowing rapidly under its ice.


Far From the Madding Crowd
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 House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne:

in the arbor, where I used,--oh, very long ago, it seems to me, after what has befallen us,--where I used to be so happy with little Phoebe!"

But the house was not altogether so dreary as Clifford imagined it. They had not made many steps,--in truth, they were lingering in the entry, with the listlessness of an accomplished purpose, uncertain what to do next,--when Phoebe ran to meet them. On beholding her, Hepzibah burst into tears. With all her might, she had staggered onward beneath the burden of grief and responsibility, until now that it was safe to fling it down. Indeed, she had not energy to fling it down, but had ceased to uphold it, and suffered it to


House of Seven Gables