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Today's Stichomancy for Rene Magritte

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

but still immensely impressed.

"What would you think of such a thing happening on board your own ship? I've had the Sephora for these fifteen years. I am a well-known shipmaster."

He was densely distressed--and perhaps I should have sympathized with him if I had been able to detach my mental vision from the unsuspected sharer of my cabin as though he were my second self. There he was on the other side of the bulkhead, four or five feet from us, no more, as we sat in the saloon. I looked politely at Captain Archbold (if that was his name), but it was the other I saw, in a gray sleeping suit, seated on a low stool, his bare feet close together, his arms folded,


The Secret Sharer
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Illustrious Gaudissart by Honore de Balzac:

of material enterprise to the period of intellectual strength? Our century will bind the realm of isolated power, abounding as it does in creative genius, to the realm of universal but levelling might; equalizing all products, spreading them broadcast among the masses, and being itself controlled by the principle of unity,--the final expression of all societies. Do we not find the dead level of barbarism succeeding the saturnalia of popular thought and the last struggles of those civilizations which accumulated the treasures of the world in one direction?

The commercial traveller! Is he not to the realm of ideas what our stage-coaches are to men and things? He is their vehicle; he sets them

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Vicar of Tours by Honore de Balzac:

undertake it."

"Then it is infamous!" cried the navel lieutenant. "I myself will take the abbe to the Radical--"

"Go at night," said Monsieur de Bourbonne, interrupting him.

"Why?"

"I have just learned that the Abbe Troubert is appointed vicar-general in place of the other man, who died yesterday."

"I don't care a fig for the Abbe Troubert."

Unfortunately the Baron de Listomere (a man thirty-six years of age) did not see the sign Monsieur de Bourbonne made him to be cautious in what he said, motioning as he did so to a friend of Troubert, a

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 Red Inn by Honore de Balzac:

betray a secret surprised by me,--to add a murdered head to the dowry of an innocent girl, to give her for the rest of her life bad dreams, to deprive her of all her illusions, and say, 'Your gold is stained with blood'? I have borrowed the 'Dictionary of Cases of Conscience' from an old ecclesiastic, but I can find nothing there to solve my doubts. Shall I found pious masses for the repose of the souls of Prosper Magnan, Wahlenfer, and Taillefer? Here we are in the middle of the nineteenth century! Shall I build a hospital, or institute a prize for virtue? A prize for virtue would be given to scoundrels; and as for hospitals, they seem to me to have become in these days the protectors of vice. Besides, such charitable actions, more or less