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Today's Stichomancy for Robert A. Heinlein

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Man of Business by Honore de Balzac:

an entrance. It was only invented in 1840, and derived beyond a doubt from the agglomeration of such swallows' nests about the Church of Our Lady of Loretto. This information is for etymoligists only. Those gentlemen would not be so often in a quandary if mediaeval writers had only taken such pains with details of contemporary manners as we take in these days of analysis and description.

Mlle. Turquet, or Malaga, for she is better known by her pseudonym (See /La fausse Maitresse/.), was one of the earliest parishioners of that charming church. At the time to which this story belongs, that lighthearted and lively damsel gladdened the existence of a notary with a wife somewhat too bigoted, rigid, and frigid for domestic

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Catriona by Robert Louis Stevenson:

world I had expected. There was no doubt upon the terms of introduction; this could be no other than the forfeited Master of Lovat and chief of the great clan Fraser. I knew he had led his men in the Rebellion; I knew his father's head - my old lord's, that grey fox of the mountains - to have fallen on the block for that offence, the lands of the family to have been seized, and their nobility attainted. I could not conceive what he should be doing in Grant's house; I could not conceive that he had been called to the bar, had eaten all his principles, and was now currying favour with the Government even to the extent of acting Advocate-Depute in the Appin murder.

"Well, Mr. Balfour," said he, "what is all this I hear of ye?"

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Oedipus Trilogy by Sophocles:

As though he were my sire, and leave no stone Unturned to track the assassin or avenge The son of Labdacus, of Polydore, Of Cadmus, and Agenor first of the race. And for the disobedient thus I pray: May the gods send them neither timely fruits Of earth, nor teeming increase of the womb, But may they waste and pine, as now they waste, Aye and worse stricken; but to all of you, My loyal subjects who approve my acts, May Justice, our ally, and all the gods


Oedipus Trilogy
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 At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft:

planes, each provided with an excellent short-wave outfit, we could not imagine any ordinary accident capable of crippling all his wireless equipment at once. Nevertheless the stony silence continued, and when we thought of the delirious force the wind must have had in his locality we could not help making the more direful conjectures. By six o’clock our fears had become intense and definite, and after a wireless consultation with Douglas and Thorfinnssen I resolved to take steps toward investigation. The fifth aeroplane, which we had left at the McMurdo Sound supply cache with Sherman and two sailors, was in good shape and ready


At the Mountains of Madness