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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 The Deputy of Arcis by Honore de Balzac:

pity of a mother for her child. She disguised the harshness of the words she was frequently obliged to say to him by a joking manner. No household was ever more tranquil; and the aversion Phileas felt for society, where he went to sleep, and where he could not play cards (being incapable of learning a game), had made Severine sole mistress of her evenings.

Cecile's entrance now put an end to her father's embarrassment, and he cried out heartily:--

"Hey! how fine we are!"

Madame Beauvisage turned round abruptly and cast a look upon her daughter which made the girl blush.

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

furnish new forms of thought more adequate to the expression of all the diversities and oppositions of knowledge which have grown up in these latter days; it might also suggest new methods of enquiry derived from the comparison of the sciences. Few will deny that the introduction of the words 'subject' and 'object' and the Hegelian reconciliation of opposites have been 'most gracious aids' to psychology, or that the methods of Bacon and Mill have shed a light far and wide on the realms of knowledge. These two great studies, the one destructive and corrective of error, the other conservative and constructive of truth, might be a first and second part of logic. Ancient logic would be the propaedeutic or gate of approach to logical science,--nothing more. But to pursue such speculations further,

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbot:

When I call them Priests, let me not be understood as meaning no more than the term denotes with you. With us, our Priests are Administrators of all Business, Art, and Science; Directors of Trade, Commerce, Generalship, Architecture, Engineering, Education, Statesmanship, Legislature, Morality, Theology; doing nothing themselves, they are the Causes of everything worth doing, that is done by others.

Although popularly everyone called a Circle is deemed a Circle, yet among the better educated Classes it is known that no Circle is really a Circle, but only a Polygon with a very large number of very small sides. As the number of the sides increases,


Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
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 Roads of Destiny by O. Henry:

"How do you live?"

"I am also a shepherd; I guarded my father's flock," David answered, with his head high, but a flush upon his cheek.

"Then listen, master shepherd and poet, to the fortune you have blundered upon to-night. This lady is my niece, Mademoiselle Lucie de Varennes. She is of noble descent and is possessed of ten thousand francs a year in her own right. As to her charms, you have but to observe for yourself. If the inventory pleases your shepherd's heart, she becomes your wife at a word. Do not interrupt me. To-night I conveyed her to the /chateau/ of the Comte de Villemaur, to whom her hand had been promised. Guests were present; the priest was waiting;