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Today's Stichomancy for Stephen Hawking

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

"That's a fine idea!"

"Ah! is it not, Monsieur?" cried Gaudissart. "I call this enterprise the exchequer of beneficence; a mutual insurance against poverty; or, if you like it better, the discounting, the cashing, of talent. For talent, Monsieur, is a bill of exchange which Nature gives to the man of genius, and which often has a long time to run before it falls due."

"That is usury!" cried Margaritis.

"The devil! he's keen, the old fellow! I've made a mistake," thought Gaudissart, "I must catch him with other chaff. I'll try humbug No. 1. Not at all," he said aloud, "for you who--"

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Time Machine by H. G. Wells:

years of culture had created. Then someone suggested that their plaything should be exhibited in the nearest building, and so I was led past the sphinx of white marble, which had seemed to watch me all the while with a smile at my astonishment, towards a vast grey edifice of fretted stone. As I went with them the memory of my confident anticipations of a profoundly grave and intellectual posterity came, with irresistible merriment, to my mind.

`The building had a huge entry, and was altogether of colossal dimensions. I was naturally most occupied with the growing crowd of little people, and with the big open portals that yawned


The Time Machine
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Philosophy 4 by Owen Wister:

could do this with the notes anywhere. I am sure you appreciate Oscar and his great power of acquiring facts. So he was ready, like the wise virgins of parable. Bertie and Billy did not put one in mind of virgins: although they had burned considerable midnight oil, it had not been to throw light upon Philosophy 4. In them the mere word Heracleitos had raised a chill no later than yesterday,--the chill of the unknown. They had not attended the lectures on the "Greek bucks." Indeed, profiting by their privilege of voluntary recitations, they had dropped in but seldom on Philosophy 4. These blithe grasshoppers had danced and sung away the precious storing season, and now that the bleak hour of examinations was upon them, their waked-up hearts had felt aghast at the

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 Bureaucracy by Honore de Balzac:

how he could best incite a clamor against his chief without compromising himself, Bixiou rushed to the Rabourdin office for a word of greeting. Believing that he had lost his bet the incorrigible joker thought it amusing to pretend that he had won it.

Bixiou [mimicking Phellion's voice]. "Gentlemen, I salute you with a collective how d'ye do, and I appoint Sunday next for the dinner at the Rocher de Cancale. But a serious question presents itself. Is that dinner to include the clerks who are dismissed?"

Poiret. "And those who retire?"

Bixiou. "Not that I care, for it isn't I who pay." [General stupefaction.] "Baudoyer is appointed. I think I already hear him