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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 Ursula by Honore de Balzac:

with which throughout all ages the Peoples crowned their virgins, had fallen from her brow. She heard in the void and in the silence the dishonoring words, the malicious comments, the laughter of the little town. The trial was too heavy, her innocence was too delicate to allow her to survive the murderous blow. She complained no more; a sorrowful smile was on her lips; her eyes appealed to heaven, to the Sovereign of angels, against man's injustice.

When Goupil reached Nemours, Ursula had just been carried down from her chamber to the ground-floor in the arms of La Bougival and the doctor. A great event was about to take place. When Madame de Portenduere became really aware that the girl was dying like an

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain:

"'The remark which I made to the distressed stranger was this: "You are very far from being a bad man; go, and reform."'" Then he continued:- "We shall know in a moment now whether the remark here quoted corresponds with the one concealed in the sack; and if that shall prove to be so--and it undoubtedly will--this sack of gold belongs to a fellow-citizen who will henceforth stand before the nation as the symbol of the special virtue which has made our town famous throughout the land--Mr. Billson!"

The house had gotten itself all ready to burst into the proper tornado of applause; but instead of doing it, it seemed stricken with a paralysis; there was a deep hush for a moment or two, then a


The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf:

"Oh," said Mrs Ramsay with a little start, "No," she added, reflecting that she did not know this Carrie who built a new billiard room. But how strange, she repeated, to Mr Bankes's amusement, that they should be going on there still. For it was extraordinary to think that they had been capable of going on living all these years when she had not thought of them more than once all that time. How eventful her own life had been, during those same years. Yet perhaps Carrie had not thought about her, either. The thought was strange and distasteful.

"People soon drift apart," said Mr Bankes, feeling, however, some satisfaction when he thought that after all he knew both the Mannings and the Ramsays. He had not drifted apart he thought, laying down his


To the Lighthouse
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 La Grenadiere by Honore de Balzac:

some arrangements, which must remain a secret, known only to us. Take the key of my little table. That is it. Now open the drawer. You will find two sealed papers to the left. There is the name of LOUIS on one, and on the other MARIE."

"Here they are, mother."

"Those are your certificates of birth, darling; you will want them. Give them to our poor, old Annette to keep for you; ask her for them when you need them. Now," she continued, "is there not another paper as well, something in my handwriting?"

"Yes, mother," and Louis began to read, "MARIE WILLEMSENS, BORN AT----"