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Today's Stichomancy for Steve Martin

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

when Nutus died and a new jeddak was chosen.

Slowly Astok withdrew from the presence of his father. With white face and shaking limbs he made his way to his own palace. As he crossed the courtyard his glance chanced to wander to the great east tower looming high against the azure of the sky.

At sight of it beads of sweat broke out upon his brow.

Issus! No other hand than his could be trusted to do the horrid thing. With his own fingers he must crush the life from that perfect throat, or plunge the silent blade into the red, red heart.

Thuvia, Maid of Mars
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Egmont by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe:

wagered on either side; I was the victor; his ball missed, mine hit the mark, and the air was rent by acclamations from my friends. His shot now hits me. Tell him that I know this, that I know him, that the world despises every trophy that a paltry spirit erects for itself by base and surreptitious arts. And thou !

If it be possible for a son to swerve from the manners of his father, practise shame betimes, while thou art compelled to feel shame for him whom thou wouldst fain revere with thy whole heart.

Ferdinand. I listen without interrupting thee! Thy reproaches fall like blows upon a helmet. I feel the shock, but I am armed. They strike, they wound me not; I am sensible only to the anguish that lacerates my heart.

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from A Princess of Parms by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

limbs which could be used at will either as arms or legs. Their eyes were set at the extreme sides of their heads a trifle above the center and protruded in such a manner that they could be directed either forward or back and also independently of each other, thus permitting this queer animal to look in any direction, or in two directions at once, without the necessity of turning the head.

The ears, which were slightly above the eyes and closer together, were small, cup-shaped antennae, protruding not more than an inch on these young specimens. Their noses were but longitudinal slits in the center of their faces, midway between their mouths and ears.

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 Dead Souls by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol:

towns is ordinary, vulgar sauterne even procurable.) Next, he called for a bottle of madeira--"as fine a tipple as ever a field-marshall drank"; but the madeira only burnt the mouth, since the dealers, familiar with the taste of our landed gentry (who love "good" madeira) invariably doctor the stuff with copious dashes of rum and Imperial vodka, in the hope that Russian stomachs will thus be enabled to carry off the lot. After this bottle Nozdrev called for another and "a very special" brand--a brand which he declared to consist of a blend of burgundy and champagne, and of which he poured generous measures into the glasses of Chichikov and the brother-in-law as they sat to right and left of him. But since Chichikov noticed that, after doing so, he

Dead Souls