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Today's Stichomancy for T. S. Eliot

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Scenes from a Courtesan's Life by Honore de Balzac:

"Three noble families involved!" he exclaimed. "We must not make the smallest blunder!--You are right: as a first step let us act on Fouche's principle, 'Arrest!'--and Jacques Collin must at once be sent back to the secret cells."

"That is to proclaim him a convict and to ruin Lucien's memory!"

"What a desperate business!" said Monsieur de Granville. "There is danger on every side."

At this instant the governor of the Conciergerie came in, not without knocking; and the private room of a public prosecutor is so well guarded, that only those concerned about the courts may even knock at the door.

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

following narrations, and as they form one of those distinct and strongly marked castes or orders of people, springing up in this vast continent out of geographical circumstances, or the varied pursuits, habitudes, and origins of its population, we shall sketch a few of their characteristics for the information of the reader.

The "voyageurs" form a kind of confraternity in the Canadas, like the arrieros, or carriers of Spain, and, like them, are employed in long internal expeditions of travel and traffic: with this difference, that the arrieros travel by land, the voyageurs by water; the former with mules and horses, the latter with batteaux

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Snow Image by Nathaniel Hawthorne:

hand, and suffered the moonlight to fall full upon his front.

"In me," said he, with a certain majesty of utterance,--"in me, you behold a poet."

Though a lithographic print of this gentleman is extant, it may be well to notice that he was now nearly forty, a thin and stooping figure, in a black coat, out at elbows; notwithstanding the ill condition of his attire, there were about him several tokens of a peculiar sort of foppery, unworthy of a mature man, particularly in the arrangement of his hair which was so disposed as to give all possible loftiness and breadth to his forehead. However, he had an intelligent eye, and, on the whole, a marked


The Snow Image
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 She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith:

MISS NEVILLE. I have just come from one of our agreeable tete-a-tetes. She has been saying a hundred tender things, and setting off her pretty monster as the very pink of perfection.

MISS HARDCASTLE. And her partiality is such, that she actually thinks him so. A fortune like yours is no small temptation. Besides, as she has the sole management of it, I'm not surprised to see her unwilling to let it go out of the family.

MISS NEVILLE. A fortune like mine, which chiefly consists in jewels, is no such mighty temptation. But at any rate, if my dear Hastings be but constant, I make no doubt to be too hard for her at last. However, I let her suppose that I am in love with her son; and she never once


She Stoops to Conquer