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Today's Stichomancy for Toni Braxton

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

shining, amid a chaos of soap, sponges, combs, basins, blotting-paper, flannel, and all the nameless litter of a true English "nursery."

For I am so far a convert as to admit that English women have a talent for this department. True, they look upon the child only from the point of view of material well-being; but where this is concerned, their arrangements are admirable. My children must always be bare- legged and wear woollen socks. There shall be no swaddling nor bandages; on the other hand, they shall never be left alone. The helplessness of the French infant in its swaddling-bands means the liberty of the nurse--that is the whole explanation. A mother, who is really a mother, is never free.

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Myths and Myth-Makers by John Fiske:

in a sip, and the Flemish schoppen were too much for him. He fell into a drunken sleep, and did not wake up until noon next day, at which he was so mortified that he had not the face to go back to hell at all. So Gambrinus lived on tranquilly for a century or two, and drank so much beer that he turned into a beer-barrel.[121]

[121] See Deulin, Contes d'un Buveur de Biere, pp. 3-29.

The character of gullibility attributed to the Devil in these legends is probably derived from the Trolls, or "night-folk," of Northern mythology. In most respects the Trolls resemble the Teutonic elves and fairies, and the Jinn or Efreets of the


Myths and Myth-Makers
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Collected Articles by Frederick Douglass:

wharf with a cargo of oil for New York. I was not only a freeman, but a free working-man, and no "master" stood ready at the end of the week to seize my hard earnings.

The season was growing late and work was plenty. Ships were being fitted out for whaling, and much wood was used in storing them. The sawing this wood was considered a good job. With the help of old Friend Johnson (blessings on his memory) I got a saw and "buck," and went at it. When I went into a store to buy a cord with which to brace up my saw in the frame, I asked for a "fip's" worth of cord. The man behind the counter looked rather sharply at me, and said with equal sharpness, "You don't belong about here." I was alarmed,

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 Some Reminiscences by Joseph Conrad:

out, in misty, blowing weather, for the sails of ships and the smoke of steamers rising out there, beyond the slim and tall Planier lighthouse cutting the line of the wind-swept horizon with a white perpendicular stroke. They were hospitable souls, these sturdy Provencal seamen. Under the general designation of le petit ami de Baptistin I was made the guest of the Corporation of Pilots, and had the freedom of their boats night or day. And many a day and a night too did I spend cruising with these rough, kindly men, under whose auspices my intimacy with the sea began. Many a time "the little friend of Baptistin" had the hooded cloak of the Mediterranean sailor thrown over him by their honest hands


Some Reminiscences