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Today's Stichomancy for Umberto Eco

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Chronicles of the Canongate by Walter Scott:

made it nae residence for his mother; and how it had been foretauld by a servant of his ain house that he was a ne'er-do- weel and a child of perdition, and how her words were made good, and--"

"Stop there, goodwife, if you please," said I; "you have said as much as I can well remember, and more than it may be safe to repeat. I can use a great deal of freedom with the gentleman we speak of; but I think, were any other person to carry him half of your message, I would scarce ensure his personal safety. And now, as I see the night is settled to be a fine one, I will walk on to --, where I must meet a coach to-morrow as it passes to

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Children of the Night by Edwin Arlington Robinson:

That filled it when he stopped and cried, "Hollo!" Shone joyously, and so I let it shine. He said his name was Fleming Helphenstine, But be that as it may; -- I only know He talked of this and that and So-and-So, And laughed and chaffed like any friend of mine.

But soon, with a queer, quick frown, he looked at me, And I looked hard at him; and there we gazed With a strained shame that made us cringe and wince: Then, with a wordless clogged apology That sounded half confused and half amazed,

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane:

building and crawled slowly along the river's bank.

A stone had smashed into Jimmie's mouth. Blood was bubbling over his chin and down upon his ragged shirt. Tears made furrows on his dirt-stained cheeks. His thin legs had begun to tremble and turn weak, causing his small body to reel. His roaring curses of the first part of the fight had changed to a blasphemous chatter.

In the yells of the whirling mob of Devil's Row children there were notes of joy like songs of triumphant savagery. The little boys seemed to leer gloatingly at the blood upon the other child's face.

Down the avenue came boastfully sauntering a lad of sixteen


Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
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 A Personal Record by Joseph Conrad:

One may well feel some regard for honesty, even if practised upon one's own vile body. But it is very obvious that an enemy of that sort will not be stayed by explanations or placated by apologies. Were I to advance the plea of youth in excuse of the naiveness to be found in these pages, he would be likely to say "Bosh!" in a column and a half of fierce print. Yet a writer is no older than his first published book, and, not withstanding the vain appearances of decay which attend us in this transitory life, I stand here with the wreath of only fifteen short summers on my brow.

With the remark, then, that at such tender age some naiveness of


A Personal Record