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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 The Girl with the Golden Eyes by Honore de Balzac:

--of my dreams! She is the original of that ravishing picture called /La Femme Caressant sa Chimere/, the warmest, the most infernal inspiration of the genius of antiquity; a holy poem prostituted by those who have copied it for frescoes and mosiacs; for a heap of bourgeois who see in this gem nothing more than a gew-gaw and hang it on their watch-chains--whereas, it is the whole woman, an abyss of pleasure into which one plunges and finds no end; whereas, it is the ideal woman, to be seen sometimes in reality in Spain or Italy, almost never in France. Well, I have again seen this girl of the gold eyes, this woman caressing her chimera. I saw her on Friday. I had a presentiment that on the following day she would be here at the same


The Girl with the Golden Eyes
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from A Daughter of Eve by Honore de Balzac:

the Graces and society. The cat, being the feebler and protected partner, had rather the best of the establishment; he enjoyed the comforts of an old sofa-cushion, near which could be seen a white china cup and plate. But what no pen can describe was the state into which Schmucke, the cat, and the pipe, that existing trinity, had reduced these articles. The pipe had burned the table. The cat and Schmucke's head had greased the green Utrecht velvet of the two arm- chairs and reduced it to a slimy texture. If it had not been for the cat's magnificent tail, which played a useful part in the household, the uncovered places on the bureau and the piano would never have been dusted. In one corner of the room were a pile of shoes which need an

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The American by Henry James:

she told me."

"Yes," said Madame de Cintre, simply; "she is very faithful; I can trust her."

Newman had never made any reflections to this lady upon her mother and her brother Urbain; had given no hint of the impression they made upon him. But, as if she had guessed his thoughts, she seemed careful to avoid all occasion for making him speak of them. She never alluded to her mother's domestic decrees; she never quoted the opinions of the marquis. They had talked, however, of Valentin, and she had made no secret of her extreme affection for her younger brother.

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 Modeste Mignon by Honore de Balzac:

Napoleon. He went to Havre accompanied by Dumay, whose life he had saved at Waterloo by taking him on the crupper of his saddle in the hurly-burly of the retreat. Dumay shared the opinions and the anxieties of his colonel; the poor fellow idolized the two little girls and followed Charles like a spaniel. The latter, confidence that the habit of obedience, the discipline of subordination, and the honesty and affection of the lieutenant would make him a useful as well as a faithful retainer, proposed to take him with him in a civil capacity. Dumay was only too happy to be adopted into the family, to which he resolved to cling like the mistletoe to an oak.

While waiting for an opportunity to embark, at the same time making


Modeste Mignon