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Today's Stichomancy for Voltaire

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from On Horsemanship by Xenophon:

the object being to help the hairs to grow--those in the tail so as to allow the creature the greatest reach possible in brushing away molesting objects,[8] and those of the neck in order that the rider may have as free a grip as possible.

[6] Lit. "The gods, we must suppose, gave . . ."

[7] Lit. "as defences or protective bulwarks."

[8] Insects, etc.

Mane, forelock, and tail are triple gifts bestowed by the gods upon the horse for the sake of pride and ornament,[9] and here is the proof: a brood mare, so long as her mane is long and flowing, will not readily suffer herself to be covered by an ass; hence breeders of

On Horsemanship
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Twilight Land by Howard Pyle:

great thick neck, and a voice like a bull's.

"Do you mind," said he, "about how I clapped a man in the fire and cooked him to a crisp that day that St. Peter came travelling my way?"

There was a little space of silence, and then the Soldier who had cheated the Devil spoke up. "Why yes, friend," said he, "I know your story very well."

"I am not so fortunate," said old Bidpai. "I do not know your story. Tell me, friend, did you really bake a man to a crisp? And how was it then?"

"Why," said the Blacksmith, "I was trying to do what a better man

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from A Prince of Bohemia by Honore de Balzac:

with him, sent Madame Antonia a note which made her famous.

" 'MADAME,--Your conduct causes me much surprise and no less distress. Not content with rending my heart with your disdain, you have been so little thoughtful as to retain a toothbrush, which my means will not permit me to replace, my estates being mortgaged beyond their value.

" 'Adieu, too fair and too ungrateful friend! May we meet again in a better world.


"Assuredly (to avail ourselves yet further of Sainte-Beuve's Babylonish dialect), this far outpasses the raillery of Sterne's

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 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin:

of great note, and one of our provincial judges. Our friendship continued without interruption to his death, upward of forty years; and the club continued almost as long, and was the best school of philosophy, morality, and politics that then existed in the province; for our queries, which were read the week preceding their discussion, put us upon reading with attention upon the several subjects, that we might speak more to the purpose; and here, too, we acquired better habits of conversation, every thing being studied in our rules which might prevent our disgusting each other. From hence the long continuance of the club, which I shall have frequent occasion to speak further of hereafter.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin