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Today's Stichomancy for William Gibson

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Death of the Lion by Henry James:

Go away without it. That will be far better."

She looked mystified, then turned visibly pale. "Why, hasn't he any personal charm?" The girl was terrible and laughable in her bright directness.

"Ah that dreadful word 'personally'!" I wailed; "we're dying of it, for you women bring it out with murderous effect. When you meet with a genius as fine as this idol of ours let him off the dreary duty of being a personality as well. Know him only by what's best in him and spare him for the same sweet sake."

My young lady continued to look at me in confusion and mistrust, and the result of her reflexion on what I had just said was to make

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey:

He descended the gorge on the other side. The slope was gradual, the space narrow, the course straight for many rods. A gloom hung between the up-sweeping walls. In a turn the passage narrowed to scarce a dozen feet, and here was darkness of night. But light shone ahead; another abrupt turn brought day again, and then wide open space.

Above Venters loomed a wonderful arch of stone bridging the canyon rims, and through the enormous round portal gleamed and glistened a beautiful valley shining under sunset gold reflected by surrounding cliffs. He gave a start of surprise. The valley was a cove a mile long, half that wide, and its enclosing walls


Riders of the Purple Sage
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Underground City by Jules Verne:

"Nothing!" cried Ford, clenching his fist with a gesture rather of anger than disappointment.

A cry escaped Harry.

"What's the matter?" asked Starr quickly.

"Someone has stopped up the cracks in the schist!"

"Is that true?" exclaimed the old miner.

"Look, father!" Harry was not mistaken. The obstruction of the fissures was clearly visible by the light of the lamp. It had been recently done with lime, leaving on the rock a long whitish mark, badly concealed with coal dust.

"It's he!" exclaimed Harry. "It can only be he!"

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 Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll:

He forgot when he entered the ship: His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings, And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed, With his name painted clearly on each: But, since he omitted to mention the fact, They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because He had seven coats on when he came, With three pairs of boots--but the worst of it was, He had wholly forgotten his name.


The Hunting of the Snark