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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 Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane:

deep sleep.

The youth leaned his breast against the brown dirt and peered over at the woods and up and down the line. Curtains of trees interfered with his ways of vision. He could see the low line of trenches but for a short distance. A few idle flags were perched on the dirt hills. Behind them were rows of dark bodies with a few heads sticking curiously over the top.

Always the noise of skirmishers came from the woods on the front and left, and the din on

The Red Badge of Courage
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Black Dwarf by Walter Scott:





Hast any philosophy in thee, Shepherd? AS YOU LIKE IT.

It was a fine April morning (excepting that it had snowed hard the night before, and the ground remained covered with a dazzling mantle of six inches in depth) when two horsemen rode up to the Wallace Inn. The first was a strong, tall, powerful man, in a grey riding-coat, having a hat covered with waxcloth, a huge silver-mounted horsewhip, boots, and dreadnought overalls. He

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

free. You should ask yourself, what keen wit belonged to Pericles[83] that he was held to be the best adviser of his fatherland. You should scan[84] the field of history to learn by what sage wisdom Solon[85] established for our city her consummate laws. I would have you find the clue to that peculiar training by which the men of Lacedaemon have come to be regarded as the best of leaders.[86] Is it not at your house that their noblest citizens are lodged as representatives of a foreign state?[87]

[83] See "Mem." II. vi. 13; III. vi. 2; IV. ii. 2.

[84] For the diction, {skepteon, skepteon, aphreteon, ereuneteon, epistamenos, eidos, philosopheras}, Xenophon's rhetorical style

The Symposium
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 Fisherman's Luck by Henry van Dyke:

to worm our way down through the tangled wilderness. Fly-fishing, of course, was out of the question. The only possible method of angling was to let the line, baited with a juicy "garden hackle," drift down the current as far as possible before you, under the alder-branches and the cat-briers, into the holes and corners of the stream. Then, if there came a gentle tug on the rod, you must strike, to one side or the other, as the branches might allow, and trust wholly to luck for a chance to play the fish. Many a trout we lost that day,--the largest ones, of course,--and many a hook was embedded in a sunken log, or hopelessly entwined among the boughs overhead. But when we came out at the bridge, very wet and