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Today's Stichomancy for William T. Sherman

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from La Grenadiere by Honore de Balzac:

sometimes, when she was off her guard, their expression told of secret anguish. The oval of her face was somewhat long; but happiness and health had perhaps filled and perfected the outlines. A forced smile, full of quiet sadness, hovered continually on her pale lips; but when the children, who were always with her, looked up at their mother, or asked one of the incessant idle questions which convey so much to a mother's ears, then the smile brightened, and expressed the joys of a mother's love. Her gait was slow and dignified. Her dress never varied; evidently she had made up her mind to think no more of her toilette, and to forget a world by which she meant no doubt to be forgotten. She wore a long, black gown, confined at the waist by a

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Art of Writing by Robert Louis Stevenson:

of life. And with these the execution is but play; for the stylistic problem is resolved beforehand, and all large originality of treatment wilfully foregone. Such are the verses, intricately designed, which we have learnt to admire, with a certain smiling admiration, at the hands of Mr. Lang and Mr. Dobson; such, too, are those canvases where dexterity or even breadth of plastic style takes the place of pictorial nobility of design. So, it may be remarked, it was easier to begin to write ESMOND than VANITY FAIR, since, in the first, the style was dictated by the nature of the plan; and Thackeray, a man probably of some indolence of mind, enjoyed

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Heritage of the Desert by Zane Grey:

Then it came to mind: a remembrance of Mescal's sweet voice, and that recalled the kinship between her and the Navajo chieftain. He looked about, endeavoring to find her in the ring of light, for he felt in her a fascination akin to the charm of this twilight hour. Dusky forms passed to and fro under the trees; the tinkle of bells on hobbled mustangs rang from the forest; coyotes had begun their night quest with wild howls; the camp-fire burned red, and shadows flickered on the blanketed Indians; the wind now moaned, now lulled in the cedars.

Hare lay back in his blankets and saw lustrous stars through the network of branches. With their light in his face and the cold wind waving his hair on his brow he thought of the strangeness of it all, of its


The Heritage of the Desert
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 Catherine de Medici by Honore de Balzac:

against the casing, one to right, the other to left, silent; but their feelings were expressed in such speaking glances that they averted their eyes and, with mutual artfulness, gazed through the window at the sky. These two great and superior women had, at this crisis, no greater art of behavior than the vulgarest of their sex. Perhaps it is always thus when circumstances arise which overwhelm the human being. There is, inevitably, a moment when genius itself feels its littleness in presence of great catastrophes.

As for Christophe, he was like a man in the act of rolling down a precipice. Lewiston, the Scotch captain, listened to this silence, watching the son of the furrier and the two queens with soldierly