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Today's Stichomancy for Colin Powell

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson by Robert Louis Stevenson:

my heart ought to be over), I forgot eating, which I still enjoy, and who sees the circle of impotence closing very slowly but quite steadily around him? In my view, one dank, dispirited word is harmful, a crime of LESE- HUMANITE, a piece of acquired evil; every gay, every bright word or picture, like every pleasant air of music, is a piece of pleasure set afloat; the reader catches it, and, if he be healthy, goes on his way rejoicing; and it is the business of art so to send him, as often as possible.

For what you say, so kindly, so prettily, so precisely, of my style, I must in particular thank you; though even here, I am vexed you should not have remarked on my attempted change of manner:

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Another Study of Woman by Honore de Balzac:

or intimate friends, saying, "Do not go yet; we will have a snug little supper." These collect in some small room. The second, the real party, now begins; a party where, as of old, every one can hear what is said, conversation is general, each one is bound to be witty and to contribute to the amusement of all. Everything is made to tell, honest laughter takes the place of the gloom which in company saddens the prettiest faces. In short, where the rout ends pleasure begins.

The Rout, a cold display of luxury, a review of self-conceits in full dress, is one of those English inventions which tend to /mechanize/ other nations. England seems bent on seeing the whole world as dull as itself, and dull in the same way. So this second party is, in some

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Battle of the Books by Jonathan Swift:

I'm sorry Mopsa breaks so fast; I said her face would never last, Corinna with that youthful air, Is thirty, and a bit to spare. Her fondness for a certain earl Began, when I was but a girl. Phyllis, who but a month ago Was married to the Tunbridge beau, I saw coquetting t'other night In public with that odious knight. They rallied next Vanessa's dress;

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 Selected Writings of Guy De Maupassant by Guy De Maupassant:

ladies! Did you say, four ladies?'

" 'I said four women.'

" 'Real women?'

" 'Real women.'

" 'Well, accept my compliments!'

" 'I will, for I deserve them.'

"He got out of his armchair, opened the door, and I saw a beautiful, white tablecloth on a long table, round which three hussars in blue aprons were setting out the plates and glasses. 'There are some women coming!' Marchas cried. And the three men began to dance and to cheer with all their might.