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Today's Stichomancy for Kurt Vonnegut

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy:

"My sword, Monsieur," replied the Vicomte, who, though still bewildered, was beginning to lose his temper.

"You are a sportsman, Lord Tony," said Marguerite, merrily; "ten to one on the little bantam."

But Sir Percy was staring sleepily at the Vicomte for a moment or two, through his partly closed heavy lids, then he smothered another yawn, stretched his long limbs, and turned leisurely away.

"Lud love you, sir," he muttered good-humouredly. "demmit, young man, what's the good of your sword to me?"

What the Vicomte thought and felt at that moment, when that long-limbed Englishman treated him with such marked insolence, might


The Scarlet Pimpernel
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie:

round, holding his breath in his excessive care. A little more--a little more still--would it never be finished? Ah! at last it would turn no farther.

He stayed so for a minute or two, then drew a deep breath, and pressed it ever so slightly inward. The door did not budge. Tommy was annoyed. If he had to use too much force, it would almost certainly creak. He waited until the voices rose a little, then he tried again. Still nothing happened. He increased the pressure. Had the beastly thing stuck? Finally, in desperation, he pushed with all his might. But the door remained firm, and at last the truth dawned upon him. It was locked or bolted on the


Secret Adversary
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Profits of Religion by Upton Sinclair:

in the name of any divinity, ancient or modern; the only bearing of such ideas is that they serve to persuade people to make the experiment, and to make it with persistence and intensity. So it has come about that "miracles" of healing are associated with "faith"; and so it comes about that scientists are apt to flout the subject. But read of the work of Janet and Charcot and their followers at the Salpetriere; they have proven that all kinds of seeming-organic ailments may be entirely hysterical in nature, and may be cured by the simplest form of suggestion. Understanding this, you may find it more easy to credit the fact that cripples do sometimes throw away their crutches in the

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 Protagoras by Plato:

greater and smaller, or more and fewer? This we cannot deny. And when you speak of being overcome--'what do you mean,' he will say, 'but that you choose the greater evil in exchange for the lesser good?' Admitted. And now substitute the names of pleasure and pain for good and evil, and say, not as before, that a man does what is evil knowingly, but that he does what is painful knowingly, and because he is overcome by pleasure, which is unworthy to overcome. What measure is there of the relations of pleasure to pain other than excess and defect, which means that they become greater and smaller, and more and fewer, and differ in degree? For if any one says: 'Yes, Socrates, but immediate pleasure differs widely from future pleasure and pain'--To that I should reply: And do they differ in anything