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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 Virginian by Owen Wister:

stowed beneath a chair uttered a drowsy note. A much louder cry, indeed a chorus of lament, would have been needed to reach the ears of the parents in the room beyond, such was the noisy volume of the dance. But in this quiet place the light sound caught Mr. McLean's attention, and he turned to see if anything were wrong. But both babies were sleeping peacefully.

"Them's Uncle Hughey's twins," he said.

"How do you happen to know that?" inquired the Virginian, suddenly interested.

"Saw his wife put 'em under the chair so she could find 'em right off when she come to go home."


The Virginian
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Charmides by Plato:

reader stop to think, or unduly attracts attention by difficulty and peculiarity, or disturbs the effect of the surrounding language. In general the style of one author is not appropriate to another; as in society, so in letters, we expect every man to have 'a good coat of his own,' and not to dress himself out in the rags of another. (a) Archaic expressions are therefore to be avoided. Equivalents may be occasionally drawn from Shakspere, who is the common property of us all; but they must be used sparingly. For, like some other men of genius of the Elizabethan and Jacobean age, he outdid the capabilities of the language, and many of the expressions which he introduced have been laid aside and have dropped out of use. (b) A similar principle should be observed in the employment

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Just Folks by Edgar A. Guest:

That he was young as ever; And in his youth, he said, he was A baseball player clever. So when the business men arranged A game, they came to call On dad and asked him if he thought That he could play baseball.

"I haven't played in fifteen years, Said father, "but I know That I can stop the grounders hot, And I can make the throw.


Just Folks
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 Dead Souls by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol:

land? Is not that so?"

[Here there occurs a hiatus in the original.]

Everything in life fulfils its function, and Chichikov's tour in search of a fortune was carried out so successfully that not a little money passed into his pockets. The system employed was a good one: he did not steal, he merely used. And every one of us at times does the same: one man with regard to Government timber, and another with regard to a sum belonging to his employer, while a third defrauds his children for the sake of an actress, and a fourth robs his peasantry for the sake of smart furniture or a carriage. What can one do when one is surrounded on every side with roguery, and everywhere there are


Dead Souls