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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 Hidden Masterpiece by Honore de Balzac:

deceptive magic of the chiaroscuro. See! at this place the rich, clear color of Titian has forced out the skeleton outline of Albrecht Durier, as molten bronze might burst and overflow a slender mould. Here and there the outline has resisted the flood, and holds back the magnificent torrent of Venetian color. Your figure is neither perfectly well painted nor perfectly well drawn; it bears throughout the signs of this unfortunate indecision. If you did not feel that the fire of your genius was hot enough to weld into one the rival methods, you ought to have chosen honestly the one or the other, and thus attained the unity which conveys one aspect, at least, of life. As it is, you are true only on your middle plane. Your outlines are false;

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

"Well, well!--Adieu, monsieur," replied Goupil, with a parting glance of gall and hatred and defiance.

"Do you wish to be the wife of a notary who will settle a hundred thousand francs on you?" cried Bongrand entering Madame de Portenduere's little salon, where Ursula was seated beside the old lady.

Ursula and Savinien trembled and looked at each other,--she smiling, he not daring to show his uneasiness.

"I am not mistress of myself," said Ursula, holding out her hand to Savinien in such a way that the old lady did not perceive the gesture.

"Well, I have refused the offer without consulting you."

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Sons of the Soil by Honore de Balzac:

"Oh! are you there?" she said.

"Yes."

"What are you looking at?"

"A pretty question! You have torn me from the contemplation of Nature. Tell me, countess, will you go for a walk in the woods this morning before breakfast?"

"What an idea! You know I have a horror of walking."

"We will only walk a little way; I'll drive you in the tilbury and take Joseph to hold the horses. You have never once set foot in your forest; and I have just noticed something very curious, a phenomenon; there are spots where the tree-tops are the color of Florentine

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 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy:

but Paul Timofeevich had not yet arrived. One of Pierre's acquaintances, while they were talking about the weather, asked if he had heard of Kuragin's abduction of Rostova which was talked of in the town, and was it true? Pierre laughed and said it was nonsense for he had just come from the Rostovs'. He asked everyone about Anatole. One man told him he had not come yet, and another that he was coming to dinner. Pierre felt it strange to see this calm, indifferent crowd of people unaware of what was going on in his soul. He paced through the ballroom, waited till everyone had come, and as Anatole had not turned up did not stay for dinner but drove home.


War and Peace