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Today's Stichomancy for Rebecca Romijn

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Tono Bungay by H. G. Wells:

He blew and wiped his glasses.

"My stomack isn't what it was," he explained. "One finds it--these times. How did it all happen, George? Your Marconigram--it took me in the wind a bit."

I told him concisely. He nodded to the paragraphs of my narrative and at the end he poured something from a medicine bottle into a sticky little wineglass and drank it. I became aware of the presence of drugs, of three or four small bottles before him among his disorder of papers, of a faint elusively familiar odour in the room.

"Yes," he said, wiping his lips and recorking the bottle.

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Scenes from a Courtesan's Life by Honore de Balzac:

dinner, and your digestion is at work. Let me instruct you--for I cost you enough to give some advice for your money now and then--let me tell you, my dear fellow, that a man whose digestion is so troublesome as yours is, is not justified in telling his mistress that she is pretty at unseemly hours. An old soldier died of that very folly 'in the arms of Religion,' as Blondet has it.

"It is now ten o'clock. You finished dinner at du Tillet's at nine o'clock, with your pigeon the Comte de Brambourg; you have millions and truffles to digest. Come to-morrow night at ten."

"Vat you are cruel!" cried the Baron, recognizing the profound truth of this medical argument.

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Lesson of the Master by Henry James:

to go to church and then had decided they were too good for that and had stayed at home. She told a story of some length about the shabby way Lady Jane had treated the Duchess, as well as an anecdote in relation to a purchase she had made in Paris - on her way back from Cannes; made for Lady Egbert, who had never refunded the money. Paul Overt suspected her of a tendency to figure great people as larger than life, until he noticed the manner in which she handled Lady Egbert, which was so sharply mutinous that it reassured him. He felt he should have understood her better if he might have met her eye; but she scarcely so much as glanced at him. "Ah here they come - all the good ones!" she said at last; and Paul

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 The Soul of the Far East by Percival Lowell:

comprehensive to entertain the idea; as it is, the idea entertains us.

On the same general plan, the nouns precede the verbs in the sentence, and are in every way the more important parts of speech. The consequence is that in ordinary conversation the verbs come so late in the day that they not infrequently get left out altogether. For the Japanese are much given to docking their phrases, a custom the Germans might do well to adopt. Now, nouns denote facts, while verbs express action, and action, as considered in human speech, is mostly of human origin. In this precedence accorded the impersonal element in language over the personal, we observe again the comparative importance assigned the two. In Japanese estimation,