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Today's Stichomancy for Stephen Colbert

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Troll Garden and Selected Stories by Willa Cather:

MacMaster pursed up his lips and sat down, his overcoat still on. "Well, James, this is something of a--something of a jolt, eh? It never occurred to me she'd really do it."

"Lord, you don't know 'er, sir," said James bitterly, still staring at the floor in an attitude of abandoned dejection.

MacMaster started up in a flash of enlightenment, "What on earth have you got there, James? It's not-surely it's not--"

Yes, it is, sir," broke in the man excitedly. "It's the Marriage itself. It ayn't agoing to H'Australia, no'ow!"

"But man, what are you going to do with it? It's Lichtenstein's property now, as it seems."


The Troll Garden and Selected Stories
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Europeans by Henry James:

"Ah, they have wandered away into the wood," he added.

Gertrude turned round again. "She is not in love with him," she said; it seemed her duty to say that.

"Then he is in love with her; or if he is not, he ought to be. She is such a perfect little woman of her kind. She reminds me of a pair of old-fashioned silver sugar-tongs; you know I am very fond of sugar. And she is very nice with Mr. Brand; I have noticed that; very gentle and gracious."

Gertrude reflected a moment. Then she took a great resolution. "She wants him to marry me," she said. "So of course she is nice."

Felix's eyebrows rose higher than ever. "To marry you!

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

that--and they have been prudent enough to decree that conjugal love, apart from passion, is not degrading, and that a woman in yielding herself may dispense with the sanction of love, provided the man can legally call her his. In their exclusive concern for the family they have imitated Nature, whose one care is to propagate the species.

Formerly I was a person, now I am a chattel. Not a few tears have I gulped down, alone and far from every one. How gladly would I have exchanged them for a consoling smile! Why are our destinies so unequal? Your soul expands in the atmosphere of a lawful passion. For you, virtue will coincide with pleasure. If you encounter pain, it will be of your own free choice. Your duty, if you marry Felipe, will

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 At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft:

place was frankly beyond me, and I felt queerly humbled as a geologist. Igneous formations often have strange regularities - like the famous Giants’ Causeway in Ireland - but this stupendous range, despite Lake’s original suspicion of smoking cones, was above all else nonvolcanic in evident structure. The curious cave mouths, near which the odd formations seemed most abundant, presented another albeit a lesser puzzle because of their regularity of outline. They were, as Lake’s bulletin had said, often approximately square or semicircular; as if the natural orifices had been shaped to greater symmetry by some magic hand. Their numerousness and


At the Mountains of Madness