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Today's Stichomancy for Mel Brooks

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Melmoth Reconciled by Honore de Balzac:

him when he died, poor fellow, in the marsh of Zembin, and I shall slip into his skin. . . . Mille diables! the woman who is to follow after me might give them a clue! Think of an old campaigner like me infatuated enough to tie myself to a petticoat tail! . . . Why take her? I must leave her behind. Yes, I could make up my mind to it; but--I know myself--I should be ass enough to go back to her. Still, nobody knows Aquilina. Shall I take her or leave her?"

"You will not take her!" cried a voice that filled Castanier with sickening dread. He turned sharply, and saw the Englishman.

"The devil is in it!" cried the cashier aloud.

Melmoth had passed his victim by this time; and if Castanier's first

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

and was compelled to prompt the wily Jew with the words and ideas he seemed to seek, to complete himself the arguments of the said Jew, to say what that cursed Jew ought to have said for himself; in short, to be the Jew instead of being Grandet. When the cooper came out of this curious encounter he had concluded the only bargain of which in the course of a long commercial life he ever had occasion to complain. But if he lost at the time pecuniarily, he gained morally a valuable lesson; later, he gathered its fruits. Indeed, the goodman ended by blessing that Jew for having taught him the art of irritating his commercial antagonist and leading him to forget his own thoughts in his impatience to suggest those over which his tormentor was


Eugenie Grandet
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Hellenica by Xenophon:

Anaxibius carried on war against each other by the despatch of guerilla or piratic bands across the straits. But as time wore on, information reached him of the departure of Anaxibius to Antandrus, accompanied by his mercenaries and his own bodyguard of Laconians and two hundred Abydenian hoplites. Hearing further that Anaxibius had won the friendly adhesion of Antandrus, Iphicrates conjectured that after establishing a garrison in that place he would make the best of his way back, if only to bring the Abydenians home again. He therefore crossed in the night, selecting a desert point on the Abydene coast, from which he scaled the hills above the town and planted himself in ambuscade within their folds. The triremes which brought him across

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 My Antonia by Willa Cather:

The girls would not be along yet. For the first time it occurred to me that I should be homesick for that river after I left it. The sandbars, with their clean white beaches and their little groves of willows and cottonwood seedlings, were a sort of No Man's Land, little newly created worlds that belonged to the Black Hawk boys. Charley Harling and I had hunted through these woods, fished from the fallen logs, until I knew every inch of the river shores and had a friendly feeling for every bar and shallow.

After my swim, while I was playing about indolently in the water, I heard the sound of hoofs and wheels on the bridge. I struck downstream and shouted, as the open spring wagon


My Antonia