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Today's Stichomancy for Oprah Winfrey

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo:

of which Tholomyes was the head. It was he who possessed the wit.

Tholomyes was the antique old student; he was rich; he had an income of four thousand francs; four thousand francs! a splendid scandal on Mount Sainte-Genevieve. Tholomyes was a fast man of thirty, and badly preserved. He was wrinkled and toothless, and he had the beginning of a bald spot, of which he himself said with sadness, the skull at thirty, the knee at forty. His digestion was mediocre, and he had been attacked by a watering in one eye. But in proportion as his youth disappeared, gayety was kindled; he replaced his teeth with buffooneries, his hair with mirth, his health with irony, his weeping eye laughed incessantly. He was dilapidated but still in flower.


Les Miserables
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Dawn O'Hara, The Girl Who Laughed by Edna Ferber:

All these years of work and suffering have made an old man of little Blackie, although he is young in years. But they haven't spoiled his heart any. He is able to distinguish between sham and truth because he has been obliged to do it ever since he was a child selling papers on the corner. But he still clings to the office that gave him his start, although he makes more money in a single week outside the office than his salary would amount to in half a year. He says that this is a job that does not interfere with his work."

Such is Blackie. Surely the oddest friend a woman

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

dizzy in so doing, as though he stood upon the verge of an abyss; the too vibrant voice, the too slender bosom of the young girl filled him with dread, and he questioned himself after questioning her.

"You suffer here!" he cried at last, driven by a last thought which summed up his whole meditation.

She bent her head gently.

"By God's grace!" said the old man, with a sigh, "I will take you to the Chateau d'Herouville, and there you shall take sea-baths to strengthen you."

"Is that true, father? You are not laughing at your little Gabrielle? I have so longed to see the castle, and the men-at-arms, and the

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 Twice Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne:

ante-revolutionary New Englanders. The wintry blast had the same shriek that was familiar to their ears. The Old South Church, too, still pointed its antique spire into the darkness, and was lost between earth and heaven; and as I passed, its clock, which had warned so many generations how transitory was their lifetime, spoke heavily and slow the same unregarded moral to myself. "Only seven o'clock," thought I. "My old friend's legends will scarcely kill the hours 'twixt this and bedtime."

Passing through the narrow arch, I crossed the court-yard, the confined precincts of which were made visible by a lantern over the portal of the Province House. On entering the bar-room, I


Twice Told Tales