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Today's Stichomancy for Steve Martin

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Children of the Night by Edwin Arlington Robinson:

This ancient plain, when night comes on, Shakes to a ghostly battle-blast, Since Persia fell at Marathon.

But into soundless Acheron The glory of Greek shame was cast: Long centuries have come and gone,

The suns of Hellas have all shone, The first has fallen to the last: -- Since Persia fell at Marathon, Long centuries have come and gone.

John Evereldown

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Herodias by Gustave Flaubert:

arranged rows; a necklace of sapphires gleamed against his throat, plump and white as that of a woman. Crouched upon a rug near him, with legs crossed was a pretty white boy, upon whose face shone a perpetual smile. Aulus had found him somewhere among the kitchens and had taken a violent fancy to him. He had made the child one of his suite, but as he never could remember his protege's Chaldean name, called him simply "the Asiatic." From time to time the little fellow sprang up and played about the dining-table, and his antics appeared to amuse the guests.

At one side of the tetrarch's pavilion were the tables at which were seated his priests and officers; also a number of persons from


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

missed my little point with a perfection exactly as admirable when they patted me on the back as when they kicked me in the shins. Whenever since I've happened to have a glimpse of them they were still blazing away - still missing it, I mean, deliciously. YOU miss it, my dear fellow, with inimitable assurance; the fact of your being awfully clever and your article's being awfully nice doesn't make a hair's breadth of difference. It's quite with you rising young men," Vereker laughed, "that I feel most what a failure I am!"

I listened with keen interest; it grew keener as he talked. "YOU a failure - heavens! What then may your 'little point' happen to

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 Facino Cane by Honore de Balzac:

armed, I was not, but he missed me; I sprang upon him and killed him with my two hands, wringing his neck as if he had been a chicken. I wanted Bianca to fly with me; but she would not. That is the way with women! So I went alone. I was condemned to death, and my property was confiscated and made over to my next-of-kin; but I had carried off my diamonds, five of Titian's pictures taken down from their frames and rolled up, and all my gold.

"I went to Milan, no one molested me, my affair in nowise interested the State.--One small observation before I go further," he continued, after a pause, "whether it is true or no that the mother's fancies at the time of conception or in the months before birth can influence her