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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 Unseen World and Other Essays by John Fiske:

representative body, but they were themselves the government. They were, one and all, in turn liable to be called upon to make laws, and to execute them after they were made, as well as to administer justice in civil and criminal suits. The affairs and interests, not only of their own city, but of a score or two of scattered dependencies, were more or less closely to be looked after by them. It lay with them to declare war, to carry it on after declaring it, and to pay the expenses of it. Actually and not by deputy they administered the government of their own city, both in its local and in its imperial relations. All this implies a more thorough, more constant, and more vital political training

The Unseen World and Other Essays
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Wrecker by Stevenson & Osbourne:

wind in a keyhole. Who could it be? What could it mean? I suppose I have had more real, solid misery out of that ..." He paused, and looked troubled. "Though I had more to bother me, or ought to have," he added, and slowly emptied his glass.

"It seems we were born to drive each other crazy with conundrums," said I. "I have often thought my head would split."

Carthew burst into his foolish laugh. "And yet neither you nor I had the worst of the puzzle," he cried. "There were others deeper in."

"And who were they?" I asked.

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain:

for what it lacks in brevity.

Chapter 60 Speculations and Conclusions

WE reached St. Paul, at the head of navigation of the Mississippi, and there our voyage of two thousand miles from New Orleans ended. It is about a ten-day trip by steamer. It can probably be done quicker by rail. I judge so because I know that one may go by rail from St. Louis to Hannibal-- a distance of at least a hundred and twenty miles--in seven hours. This is better than walking; unless one is in a hurry.

The season being far advanced when we were in New Orleans, the roses and magnolia blossoms were falling; but here in St. Paul it was the snow,

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 Fisherman's Luck by Henry van Dyke:

physician, in 1535, and the time when he last prescribed for a patient, in 1618, there was plenty of trouble in England. Bloody Queen Mary sat on the throne; and there were all kinds of quarrels about religion and politics; and Catholics and Protestants were killing one another in the name of God. After that the red-haired Elizabeth, called the Virgin Queen, wore the crown, and waged triumphant war and tempestuous love. Then fat James of Scotland was made king of Great Britain; and Guy Fawkes tried to blow him up with gunpowder, and failed; and the king tried to blow out all the pipes in England with his COUNTERBLAST AGAINST TOBACCO; but he failed too. Somewhere about that time, early in the seventeenth century, a very