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Today's Stichomancy for Kurt Vonnegut

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

is highly venerated in Brittany, and Marcas was a Breton.

Study the name once more: Z Marcas! The man's whole life lies in this fantastic juxtaposition of seven letters; seven! the most significant of all the cabalistic numbers. And he died at five-and-thirty, so his life extended over seven lustres.

Marcas! Does it not hint of some precious object that is broken with a fall, with or without a crash?

I had finished studying the law in Paris in 1836. I lived at that time in the Rue Corneille in a house where none but students came to lodge, one of those large houses where there is a winding staircase quite at the back lighted below from the street, higher up by borrowed lights,

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

questioned as to that which ye have done.

Take not therefore your oaths for mutual intrigue, lest a foot slip after being planted firmly, and ye taste of evil for that ye turned folks off the path of God, and for you there be mighty woe!

And sell not God's covenant for a little price; with God only is what is better for you, if ye did but know.

What ye have is spent, but what God has endures; and we will recompense the patient with their hire for the best deeds they have done.

Whoso acts aright, male or female, and is a believer, we will quicken with a goodly life; and we will recompense them with their


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

Italian faces which a woman ever dreamed of in all its delicate proportions. This face, not unlike the type which Girodet has given to the dying young Turk, in the "Revolt at Cairo," was instinct with that melancholy by which all women are more or less duped.

The Marquis de Montefiore possessed an entailed property, but his income was mortgaged for a number of years to pay off the costs of certain Italian escapades which are inconceivable in Paris. He had ruined himself in supporting a theatre at Milan in order to force upon a public a very inferior prima donna, whom he was said to love madly. A fine future was therefore before him, and he did not care to risk it for the paltry distinction of a bit of red ribbon. He was not a brave

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 Persuasion by Jane Austen:

for your sex?" and she answered the question, smiling also, "Yes. We certainly do not forget you as soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions."

"Granting your assertion that the world does all this so soon for men (which, however, I do not think I shall grant), it does not apply to Benwick. He has not been forced upon any exertion. The peace turned him on shore at the very moment, and he has been living with us,


Persuasion