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Today's Stichomancy for Stephen Colbert

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

the little scissors.

"I will take charge of monsieur. Look, monsieur," he said to the grocer, "reflect yourself in the great mirror--if the mirror permits. Ossian!"

A lacquey entered, and took hold of the client to dress him.

"You pay at the desk, monsieur," said Marius to the stupefied grocer, who was pulling out his purse.

"Is there any use, my dear fellow," said Bixiou, "in going through this operation of the little scissors?"

"No head ever comes to me uncleansed," replied the illustrious hair- dresser; "but for your sake, I will do that of monsieur myself,

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Damnation of Theron Ware by Harold Frederic:

She scrutinized him for a further moment, with growing reassurance in her air. Then, piling up the pillows and cushions behind him for support, for all the world like a big sister again, she stepped into the inner room, and returned with a flagon of quaint shape and a tiny glass. She poured this latter full to the brim of a thick yellowish, aromatic liquid, and gave it him to drink.

"This Benedictine is all I happen to have," she said. "Swallow it down. It will do you good."

Theron obeyed her. It brought tears to his eyes; but, upon reflection, it was grateful and warming. He did feel


The Damnation of Theron Ware
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from A Distinguished Provincial at Paris by Honore de Balzac:

Duc de Rhetore having purposely addressed him as Chardon.

"You should go over to the Royalists," said the Duke. "You have proved yourself a man of ability; now show your good sense. The one way of obtaining a patent of nobility and the right to bear the title of your mother's family, is by asking for it in return for services to be rendered to the Court. The Liberals will never make a count of you. The Restoration will get the better of the press, you see, in the long run, and the press is the only formidable power. They have borne with it too long as it is; the press is sure to be muzzled. Take advantage of the last moments of liberty to make yourself formidable, and you will have everything--intellect, nobility, and good looks; nothing

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 Essays of Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson:

That chimerical terror of good night-air, which makes men close their windows, list their doors, and seal themselves up with their own poisonous exhalations, had sent all these healthy workmen down below. One would think we had been brought up in a fever country; yet in England the most malarious districts are in the bedchambers.

I felt saddened at this defection, and yet half-pleased to have the night so quietly to myself. The wind had hauled a little ahead on the starboard bow, and was dry but chilly. I found a shelter near the fire-hole, and made myself snug for the night.

The ship moved over the uneven sea with a gentle and cradling movement. The ponderous, organic labours of the engine in her bowels