I remember a curious incident in my childhood, which seems much
to the point of this axiom. A magnificent gold watch and chain
were given towards the building of a church, and my mother took
three chances, which were at a very high figure, the watch and
chain being valued at more than L100. One of these chances was
entered in my name, one in my brother's, and the third in my
mother's. I had to throw for her as well as myself. My brother
threw an insignificant figure; for myself I did the same; but,
oddly enough, I refused to throw for my mother on finding that I
had lost my chance, saying that I should wait a little longer--
rather a curious piece of prudence for a child of thirteen. The
raffle was with three dice; the majority of the chances had been
thrown, and 34 was the highest. After declining to throw I went
on throwing the dice for amusement, and was surprised to find
that every throw was better than the one I had in the raffle. I
thereupon said--'Now I'll throw for mamma.' I threw thirty-six,
which won the watch! My mother had been a large subscriber to
the building of the church, and the priest said that my winning
the watch for her was quite PROVIDENTIAL. According to M.
Houdin's authority, however, it seems that I only got into
'vein'--but how I came to pause and defer throwing the last
chance, has always puzzled me respecting this incident of my
childhood, which made too great an impression ever to be effaced.
5. 'There are persons who are constantly pursued by bad luck.
To such I say--NEVER PLAY.
6. 'Stubborness at play is ruin.
7. 'Remember that Fortune does not like people to be overjoyed
at her favours, and that she prepares bitter deceptions for the
imprudent, who are intoxicated by success.'
Such are the chief axioms of a most experienced gamester, and M.
Houdin sums up the whole into the following:--
8. 'Before risking your money at play, you must deeply study
your "vein" and the different probabilities of the game--termed
the maturity of the chances.'