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Page 320


Luck is a sort of semi-Providence, or substitute for
Providence, which some believe in as a controlling
power in human destiny; deeming that it begins with
man's existence, and goes all the way through with him,
administering on this hand the choicest tit-bits that fall
to human enjoyment, and, on the other, hard fare, comprising
the whole catalogue of ills. Some, through the
magic of superseeing Luck, turn everything to gold that
they look upon; while others, so strange is Luck, have
all that which is gold turn to ashes in their hands. To
be lucky is the grand desideratum, — the cardinal point
in human fortune, — though the proportion of lucky
ones to the unlucky is very small. It is curious to
trace the operations of Luck in its results. Lord
Timothy Dexter affords us an excellent example. But
examples everywhere occur. A dozen boys start on
the road of life, with equal advantages, equally endowed
with capacity, equally ambitious, and equally hopeful.
One of them alone will be lucky, the rest will fail signally;
the one will never lose a dollar, the rest will
never save a cent. In every transaction Luck is evident.
Two men may embark in the same business, in
which double the amount of exertion on the one part is
expended that there is on the other, and he who
makes the least will win. Why, no one knows. It is
Luck, and that is all that can be said about it. Hood's
unlucky man in Tylney Hall, to whom all manner of
adverses happened, was a melancholy instance of the
victim to unrelenting Luck. He, it is remembered, at
some crowning calamity, asked that a handful of sudden
deaths might be thrown down, for one of which he said
he would scramble, as heartily as ever a beggar


Page 321
scrambled for a sixpence. This feeling often takes
possession of one, when badgered and cornered of Fate;
but it is wrong to feel so. When the great and true
light breaks upon us, by which we shall see the real
meaning of things, we may find that ill-luck, with its
experience of sorrow and aggravation, is not so ill,
after all; and that Fate, so inconsiderably spoken about,
may be Providence in disguise, working for good
through the medium of dark circumstance, to be shown
in future realization, while in that light the specious
show of good luck may prove but the tinsel decoration
that belongs merely to time, and flashes no ray beyond.
It may not always be lucky to be in luck.