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xx   PREFACE

:portion of one noteworthy person to one hundred of the generality who were equally well circumstanced as himself does not seem to be an over-estimate.

CHAPTER V.-NOTEWORTHINESS AS A MEASURE
OF ABILITY.

Success is the joint result of the natural powers of mind and body, and of favourable circumstances. Those of the latter which fall into definite groups will be distinguished as "environment," while the others, which evade classification, will be called "accidental."

The superstitions of old times cling so tenaciously to modern thought that the words " accident " and " chance" commonly connote some mysterious agency. Nothing of the kind is implied here. The word " accident " and the like is used in these pages simply to express the effect of unknown or unnoted causes, without the slightest implication that they are unknowable. I n most cases their neglect has been partly due to their individual insignificance, though their combined effect may be very powerful when a multitude work in the same direction. Moreover, a trifling pressure at the right spot suffices to release a hair-trigger and thereby to cause an explosion ; similarly, with personal and social events, a trifling accident will sometimes determine a career.

Noteworthiness and success may be regarded