"Chapter Of Accidents"
Context: To his friend and protégé, Solomon Dayrolles (d. 1786), the Earl of Chesterfield writes that he has been silent for a long time (the last previous letter to Dayrolles was written two months before this one). He complains that he constantly grows deafer and consequently more isolated from people. He can now say, what is he to the world, or the world to him. He is discouraged about the prospect of regaining his hearing, as he has tried a thousand remedies, but all have been ineffective. But although knowledge is severely limited, chance is vast, and perhaps a lucky accident will be able to do more than knowledge has been able to accomplish, and he will find a remedy for his deafness.
I grow deafer, and consequently more isolé from society, every day. I can now say of the world, as the man in Hamlet, What is Hecuba to me, or I to Hecuba? My best wishes, however, will attend my friends, though all my hopes have left me. I have in vain tried a thousand things that have done others good in the like case, and will go on trying, having so little to lose, and so much to get. The chapter of knowledge is a very short, but the chapter of accidents is a very long one. I will keep dipping in it, for sometimes a concurrence of unknown and unforeseen circumstances, in the medicine and the disease, may produce an unexpected and lucky hit. But no more of myself, that self, as now circumstanced, being but a disagreeable subject to us both.