THE principles of insurance, th ey tell us, were not hidden from our Anglo-Saxon forefathers. How anybody had the enterprise, in those rough-and-tumble days, to guarantee a client against "fire, water, robbery or other calamity," remains a problem for the historian ; the more so as it appears that mathematical calculations were first applied to the business by the eminent John de Witt. In onr own time, at any rate, the insurance companies have woven a golden net under the tight-rope walk of existence ; if life is a lottery, the prudent citizen faces it with the consciousness that he is backed both ways. Had the idea been thoroughly grasped in that remoter period, no doubt but Alfred's hostess would have been easily consoled for the damage done to her cakes, and King John handsomely compensated for all that he lost in the Wash. Let us thank the soaring genius of the human mind, which has thus found a means to canalise for us the waters of affliction ; and let us always be scrupulous in paying up our premiums before the date indicated on the printed card, lest calamity should come upon us and find us unprepared.
Ronald A Knox Frank Marston
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