Chance was also a famous firedog -- in fact, he is the first documented firedog. While he was surely not the first dog owned by a fire department, and probably not even the first dog to regularly help the firemen in saving people from fires, he was certainly the first to make the papers.

Traditionally, we think of firedogs as Dalmatians. Back in the early days of firefighting, when 'firetrucks' were actually horse-drawn carriages, Dalmatians were the ideal firedogs. They can keep pace with the horses, their barking cleared the way for the carriages, and they are good at keeping horses calm -- which isn't easy when there is a fire raging nearby. But Chance wasn't a Dalmatian -- he was 'of undetermined breed', which probably meant that he was a mongrel.

Chance worked in the London Fire Brigade, from at least 1828 until he died in 1835. During that time he was quite famous in London. Chance would follow the firemen to fires, helping them hunt for survivors in the rubble. Chance had several rescues to his name, and was well known to the public. He visited most of the firehouses of London, spending a few days at each firehouse, and became well-loved by all the firemen. The London firemen took up a collection to buy him a brass collar with the inscription "Stop me not, but onward let me jog, for I am Chance, the London Firemen's dog." Chance appeared in the papers, and had his portrait painted by several artists.

In his later life, Chance went mostly blind, although this did not stop him from chasing the fire engine. On his death, a number of papers printed his obituary. The firemen paid to have him stuffed by a taxidermist, planing to memorialize him in a tasteful display. The taxidermist decided that he could make more money by selling Chance to a showman, who then displayed him at fairgrounds for a penny a head. Fortunately, one of the firemen came across the exhibit, and came back with his entire squad. After they liberated Chance's remains, they mounted him in a case on the station wall with a plaque which read:

Chance, well known as the firemen's dog. Died October 10, 1835. This is humbly inscribed by the Committee of London Fire Establishment and their obedient servants.

Terrible Times by Philip Ardagh (credit where credit is due).

Chance (?), n. [F. chance, OF. cheance, fr. LL. cadentia a allusion to the falling of the dice), fr. L. cadere to fall; akin to Skr. ssad to fall, L. cedere to yield, E. cede. Cf. Cadence.]


A supposed material or psychical agent or mode of activity other than a force, law, or purpose; fortune; fate; -- in this sense often personifed.

It is strictly and philosophically true in nature and reason that there is no such thing as chance or accident; it being evident that these words do not signify anything really existing, anything that is truly an agent or the cause of any event; but they signify merely men's ignorance of the real and immediate cause. Samuel Clark.

Any society into which chance might throw him. Macaulay.

That power Which erring men call Chance. Milton.


The operation or activity of such agent.

By chance a priest came down that way. Luke x. 31.


The supposed effect of such an agent; something that befalls, as the result of unknown or unconsidered forces; the issue of uncertain conditions; an event not calculated upon; an unexpected occurrence; a happening; accident; fortuity; casualty.

It was a chance that happened to us. 1 Sam. vi. 9.

The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts, And wins (O shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts. Pope.

I spake of most disastrous chance. Shak.


A possibity; a likelihood; an opportunity; -- with reference to a doubtful result; as, a chance result; as, a chance to escape; a chance for life; the chances are all against him.

So weary with disasters, tugged with fortune. That I would get my life on any chance, To mend it, or be rid on't Shak.

5. Math.


⇒ The mathematical expression, of a chance is the ratio of frequency with which an event happens in the long run. If an event may happen in a ways and may fail in b ways, and each of these a + b ways is equally likely, the chance, or probability, that the event will happen is measured by the fraction a/(a + b), and the chance, or probability, that it will fail is measured by b/(a + b).

Chance comer, one who, comes unexpectedly. -- The last chance, the sole remaining ground of hope. -- The main chance, the chief opportunity; that upon which reliance is had, esp. self-interest. -- Theory of chances, Doctrine of chances Math., that branch of mathematics which treats of the probability of the occurrence of particular events, as the fall of dice in given positions. -- To mind one's chances, to take advantage of every circumstance; to seize every opportunity.


© Webster 1913.

Chance, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Chanced (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Chancing.]

To happen, come, or arrive, without design or expectation.

"Things that chance daily."

Robynson (More's Utopia).

If a bird's nest chance to be before thee. Deut. xxii. 6.

I chanced on this letter. Shak.

Often used impersonally; as, how chances it?

How chance, thou art returned so soon? Shak.


© Webster 1913.

Chance, v. t.


To take the chances of; to venture upon; -- usually with it as object.

Come what will, I will chance it. W. D. Howells.


To befall; to happen to.


W. Lambarde.


© Webster 1913.

Chance, a.

Happening by chance; casual.


© Webster 1913.

Chance, adv.

By chance; perchance.



© Webster 1913.

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