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An Elegy to Patience

A solitary routine at Judley Hall

Patience can be a game as well as a virtue, as Sir Eustace Judley found out through the 11,458 times he played in the period 1981-2013. He played once a day, and from 1981 onwards, recorded the result of every game. For all those games he lost (6,203), he took a photograph of the final position of the cards. Sir Eustace did once state that the cards came from his brother Ralph, who went missing in 1981, and so the act of playing a game of patience every day might be seen as an elegy to his lost relative.

There has not been any study of the sequences in the photos, nor of the winning ratio, which is 45.8%. This seems quite high, but we do not have evidence of winning or losing streaks that could provide further information on whether Sir Eustace gradually improved his skill in the game, or if there was a more erratic pattern.

It seems unlikely that Sir Eustace used the same deck of cards for each game, given the amount of wear and tear that would occur. Initial examination of the photos show some light deterioration of the cards, so there may have been several replacement packs, procured when necessary.