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Synopsis

Nothing comes amiss in the great business of preparation, if it has been thoroughly well learned. And the strangest things come of use, too, at the strangest times. A sailor teaches you to tie a knot when you are on a fishing party, and you tie that knot the next time when you are patching up the Emperor of Russia's carriage for him, in a valley in the Ural Mountains. But "getting ready" does not mean the piling in of a heap of accidental accomplishments. It means sedulously examining the coming duty or pleasure, imagining it even in its details, decreeing the utmost punctuality so far as you are concerned, and thus entering upon them as a knight armed from head to foot.

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