A Stitch in Time Save Nine

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This proverb in its literal sense applies to rents in our clothes which may be easily mended at first, but, if they are left unmended, grow bigger and bigger, until they cannot be repaired without a great deal of sewing. What is true of torn clothes is true of boots, boxes, houses, ships, walls, bridges, in a word, of everything that needs mending. I may quote a striking illustration of the truth of the proverb from my own observation. A beautiful pier was built at great expense by Government many years ago on the stormy west coast of Scotland, to defend the harbour of a fishing village. The great stones of which it was composed were bound together by clamps of iron, and it looked as if it could defy the utmost fury of the waves. Nevertheless, in one of the violent storms that visit that iron- bound coast, a little damage was done to the most exposed part of the structure. When the people saw the first time after the storm there was to be seen in it only a hole of moderate extent, that could have been repaired without much labour. But somehow the breach was left unmended, and naturally grew bigger year by year until, on the occasion of my last visit to the town, half of the pier had sunk in ruin under the waves, and it was evident that to repair it would cost as much as the building of a new pier. The expediency of the stitch in time is exemplified not only by the destructions of material fabrics, the rents in which are neglected, but also in medicine, politics, and in intellectual and moral education. How often has a doctor to tell his patient that, if he had been consulted earlier he might have effected an easy cure, but that now more drastic remedies must be employed! A literary man, for instance, suffers from indigestion due to overwork and want of exercise. A short holiday in the country might restore him to good health if only he took it in time. But he has important work to do and is averse to taking any rest before he has finished it. So he goes on...
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