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THE

NATIONAL

MISCELLAN Y.

A MAGAZINE OF GENERAL LITERATURE.

VOLUME I.

LONDON:

AT THE OFFICE,

EXETER STREET, STRAND.

MDCCC LIII.

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THE

National Miscellany.

OUR FIRST WORDS.

It is difficult to begin.—We know the difficulties of the boy when he first essays to skate, with his ankles wavering and waggling to and fro, with his profound uncertainty of the direction he is about to take on the slippery expanse, with his fears lest his legs like opening compasses should resolutely part asunder, or lest his head by some painful catastrophe should occupy the position of his heels, with his eagerness, as he first commits himself to those two steel keels, to catch at a chair, a stick, a bough projecting over the pond, or some friendly hand. We know the difficulty of the first few stammering sentences of a speech before the orator is warm enough to master the English tongue, to express his ideas in any intelligible form, or to get the train of his eloquence with its glowing wheels into its effective speed. Not less also are the difficulties of the young shopkeeper on the first eventful morning when the shutters are fairly down, and for the first time he has to arrange his own goods in his own window, to have his own name glittering in new golden letters over the door, and to make the great experiment of doing business for himself. Well known too are the difficulties of the host in promoting easy intercourse, fluent, sparkling conversation at the beginning of his feast among the reserved and icy guests who have yet to deliver the accustomed solemnities about the weather before they thaw.

In short, in all things, great and small, mighty and minute, the hardest steps are the first. Whatever the ease or pleasure of after efforts, all, like the scenery of a new play, at

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