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MISCELLANIES.

THE DIAMOND NECKLACE.1

[1837.]

CHAPTER 1.

Age of Romance. The Age of Romance has not ceased ; it never ceases ; it does not, if we will think of it, so much as very sensibly decline. “ The passions are repressed by social forms ; great passions no longer show themselves ?” Why, there are passions still great enough to replenish Bedlam, for it never wants tenants; to suspend men from bed-posts, from improved-drops at the west end of Newgate. A passion that explosively shivers asunder the Life it took rise in, ought to be regarded as considerable : more no passion, in the highest heyday of Romance, yet did. The passions, by grace of the Supernal and also of the Infernal Powers (for both have a hand in it), can never fail us.

And then, as to ó social forms, be it granted that they are of the most buckram quality, and bind men up into the pitifullest straitlaced commonplace existence, — you ask, Where is the Romance? In the Scotch way one answers, Where is it not ? That very spectacle of an Immortal Nature, with faculties and destiny extending through Eternity, hampered and bandaged up, by nurses, pedagogues, posturemasters, and the tongues of innumerable old women (named force of public opinion'); by prejudice, custom, want of

1 FRASER'S MAGAZINE, Nos. 85 and 86.

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