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Literary hoaxes rise and fall. Some of them manage to get included in all histories of English literature like "The Journal of the Plague Year"; the great majority sink into the limbe of forgotten things with all too great a readiness. And in apparent contradiction to physics, the fall thereof is never as great as the rise: Miss Magdalen King-Hall is probably now meditating on this strange phenomenon.
For Miss Hall, according to the Boston Herald, has finally been discovered or allowed herself to be discovered, as the writer of "The Diary of a Young Lady of Fashion in 1764-65" that has beeen buzzing about as a best seller in the literary world since its publication last year. A great many people suspected that the document was not entirely authentic; but, on the other hand, a great many wiseacres, particularly in England, welcomed it as a spirited contemporary portrait of our delightfully lewd ancestors. It is now time for all those who suspected a take to be gently proud of their perspicuity and for those who were taken in to admire the delicacy and completeness of the art that could deceive them.
The implications of the affair are so slight that their shortcomings probably account for Miss Hall's disappointment. It certainly does not mean that our ancestors were not lewd. They were of a very impulsive and concupiscent nature; for that matter, so are their descendants. It does mean that cleverness and an eye for the put lie taste can still succeed as they deserve to; and it also means that it is high time for the mystery of "The Young Visiters" to be cleared up so that literary gossipers can finally find some rest in a world that has little respect for their collective peace of mind Sir James Barrio can expect to be besieged by reporters; and this may be the only result of the momentous news.
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