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JOKE-FORWARDING CONTINUED to gain in popularity with the spread of literacy. By the end of the 1700s, it was a favorite pasttime of the upper classes. Here is an excerpt from a letter that a young Englishwoman wrote to her suitor in 1798:
My Dear Captain—I have just had the honour of receiving your letter of Thursday last. I can scarce describe the vast delight afforded me by the writings which you so obligingly inclosed, intitled "Fifteen Reasons Why Bonaparte is Surely a Corsican." I vow, I would not have believed it possible for such a prodigiously charming essay to exist! You may readily comprehend my desire to apprise my dear Aunt and Sister of this most amiable and delightful essay! I now imploy my days in copying out these writings so that I may speedily acquaint my loved ones with them.—Yours very sincerely, L. Forster.

(Manuscript courtesy of the Stowe collection, the British Library)

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