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Letter 1

Congreve, Mary to Darwin, C. R.

27 Oct [1821]

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    Writes about London plays; wishes CD had been of the party.


My dear Mr. Charles

I find I have only just time to thank you for your entertaining letter, as if I take time to write what I intended I shall not be able to get it franked & I'm sure it will not be worth the postage, I should have liked to have seen the good Gentleman Grin that you mention there is no doubt but those that were out of the Scrape were much amused, I assure you I wish'd much you had been of our party on thursday night at the play, I think you would have been highly entertained both with the Coronation, and the entertainment of Monsieur Tonson, I never laugh'd so much at a play I think, I dare say you have been much amused with Mr. Alexander & I hope I shall hear some specimenes of his art from you when I return, as I dare say it is practiced in School Lane, so god bless you as I am obliged to conclude this ever believe me | Yours truly M Congreve

Saturday 27th Oct

I think you will not be able with all your Greek knowledge to read this precious Scrawl

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    f1 1.f1
    The writer is referred to in an obituary notice in the Salopian Journal, 5 February 1823, as `eldest sister to the late General Sir William Congreve, Bart and aunt to the present.' See also the letter from E. A. Darwin, 5 [March 1823].
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    f2 1.f2
    The letter is dated from the reference to Mr Alexander (see n. 6, below).
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    f3 1.f3
    Peers, Members of Parliament, and Officers of State had the privilege of free mail. `Franks' (covers addressed, dated, and signed by the holder of the privilege) were distributed freely among constituents and friends. In 1821 Miss Congreve's nephew, Sir William Congreve, was M.P. for Plymouth.
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    f4 1.f4
    A pageant representation of the coronation of George IV, produced by Robert William Elliston at the Drury Lane Theatre (Genest 1832, 9: 96--7).
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    f5 1.f5
    A farce by William Thommas Moncrieff, based on a dramatic poem by John Taylor, that was read, but not performed, at Drury Lane on 20 September 1821 (DNB, Genest 1832, 9: 96).
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    f6 1.f6
    The Salopian Journal of 17 October 1821 records the performance of Monsieur Alexandre, a ventriloquist, at the Royal Free Grammar School of Shrewsbury on 12 October. School Lane, now called School Gardens, was immediately adjacent to the school.
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