Pick of Punch is a series of selected quotes from old Punch magazines, chosen by guest blogger and Punch enthusiast Katie Marriott.
To Mr Punch, “Sir – Mr Rowland Hill requests that we will all have letter-boxes in our doors, to save delay to the postmen. When I have cleared all the female part of my establishment, I will comply with his request, but in the meantime it is perfectly needless for me to do so, for at present I have two daughters and two maid-servants; the former have lovers and the latter have sweethearts. So far from delaying the postman, there is, when his knock is heard in the neighbourhood, a desperate rush of two (the maids), and a decorous hurry of two (the girls), to be ready in the passage in case he should have ‘anything’ for any of them. Indeed I know that Jane and Kate watch him from the area-steps, and I believe that Alexandrina and Victorianna look for him from their bed-room windows. Mr Hill may be quite sure that there is no delay caused to his postmen at the house of… Yours, obediently, a parent and a master.
This pick of Punch appeared in the 17th September 1859 issue. Note the difference between the names: Jane and Kate are the servants, Alexandrina and Victorianna are the society ladies! Believe it or not this was quite a topical subject at the time, as letter boxes were quite a recent novelty. Royal Mail had only started encouraging people to install letter boxes in their doors in 1849, before which they were something of a rarity, although Paris had led the way, with boxes as early as the 18th Century.