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|Express messages-for Johanna Elisabet
Written by JulieW
(2/16/2004 2:29 p.m.)
Express messeges were sent by rich private messengers.A public service - enabling ordinary individuals to send urgent messages only began in 1891(!)It was ferociously expensive,BTW, costing 2 d for the first mile,3d for the second and a shilling for every other mile.
So- Colonel Forster's message to the Bennets would probably have been delivered by a servant of his or a serviceman who could ride.The military were used to sending messages for tactial purposes, according to my source at the GPO.
The person sending the express paid for the whole enterprise and so the makers of P+P2 got it wrong in the scene where Hill paid him for the message.She might have given him refreshments and given orders for his horse to be fed and looked after, but he would not have been expected to be paid(N.B. recipients of normal mail had to pay on receipt of their mail; the sender of a letter did not pay the postage)
This, in fact, is bourne out by Hill's statment to Jane and Lizzie when she tells them of the express that had arrived from Mr Gardiner;
"I beg your pardon, madam, for interrupting you, but I was in hopes you might have got some good news from town, so I took the liberty of coming to ask."
"What do you mean, Hill? We have heard nothing from town."
"Dear madam," cried Mrs. Hill, in great astonishment, "don't you know there is an express come for master from Mr. Gardiner? He has been here this half-hour, and master has had a letter."
The express man has obviously been in the kitchen having some refreshment for the past half hour.And it was obviously Mr Darcy , and not Mr Gardiner ,who could really afford to send the express.
Does this information help at all?
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