Gleanings From The Past #57


Ingenious Postmen

The following ludicrous direction to a letter was copied verbatim from the original and interesting document:

too dad Tomas
hat the ole oke
I O Bary pade
Sur plees to let ole feather have this sefe.

The letter found the gentleman at ‘The Old Oak Orchard, Tenbury.’ In another letter, the writer, after a severe struggle to express ‘Scotland,’ succeeded at length to his satisfaction, and wrote it thus: ‘stockling.’ A third letter was sent by a woman to a son who had settled in Tennessee, which the old lady had thus expressed with all phonetic simplicity, ’10 S C.’

Notes and Queries, Vol. 7, March 12, 1853


How to fly a kite — Those kites fly the best which have a five shilling stamp upon them.

Family Herald, Vol. 9, November 1, 1851


No Flattery, Boy! an honest Man can’t live by’t,
It is a little sneaking Art, which Knaves
Use to cajole and soften Fools withal;
If thou hast Flatt’ry in thy Nature, out with’t,
Or send it to a Court, for there ’twill thrive.

— Thomas Otway, The Orphan, or The Unhappy Marriage, Act 2, 1727


There is one very valid test by which we may separate genuine, if perverse and unbalanced, originality and revolt from mere impudent innovation and bluff. The man who really thinks he has an idea will always try to explain that idea. The charlatan who has no idea will always confine himself to explaining that it is much too subtle to be explained.

— G.K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men, 1912

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

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