As I was jotting down lists, planning gatherings, scheming world take overs, like I do, it occurred to me how exponentially cumbersome and difficult my tasks would take to complete without the assistance of modern technology. How on earth did they accomplish anything prior to the personal computer and telephone???
Of course, they wrote missives to one another, however given the length of time required to send a post and a reply . . . Well, it is safe to say many parties were not dictated from a distance. It also makes the need of contacts in other towns, cities, states, and countries, glaringly obvious.
I simply could not imagine throwing a “destination wedding” in the 19th century. Could you?! Depending on the location it could take the guests more than a month to even arrive! Thus dictating the length of their stay at wedding destination. The caterer, the florists, the dress designer, any other professional used to make a wedding spectacular . . . the thought just overwhelms me! –Just so we in understanding, I am not planning a wedding. Not yet. *stares forlornly at unadorned ring finger*then up at My Suitor*
Right now, I am trying to accomplish Phase One of renovation and decorating the Cottage prior to March 7th; the first of the Housewarming Parties. I keep thinking how many people I ask for references to handymen, painters, electricians, and more. Some of their recommendations do not live in town. If I were trying to accomplish this in the 19th century, I would have to ride over to my peer’s place of residence for a visitation, either have her write to the contractor on my behalf (or I pen one, myself), then wait until professional responds, then set up a date to meet for the work to be done and who knows how long that will take???
Of course, there is just the cordial correspondence. Keeping in touch with family and friends. Why, it is no wonder the Victorians wrote every day!! And more likely why many people did not move more than 30 miles away from their birthplace/family. The Age of Letters just strikes me as so isolating! Likewise, I can understand the sheer jubilation of receiving a note from the Postman. Heck, I think even today in Modern society, we are thrilled with the arrival of a personal letter. –Everything was slower then and deadlines were far reaching for a purpose. Think of businessmen. Trying to find deal with Boards and constituents in other parts of the world? Or even building a palace. It was almost understood the original architect would not see the vision completed in his lifetime. Meticulous notes had to be made to plans, should the client wish to keep the original design or merge it with the succeeding architect. I believe face to face business meetings must have been very long endeavors. Yet we Moderns complain about our dastardly one hour staff meetings or teleconferences and nothing much was accomplished. Given human nature, I am sure meetings were more frequent and longer and plans were drawn out to the infinity before compromise or agreements were reached. Perhaps on the other hand, they were concise and to the point and did not waste precious time.
A letter of correspondence however, may anticipate the arguments and address them point by point. Or they could be entirely one-sided. Correspondence notes remind me of journaling, leaving out the most salacious details depending on the receiver. Regardless, I am not surprised that as the post became more affordable the letters ceased the cross-writing and took up multiple and blessedly legible script. I find the art of letters intriguing and a bit mystifying, however intended.