Saturday, August 24, 2013

Knock, Knock! Who's There? The Postman (And You Never Needed to Ask.)

You don't have to take my word for it, and you don't have to take Clara Kathleen Rogers's word for it, but you might trust Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle mentions the postman's knock in this letter to Jean Carlyle Aitken. Here's the excerpt:
My Dear Jean,

Your Letter,which was the first I had received from any of my Friends in Scotland, proved one of the welcomest I ever got. The Postman's two knocks (for all Postmen give two smart thumps, which are known here and elsewhere as the “Postman's Knock”) brought me it and the Newspaper, and delivered me from a multitude of vague imaginations.

If that doesn't convince you, look at this tidbit that was published around 1860 using an engraving by S. Rosenthal:

Here's the song performed by a group of Morris Dancers (be sure to notice the double knocks they do with their sticks):

Here's the text of the song:


Every morning as true as the clock
Somebody hears the postman’s knock.
Every morning as true as the clock
Somebody hears the postman’s knock.

What a wonderful man the postman is
As he hastens from door to door.
A medley of news his hands contain
For high, low, rich or poor.
In many a face a joy he can trace,
In many a grief he can see.
But the door is open to his loud rap tap
And his swift delivery.


Number one he presents with news of a birth
With tidings of death number four
At thirteen a bill of terrible length
He drops through the hole in the door.
At fifteen a cheque or order he leaves
At sixteen his presence doth prove
At seventeen an acknowledgement get
At eighteen a letter of love.


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