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In this book, Ballantyne weaves the story of Phillip Mayland and his friend, George Aspel with an interesting portrayal of the British Post Office as it existed in the 19th century. In the words of R. M. Ballantyne himself: "This tale is founded chiefly on facts furnished by the Postmaster-General’s Annual Reports, and gathered, during personal intercourse and investigation, at the General Post-Office of London and its Branches.It is intended to illustrate—not by any means to exhaust—the subject of postal work, communication, and incident throughout the Kingdom.I have to render my grateful acknowledgments to Sir Arthur Blackwood; his private secretary, Charles Eden, Esquire; and those other officers of the various Departments who have most kindly afforded me every facility for investigation, and assisted me to much of the information used in the construction of the tale.If it does not greatly enlighten, I hope that it will at all events interest and amuse the reader."R.M. Ballantyne. - Summary by AlaynaMay