March 28, 2006
Perhaps It Was Delivered by Pickfords
Some may not realize that Sir Edward Hall Alderson, the author of Hadley v. Baxendale (the case of the shaft that got delayed in transit) grew up in the world of Jane Austen, not Charles Dickens. He was, in fact, a contemporary of many of Austen's heroes, including Edmund Bertram of Mansfield Park (left). He may have shared Austen's view of the likelihood of packages going astray:
“Mr. Bertram,” said [Miss Crawford], “I have tidings of my harp at last. I am assured that it is safe at Northampton; and there it has probably been these ten days, in spite of the solemn assurances we have so often received to the contrary.” Edmund expressed his pleasure and surprise. “The truth is, that our inquiries were too direct; we sent a servant, we went ourselves; this will not do seventy miles from London -- but this morning we heard of it in the right way. It was seen by some farmer, and he told the miller, and the miller told the butcher, and the butcher’s son-in-law left word at the shop.”
Ultimately, Henry Crawford must send his coach to Northampton to pick up the harp there.
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