Punch,  29 (1855), 40.

Airy and Literary

Anon

Genre:

Poetry, Drollery

Subjects:

Pneumatics, Invention, Progress, Commerce


    Responds to a proposal to propel bags of letters from the General Post Office through underground tubes by atmospheric pressure (a system promoted by George B Airy). Suggests that these tubes would lie next to the pipes conveying the gas 'by whose light we're enabled to read 'em'. Considers that Virgil's 'Jactata per √¶quora ventis' anticipated the new propulsion system. Invites two of the four winds, Notus and Eurus, to 'lend a favouring gale' on 'Foreign Post nights' and to 'provide a Monsoon for each Overland Mail'. Exploits similarities between the terms for representing the new system and the terms for describing social customs. For example, observes that while the 'Wintry Wind' may now be 'an ill-wind to blow nobody good', 'the Zephyrs and Rowland' will make 'blowing' a letter between lovers 'as easy as blowing a kiss'. Concludes by noting that 'It is just the invention to prosper by puffing'.



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