Maybe this is something that only people researching obscure or at least lesser-known figures will understand but, while reading an article on the BBC website the other night, I got slightly giddy. It's not very often I see references to Edmund Yates on anything apart from the papers piling up on my desk. In fact, when I woke up the next morning I was pretty sure I'd dreamed it (come on, I'm not the only one who dreams about Victorian authors...right?) but, nope, in an article about Charles Dickens's postbox at Gad's Hill hints that Yates helped him obtain it.
I like that. One of the less-complimentary references to Yates I've found came in a biography of Dickens from the 1940s where the author called him 'sycophantic' in his attentions to his mentor. Now, while I think that's a little unfair, it does have a ring of truth to it and that's why I find the idea of Yates rushing to discuss postboxes with Dickens rather enticing. After all, it's not very often your day job at the post office means you can be useful to one of your living heroes.