France Mail Delay: Letter Took 138 Years To Arrive At Destination

A letter posted 10 kilometers (6 miles) away from its recipient in Trélon, France took 138 years to arrive at its destination due to an unusually long mail delay.

If you think you have mail problems, think again. The letter in question was posted on January 27, 1877 in Sains-du-Nord and only finally arrived a few days ago.

Thérèse Pailla, the great-granddaughter of the original recipient was as stunned as the postman was when the letter arrived at her home.

Pailla, who is in her 80’s, told the French language media website La Voix du Nord that when the postman handed it to her after 138 years, he and his colleagues at the local post office were as surprised as she was.

Tweet translation: A letter sent from Sains-du-Nord arrives at Trélon 138 years later: La Poste will investigate

Apparently the letter, which is still completely legible, refers to an order of yarn from the spinning mill that Pailla’s great-grandfather owned at the time, with various details of how the order should be delivered.

Her great-grandfather reportedly died back in 1897 without ever receiving the letter. Pailla said that she only knows her family tree, but not much detail of her actual ancestors.

“You know, when I was young, no one communicated in families like they do today so I don’t know much about my ancestors.

“I didn’t know my grandfather Georges and my father, who was also named Georges, died when I was 14 years old.

“I only know from my family tree that our family moved from Vigo in Spain to Trélon in 1616 and here became several generations of traders.”

Meanwhile it is unknown what caused the mail delay. France’s postal service La Poste is investigating the incident, and there has been much amusement about the whole thing on Twitter.

In a statement, La Poste said that the mail delay and late delivery was “very exceptional,” saying that the postal service at the time the letter was sent wasn’t necessarily the same service offered today.

According to the Local the statement said, “It can sometimes happen that a letter gets lost when a locker is dusted, tidied or moved. A letter can fall accidentally and is found years later. But, generally, it’s quite rare. A decade or so, that’s possible, but a century…”

The strangest part is that the letter was apparently marked, “Ship highspeed…” That certainly didn’t happen in this case with a 138 year mail delay.

[Image: Old letter with sealing wax CC BY-NC 2.0 Joan]

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