"You must read it immediately, because it wants an answer. Shall I break the seal?"


Wax Seal
Creative Commons AttributionWax Seal - Credit: Justin D. Henry

Wax seals were used to prevent important letters from being tampered with. Hot wax would be dripped onto the envelope and then a metal seal - often a signet ring - would be pressed into it. If the seal was broken the recipient would know the letter had been opened by someone else.