For the Victorians, deciding which seal to use on the outside of the letter was a very personal and important choice. The contents of the message, and the recipient, inspired the choice. News of a loved one's death required a somber seal, a word to a lover something tender or naughty, something to an acquaintance perhaps just the day of the week. The seal on the outside of the letter functioned much like the subject line of a modern-day email: a preview for the message. The Victorian reader would see the seal before opening and have some idea - for better or worse - of the contents of the letter.