I am grateful to Douglas Gerlach and Suzanne Osburn who both spotted the following mention of Trollope in an article by Eddie McIlwaine in the Belfast Telegraph of 20th January:
“On this particular summer’s day, Trollope was passing by Ballycarry on Post Office business when he spotted a boy aged about 14 carrying a mailbag. As his carriage drew alongside, he looked down and demanded to know what was in the mailbag.
“But the boy refused to answer and took to his heels and fled,” said [Cecil] McFarland, who has researched the episode, “with Trollope in hot pursuit and eventually collaring the runaway”. The boy turned out to be Robert, the son of Ballycarry postmistress Eliza McFerran, who had been collecting letters from a pillar box and bringing them to his mum for sorting. “I ran away because I didn’t know who you were,” Robert explained to Trollope.
“I thought you were going to steal the mail.”
Trollope was deeply impressed and later invested Robert with a special award for his devotion to protecting the mail.”