11 December 1815 – Three Letters – from Hans Place

[Three Letters written the same day to her publisher and the Prince Regent’s Chaplain/Librarian]

[To John Murray]

Dear Sir

As I find that Emma is advertized for publication as early as Saturday next, I think it best to lose no time in settling all that remains to be settled on the subject, & adopt this method of doing so, as involving the smallest tax on your time.–

In the first place, I beg you to understand that I leave the terms on which the Trade should be supplied with the work, entirely to your Judgement, entreating you to be guided in every such arrangement by your own experience of what is most likely to clear off the Edition rapidly.  I shall be satisfied with whatever you feel to be best.–

The Title page must be, Emma, Dedicated by Permission to H.R.H. The Prince Regent.– And it is my particular wish that one Set should be completed & sent to H.R.H. two or three days before the Work is generally public– It should be sent under Cover to the Rev: J.S. Clarke, Librarian, Carlton House.– I shall subjoin a list of those persons, to whom I must trouble you to forward also a Set each, when the Work is out;– all unbound, with From the Authoress, in the first page.–

I return you, with very many Thanks, the Books you have so obligingly supplied me with.– I am very sensible I assure you of the attention you have paid to my Convenience & amusement.– I return also, Mansfield Park, as read for a 2d Edit: I beleive, as I can make it.–

I am in Hans Place till the 16th.–  From that day, inclusive, my direction will be Chawton, Alton, Hants.

I remain dear Sir,
Yr faithful HumServt,
J. Austen

I wish you would have the goodness to send a line by the Bearer, stating the day on which the set will be ready for the Prince Regent.–

[To John Murray – 2nd letter of the day]

Dear Sir

I am much obliged by yours, and very happy to feel everything arranged to our mutual satisfaction.  As to my direction about the title-page, it was arising from my ignorance only, and from my having never noticed the proper place for a dedication.  I thank you for putting me right.  Any deviation from what is usually done in such cases is the last thing I should wish for.  I feel happy in having a friend to save me from the ill effect of my own blunder.

Yours, dear Sir, &c,
J. Austen

[To James Stanier Clarke]

Dear Sir

My Emma is now so near publication that I feel it right to assure You of my not having forgotten your kind recommendation of an early Copy for Cn H.– & that I have Mr Murray’s promise of its being sent to HRH. under cover to You, three days previous to the Work being really out.–

I must make use of this opportunity to thank you dear Sir, for the very high praise you bestow on my other Novels– I am too vain to wish to convince you that you have praised them beyond their Merit.–

My greatest anxiety at present is that this 4th work shd not disgrace what was good in the others.  But on this point I will do myself the justice to declare that whatever may be my wishes for its’ success, I am very strongly haunted by the idea that to those Readers who have preferred P&P it will appear inferior in Wit, & to those who have preferred MP very inferior in good Sense.  Such as it is however, I hope you will do me the favour of accepting a Copy.  Mr M. will have directions for sending one.  I am quite honoured by your thinking me capable of drawing such a Clergyman as you gave the sketch of in your note of Nov: 16.  But I assure you I am not.  The comic part of the Character I might be equal to, but not the Good, the Enthusiastic, the Literary.  Such a Man’s Conversation must at times be on subjects of Science & Philosophy of which I know nothing– or at least be occasionally abundant in quotations & allusions which a Woman, who like me, knows only her own Mother-tongue & has read very little in that, would be totally without the power of giving.– A Classical Education, or at any rate, a very extensive acquaintance with English Literature, Ancient & Modern, appears to me quite Indispensable for the person who wd do any justice to your Clergyman– And I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible Vanity, the most unlearned, & uninformed Female who ever dared to be an Authoress.

Beleive me, dear Sir,
Your obligd & faith Hum. Servt.
J.A.

One Response to 11 December 1815 – Three Letters – from Hans Place

  1. Pingback: I thought it all over — & inspite of the shame of being so much older, felt with thankfulness that I was quite as happy now as then.— | QuinnTessence

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