I do wonder at your wanting to read first impressions again, so seldom as you have gone through it, & that so long ago. [page 35]
I would not let Martha read First Impressions again upon any account, & I am very glad that I did not leave it in your power. – She is very cunning, but I see through her design; – she means to publish it from Memory, & one more perusal must enable her to do it. [p.44]
P.& P. is sold. – Egerton gives £110 for it. – I would rather have had £150, but we could not both be pleased, & I am not at all surprised that he should not chuse to hazard so much. – It’s being sold will I hope be a great saving of Trouble to Henry, & therefore must be welcome to me. – The Money is to be paid at the end of the twelvemonth. [p. 197]
I want to tell you that I have got my own darling Child from London; – on Wednesday I received one Copy, sent down by Falknor, with three lines from Henry to say that he had given another to Charles & sent a 3d by the Coach to Godmersham; just the two Sets which I was least eager for the disposal of. I wrote to him immediately to beg for my own two other Sets, unless he would take the trouble of forwarding them at once to Steventon & Portsmouth – not having any idea of his leaving Town before today; – by your account however he was gone before my Letter was written. The only evil is the delay, nothing more can be done till his return. Tell James & Mary so, with my Love. – For your sake I am as well pleased that it shd be so, as it might be unpleasant to you to be in the Neighborhood at the first burst of the business. – The Advertisement is in our paper to day [the Morning Chronicle of January 28, 1813]. – 18s – He shall ask £1-1- for my two next, & £1-8 – for my stupidest of all. I shall write to Frank, that he may not feel himself neglected. Miss Benn dined with us on the very day of the Books coming, & in the eveng we set fairly at it & read half the 1st vol. to her – prefacing that having intelligence from Henry that such a work wd soon appear we had desired him to send it whenever it came out – & I beleive it passed with her unsuspected. – She was amused, poor soul! that she cd not help you know, with two such people to lead the way [JA and her mother]; but she really does seem to admire Elizabeth. I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, & how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know. – There are a few Typical errors – & a “said he” or a “said she” would sometimes make the Dialogue more immediately clear – but “I do not write for such dull Elves” “As have not a great deal of Ingenuity themselves.” [from Scott’s Marmion] – The 2d vol. is shorter than I cd wish – but the difference is not so much in reality as in look, there being a a larger proportion of Narrative in that part. I have lopt & cropt so successfully however that I imagine it must be rather shorter than S. & S. altogether. – Now I will try to write of something else; – it shall be a complete change of subject – Ordination. [p. 201-2]
Your letter was truely welcome & I am much obliged to you all for your praise; it came at a right time, for I had had some fits of disgust. – our 2d evening’s reading to Miss Benn had not pleased me so well, but I beleive something must be attributed to my Mother’s too rapid way of getting on – & tho’ she perfectly understands the Characters herself, she cannot speak as they ought. – upon the whole however I am quite vain enough & well satisfied enough. – The work is rather too light & bright & sparkling; – it wants shade; – it wants to be stretched out here & there with a long Chapter – of sense if it could be had, if not of solemn specious nonsense – about something unconnected with the story; an Essay on Writing, a critique on Walter Scott, or a history of Buonaparte – or anything that would form a contrast & bring the reader with increased delight to the playfulness & Epigrammatism of the general stile. – I doubt your quite agreeing with me here – I know your starched Notions. – The caution observed at Steventon with regard to the possession of the book is an agreable surprise to me, & I heartily wish it may be the means of saving you from everything unpleasant; – but you must be prepared for the Neighbourhood being perhaps already informed of there being such a Work in the World, & in the Chawton World! Dummer will do that you know. – It was spoken of here one morng when Mrs. D. [Digweed] called with Miss Benn. – The greatest blunder in the Printing that I have met with is in Page 220 – Vol.3 where two speeches are made into one. – There might as well have been no suppers at Longbourn, but I suppose it was the remains of Mrs. Bennet’s old Meryton habits. [p. 203]
I had a letter from Henry yesterday, written on Sunday from Oxford; mine had been forwarded to him… he says that copies were sent to S. [Steventon] & P. [Portsmouth] at the same time as the others. [p. 204]
I am exceedingly pleased that you say what you do, after having gone thro the whole work – & Fanny’s praise is very gratifying; – my hopes were tolerably strong for her, but nothing like a certainty. Her liking Darcy & Elizabeth is enough. She might hate all the others, if she would. I have her opinion under her own hand this morning, but your transcript of it which I read first, was not & is not the less acceptable. – To me, it is of course all praise – but the more exact truth which she sends you is good enough. [p. 205]
Yes, I beleive I shall tell Anna – & if you see her, & donot dislike the commission, you may tell her for me. You know I meant to do it as handsomely as I could. But she will probably not return in time [p. 205, referring to telling her niece Anna that she is the author of S&S and P&P, note p. 414]…- there is still work for one evening more. [p. 206, to finish reading P&P aloud, note p. 414]
…Henry & I went to the Exhibition in Spring Gardens. It is not thought a good collection, but I was very well pleased – particularly [pray tell Fanny] with a small portrait of Mrs. Bingley, excessively like her. I was in hopes of seeing one of her Sister, but there was no Mrs. Darcy; – perhaps however, I may find her in the Great Exhibition which we shall go to, if we have time; – I have no chance of her in the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Paintings which now is shewing in Pall Mall & which we are also to visit. – Mrs. Bingley is exactly herself, size, shaped face, features and sweetness; there never was a greater likeness. She is dressed in a white gown, with green ornaments, which convinces me of what I have always supposed, that green was a favourite colour with her. I dare say Mrs. D. will be in Yellow. [p. 212]
I am very much obliged to Fanny for her Letter; – it made me laugh heartily; but I cannot pretend to answer it. Even had I more time, I should not feel at all sure of the sort of Letter that Miss D. would write… [p. 213, referring to a letter from Fanny written to and expecting a response from Georgiana Darcy – Note p. 417]
We have been to both the Exhibition & Sir J. Reynolds’, – and I am disappointed, for there was nothing like Mrs. D. at either. – I can only imagine that Mr. D. prizes any Picture of her too much to like it should be exposed to the public eye. – I can imagine he wd have that sort [of, omitted] feeling – that mixture of Love, Pride & Delicacy. [p. 213]
You will be glad to hear that every Copy of S.&S. is sold & that it has brought me £140 – besides the Copyright, if that shd ever be of any value. – I have now therefore written myself into £250. – which only makes me long for more. – I have something on hand – which I hope on the credit of P. & P. will sell well, tho’ not half so entertaining… [referring to Mansfield Park] [p. 217]
Lady Robert [Kerr, nee Mary Gilbert] delighted with P. & P – and really was so I understand before she knew who wrote it – for, of course, she knows now. – He [Henry] told her with as much satisfaction as if it were my wish. He did not tell me this, but he told Fanny. And Mr. Hastings – I am quite delighted with what such a Man writes about it. – Henry sent him the Books after his return from Daylesford – but you will hear the Letter too. // Let me be rational & return to my two full stops. [p. 218]
I long to have you hear Mr. H’s [Warren Hastings] opinion of P&P. His admiring of Elizabeth so much is particularly welcome to me. [p. 221]
Letter 89. September 23-24, 1813, to Cassandra from Godmersham Park
Poor Dr. Isham is obliged to admire P.&P. – & to send me word that he is sure he shall not like Mde. Darblay’s new Novel half so well. – Mrs. C. [Cooke] invented it all of course. [referring to Frances Burney’s The Wanderer, published in 1814] [p. 227]
I thank you very warmly for your kind consent to my application & the kind hint that followed it. [asking Frank if she can use the names of his old ships in her her current work, MP] – but the truth is that the Secret has spread so far as to be scarcely the Shadow of a secret now – & that I beleive whenever the 3d appears I shall not even attempt to tell Lies about it. – I shall rather try to make all the Money than all the Mystery I can of it. – People shall pay for their knowledge if I can make them. – Henry heard P. & P. warmly praised in Scotland, by Lady Robt Kerr & another Lady; – and what does he do in the warmth of his Brotherly vanity & Love, but immediately tell them who wrote it! – A Thing once set going in that way – one knows how it spreads! – and he, dear Creature, has set is going so much more than once. I know it is done from affection & partiality – but at the same time, let me here again express to you & Mary my sense of the superior kindness which you have shewn on the occasion, in doing what I wished. – I am trying to harden myself. – After all, what a trifle it is in all its Bearings, to the really important points of one’s existence even in the World! [p. 231]
Now we have finished the 2d book – or rather the 5th – I do think you had better omit Lady Helena’s postscript; to those who are acquainted with P.&P it will seem an Imitation. [p. 268, referring to Anna’s manuscript sent to JA for advice]
Mr. H is reading Mansfield Park for the first time & prefers it to P&P. [p. 301, referring to Mr. Haden, London surgeon, “who brought good Manners & clever conversation” ]
My greatest anxiety at present is that this 4th work [Emma] 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 preferred MP. very inferior in good sense… [p. 306]
Letter 134(A). December 27, 1815, from the Countess of Morley to JA at Chawton
I am most anxiously waiting for an introduction to Emma…. I am already become quite intimate in the Woodhouse family, & feel that they will not amuse & interest me less than the Bennetts [sic], Bertrams, Norriss & all their admirable predecessors – I can give them no higher praise- [p. 308]
- Publishing history of Persuasion at JAIV
- Publishing history of Northanger Abbey at JAIV
- Brabourne edition of Jane Austen’s letters [at Pemberley.com]
- the “Letters” page at JAIV with additional links
Wonderful post! Wonderful way to kick of the celebratory year. Thank you.
Thanks Elsa for stopping by!
Love this post about P&P, Deb. I have read Jane’s comments about her book separately, but not strung together like this! What a great way to start out the celebration! Vic
Thanks Vic – it does give more of a sense that she did indeed comment on her work in her letters – it often gets lost in all the other “gossip”!
It is going to be a long year of P&P!
Best to you,
Such a fantastic post Deb!
I would like to ask your permission to translate it.
Thanks in advance!
Adriana! – how are you? Happy New Year! – yes, of course you can copy and translate it…
Nice to hear from you!
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