Jane Austen on the writing business
I want to tell you that I have got my own darling child (''Pride and Prejudice'') 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 two other sets, unless he would take the trouble of forwarding them at once to Steventon & Portsmouth - not having an idea of his leaving Town before to-day; 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 should be so, as it might be unpleasant to you to be in the neighbourhood at the first burst of the business. The Advertisement is in our paper to-day for the first time 18s. He shall ask (STR)1.1. for my two next & (STR)1.8 for my stupidest of all. I shall write to Frank that he may not think himself neglected. Miss Benn dined with us on the very day of the books coming & in the evening we set fairly at it, and read half the first vol. to her, prefacing that, having intelligence from Henry that such a work would soon appear, we had desired him to send it whenever it came out, and I believe it passed with her unsuspected. She was amused, poor soul! That she could not help, you know, with two such people to lead the way, but she really does seem to admire Elizabeth. I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, and 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; and 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.
The second volume is shorter than I could wish, but the difference is not so much in reality as in look, there being a larger proportion of narrative in that part. I have lop't and crop't so successfully, however, that I imagine it must be rather shorter than S. & S. (''Sense and Sensibility'') altogether. . . .
You will be glad to hear that every Copy of S. & S. is sold & that it has brought me (STR)140 besides the Copyright, if that shd ever be of any value. I have now therefore written myself into (STR)250 - which only makes me long for more. I have something in hand (''Mansfield Park'') - which I hope on the credit of P. & P. (''Pride and Prejudice'') will sell well, tho' not half so entertaining. And by the bye - shall you object to my mentioning the Elephant in it, & two or three other of your old Ships? I have done it, but it shall not stay, to make you angry. They are only just mentioned.