Page:The complete poems of Emily Bronte.djvu/10

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The consequences predicted have, of course, overtaken us: our book is found to be a drug; no man needs it or heeds it. In the space of a year our publisher has disposed but of two copies, and by what painful efforts he succeeded in getting rid of these two, himself only knows.

Before transferring the edition to the trunkmakers, we have decided on distributing as presents a few copies of what we cannot sell; and we beg to offer you one in acknowledgment of the pleasure and profit we have often and long derived from your works.—I am, sir, yours very respectfully,

Currer Bell.[1]

It is a curious irony of circumstance that this little volume, which so failed of recognition when that would have heartened its authors beyond measure, now sells, on the rare occasions that it turns up in the sale-rooms, for more money than the whole issue cost Charlotte Brontë and her sisters when they had it published at their own expense.

The additional poems which form, as may be seen, the larger part of this volume (pp. 85-333) were contained in note-books that Charlotte Brontë had handled tenderly when she made her Selection after Emily and Anne had died. These little note-books were lent to me by Mr. Nicholls, her husband, some forty years afterwards, with permission to publish whatever I liked from them. No one to-day will deny to them a certain bibliographical interest.

Clement Shorter.

April 24th, 1908.

  1. De Quincey Memorials, by Alexander H. Japp. See also Alfred, Lord Tennyson: a Memoir, by his Son, 1898, and Lockhart's Life by Andrew Lang, 1897.