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Brev fra Mary Howitt til H.C. Andersen 26. juli 1847

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Dato: 26. juli 1847
Fra: Mary Howitt   Til: H.C. Andersen
Sprog: engelsk.

Lower Clapton. Monday [July 26, 1847].

My dear Mr. Andersen,

you have no doubt before this time my letter to Mr. Hambro in reply to yours addressed to him. With regard to yours of the 24th written to me, I can only say that I wish you had spoken openly to me at first about these business affairs, because two, honest, friendly people, who have no wish to over-reach each other can easily come to a fair and good understanding.

It seems to me, and I am very sorry for it, that you imagine that I had some selfish design in arranging with the Messrs Longmans for you to receive 10 £ on each edition of your Biography. Perhaps you had been told that the sum is not large enough. If this be the case, let me explain it to you. It was the opinion of the publishers that this Biography must not be brought out at a higher price than 5/-, otherwise there would immediately have come out several cheap translations at 2/6, or perhaps at 1/-, which would have greatly injured the sale of my translation. I myself admire and much prefer a large and handsome book, but it would have been impossible to find a publisher who would have ventured to bring out the Biography at a high price. Of course, with low prices there comes less profit to the author and publisher, unless a large sale ean be commanded by the very cheapness. This was our hope with respect to the Biography, and therefore my arrangement with Messrs Longmans enlisted you to lO £ on every edition, let there be as many as there might be. I spoke of it in the preface, because many people believe that, if the original author were known to have some share in the profits of the translation of his work, this would deter rival translations from being brought out. As to any further intentions towards you in this business, I had none that were not of a kind and generous nature. lt is painful when one's best motives require thus to be sifted and explained. I felt a sincere friendship for you from my knowledge of your character as shewn in your works. My only feeling, as far as the money went, was regret that it was so small a sum. I must have been foolish to think of binding you by such a sum, had such been my wish. The only obligation you could be under to me, was from my baving fully appreciated and loved your writings before they were known here, and in having made you known and admired in England; but if this was your obligation to me, I, on the other side, am indebted to you for many happy hours and some pecuniary advantage, which honour I wished, for the future, to share with YOU. I did think, it is true, that, as I had first introduced your works into England, if you were satisfied of my power to render them faithfully into our language, I had some claim to be continued as your future translator; but if you cannot recognize any claims of this kind, then as far as I am concerned, you are as free and independent as if you had never known my name.

If you had trusted me, as you trusted your publisher in Denmark, you would have had no cause of complaint. For the future, while I much beg of you to regard me as your oldest and first friend in England, let all talks of »Pengesager« cease. You will no doubt find plenty of people in London ready to translate your future works, though none will, I believe, translate them more faithfully in the spirit in which they were written, and with none ean they be such "a labour of love" as they have been with me.

Be assured that we are your true friends, and do not deny us the pleasure of shewing you kindness whilst you remain in London. If you are good enough to accompany us, as you promise, to the hildren's birthday-festival of which we have spoken to you, on the 31st inst., cannot you come to us on Thursday or Friday, according to the time you can spare for us?

With kind regards from all the family, I am, dear Sir, Yours truly

Mary Howitt.

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