Add. MS. 59874, British Library, London

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The manuscript takes its name from the inscription on its upper cover and spine (though the lettering on the latter is now scarcely legible). It is a fair copy, written out in Jane Austen's own hand, as a compilation of nine early compositions in a variety of genres: two brief epistolary novels (‘Love and Freindship’ and ‘Lesley Castle’); a spoof ‘History of England’, illustrated with thirteen coloured medallion portraits by Cassandra Austen; ‘A Collection of Letters’; and five pieces entitled ‘Scraps’. Austen used a ready-made bound blank stationer’s notebook, a gift from her father: the head of the Contents page contains the wording ‘Ex dono mei Patris’ in her hand. On the evidence of various internal dates, the contents appear to have been written between 1790 and 1793. If indeed these clues are to composition (and not transcription), then they suggest the notebook’s contents were composed when Austen was between 14 and 17 years old. A date or dates for the transcription (if distinct) is more difficult to secure, though it seems likely that the bulk of the manuscript was copied out before she began writing into Volume the Third, an activity she dates ‘May 6th 1792’. In other words, it is possible that for most of the items composition and transcription were not separated by much more than months.1 Volume the Second is the only one of Jane Austen’s fiction manuscripts not to have been examined in any detail by R. W. Chapman and the only one for which he did not produce a separate scholarly edition. It was published in 1922 under the title of its opening story ‘Love and Freindship’, with an introduction by G. K. Chesterton (London: Chatto & Windus), making it the first of the juvenile notebooks to be published. Chapman was not allowed sight of the manuscript until 1951, and he relied heavily on the 1922 printed text when he included it in his volume of Minor Works (1954).2


Jane Austen died in July 1817 and, by the terms of her will, her sister Cassandra (1773-1845) inherited her manuscripts. In keeping with the intention of the pencil inscription at the head of the left pastedown, ‘For my Brother Frank | C.E.A.’, Volume the Second passed at Cassandra’s death to their brother Francis (1774-1865). At his death it went to his daughter Fanny Sophia (1821-1904), and it remained in this branch of the family until 1977. In 1922, when it was first published, it belonged to Janet R. Sanders, granddaughter of Sir Francis. It then descended to Rosemary Mowll, Mrs Sanders’s niece and Sir Francis’s great granddaughter. It was sold as Lot 298 at Sotheby’s, London, on 6 July 1977, where it was listed as ‘The Property of a descendant of Jane Austen’.3 The British Library acquired it for £40,000.

The notebook

The manuscript is written into a shop bought late eighteenth-century stationer’s small quarto notebook, bound in full parchment pasted over millboard. The parchment cover is faded to yellow and heavily stained with ink. Front and back boards have a blind tooled border formed with a double fillet. The fillet runs the length and breadth of the millboard approx. 8 mm. from the edges and crossing in the corners. The text-block comprises nine regular quires of 16 leaves each originally folded from 72 half sheets of cream handmade laid foolscap paper. Quire 6 with 18 leaves has an extra bifolium and quire 7, with 14 leaves, is short one bifolium. These are probably mistakes by the binder. The three outermost leaves of both the first and ninth quires are used as pastedowns. The paper used comprises a single stock with a ‘Pro Patria’ watermark and the royal cipher ‘GR’ within a circle as a countermark. The edges of the paper are plain cut and sprinkled red, now worn. Twelve leaves have been cut from the manuscript leaving narrow stubs. In all but one case these are blank (one stub after f. 33, two after f. 93, three after f. 100, and five after f. 127). F. 107 has traces of ink and is the only stub to be foliated, by the British Library in 1988. At this time the BL foliated the volume thus: front (left) board (foliated by BL as i), front (left) pastedown (foliated by the BL as ii and iii, being CEA’s note on the manuscript [described below] attached to the head of the left board); BL thereafter foliate the manuscript in Arabic numerals, beginning with the Contents page as 1. Attached to the back (right) pastedown is a modern BL label detailing foliation.4

Dimensions: 202 x 165 x 27 mm. (text-block 195 x 163 x 21 mm.)

British Library foliation: iii + 127 leaves (including one foliated stub)

The manuscript

The manuscript is written and corrected throughout in a variety of black-brown iron-gall inks. The cover of the left board has a large calligraphic inscription ‘Volume the Second’ in dark brown iron-gall ink. There is a pencil inscription at the head of the left pastedown (f. ii by the BL foliation) ‘For my Brother Frank | C.E.A.’ and the same words are inscribed in brown iron-gall ink (‘For | my Brother Frank | C. E. A.’) on a piece of off-white wove paper (130 x 58 mm.) pasted to the left of this. The position and orientation of this label have changed over time, probably after the manuscript was purchased by the British Library. A modern British Library label detailing the foliation is stuck to the pastedown of the right board.

Volume the Second is the longest of the juvenile notebooks, with 252 pages from an original 276 (24 having been cut out, leaving only stubs).5 The volume was paginated by Jane Austen from the second leaf (the first leaf, comprising the Contents page and its blank verso are unpaginated, described as [iv-v] in the pagination table below). She began her pagination with her dedication ‘To Madame La Comtesse De Feuillide’ as page 1. The pagination runs continuously from p. 1 to p. 64. Then a stub indicates a leaf removed [p. 65-p. 66] and the pagination continues p. 67-p. 252, with the small mistake and correction of page 110, originally miswritten as 111. There are further removed leaves after p. 186 (2 leaves), p. 200 (3 leaves), p. 212 (1 leaf), and p. 252 (5 leaves), making five stubs at the end of the notebook. With one small exception, none of these excisions affects the pagination. The small exception is after p. 200, where, after the remaining three stubs the next page is numbered 205. This stands uncorrected even though the following page is numbered correctly as 202. In the pagination table below, the erroneous p. 205 appears as [p. 201].

Pagination and physical structures as they are recorded in the digital edition: front (left) board; front (left) pastedown; p. iii (CEA’s attached note); [p. iv]-[p. v]; p. 1-p. 64; [p. 65-p. 66, the stub of removed leaf]; p. 67-p. 200; [p. 201]; p. 202-p. 252; back (right) pastedown; back (right) board.

See also the conservation report.


But see Volume the Second, ed. B. C. Southam (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), p. ix: ‘From these variations [in JA’s script] we can judge that the entries were made at intervals, over a period of some years’. Back to context...
Kathryn Sutherland, Jane Austen’s Textual Lives: From Aeschylus to Bollywood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 202 n. 8. Back to context...
Jane Austen had no descendants. The catalogue entry refers to a descendant of one of her brothers. Sotheby’s, Catalogue of Valuable Autograph Letters, Literary Manuscripts, Historical Documents, and Literary Relics and Portraits (London, 1977), p. 164. See also Gilson F3. A detailed catalogue record for Volume the Second can be found in the British Library’s online manuscript catalogue Back to context...
For more information, see Andrew Honey’s detailed physical description of the construction and present state of the notebook under Conservation Reports. Back to context...
Both B. C. Southam and Peter Sabor miscount the pages: Southam miscounts as 254 (that is, Austen’s own pagination from 1-252 + the opening blank leaf), ignoring the fact that pp. 65-6 were removed after pagination; and Sabor offers an inexplicable ‘264 pages paginated by Austen’ (Volume the Second, ed. B. C. Southam, p. vii; Juvenilia, ed. Peter Sabor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. xxvi). Back to context...