1684 | DEARE MR. TONSON, | I am mightyly obleg'd to you for the service you have done me to Mr. Dryden; in whose esteeme I wou'd chuse pg 86to be rather than any bodys in the world; and I am sure I never, in thought, word, or deed, merritted other from him, but if you had heard what was told me, you wou'd have excus'd all I said on that account.3 Thank him most infinitely for the honour he offers, and I shall never think I can do any thing that can merritt so vast a glory; and I must owe it all to you if I have it. As for Mr. Creech,4 I would not have you afflict him with a thing can not now be help'd, so never let him know my resentment.5 I am troubled for the line that's left out of Dr. Garth, and wish your man wou'd write it in the margent, at his leasure, to all you sell.6
As for the verses of mine, I shou'd really have thought 'em worth thirty pound; and I hope you will find it worth 25l.; not that I shou'd dispute at any other time for 5 pound wher I am so obleg'd; but you can not think what a pretty thing the Island will be, and what a deale of labor I shall have yet with it: and if that pleases, I will do the 2d voyage, which will compose a little book as big as a novel by it self.7 But pray speake to yor brother8 to advance the price to one 51b more, 'twill at this time be more than given me, and I vow I wou'd not aske it if I did not really believe it worth more. Alas I wou'd not loose my time in such low gettings, but only since I am about it I am resolv'd to go throw with it tho I shou'd give it. I pray go about it as soone as you please, for I shall finish as fast as you can go on. Methinks the Voyage shou'd com last, as being the largest volume. You know Mr Couly's Dauid is last, because a large poem,9 and Mrs. Philips her plays for the same reason.10 I wish I had more time, I wou'd ad something to the verses that I have a mind too, but, good deare Mr. Tonson, let it be 51b more, for I may safly swere I have lost the getting of 501b by it, tho that's nothing to you, or my satisfaction and humour: but I have been without getting so long that I am just on the poynt of breaking, especiall since a body has no creditt at the playhouse for money as we usd to have, fifty or 60 deepe, or more;11 I want extreamly or I wo'd not urge this. | Yours, A. B.
Pray send me the loose papers to put to these I have, and let me know which you will go about first, the songs and verses or that. Send me an answer to-day.12
manuscript: Whereabouts unknown. Text taken from 'Memorials of Literary Characters—no. XIV. Letters of Mrs Aphra Behn, the Poetess, to Tonson the Bookseller', The Gentleman's Magazine, 5 (1836), 481–2.pg 87pg 88