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My first is what my second was to King James the 1st, and you tread on my whole.
Austen's youthful sharade is a bit mis-stated. See if you can solve it anyway. (1) Answer the question; (2) check the hint, and you can probably solve the sharade. Question: Who was the "first"? Hint: James I created a "second," the 1st Earl of Somerset, whose surname is the "first."