Thomas Gray to John Chute, 7 September 1741
Mons:r Monsieur Chute,
Gentilhomme Anglois chez Mons:r Ubaldini
nel Corso de' Tintori
I complain no more. You have not forgot me. Mrs Dick, to whom I resorted for a Dish of Coffee, instead thereof produced unto me from between her fat Breasts your kind Letter, big with another no less kind from our poor mangled Friend to whom I now address myself (you don't take it ill) & let him know, that as soon as I got hither, I took wing for the Strand to see a certain Acquaintance of his (for I then knew not whether he were dead, or alive) & get some News of him. I was so struck with the great resemblance between them, that it made me cry out. he is a true Eagle, but a little tamer, & a little fatter than the Eagle Resident: I told him so, but he did not seem to think it so great a Compliment, as I did. his Wife had miscarried but was quite well again; his house half pulled down, but riseing again more magnificent from its Ruins. he received me, as became a Bird of his Race, & suffer'd himself to be caressed without giveing me one Peck, or Scratch. the only bad thing I know of him, is, that he wears a Frock, & a Bob-Wigg. may I charge you, my dear Mr Chute (I give you your great Name for want of a little tiny one) with my Compliments to Dr Cocchi, Benevoli (tho' I hate him) & their Patient. particularly to this last for recovering so soon, & so much to my Satisfaction. I think one may call him dear Creature, & be fond in Security under the Sanction of your Cover. I carried his Mus:m Flor:m to Commissioner Haddock, who is Liddel's Uncle. that Gentleman had left Paris, haveing been elected for some place in this Parliament, & (tho' it is like to be controverted) took that opportunity to return to England for a time, but is now gone, I think to Spaw. Adieu! Mr M: [...]
Nunc ad te totum me converto, suavissime Chutî! whom I wrote to from Dover. if this be London, Lord send me to Constantinople. either I, or it are extremely odd. the Boys laugh at the depth of my Ruffles, the immensity of my Bagg, & the length of my Sword. I am as an Alien in my native land, yea! I am as an Owl among the small birds. it rains, every body is discontented, & so am I. you can't imagine how mortifieing it is to fall into the hands of an English Barber. Lord, how You or Polleri would storm in such a Case. don't think of comeing hither without Lavaur, or something equivalent to him (not an elephant). the Natives are alive, & flourishing. the fashion is a grey frock with round Sleeves, Bob-wig, or a Spencer, plain Hat with enormous Brims, & shallow Crown, cock'd as bluff, as possible, Muslin-Neckcloth twisted round, rumpled, & tuck'd into the breast; all this with a certain Safaring Air, as if they were just come back from Cartagena. if my pockets had any thing in them, I should be afraid of every body I met. look in their face, they knock you down; speak to them, they bite off your Nose. I am no longer ashamed in publick, but extremely afraid. if ever they catch me among 'em, I give them leave to eat me. so much for dress, as to Politicks, every body is extreme angry with all that has been, or shall be done: even a Victory at this time would be look'd upon as a wicked attempt to please the Nation. the Theatres open not till tomorrow, so you will excuse my giveing no account of them tonight. now I have been at home, & seen how things go there, would I were with you again, that the Remainder of my Dream might at least be agreeable. as it is, my prospect can not well be more unpleasing; but why do I trouble your Goodnature with such considerations? be assured, that when I am happy (if that can ever be) your Esteem will greatly add to that happiness, & when most the contrary, will always alleviate, what I suffer. many, many thanks for your kindness; for your travels, for your News, for all the trouble I have given, & must give you. omit nothing, when you write, for things that were quite indifferent to me at Florence, at this distance become interesting. humble Service to Polleri; obliged for his harmonious Salutation, I hope to see some Scratches with his black Claw in your next. Adieu!
P:S: Nobody is come from Paris yet.
Mann, Horace, Sir, 1706-1786
Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Chute of The Vyne, Sherborne St John, The Vyne , Sherborne St John, UK <http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/vyne/>
[See this record from the Hampshire Record Office]
- A History of the Vyne in Hampshire. By Chaloner William Chute. Winchester: Jacob & Johnson, 1888, 86-89
- Gray and his Friends: Letters and Relics, in great part hitherto unpublished. Ed. by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1890, section III, letter no. 1, 176-179
- The Letters of Thomas Gray, including the correspondence of Gray and Mason, 3 vols. Ed. by Duncan C. Tovey. London: George Bell and Sons, 1900-12, letter no. XLIX, vol. i, 90-93
- Correspondence of Thomas Gray, 3 vols. Ed. by the late Paget Toynbee and Leonard Whibley, with corrections and additions by H. W. Starr. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971 [1st ed. 1935], letter no. 99, vol. i, 184-187