Thomas Gray to John Chute, [23 November 1746]
John Chute Esq
at the House of Francis Whithed Esq
in New Bond Street
CAMBRIDGE 24 NO
It is doubtless highly reasonable, that two young Foreigners come into so distant a Country to acquaint themselves with strange Things should have some Time allowed them to take a View of the King (God bless him) & the Ministry, & the Theatres, & Westminster Abbey & the Lyons, & such other Curiosities of the Capital City: you civilly call them Dissipations; but to me they appear Employments of a very serious Nature, as they enlarge the Mind, give a great Insight into the Nature & Genius of a People, keep the Spirits in an agreeable Agitation, and (like the True Artificial Spirit of Lavender) amazingly fortify & corroborate the whole nervous System. but as all Things sooner or later must pass away, & there is a certain Period, when (by the Rules of Proportion) one is to grow weary of every Thing: I may hope at length a Season will arrive, when you will be tired of forgetting me. 'tis true you have a long Journey to make first, a vast Series of Sights to pass thro'. let me see! you are at Lady Brown already. I have set a Time, when I may say, oh! he is now got to the Waxwork in Fleetstreet: there is nothing more but Cupid's Paradise, & the Hermaphrodite from Guinea, & the Original Basilisk Dragon, & the Buffalo from Babylon, & the New Chimpanzee, & then I. have a Care, you had best, that I come in my Turn: you know in whose Hands I have deposited my little Interests. I shall infallibly appeal to my best invisible Friend in the Country.
I am glad Castalio has justified himself & me to You. he seem'd to me more made for Tenderness, than Horrour, & (I have Courage again to insist upon it) might make a better Player than any now on the Stage. I have not alone received (thank you) but almost got thro' Louis Onze. 'tis very well, methinks, but nothing particular. what occasion'd his Castration at Paris, I imagine, were certain Strokes in Defence of the Gallican Church & its Liberties–a little Contempt cast upon the Popes, & something here & there on the Conduct of the great Princes. there are a few Instances of Malice against our Nation, that are very foolish.
My Companion, whom you salute, is (much to my Sorrow) only so now & then. he lives 20 Miles off at Nurse, & is not so meagre as when you first knew him, but of a reasonable Plumposity. he shall not fail being here to do the Honours, when you make your publick Entry. heigh-ho! when that will be, chi sá? but, mi lusinga il dolce sogno!–I love Mr Whithed, & wish him all Happiness.
Commend me kindly to Mr Walpole.
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, 102-104
- 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. 2, 181-183
- 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. LXX, vol. i, 147-149
- 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. 126, vol. i, 252-254