Thomas Gray to Mary Antrobus, 24 November 1759
I am not dead, as you probably imagine, but have been employ'd in seeing the gradual approaches of death in poor Lady Cobham, whom I went to see at Stoke, & in whose house I have continued at her own desire, after she came to Town for farther advice, till the last week. affairs of my own obliged me to come home to Southampton-Row. I have left her growi[ng] daily worse & worse, & in a way (I think) ab[solute]ly hopeless. what I have been saying is m[erely] as somewhat of an excuse for not having [soo]ner answer'd your last letter. your dear A[unt is] upon the point of setting out for Hadham, & only stays till the Lottery has done drawing. I hope you will be very good Neighbours, & pray, don't be sparing of your bottled Beer.
I am very well satisfied with my new place of abode here. my fatigue of furnishing was soon over, for I have no furniture at all but a bed to lie on, half of wch is much at your service. pray come, & we'll go every night to the Play, Tuesdays & Saturdays excepted, when there are Operas. the old Chintz-Chairs & Settee cut a figure here, but are mightily at a loss for want of curtains. what must I do? you know, I have but one Pair, wch will do to cover a Sofa, or two Great Chairs. now here are three Windows to be provided for. is it possible to get a Linnen approaching to the colours & pattern of the Chintz; or will it be absurd to put up some silky thing of a plain green suppose, or some uniform colour & a deep fringe, in the same room with the Chairs? do, advise me.
I rejoice in the Lye-lye, & snuff up the Idea of it. it is delicious, whenever you please to send it: but I insist at the same time in being told exactly, what it stood you in. as to the trouble it has given you, for that I must remain your Debtor, & for many other articles. but do, come to see me, for you are like none of the Family!
My Compliments to your Mamma, & [lov]e to our Dolly. I am your Friend & Servant
[Y]our Friend Graves is married to Mary, & they keep a Shop at Stoke in part of Nan's House. I have got a Lad in his room, that can not do any earthly thing.
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- 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. 305, vol. ii, pp. 648-649 - view pages