Thomas Gray to Norton Nicholls, 25 November 1770
To The Revd Mr Nicholls at Blundeston near Leostoff Suffolk by Norwich
I do not see, why you should suppose that you only are to have the privilege of being ill. for me, from the time you left me (till within these three days) I have been only one day out of the walls of this college. that day was employ'd in going to the Hills by way of airing after the gout, & in catching such a cold & cough as has given me no rest night or day, & has only now taken its leave of me. I sent away your letter to B: directly: I saw no reason against it. he was then at Aubonne near Geneva with his Brother, & is now at Berne. the picture is not arrived, nor (I suppose) ever will; tho' he says, he has sent it, but by what conveyance, or by what hand he does not say.
You do me wrong: I have thought very frequently of you, & especially since Sr A: Allen's death. I am rather glad his family were about him, tho' I know not well why, for he perhaps was insensible to it. these sort of deaths are alarming to the Spectator; but perhaps the best for the Sufferer. I have now every day before my eyes a Woman of ninety, my Aunt, who has for many years been gradually turning into chalk-stones: they are making their way out of the joints of both feet, & the Surgeon twice a day comes to increase the torture. she is just as sensible & as impatient of pain, & as intractable as she was 60 years ago. she thinks not at all of death, & if a mortification does not come to release her, may lie in this agony for months (at least) helpless & bed-rid. this is what you call a natural death!
It is well, you live in a dry country, but do not your lakes overflow? can any thing get from Norwich to Blundeston? 200,000 acres are drown'd in the Fens here & cattle innumerable. our Friends at Worcester, Gloucester, &c: are sailing thro' the streets from house to house. Adieu! the Post is impatient. my respects to Mrs N:,
Bonstetten, Charles Victor de, 1745-1832
College Library, Eton College , Windsor, UK <http://www.etoncollege.com/collegelibrary.aspx>
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, letter XXXII, vol. v, 114-115
- 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. CCCLXXIV, vol. iii, 296-298
- 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. 536, vol. iii, 1150-1151