Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, [13 August 1754]
Dr Thomas Wharton, M:D:
in Pancras-Lane near Cheapside
Having been some little time absent from hence I missed of your letter, or I had answer'd it as soon as you desire me. the opportunity of a good House I hope you will not suffer to escape you. whether the rent be too high, you alone can properly judge. there is great comfort to be sure in a good house. some appearance of Œconomy I should think would give you credit in that part of the town you are to be well with: they pride themselves in living much within their income. upon the whole I seem to have a partiality for Mr Crumpe, but be sure never to repent. if you think, you shall, by all means settle yourself in the great house. besides I do not know but some great old Doctor may come & squat himself down there at your elbow (for I suppose there may be some convenience in succeeding to a house of the same Profession) & then you would be horridly out of humour. in short you see with your own eyes, you know the Quarter, & must necessarily be best qualified to decide. Dr Fothergill's invitation is very civil. as to the depth of Science, wch you seem to dread, it always grows shallower, as one comes nearer, tho' it makes a great noise at a distance. the design of the Society at least is a good one. but if they are warm & profess'd Enemies of the College, I should think the same reason, that makes Heb:n withdraw himself, should prevent your admission into it: it will be easy to delay it however on various pretences without disobliging any one.
I am glad you agree with me in admiring Mr Southcote's Paradise, wch whenever you see it again, will improve upon you. do you know, you may have it for 20,000£. but I am afraid, the Lands are not very improveable. you do not say enough of Esher. it is my other favourite place. it was a Villa of Cardinal Wolsey's, of wch nothing but a part of the Gateway remain'd. Mr Kent supplied the rest, but I think with you, that he had not read the Gothic Classicks with taste or attention. he introduced a mix'd Style, wch now goes by the name of the Battey Langley Manner. he is an Architect, that has publish'd a book of bad Designs. if you have seen Mr W:s pray let me hear your opinion, wch I will not anticipate by saying any-thing about it. to be sure its extreme littleness will be the first thing, that strikes you. by all means see Ld Radnor's again. he is a simple old Phobus, but nothing can spoil so glorious a situation, wch surpasses every thing round it. I take it ill, you should say any thing against ye Mole. it is a reflection, I see, cast at the Thames. do you think, that Rivers, wch have lived in London & its neighbourhood all their days, will run roaring & tumbling about, like your Tramontane Torrents in the North. no, they only glide & whisper. in your next expedition you will see Claremont, & Ld Portmore's, wch joins my Ld Lincoln's, & above all Mr Hamilton's, at Cobham in Surrey, wch all the world talks of & I have seen seven years ago. the Year indeed does not behave itself well. but think, what it must be in the North. I suppose the roads are impassable with the deep snow still.
I could write abundance more, but am afraid of losing this Post. pray, let me hear from you as soon as you can, & make my Compliments to Mrs Wharton. Mason is by this time in Town again. [Tuthill ] Brown, I believe, at Cambridge.
I am obliged to you for sending the Tea, wch is excellent.
Oatlands Park, Weybridge
Woburn Farm, Weybridge
Egerton MS 2400, ff. 61-62, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/bldept/manuscr/>
- The Poems of Mr. Gray. To which are prefixed Memoirs of his Life and Writings by W[illiam]. Mason. York: printed by A. Ward; and sold by J. Dodsley, London; and J. Todd, York, 1775, letter xx, section iv, 232
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter XLIII, vol. ii, 245-247
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter L, vol. iii, 118-120
- 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. CXIII, vol. i, 246-250
- 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. 191, vol. i, 402-406