Thomas Gray to John Chute, [c. 6 October 1746]
John Chute Esq
at Mr Whithed's of Southwick
near Fareham in Hampshire
My God! Mr Chute in England? what & have you seen him? and did he say nothing to you? not a Word of me! such was my Conversation, when I first heard News so surprising, with a Person, that (when I reflect) it is indeed no great Wonder You did not much interrogate concerning me, as you knew nothing of what has past of late.
But let me ask you yourself, have a few Years totally erased me from your Memory? You are generous enough perhaps to forget all the Obligations I have to you, but is it Generosity to forget the Person you have obliged too? while I remember myself, I can not but remember you; & consequently can not but wonder, when I find no where one Line, one Syllable, to tell me you are arrived. I will venture to say, there is no body in England however nearly connected with you, that has seen you with more real Joy & Affection than I shall. You are, it seems, gone into the Country whither (had I any Reason to think you wish'd to see me) I should immediately have follow'd you: as it is, I am returning to Cambridge; but with Intention to come back to Town again, whenever you do; if you will let me know the Time, & Place.
I readily set Mr Wh:d free from all Imputations. he is a fine young Personage in a Coat all over Spangles just come over from the Tour of Europe to take Possession, & be married: & consequently can't be supposed to think of any Thing, or remember any body. but You —! however I don't altogether clear him. he might have said something to one, who remembers him when he was but a Pout. nevertheless I desire my hearty Gratulations to him, & say I wish him more Spangles, & more Estates, & more Wives.
P:S: My Compliments to Mrs Chute (who once did me the Honour to write to me) & say, I give her Joy very sincerely of your Return.
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]
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter XI, vol. iii, 19-20
- 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. LXVIII, vol. i, 144-145
- 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. 122, vol. i, 245-247