Thomas Gray to Thomas Wharton, 16 September 1758
Dr Thomas Wharton M:D: in
Having been for a considerable time without any news of you, I have taken it into my head, that you are ill, or that Mrs Wharton is so. you will not wonder, if I grow a little superstitious, when you know, that I have not been a step out of the house for this fortnight or more past, for Mrs Rogers has been at the point of death with a disorder in her stomach accompanied with continual & laborious reachings, & a total loss of appetite, that has reduced her to the weakness of an infant, I mean, her body, tho' her senses are still perfect, & (what I think remarkable) she has recover'd the use of her speech (wch for several years had been hardly intelligible) & pronounces almost as plain, as ever she did. she is now for three days past, such is the strength of her constitution, in a way of recovery: medecine has had nothing to do in it, for she will take nothing prescribed her. when I say recovery, I do not mean, that she will ever recover her strength again, but, I think, she may live a good while in this helpless state; however it is very precarious, & Dr Hayes believes her quite worn out. I certainly do not put on (to you) more tenderness, than I really feel on this occasion, but the approaches of death are always a melancholy object, & common humanity must suffer something from such a spectacle
It is an age, since I heard any thing from Mason. if I do not mistake, this should be his month of waiting, unless he has exchanged his turn with some body: if he be in Town, you must probably have heard of him, & can give me some intelligence. my old new acquaintance Lady Denbigh is here at Stokehouse; but I do not believe, I shall be able to get out, or have any opportunity of seeing her, while she stays.
If my fancies (wch I hope in God are mere fancies) should prove true, I hope you will let somebody tell me, how you do. if not, I shall beg you to tell me yourself, as soon as possible, & set my understanding to rights.
Most sincerely Yours
Egerton MS 2400, ff. 116-117, Manuscripts collection, British Library , London, UK <http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/bldept/manuscr/>
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 2 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: J. Mawman, 1816, section IV, letter LXXVIII, vol. ii, 322-323
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, section IV, letter LXXXVI, vol. iii, 206-208
- 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. CLXXV, vol. ii, 55-56
- 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. 280, vol. ii, 589-590