Norton Nicholls to Thomas Gray, [27 May 1771]
I am much mortified that you give me so little hopes of your company on my journey, but I do not quite despair of that point. I am infinitely more concerned to find you dejected as you appear to be; I read your first letter with concern, and your last with greater. For God's sake how can you neglect a duty which never existed but in your own imagination, which catches every alarm too quickly? it never yet was performed, nor I believe expected. I hope your want of health is not so great as you think it. Is it the gout, a return of any former complaint, or what? But you need not answer my question, I am coming to town to be satisfied. I design to be there Wednesday sennight, and you will do me a favour to bespeak for me the story above you at Frisby's or some other lodging near you for a week. I have done my best for poor Temple. I am now half distracted with trying to rescue myself from the oppression of a merciless lawyer that is treating with me on Miss Allin's part about a lease of this house and estate; I have my faithful Mr. Spurgeon to counsel me, but all I believe will not do.
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, letter XLII, vol. v, 141-142
- 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. 554, vol. iii, 1189-1190