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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [16 April 1734]

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The Honrble Mr Horatio [Wal-]
pole at the house of th[e right]
honourable Sr Robert [Walpole]
in St James's Square
...N 17 AP

[           ]

I believe by your not making me happy in a longer letter than that I have just received, you had a design to prevent my tireing you with a tedious one; but in revenge for your neglect I'm resolved to send you one five times as long: Sr, do you think, that I'll be fob'd off with eleven lines and a half? after waiting this week in continual expectation, & proposing to myself all the pleasure, that you, if you would, might give me; Gadsbud! I am provoked into a fermentation! when I see you next, I'll firk you, I'll rattle you with a Certiorari: let me tell you; I am at present as full of wrath & choler, as–as–you are of wit & good-nature; though I begin to doubt your title to the last of them, since you have balked me in this manner: what an excuse do you make with your Passion-week & fiddle-faddle, as if you could ever be at a loss what to say; why, I, that am in the country could give you a full & true account of half a dozen Intrigues, nay I have an amour carried on almost under my window between a boar & a sow, people of very good fashion, that come to an assignation, and squeak like ten masquerades; I have a great mind to make you hear the whole progress of the affair, together with the humours of Miss Pigsnies, the lady's Confidente; but you will think perhaps I invent it, & so I shall let it alone: but I wonder you are not ashamed of yourself; in town, and not able to furnish out an epistle as long as a Cows tail! (excuse the rusticity of my simile) in short, I have tryed and condemned you in my mind, all that you can alledge to save yourself won't do; for I find by your excuses you are brought to your derniere Chemise; and as you stand guilty, I adjudge you to be drawn to the place of execution, your chamber; where taking pen in hand, you shall write a letter as long as this, to him, who is nothing, when not

your sincere friend
& most devoted humble Servt

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Letter ID: letters.0001 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 17
Addressee: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Addressee's age: 16


Date of composition: [16 April 1734]
Date (on letter): [April 16]
Calendar: Julian


Place of composition: [unknown]
Place of addressee: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To / The Honrble Mr Horatio [Wal-] / pole at the house of th[e right] / honourable Sr Robert [Walpole] / in St James's Square (postmark: ...N 17 AP)


Language: English
Incipit: I believe by your not making me happy in a longer letter...
Mentioned: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/1, College Library, Pembroke College, Cambridge , Cambridge, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Correspondence of Gray, Walpole, West and Ashton (1734-1771), 2 vols. Chronologically arranged and edited with introduction, notes, and index by Paget Toynbee. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1915, letter no. 1, vol. i, 1-3
  • The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence. Ed. by W. S. Lewis. New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP; London: Oxford UP, 1937-83, vols. 13/14: Horace Walpole's Correspondence with Thomas Gray, Richard West and Thomas Ashton i, 1734-42, Horace Walpole's Correspondence with Thomas Gray ii, 1745-71, ed. by W. S. Lewis, George L. Lam and Charles H. Bennett, 1948, vol. i, 56-57
  • 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. 1, vol. i, 1-2