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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [4 February 1735]

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The H[onble Horace Walp]ole Esq
a[t his house in St J]ames's Squa[re London]
5 FE

[           ]

I have so little to write, & so much to say; that, when you really do come, you may expect for the first fortnight to do nothing, but hearken to my Questions; & to spend the next month in answering them: nay, I assure you, I limit the time only that you may rest a while, to take breath; otherwise I could listen to you for the whole two years with an infinite deal of pleasure. I am forming the image to myself of your journey hither; I suppose you will come down Essex way, & if you do, first you must cross Epping forest, & there you must be rob'd: then you go a long way, & at last you come to Gog-magog hills, and then you must be overturn'd: I hope, you have not hurt yourself; but you must come at last to Foulmoor fields, & then you must fall Squash into a bog, pray, don't be frighted, for in about an hour and half you may chance to get out; now perhaps if it is not dark, you m[ay see the t]op of King's Chappel; tho' if it should be night, it is very likely, you won't be able to see at all: however at last you get into Cambridge, all bemudded & tired, with three wheels and a half to the coach, four horses lame, and two blind: the first thing, that appears, is a row of Alms-houses, & presently on the right-hand you'll see a thing like two Presbyterian Meeting-houses with the backside of a little Church between them, & here you must find out by Sympathy, that this is Peter-house, & that I am but a little way off, I shall soon feel how near you are; then you should say–no, no, I should say–but I believe I shall be too much overjoy'd to say anything, well; be that, as it will, I still hope, you will be almost as much so: dear Sr, you are welcome to Cambridge; what d'ye think? Pilk Hale about 3 months ago had a great inclination to visit Malepert, but thought it would not be well-bred not to let him know it beforehand; & being at a loss, who he should send; I persuaded him to go himself, & let him know Mr Hale would wait upon him in the afternoon. and so he did: Mal: promised to return it very soon; & ever since the other has staid at home with all his fine things set out to the best advantage, & is quite sure he'll come, & expects him every hour:– [...]

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Letter ID: letters.0013 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 18
Addressee: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Addressee's age: 17


Date of composition: [4 February 1735]
Date (on letter): [Feb 4]
Calendar: Julian


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

Physical description

Addressed: [To] / The H[onble Horace Walp]ole Esq / a[t his house in St J]ames's Squa[re London] (postmark: 5 FE)


Language: English
Incipit: I have so little to write, & so much to say; that, when you...
Mentioned: Cambridge
Epping Forest

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/12, 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. 12, vol. i, 30-32
  • 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, 79-80
  • 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. 13, vol. i, 23-24