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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [25 February 1735]

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The Honble Mr Horac[e] Walpole
at his house [in]
St James's Square Londo[n]

May it please your We-ship

In consideration of the time your Petitioner has past in your honours Service, as also on account of the great Services your petitioner's relations have had the honour to perform for your Honour's Ancestors; since it is well known that your petitrs Grandmother's Aunt's Cousin-german had ye honour to pull out your honour's great Uncle's Wive's brother's hollow tooth; as also, to go further backwards, your Petrs relation was Physician to King Cadwallader, one of your highnesses fore-fathers, and cured him of a fishes-bone, which had stuck in his throat fifteen years, & three days and would neither come up, nor down: also the Emperour Maximus, a very near relation of your serene Haughtinesses, entertain'd your Petitrs progenitor in his army, as a Jester, who is said to have had so much wit, that he could devour ten peck-loaves at a Meal, & toss off as many hog-sheads of strong beer without taking breath: I could enumerate more than all this, but hope, this will be sufficient to prevail upon your generosity to make me your first Minister, and Confidant

And your Petr shall ever pray

Thou hast been for this month, like an auctioneer's mallet, just a-coming! just a-coming! and pray what has next Thursday in it, more than last Wednesday, to make me expect you with any tolerable Certainty? when these two eyes behold thee, I question, whether I shall believe them: three long months is a long while, for a poor lone woman to bear; and I have born, & born, and been fub'd off, & fub'd off from this day to that day by you, thou Honey-suckle Villain (as Mrs Quickly says) oh! thou art an infinitive thing upon my score of impatience. remember you are a day in my debt for every hour you have made me wait, & I shall come upon you for the payment, & perhaps with interest:—I begin to bear my Crest aloft when I hear of your pride; I dare not tell Ashton anything about it, for he hopes to see you behave with great affability to every body, & you'll have many lectures upon that Subject: I begin to pity the poor Man, that is to be with you: he is extremely modest, & as humble as you could wish; you may snub him with a look; I fancy he will intrude very little. make hast & pack up your things, the Coach is at the door: drive away to [...]

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Letter ID: letters.0014 (Source: TEI/XML)


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


Date of composition: [25 February 1735]
Date (on letter): Feb: 25:
Calendar: Julian


Place of composition: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): [St.] Pet[er's]:Col[lege]:
Place of addressee: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To / The Honble Mr Horac[e] Walpole / at his house [in] / St James's Square Londo[n] (postmark: CAMBRIDGE 26 FE)


Language: English
Incipit: In consideration of the time your Petitioner has past in your...
Mentioned: Ashton, Thomas, 1715-1775

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/13, 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. 13, vol. i, 32-34
  • 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, 81-82
  • 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. 14, vol. i, 24-26