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Thomas Gray to William Mason, [5 November 1753]

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William Mason Esqre,
at Mr Rowland Hosier's
in Panton Square near the Haymarket
6 NO

My dear Mason,

I am not in a way of leaving this place yet this fortnight, & consequently shall hardly see you in town. I rejoice in the mean time to think, that you are there, & have left (I hope) a part of your disagreable reflections in the place, where they grew. Stoke has revived in me the memory of many a melancholy hour, that I have pass'd in it, & tho' I have no longer the same cause for anxiety, I do not find myself at all the happier for thinking, that I have lost it. as my thoughts now signify nothing to any one, but myself, I shall wish to change the scene, as soon as ever I can.

I am heartily glad to hear Mr Hutton is so reasonable, but am rather sorry to find that design is known to so many. Dr Wharton, who (I suppose) heard it from Avison, mentions it in a letter to me. were I you, I should have taken some pleasure in observing people's faces, & perhaps in putting their kindness a little to the tryal. it is a very useful experiment; & very possibly you will never have it in your power to put it in practise again. pray, make your bargain with all the circumspection, & selfishness of an old Hunks; when you are grown as rich as Crœsus, do not grow too good-for-nothing. a little good-for-nothing to be sure you will grow: every body does in proportion to their circumstances, else indeed what should one do with one's money? my third Sentence is, don't anticipate your revenues, & live upon air, till you know what you are worth. you bid me write no more than a scrall to you, therefore I will trouble you, as you are so busy, with nothing more.

I am very sincerely & affectionately
T G:

turn over

I should be obliged to you, if you had time to ask at Roberts's, or some place in Jermyn-street, whether I could be there about a fortnight hence. I won't give more than ½ a guinea a week, nor put up with a second floor, unless it has a tolerable room to the street. will you acquaint me of this?

Letter ID: letters.0213 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 36
Addressee: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Addressee's age: 29


Date of composition: [5 November 1753]
Date (on letter): Nov: 5
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: Stoke Poges, United Kingdom
Address (on letter): Stoke
Place of addressee: [London, United Kingdom]

Physical description

Addressed: To / William Mason Esqre, / at Mr Rowland Hosier's / in Panton Square near the Haymarket / London (postmark: 6 NO)


Language: English
Incipit: I am not in a way of leaving this place yet this fortnight, &...
Mentioned: London
Stoke Poges
Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794

Holding Institution

Henry W. And Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences Library, New York Public Library , New York, NY, USA <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes

Print Versions

  • The Correspondence of Thomas Gray and William Mason, with Letters to the Rev. James Brown, D.D. Ed. by the Rev. John Mitford. London: Richard Bentley, 1853, letter VII, 23-25
  • 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. CXII, vol. i, 245-246
  • 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. 184, vol. i, 388-389