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Thomas Gray to James Brown, [28 October 1758]

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Dear Sir,

You will not imagine me the less grateful for the long letter you were so good to write me some time since, because I have omitted to answer it, especially if you know what has since happened. Mrs. Rogers died in the end of September; and what with going to town to prove her will and other necessary things, what with returning back hither to pay debts, make inventories, and other such delightful amusements, I have really been almost wholly taken up. I might perhaps make a merit even of writing now, if you could form a just idea of my situation, being joint executor with another aunt, who is of a mixed breed between — and the Dragon of Wantley. So much for her. I next proceed to tell you that I saw Mason in town, who stayed there a day on my account, and then set out (not in a huff) with a laudable resolution to pass his winter at Aston, and save a curate. My Lord has said something to him, which I am glad of, that looked like an excuse for his own dilatoriness in preferring him; but this is a secret. He told me he had seen you, and that you were well. Dr. Wharton continues dispirited, but a little better than he was. The first act of Caractacus is just arrived here, but I have not read it over.

I am very disagreeable; but who can help that?

Adieu, my best Mr. Brown; I am ever yours,
T. G.

I shall hardly be at Cambridge before Christmas. I recollect that it is very possible you may have paid my bills; if so, pray inform me what they amount to, that I may send the money when I get to London, or sooner, if you please.

Letter ID: letters.0324 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 41
Addressee: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Addressee's age: 49[?]


Date of composition: [28 October 1758]
Date (on letter): [Oct. 28, 1758]
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [Stoke Poges, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: You will not imagine me the less grateful for the long letter you were...
Mentioned: Aston
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Wharton, Thomas, 1717-1794

Holding Institution

Availability: The original letter is unlocated, a copy, transcription, or published version survives

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 XXXVIII, 161-162
  • 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. CLXXVI, vol. ii, 56-58
  • 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. 281, vol. ii, 590-591