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Thomas Gray to Horace Walpole, [c. 10 November 1765]

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To The Honble Horace Walpole

At my return from Scotland instead of seeing you I find an empty house, & an uncomfortable account of your situation: that you have been very ill with the gout in both feet, that you have been some time in France for your health, that you have got no farther than Paris, have again been confined there, & are just beginning to go abroad again. at the hazard of being call'd an old woman I will take upon me to desire, when the fit is actually upon you, that you will make no sudden changes in your diet, I do not say in quantity, but in quality. that when you are recovering & the pain is gone, but has left behind it a weakness in the joint, you will not be too indulgent to that weakness: but give yourself so much of motion & exercise, as you can well endure. above all, keep your legs warmer at all times, whether you are well or ill, in bed or up, than you have commonly used to do, & as far as may be, always in the same temperature. the quantity of wine you have commonly used has been so inconsiderable, that I do not believe it ever did, or will hurt you: but if you leave it off, mix a little quantity of spirit, brandy or whatever else is palatable to you, with your water. remember, it is only the wine-drinking nations, that know what the gout is: whereas those, that even indulge themselves in distill'd liquours, as well the laborious & hard-faring people, as the indolent & luxurious, tho' subject to many other disorders, are utter strangers to this. my prescriptions are simple, but they are such as I use myself, who am a Fellow-sufferer with you, about your own age, have (unhappily for me) a better right to this malady than you, begun to feel it earlier, & yet have hitherto felt it mildly, & never in my stomach or head. I only say, they are better than French Nostrums, or People of Qualitie's receipts. you will do me pleasure (if you are able) in telling me yourself, how you do, for I have no body but your Servants to inform me.

I am come back from the Highlands very much the better for my journey & (what I little expected) very much pleased with what I have seen. I would send you English news, but that I know, you receive it from much better hands. they tell me our Ministry will stand upon its legs, tho' they have lost the Duke. there are three separations I hear talk'd of in the married world, the Boling:s, the Shelb:s & the Warkw:; the last I believe may be true.

Adieu! take care of yourself! I am ever
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Letter ID: letters.0470 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 48
Addressee: Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797
Addressee's age: 48


Date of composition: [c. 10 November 1765]
Calendar: Gregorian


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

Physical description

Addressed: To The Honble Horace Walpole


Language: English
Incipit: At my return from Scotland instead of seeing you I find an empty house,...

Holding Institution

GBR/1058/GRA/3/4/98, 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. 232, vol. ii, 236-238
  • 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. ii, 140-141
  • 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. 416, vol. ii, 900-901