Thomas Gray to Norton Nicholls, 8 November 1768
To The Revd Mr Nicholls at Blundeston near Leostoff Suffolk By Yarmouth
Not a single word, since we parted at Norwich, & for ought I know, you may be ignorant, how I fell into the jaws of the King of Denmark at Newmarket, & might have stay'd there till this time, had I not met with Mr Vicechancellor and Mr Orator with their Diplomas & speeches, who on their return to Cambridge sent me a chaise from thence, & deliver'd me out of that den of thieves. however, I pass'd a night there; & in the next room, divided from me by a thin partition, was a drunken Parson & his party of pleasure singing & swearing & breaking all the ten commandments. all that I saw on my way else was the Abbey-Church at Wyndham, to learned eyes a beautiful remnant of antiquity, part of it in the style of Henry the 1st & part in that of Henry the 6th; the wooden fretwork of the north-ile you may copy, when you build the best room of your new Gothick parsonage. it will cost but a trifle.
So now I am going to Town about my business, wch (if I dispatch to my mind) will leave me at rest, & with a tolerably easy temper for one while. I return hither as soon as I can, & give you notice, what a sweet humor I am in. Mrs Nicholls & you take advantage of it, come & take possession of the Lodge at Trinity-Hall (by the way I am commission'd to offer it to you by Dr Marriott for that purpose, & you have nothing to do but to thank him for his civilities, & say, at what time you intend to make use of them). and so we live in clover, & partake the benefits of a University education together, as of old. Palgrave is return'd from Scotland, & will perhaps be here. Mason too, if he is not married (for such a report there is) may come, & Dr Hallifax is always at your service. Ld Richard Cavendish is come: he is a sensible Boy, aukward & bashful beyond all imagination, & eats a buttock of beef at a meal. I have made him my visit, & we did tolerably well considering. Watson is his publick Tutor, & one Winstanley his private: do you know him?
Marriott has begun a subscription for a Musical Amphitheatre, has appropriated 500£ (Mr. Titley's legacy to the University) to that purpose, & gives 20 Guineas himself. he has drawn a design for the building & has printed an Argument about the Poors-rates, wch he intended to have deliver'd from the Bench, but one of the Parties drop'd the cause. he has spoke at the Quarter-Sessions two hours together, & moved the Towns-People to tears, & the University to laughter. at laying down his office too he spoke Latin, & said, Invidiam, & opinionum de me commenta delebit dies. he enlarged (wch is never done) on the qualifications of Hinchliffe his Successor, qui Mores hominum multorum vidit & urbes –qui cum Magnis vixit & placuit. next day Hinchliffe made his speech, & said not one word (tho' it is usual) of his Predecessor. I tell you Cambridge News for want of better. they say, Rigby is to move for the expulsion of Wilkes from the House. my respects to Mamma.
Tell me about my Uncle & Aunt. direct to Roberts's, Jermyn-Str:
Mason, William, 1724-1797
Palgrave, William, 1735-1799
College Library, Eton College , Windsor, UK <http://www.etoncollege.com/collegelibrary.aspx>
- The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, letter XIV, vol. v, 81-83
- 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. CCCXXXVIII, vol. iii, 212-214
- 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. 488, vol. iii, 1049-1051