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Thomas Gray to William Mason, 29 December 1768

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Oh wicked Scroddles! there you have gone & told my Arcanum Arcanorum to that leaky Mortal Palgrave, who never conceals any thing he is trusted with; & there have I been forced to write to him, & (to bribe him to silence) have told him, how much I confided in his taciturnity, & twenty lies beside, the guilt of wch must fall on you at the last account. seriously you have done very wrong: sure you don't remember the imprudence of Dr G:, who is well-known to that rogue in Pickadilly, & who at any time may be denounced to the Party concern'd, wch five shillings reward may certainly bring about. hitherto luckily nobody has taken any notice of it, nor (I hope) ever will.

Dr Balguy tells me you talk of Cambridge. come away then forthwith, when your Christmas-duties & mince-pies are over: for what can you do at Aston making snowballs all January. here am I just return'd from London: I have seen St:r whose looks are much mended, & he has leave to break up for a fortnight, & is gone to Bath. poor Dr Hurd has undergone a painful operation: they say, it was not a Fistula, but something very like it. he is now in a way to be well, & by this time goes abroad again. Delaval was confined two months with a like disorder. he suffered three times under the hands of Hawkins, & tho' he is now got out, & walking the streets, does not think himself cured, & still complains of uneasy sensations. nobody but I, & Fraser & Dr Ross (who (it is said) is just made Dean of Ely) are quite well. Dr Thomas of Christ's is Bp of Carlisle. don't you feel a spice of concupiscence?

Adieu! I am ever
T G:

Mr Brown's comps. here is Ld Richard: what is come of Foljambe? service to my Curate.

Letter ID: letters.0547 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 52
Addressee: Mason, William, 1724-1797
Addressee's age: 44


Date of composition: 29 December 1768
Date (on letter): 29 Dec: 1768
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [Cambridge, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: Oh wicked Scroddles! there you have gone & told my Arcanum Arcanorum ...
Mentioned: Alderson, Christopher, Rev., 1738-1814
Hurd, Dr. Richard
Hurd, Richard, 1720-1808
On L[or]d H[olland']s Seat near M[argat]e, K[en]t
Palgrave, William, 1735-1799
Stonhewer, Richard, 1728-1809

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 CXXIV, 425-429
  • 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. CCCXL, vol. iii, 216-218
  • 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. 489, vol. iii, 1052-1053