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Thomas Gray to Thomas Ashton, [30 June 1738]

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Mr Ashton, at the Honble Mrs Lewis's,
in Hanover Square, London

My dear Ashton

It seems you have forgot the poor little tenement in which you so long lodg'd, and have set your heart on some fine Castle in the air: I wish I were Master of the Seat you describe, that I might make your Residence more agreeable; but as it is, I fear you'll hardly meet with common Conveniences.

I deserve you should be angry with me for haveing been so little punctual, in paying my Dues, & returning thanks for your advice some time since. All is at present, mighty well, that is, just as you remember it, & imagin'd it would be: cool enough not to burn, and warm enough not to freeze one, but methinks the Counsel you gave me, was what you did not think proper to make use of in like Circumstances yourself; perhaps you know why the same way of acting should be improper for you, & proper for me: I don't doubt but you have your reasons, & I trust you would not have me do anything wrong.

The account W: gives me of your way of Life is better than I expected: to be sure you must meet daily with little particulars enough to fill a letter, and I should be pleasd with the most minute. Has Mrs L: a pimple upon her Nose? does her Woman love Citron Water? &c: any of these would be a high regale for me. but perhaps you think it telling tales: you know best. Have you seen Madame Valmote? naughty Woman! was you at the Christening? is the Princess with Child again? was you at the review? have you wrote e'er a Critique on the Accidence? is Despauterius or Linacer most in your favor? but perhaps you think this, tittle-tattle. Well! you know best. Pot-fair is at its height; there's old raffleing. Walpole is gone to Stamford, & to Lynn, but returns in a day or two. I am gone to the Carrier's with this letter, and am

ever yours
T. G.
Letter ID: letters.0058 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 21
Addressee: Ashton, Thomas, 1715-1775
Addressee's age: 23


Date of composition: [30 June 1738]
Date (on letter): June 30
Calendar: Julian


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

Physical description

Addressed: To / Mr Ashton, at the Honble Mrs Lewis's, / in Hanover Square, London


Language: English
Incipit: It seems you have forgot the poor little tenement in which you...
Mentioned: Cambridge
Despautère, Jean
Linacre, Thomas
West, Richard, 1716-1742

Holding Institution

Private collection
Availability: The original letter is extant, but there is no further information about its availability; Sotheby's, 21 July 1981, Lot 500, sold to Bolus; a photocopy is at the British Library, RP 2202; a MS transcript is at the British Library, Add. MSS 32562, ff. 140-141

Print Versions

  • Gray and his Friends: Letters and Relics, in great part hitherto unpublished. Ed. by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1890, section I, letter no. 1, 37-38
  • 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. X, vol. i, 11-12
  • 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. 80, vol. i, 187-189
  • 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. 54, vol. i, 87-88