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Thomas Gray to James Brown, [26 July 1760]

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Dear Sir

I guess what the packet is, and desire you would keep it, for I am come back hither, and hope to be with you on Tuesday night. I shall trouble you to have my bed aired, and to speak about a lodging for my servant; though (if it be not contrary to the etiquette of the college) I should rather hope there might be some garret vacant this summer time, and that he might lie within your walls; but this I leave to your consideration.

This very night Billy Robinson consummates his good fortune; she has £10,000 in her pocket, and a brother unmarried with at least as much more. He is infirm, and the first convoy that sails they all three set out together for Naples to pass a year or two. I insist upon it he owes all this to Mr. Talbot in the first place, and in the second to me, and have insisted on a couple of thousand pounds between us–the least penny–or he is a shabby fellow.

I ask pardon about Madame de Fuentes and her twelve ladies. I heard it in good company, when first she arrived, piping hot; and I suppose it was rather what people apprehended than what they experienced. She surely brought them over, but I do not find she has carried them about; on the contrary, she calls on my Lady Hervey in a morning in an undress, and desires to be without ceremony; and the whole tribe, except Madame de Mora (the young countess), were at Miss Chudleigh's ball and many other places: but of late D'Abreu (whom nobody ever liked) has advised them to be disagreeable, and they accept of no invitations.

Adieu, dear sir; I hope so soon to be with you, that I may spare you the trouble of reading any more.–

I am ever yours,
T. G.

I hear there was a quarrel at the [Commenc:t] between Dr. Barnard and Dr. Ogden –mackerel or turbot.

Letter ID: letters.0364 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 43
Addressee: Brown, James, 1709-1784
Addressee's age: 51[?]


Date of composition: [26 July 1760]
Date (on letter): July, 1760
Calendar: Gregorian


Place of composition: [London, United Kingdom]


Language: English
Incipit: I guess what the packet is, and desire you would keep it, for I am...
Mentioned: Cambridge
Robinson, William, Rev., c. 1726-1803
Talbot, William, d. 1811

Holding Institution

Private collection
Availability: The original letter is extant, but there is no further information about its availability; Christie's, 14 June 1979 (A. A. Houghton Sale), Lot 237, sold to Fleming

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 LIV, 212-214
  • 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. CCV, vol. ii, 156-158
  • 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. 316, vol. ii, 687-688