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Thomas Gray to Norton Nicholls, 28 January 1768

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To The Revd Mr Nicholls at Augustus Floyer's Esq in Thrift-Street, Soho London

Dear Sr

I and mine are safe, & well, but the chambers opposite to me (Mr. Lyon's) wch were getting ready for Mason, are destroy'd. Mr. Brown was in more immediate danger than I; but he too is well, & has lost nothing. we owe it to Methodism, that any part (at least of that wing) was preserved: for two Saints, who had been till very late at their nocturnal devotions, & were just in bed, gave the first alarm to the college & the town. we had very speedy & excellent assistance of engines & men, and are quit for the fright, except the damage abovemention'd. I assure you it is not amusing to be waked between 2 & 3 in the morning & to hear, Don't be frighted, Sr! but the college is all of a fire.

I have not yet return'd the letters you sent me by the fly, not thinking it necessary to do so immediately; but very soon you shall have them. Mason came two days after the fire, & will stay some time.

Adieu! I am sincerely
T G:

I do not see, what you can do: everything depends on their first meeting at Mamhead, & that is now over. I am afraid every thing will go wrong. it is sure, your last letter could do no hurt.

Letter ID: letters.0520 (Source: TEI/XML)


Writer: Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
Writer's age: 51
Addressee: Nicholls, Norton, c. 1742-1809
Addressee's age: 26[?]


Date of composition: 28 January 1768
Date (on letter): 28 Jan: 1768
Calendar: Gregorian


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

Physical description

Form/Extent: A.L.S.; 1 page
Addressed: To The Revd Mr Nicholls at Augustus Floyer's Esq in Thrift-Street, Soho London (postmark: 28 IA [ROYS]TON)


Language: English
Incipit: I and mine are safe, & well, but the chambers opposite to me...
Mentioned: Brown, James, 1709-1784

Holding Institution

College Library, Eton College , Windsor, UK <>
Availability: The original letter is extant and usually available for academic research purposes; bound into a copy of Mathias's Works of Thomas Gray (London, 1814), vol. II, part 2; a photocopy is at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, OSB MSS c 467, box 1, folder 70

Print Versions

  • The Works of Thomas Gray, 5 vols. Ed. by John Mitford. London: W. Pickering, 1835-1843, letter VIII, vol. v, 72
  • 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. CCCXXI, vol. iii, 178
  • 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. 464, vol. iii, 998-999