Mr. Edmonson has called on me; and, as he sets out to-morrow, I can safely trust my letter to him. I have, I own, been much shocked at reading Gray’s death in the papers. ’Tis an hour that makes one forget any subject of complaint, especially towards one with whom I lived in friendship from thirteen years old. As self lies so rooted in self, no doubt the nearness of our ages made the stroke recoil to my own breast; and having so little expected his death, it is plain how little I expect my own. Yet to you, who of all men living are the most forgiving, I need not excuse the concern I feel. I fear most men ought to apologise for their want of feeling, instead of palliating that sensation when they have it. I thought that what I had seen of the world had hardened my heart; but I find that it had formed my language, not extinguished my tenderness. In short, I am really shocked—nay, I am hurt at my own weakness, as I perceive that when I love anybody, it is for my life; and I have had too much reason not to wish that such a disposition may very seldom be put to the trial. You, at least, are the only person to whom I would venture to make such a confession.
[Footnote 1: Gray died of gout in the stomach on July 30th. He was only fifty-five.]
Adieu! my dear Sir! Let me know when I arrive, which will be about the last day of the month, when I am likely to see you. I have much to say to you. Of being here I am most heartily tired, and nothing but this dear old woman should keep me here an hour—I am weary of them to death—but that is not new! Yours ever.
SCANTINESS OF THE RELICS OF GRAY—GARRICK’S PROLOGUES, ETC.—WILKES’S SQUINT.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM COLE
ARLINGTON STREET, Jan. 28, 1772.
It is long indeed, dear Sir, since we corresponded. I should not have been silent if I had anything worth telling you in your way; but I grow such an antiquity myself, that I think I am less fond of what remains of our predecessors.
I thank you for Bannerman’s proposal; I mean, for taking the trouble to send it, for I am not at all disposed to subscribe. I thank you more for the note on King Edward; I mean, too, for your friendship in thinking of me. Of Dean Milles I cannot trouble myself to think any more. His piece is at Strawberry: perhaps I may look at it for the sake of your note. The bad weather keeps me in town, and a good deal at home; which I find very comfortable, literally practising what so many persons pretend they intend, being quiet and enjoying my fire-side in my elderly days.