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 the dear old woman should keep me here an hour-I am weary of them to death-but that is not new! Yours ever.
(51) Entitled “An Essay on Design in Gardening,” Mr. Whately was at this time under-secretary of state, and member for Castle Rising. In January, 1772, he was made keeper of the King’s private roads, gates, and bridges, and died in the June following.-E.
(52) The Life of St. Bruno, painted by Le Soeur, in the cloister of the Chartreuse.
(53) On the 24th of July,” says Mr. Mitford, “Gray, while at dinner in the college hall, was seized with an attack of the gout in his stomach. The violence of the disease resisted all the powers of medicine: on the 29th he was seized with convulsions, which returned more violently on the 30th; and he expired on the evening of that day, in the fifty-fifth year of his age.” Works, Vol. i, P. lvi-E.
(54) “It will appear from this and the two following letters,” observes Mr. Mitford, “that Walpole’s affection and friendship for Gray was warm and sincere after the reconcilement took place; and indeed, before that, and immediately after the quarrel, I believe his regard for Gray was undiminished.” Works, vol. iv. p. 2 12-E.
You will have seen, I hope, before now, that I have not neglected writing to you. I sent you a letter by my sister, but doubt she has been a great while upon the road, as they travel with a large family. I was not sure where you was, and would not write at random by the post.
I was just going out when I received yours and the newspapers. I was struck in a most sensible manner, when, after reading your letter, I saw in the newspapers that Gray is dead! So very ancient an intimacy(55) and, I suppose, the natural reflection to self on losing a person but a year older, made me absolutely start in my chair. It seemed more a corporal than a mental blow; and yet I am exceedingly concerned for him, and every body must be so for the loss of such a genius. He called on me but two or three days before I came hither; he complained of being ill, and talked of the gout in his stomach—but I expected his death no more than my own—and yet the same death will probably be mine.(56) I am full of all these reflections-but shall not attrist you with them: only do not wonder that my letter will be short, when my mind is full of what I do not give vent to. It was but last night that I was thinking how few persons last, if one lives to be old, to whom one can talk without reserve. It is impossible to be intimate with the Young, because they and the old cannot converse on the same common topics; and of the old that survive, there are few one can commence a friendship with, because one has probably all one’s life despised their heart or their understandings. These are the steps through which one passes to the unenviable lees of life!