[from Memoirs of Bishop Hildesley]



Dear Sir, Hitchin, Sept. 28, 1752.

I know not whether to congratulate you more on the abaternent of your late painful and afflicted state of body, or on the just and happy turn of mind which it raised and occasioned in you. I do not say this, as if I supposed you a stranger to such kind of applications for divine aid ; but, chiefly, to refer you to your own confirmed judgement, concerning what is most truly worth a wise man's care.

As to the afair in which you are so unaccountably kind to interest yourself, on my behalf, I really know not yet what to think about it, or say to it. Indeed, it will be time enough to declare, when the offer comes. It seems, in our late squire's phrase , that you have called me all but cousin to Sir John; the consequence of which may possibly be, ' Sir, the rectory of Abington is at your friend's service :" and then shall I be out of my wits, with the most difficult dilemma I was ever yet under in my life. If temporal emolument were the sole point ini question with me, should in the present case make none, about returning you a thankful negative to your proposal. The patron's religious turn is a material circumstance of weight in the scale ; but for all that, as you are my friend, pray be - explicit : is there the least hazard of being always on good terms ? Religion, or what is called such, is sometimes accompanied with very precarious temper.

Heaven direct the event of your kind intentions ! I would willingly do and determine for the beft. One thing only I am sure of; that I am infinitely obliged to you : and, be the issue of your attempts for my service what it may, my chief concern will be, to acquit myself properly to you ; and to be no occasion of your appearing to do otherwise for yourself to Sir John, through any possible demur of mine. The case, your are sensible, cannot be the same with me, as if I was totally unprovided for. But, pray, don't you think that the patron will most probably chose to confer his benefice on one, that shall immediately jump out of his skin to receive it ?

" What's that to you, you puppy, what I and the patron think ? If I have a mind to procure you an option, and if you should at last refute ; we are but where we were ; and you shall thank me, or I'll knock you down the first time I meet you ; and if you are ungrateful, you are not the first blockhead I have been deceived in."

Mrs. Hildesley thanks you for your love, and returns you hers. Who could possibly suppose you were in London, in the cabbage-scented month of August i

Whatever else you shall have to communicate in your next, fail not to tell me you are perfectly recovered.

Your affectionate and obliged, MARK HILDESLEY.


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