[from Memoirs of Bishop Hildesley]



to the


Covent-Garden, Oct. 22, 1778.

My last to you, dear sir, was from Dr. Dickens’s at Hemingford, July 15, sent in a frank to Mr. Quayle, with a letter inclosed for Miss Wilks. Your last, of Sept. 4, I received at a very worthy maiden lady’s, Mrs. St. John, near Wellwyn ; at her own handsome house, new-built from the ground ; finished, furnished, and inhabited by herself and friends, in less than two years ; planned by her own directions,. and paid for : and now, she enjoys herself in her own mansion. You had better make up to her, as she is not far off my age. She put her hand to the mortar, instead of the gaming-table. So much for a good old maid : time must drop both her and me ; and then comes another generation.

I have a great chance of being at Lady Lambarde’s, in Kent, about Christmas, but intend getting the visit put off, if possible. Her ladyship was eighty in March, and yet, in alertness and activity, is younger by twenty years than myself. I am not of so poetical a turn as to give you verse for verse, but must render you many thanks for your agreeable epistle. I with I had received it at Hemingford ; it would have pleased the donor much, who is the same at versifcation as yourself.

During my absence I visited Wyton, my old native place ; at least, the spot I was transplanted to, from Kent, at two years old 1. I returned home on Thursday the 8th instant, after a four months’ recruit, blooming, fair, and gay ; and in next month seventy-one. Every day now tells for a year ; but I don’t say against matrimony yet, to them that bid most. I with you could come, and see how comfortable I live in Covent-Garden, with my old servant Peggy, and Viney the dog. we wear all together. Also my little maid Betty, and Puss ; so that one may say we have something young about us. Fine delightful weather, thank God ! and all politicks and troubles I leave to them, that have a far-off to look for.

I am sorry we could not meet poor Phil. Cowley, who wanted much to see us, and went away but two days before we came home. When you see the Youngers of Ballamoore, I beg my sincere congratulations ; and to all friends that may be near and dear to them.

It’s the fashion, now, not to begin or end a letter ; but abruptly say, I am yours.



 1 See the note, p 276,



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