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In certain debates in the House of Lords, in 1718, the bills
proposed were opposed by Bishop Atterbury, who said, "he had prophesied
last winter, that this bill would be attempted in the present session, and
he was sorry to find he had proved a true prophet." Lord Coningsby, who
usually spoke in a passion, rose, and remarked, that "one of the right
reverends had set himself forth as a prophet; but for his part, he did not
know what prophet to liken him to, unless to that famous prophet Balaam,
who was reproved by his own ass." The bishop, in reply, with great
readiness and temper exposed this rude attack, concluding in these words:
"Since the noble lord hath discovered in our manners such a similitude, I
must be content to be compared to the prophet Balaam; but, my lords, I am
at a loss how to make out the other part of the parallel. I am sure that I
have been reproved by nobody but his lordship." From that day forth, Lord
Coningsby was called "Atterbury's Pad."


Dr. Hough, of Worcester, was remarkable for evenness of temper, of which
the following story affords a proof. A young gentleman, whose family had
been well acquainted with the doctor, in making the tour of England before
he went abroad, called to pay his respects to him as he passed by his seat
in the country. It happened to be at dinner-time, and the room full of
company. The bishop, however, received him with much familiarity; but the
servant in reaching him a chair, threw down a curious weather-glass that
had cost twenty guineas, and broke it. The gentleman was under infinite
concern, and began to make an apology for being the occasion of the
accident, when the bishop with great good nature interrupted him. "Be under
no concern, sir," said his lordship, smiling, "for I am much beholden to
you for it. We have had a very dry season; and now I hope we shall have
rain. I never saw the glass so _low_ in my life." Every one was pleased
with the humour and pleasantry of the turn; and the more so, as the Doctor
was then more than eighty, a time of life when the infirmities of old age
make most men peevish and hasty.





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