A Neat Reply





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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