John_Pilkington - LETTER IV.

LETTER IV.

From Mrs. PILKINGTON to Lord KINGSBOROUGH.

            My Lord,
            AFTER many attempts to write your Lordship a proper answer to your last flow of angelic benevolence and greatness of mind, I have sat down to write you a true one, and to you, as my guardian angel, pour forth all my soul; since to answer you as I ought demands both the pen and the spirit of a Kingsborough.

 

Whose hand as prompt the indigent befriends,
As wakeful nature to creation tends.

            I may say on the receipt of so many undeserved tenders of service, from one who is so amply qualified to assist me, as Henry the fourth did, when he heard his son had conquered the rebels.

 

And wherefore should this good news make me sick?
Will fortune never come with both hands full?
But write her fairest words in blackest ink.

            Had my story been known to my most munificent patron, before repeated griefs had overcome my spirit, and made me incapable of enjoying anything on this side of the grave; had he then so nobly offered to rescue me from further disappointments and affliction: perhaps it might have had the effect his generosity now wishes; but, alas! my Lord, I have no relish for life, and that goodness that would endeavour to raise, but sinks the expiring flame; as is one should profusely shed oil into a lamp, where the wick was burned to an inch. I confess to you, my Lord, I have had philosophy enough to smile at the rudest shocks of adverse fortune; but this unsolicited, unthought of proof of manly virtue covers me with tears: yet I have a child, a son, who merits that name, by a most assiduous duty and constancy to me. He was nursed at my bosom, and is now my only joy. If Lord Kingsborough will think of a provision, for him, instead of his heart-broken parent, he will let my eyes behold what only can elevate my heart.—You know him, my Lord, that is, you have seen him; but forgive the partiality of a mother when she says you do not know him, because your Lordship could not experience, as I have done, the worthiness of his disposition.—That his father has cruelly abandoned him on my account, makes it a double duty on me to exert my prayers to heaven, and interest upon earth, to gain him a something that may guard him when I am no more, from what Shakespeare terms

 

The spurns
That patient merit from the unworthy take.

            But I have surely exhausted your patience, though 'tis impossible, my Lord, to wear out your good manners; therefore, lest you should conclude, I have quite taken leave of my own; I must, however, reluctantly break off, with appealing to your own superior sense for a description of that nameless respect, with which,
            I am,
            My Lord, &c.
            LÆTITIA PILKINGTON
            Dublin, April 9, 1748

 

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