Abbe Boyle, May 12, 1748
I AM honoured with your letter, and enraptured at the picture you promise me, since anything that resembles Mrs. Pilkington must give pleasure: I shall place it where I would the original, might I have the happiness of her company, in my best apartment, and hope the contemplation of it may better qualify me to hold a correspondence with you, by inspiring me with some of that wit which so lavishly distils from your pen. I often wonder, Madam, when I receive your letters, how I have the courage to answer them, and expose all my errors to so accurate a judge; and this nothing but a confidence in your good-nature could possibly tempt me to do.—I thought by this time I should have seen Mrs. Pilkington, and thanked her myself for all the marks of esteem she is so obliging to honour me with; but as unavoidable business will engage me some time longer in the country, your writing frequently, Madam, is the only relief I can hope for.—I have just received an epistle from our poor friend John Brown, [see note] I heartily wish that he may get the better of his unhappy affair. He tells me you have been kind enough to visit him in his confinement, and speaks of you as all gentlemen of true taste generally do. I think it extremely good of Mrs. Pilkington to give him her conversation, which must render even a prison delightful. Do me the honour Madam, when you next see him, to tell him he is attended with my best wishes, as I really have not time to write my thoughts to him; and if you have charity for me, who am equally confined by being far from Mrs. Pilkington, write me a whole sheet, the first opportunity, with as many of your own flights as possible: rest assured, dear Madam, I am, and ever will be,
Your sincerely devoted,
*Note: This gentleman is John Browne, of the Neal, Esq.