Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


30 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. arbund him as formerly, to enjoy the sea breeze, and the choice things which the hostess was careful to provide for them. Mr. Clerk died in 1810, much regetted by his acquaintances, aged seventytwo, and was interred in the Greyfriars’ Churchyard. He was a jolly, warmhearted individual-amusing in conversation, and partial to the company of his friends ; but, though fond of rational enjoyment, he was equally an enemy to excess; and, in the words of one of his friends, now himself no more, there never existed a “more honest and inoffensive man.” The third figure, we need scarcely add, is no less a personage than GEORGE PRATT, who has already been specially noticed in the preceding Volume. No. CLXXXII. TWO BOOKSELLERS. MR. WILLIAM COKE AND MR. JOHN GUTHRIE. THESEtw o bibliopolists have apparently been brought into juxtaposition, not so much from any intimacy subsisting between them, as from a similar peculiarity in their habits of transacting business. They were both ready-money dealers ; and whatever they purchased was paid in cash, and carried away by them on the instant. MR. WILLIAM COKE, the figure on the left, carried on business in Leith for upwards of fifty-five years in the shop now occupied by Messrs. Reid and Son. He commenced bookseller in 1764; and his stock, consisting principally of minor publications, and the common articles of stationery, was not very extensive. By perseverance and economy, his trade gradually increased, though it is somewhat doubtful if he ever attained to easy circumstances. He was a most indefatigable person, however; for he has been known to travel to Edinburgh three or four times in one day for the purpose of supplying the orders of his customers ; and he would have performed the journey to obtain a sixpenny pamphlet.’ Returning from Glasgow by the coach on one occasion, he was seated inside with several other passengers. The subject of conversation chancing to take a political turn, an English gentle- A calculation was made from Mr. Coke’s own information respecting his journeys between Leith and Edinburgh, when it was found that he had walked a distance more than twice equal to the circumference of the globe. The late Mr. David Ramsay, publisher of the Cou~umt, used to compare him to a squirrel in 8 cage, always endeavouring to get to the top. Mr. Coke possessed a rather quick temper.
Volume 9 Page 40
  Enlarge Enlarge  
Volume 9 Page 41
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures