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at length exclaimed, Well, Mr. Wilkes, if you are thus determined, we must take the sense of the ward.' With all my heart,' replied Wilkes,
I will take the non-sense, and beat you ten to one.'
"Upon another occasion, Wilkes attended a city dinner, not long after his promotion to cityhonours. Among the guests was a noisy vulgar deputy, a great glutton, who, on his entering the dinner room, always with great deliberation took off his wig, suspended it on a pin, and with due solemnity put on a white cotton night-cap. Wilkes, who certainly was a high bred man, and never accustomed to similar exhibitions, could not take his eyes from so strange and novel a picture. At length, the deputy, with unblushing familiarity, walked up to Wilkes, and asked him whether he did not think that his night-cap became him? Oh! Yes, Sir,' replied Wilkes, but it would look much better if it was pulled quite over your face.'
"Wilkes's dislike of the Scotch was sufficiently notorious, yet he was very partial to Boswell, and often sought his society. I dined with him once, (loquitur Sexagenarius noster) when, among some enlightened people, was present a heavy, stupid, consequential fellow, who held some city office, and who often, in the course of the conversation, treated Wilkes with much rudeness. It seemed that Wilkes
and Boswell had met in Italy, and had ascended to the top of Vesuvius together. They recapitulated various circumstances of their expedition with much pleasantness and good-humour: and among other things, Boswell reminded Wilkes, with no ordinary satisfaction, of the exquisite Lacryma Christi, which they had found at a hermitage for the accommodation of travellers, half-way up the mountain: " Pray brother Wilkes,' said the citi zen, what is Lacryma Christi?' The answer which is here omitted, joined the most perfect wit, to the grossest blasphemy.
"But neither would Wilkes spare Boswell, or conceal before him his prejudices against the Scotch nation. He seemed to seize, with particular avidity, every opportunity to play upon Boswell, when any thing relating to Scotland was introduced.
You must acknowledge, my friend Wilkes,' observed Boswell one day, that the approach to Edinburgh from the London road, presents a very picturesque and interesting picture.' 'Why so it perhaps may,' returned Wilkes,' but when I was there, the wind was in my face, and it brought with it such a confounded stink, that I was obliged to keep my handkerchief to my nose, the wholę of the way, and could see nothing of the prospect.'
"Not long afterwards, Boswell was speaking of some Scotch nobleman, who was very fond of plant
ing, and had ornamented his domain with some very fine and beautiful forest-trees. Where could this possibly be,' said Wilkes; 'I travelled through the country with an American servant, and after we had visited various places in different parts of Scotland, I enquired of him what his general opinion was of the country?' 'Oh, Sir!' replied the American, it is finely cleared."
"There was a heavy Lord Mayor in Wilkes's time, who, by persevering steadily in the pursuit of one object, accumulated an immense fortune, and rose progressively from the dignity of Common-councilman to the State coach, and the Mansion house. His first entrance into life was as a common bricklayer. At one of the Old Bailey dinners, his lordship, after a sumptuous repast on turbot and venison, was eating an immense quantity of butter with his cheeseWhy brother,' said Wilkes, 'you lay it on with a trowel.'
"There is a singular anecdote of this same Lord Mayor, demonstrative of the parsimonious principles, by the exercise of which he doubtless rose to opulence. His only son was brought up in the same mean profession, and one day fell from a scaffold, and was killed by the fall. The father, who was present, on seeing the accident, only exclaimed, Take care of his watch.'
"In the riots of the year 1780, which at the same
time endangered and disgraced the metropolis, Wilkes was lamenting the ungovernable violence of a London mob;-upon this, some brother citizen took him up shortly, and reminded him of the disturbances of which he had formerly been the occasion. Sir,' returned Wilkes, 'I never was a
"He was not apt to express outwardly any thing like chagrin or mortification, but he certainly took his disapointment at Brentford, the last time that he offered himself as candidate for Middlesex, very heavily to heart. 'I should much have liked,' he would say, 'to have died in my geers.' Upon a similar occasion he exclaimed, 'I can only com pare myself to an exhausted volcano.'
Among other peculiarities and contradictions which marked Wilkes's character, was a passion he had for collecting bibles, of which he had certainly obtained a great number of curious editions. But he was nevertheles consistent in his profligacy, and whenever the subject of religion or scripture was introduced, treated both with the keenest ridicule.
"He called one morning upon a friend who resided in a very close and retired situation in the city, but who had a small opening before the house, of a few yards square, and two plants, which once looked like lilacs, in large tubs, adorned his windows.
Men were employed in painting the outside of the house. 'Brother,' said Wilkes to his friend, ⚫ suffer me to plead in behalf of these two poor lilacs in the tubs; pray let them be painted
"Wilkes was particularly fond of the society of learned men, though not by any means profoundly erudite himself. On some distinguished Greek scholar being named to him, he expressed a great desire to have his acquaintance. 'Pray make me know him,' says Wilkes, very much like pergræcari with him.' To which the person alluded to would have made no kind of objection."
and tell him I should
There were other broken and unfinished scraps in the Manuscript about Wilkes, which in appearance were intended to revive the recollection of circumstances to be detailed at some hour of leisure. There is, however, this remark at the end.
Wilkes was of that distinguished eminence for facetiousness and humour, it may indeed be said for wit, that it was the fashion of the day to ascribe any very striking and popular bon mot to him, and about the time of his disappearing from the stage, to him or Jekyll. They have both, in all probabi
* Pergræcari means to spend the day and night in drinking.