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Katerfelto by G. J. Whyte-Melville

[Illustration: Front Cover.]

[Illustration: AT GAZE. Frontispiece]

KATERFELTO

A Story of Exmoor.

BY

G.J. WHYTE-MELVILLE,

AUTHOR OF "DIGBY GRAND," "CERISE," "UNCLE JOHN," ETC.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

BY COL. H. HOPE CREALOCKE, C.B.

LONDON:

CHAPMAN AND HALL, 193, PICCADILLY.

1875.

[_All rights reserved._]

LONDON:

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

"AT GAZE" (_Frontispiece_) PAGE

"UNDER THE GUARD" 8

"WESTWARD HO!" 96

"WELL OUT OF IT" 152

"THE LESSON LEARNT" 165

"THE TALE TOLD" 183

"MOONLIGHT" 206

"MOVED!" 215

"BEAT" 228

"SET UP" 229

"NECK OR NOTHING" 280

"THE GIPSY'S BRIDE" 286

KATERFELTO:

A STORY OF EXMOOR.

CHAPTER I.

DEADMAN'S ALLEY.

On the last day of April, 1763, John Wilkes, refusing to enter into his recognisances to appear before the Court of Queen's Bench, was committed to the Tower by warrant of my Lords Egremont and Halifax, His Majesty's two principal Secretaries of State.

Defiance of constituted authority has never wanted sympathy from that British public which entertains, nevertheless, a profound respect for law. Mr. Wilkes became a hero in consequence; and while many a jug of beer was thereafter emptied, and many a bottle of wine cracked to his health, diverse street songs, more or less execrable, were composed in honour of the so-called patriot, whose personal popularity was incontestable, notwithstanding the unprepossessing exterior, that has passed into a proverb.

Of these, none were perhaps so absurd as the following ditty, chanted by a chairman more than half drunk, under the windows of a tavern in Covent Garden, notwithstanding the protestations of some half-dozen gentlemen, who, seated at supper in an upper chamber, held that their tastes and opinions were equally outraged by the persistency of the singer below.

"King Nabuchodonosor," whined the chairman.

"Hold that cursed noise!" exclaimed one of the gentlemen from the window.

"King Nabuchodonosor," repeated the chairman in all the aggravating monotony of a minor key.


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