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The African Trader The Adventures of Harry Bayford   By: (1814-1880)

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The African Trader; or, The Adventures of Harry Bayford, by W.H.G. Kingston.

This is rather a short book, only 120 small pages in book format. Harry is a young chap, just about ready to leave school, when his father suffers some business losses, and the stress kills him. Harry is left with some sisters, and he does not want to be a burden to them so he gets a job on board a trading vessel, and off they go to Africa.

Here many of the crew catch the Yellow Fever, and die. The captain is ill, but appears to be surviving. An African seaman is a senior rating aboard the vessel. With a rich cargo, and badly under manned, the vessel sets off for home. There is a fire in one of the holds, to which the vessel succumbs. Harry and the African seaman make themselves a raft, but the captain perishes. They are picked up almost at once by a slave trader, but a Royal Navy man of war appears and gives chase. The slave trader delays the chase by chucking slaves overboard, who then have to be picked up by the pursuer. It all gets sorted out, and Harry's cousin is an officer on the man of war. The African seaman is a religious man, and it actually turns out that he is the very person Harry had been asked to look out for by his old nurse. So there is a happy ending, as far as Harry is concerned, but there certainly were a few casualties on the way.

THE AFRICAN TRADER; OR, THE ADVENTURES OF HARRY BAYFORD, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.

CHAPTER ONE.

MY FATHER, AFTER MEETING WITH A SEVERE REVERSE OF FORTUNE, DIES, AND MY SISTERS AND I ARE LEFT DESTITUTE. OUR FAITHFUL OLD BLACK NURSE MAMMY, TAKES CARE OF MY SISTERS, WHILE I, INVITED BY A FORMER ACQUAINTANCE, CAPTAIN WILLIS OF THE "CHIEFTAIN," SAIL WITH HIM ON A TRADING VOYAGE TO THE COAST OF AFRICA.

Our school was breaking up for the midsummer holidays north, south, east, and west we sped to our different destinations, thinking with glee of the pleasures we believed to be in store for us.

I was bound for Liverpool, where my father, a West India merchant, now resided. He had for most of his life lived in Jamaica, where I was born, and from whence I had a few years before accompanied him to England to go to school.

"I am sorry we shall not see you back, Bayford," said the good doctor, as he shook me warmly by the hand. "May our heavenly Father protect you, my boy, wherever you go."

"I hope to go as a midshipman on board a man of war, sir," I answered. "My father expects to get me appointed to a ship this summer, and I suppose that is the reason I am leaving."

The doctor looked kindly and somewhat sadly at me. "You must not, Harry, raise your hopes on that point too high," he answered, in a grave tone. "When I last heard from your father, saying he desired to remove you, he was very unwell. I grieve to have to say this, but it is better that you should be prepared for evil tidings. God bless you Harry Bayford. The coach will soon be up; I must not detain you longer."

The doctor again warmly wrung my hand.

I hastened after Peter the porter, who was wheeling my trunk down to the village inn where the coach stopped, and I had just time to mount on the top when the guard cried out, "All right;" the coachman laid his whip along the backs of the horses, which trotted gaily forward along the dusty road.

My spirits would naturally have risen at finding myself whirled along at the rate of ten miles an hour on my way homeward, but the last words spoken by the doctor continually recurred to me, and contributed greatly to damp them. I managed, however, at length, to persuade myself that my anticipations of evil were mere fancies. On reaching Liverpool, having called a porter to carry my things, I hurried homewards, expecting to receive the usual happy greetings from my father and sisters... Continue reading book >>




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