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For Jacinta

Harold Bindloss

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .A Frenchman chartered her, but he's dead now, as is almost everybody connected with the Cumbria. They've fevers that will wipe you out in a week or two yonder—more fever, in fact, than anywhere else in Africa. Well, as everybody knows, they got oil and sundries and a little gum, and went down with fever while they crawled about those creeks loading her. She got hard in the mud up one of them, and half of the boys were buried before they pulled her out at all, and then she hit something that started a plate or two in her. They couldn't keep the water down, and they rammed her into a mangrove forest to save her. More of them died there, and the salvage expedition lost three or four men before they turned up their contract."

"That," said Austin, "is what might be termed the official version."

Jefferson nodded. "What everybody doesn't know is that the skipper played the Frenchman a crooked game," he said. "There was more gum put into her than was ever. . . Read More