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London was then a sprawling metropolis with a population of almost one million people. Image: “Gin Lane,” William Hogarth

In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, Heathcliff steps off a ship and makes his way to the city of London, one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the world. On his first night in the teeming city, Heathcliff catches a glimpse of a beautiful and mysterious lady he is soon to see again.

© David Drum

Heathcliff arrived at the port of London with money in his pockets. …


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In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, the Commerce has finally arrived in Jamaica with all that’s left of its cargo of 200 African slaves.

Heathcliff has survived a mutiny, a storm at sea, and other adventures before his ship sails into Kingston Harbor. Kingston, Jamaica is the center of the British slave trade in the New World.

© David Drum

Heathcliff awoke to the sound of squawking. A pandemonium of parrots whirled low over the Commerce. As he made his way toward the head, he saw two small single-masted fishing boats making their way out to sea.

Dr. Chum put Heathcliff shaving the heads of the young black-skinned males, to make them appear stronger and older. Others of the crew rubbed black soot from the galley stove into the hair of the older men to disguise their grey. The surgeon personally worked warm black tar into the scars of the males who had been severely flogged while others rubbed the dark skin of every captive with a mixture of lemon juice, gunpowder, red pepper, and palm oil to give the quashees’ skin a deceptively healthy luster. …


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Slave castles such as this were common on the Guinea Coast of Africa

In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, Captain Collingwood has received word that many African slaves might be available at a notorious slave fort on the Guinea Coast called Gold Coast Castle. The slave fort has been the scene of much vicious recent fighting between African tribes, Heathcliff and the crew learn as their ship approaches.

© David Drum

As the ship passed the mouth of a small river the Englishman cried, “Gold Coast Castle’s at hand, captain! That way! Maneuver your ship into the harbour.”

Captain Collingwood took the helm, with Mr. Bugg at his side pointing the way. Using only her topsails, the Commerce glided into a small natural harbour partially hidden behind a long spit of tree-covered land. …


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On the treacherous coast of Africa, Heathcliff and the first mate go ashore.

In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, Heathcliff’s ship is sailing the African coast when the ship is approached by African natives in canoes. After some sharp exchanges with the captain, Heathcliff is sent ashore with Mr. Coil, the first mate, look at some slaves the captain may wish to buy.

© David Drum

The sun rose like a disc of burning flame over the bow. The Guinea coast materialized into a long deep green ribbon along the port horizon. A sticky equatorial breeze shuddered out from the African shore, smelling of moist earth and vegetation. …


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Unloading ships in the seaport of Liverpool, a center of the triangle trade.

In this chapter from the historical novel Heathcliff: The Lost Years, Heathcliff has fled Wuthering Heights and found menial work on the busy docks of Liverpool.

Early one morning, for reasons which are not clear to him, he is sent across town to meet with a wealthy merchant who is active in the triangle trade.

© David Drum

On Saturday morning, Heathcliff walked up Paradise Street into a neighborhood of large grey-stone mansions. …


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In Liverpool, young Heathcliff signed onto a slave ship and sailed to Africa. In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, Captain Collingwood assigns Heathcliff to accompany a canoe expedition up the Pongo River, where the African slave trader King Big Tucker has sent his men to gather more slaves for the English traders.

(C) David Drum

Captain Collingwood tasked Heathcliff with keeping an eye on King Big Tucker’s expedition. That morning, he found himself carrying one end of a long dugout canoe down a narrow path through the jungle that paralleled the ocean. After he followed them sloshing through a thicket of mangroves along the bank of the South Pongo River, all six flat-bottomed canoes hit the water. …


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Heathcliff helps row toward the ship during a terrible storm at sea

This chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years begins with Heathcliff discovering the body of the first mate, Mr. Coil, who has died from wounds sustained during a ferocious mutiny at sea. A sudden storm is bearing down on the ship, but Captain Collingwood insists on giving his first mate a proper burial at sea despite the storm…

Heathcliff: The Lost Years is the untold story at the heart of Wuthering Heights.

© David Drum

Heathcliff knocked on the door to Mr. Coil’s cabin. The first mate didn’t answer. When Heathcliff stepped inside, he discovered the first mate’s dead body. The cabin smelled of death. Heathcliff ran for the surgeon. Dr. …


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In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, young Heathcliff makes a fateful decision to flee his adopted home at Wuthering Heights. The day which forever changes his life ends with him trembling with emotion and riding angrily away into the teeth of a storm.

Emily Bronte’s classic Wuthering Heights does not explain how Heathcliff manages to transform himself from a penniless orphan to a rich and ruthless gentleman during the three years he is away. Heathcliff: The Lost Years is the epic tale of Heathcliff’s remarkable and adventurous transformation, the untold story at the heart of Wuthering Heights.

© David Drum

A low sound caught Heathcliff’s attention. It could have been the growl of distant thunder. Black clouds massed over the hills to the north, a harbinger of autumn storms. A gust of cool wind swept over the field as Heathcliff turned to see the master of Wuthering Heights, riding away. …


In Emily Bronte’s classic novel Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff disappears for three years and returns a changed man. He leaves as a penniless, beaten-down orphan with a broken heart, and returns a rich and ruthless gentleman capable of extracting a notoriously cruel revenge.

This is the first chapter of the 111-chapter historical novel, Heathcliff: The Lost Years, which tells the story of Heathcliff’s three adventurous years years away from Wuthering Heights. The story begins on a dreary day in a run-down orphanage in Liverpool.

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© David Drum

As the house-master’s cane sailed down, the boy felt a movement in the air, as if from the wing of a small bird. Then Mr. Hatchett struck him. …

About

David Drum Writer

David Drum has worked as a newspaper reporter, ranch foreman, a funeral director, and more. MFA from the University of Iowa, author of several books.

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