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I was now left to my fate. I was all alone, and within thewalls of a stone prison. But a few days before, and I was fullof hope. I expected to have been safe in a land of freedom;but now I was covered with gloom, sunk down to the ut-most despair. I thought the possibility of freedom was gone.I was kept in this way about one week, at the end of which,Captain Auld, my master, to my surprise and utter astonish-ment, came up, and took me out, with the intention of send-ing me, with a gentleman of his acquaintance, into Alabama.But, from some cause or other, he did not send me to Ala-
77Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglassbama, but concluded to send me back to Baltimore, to liveagain with his brother Hugh, and to learn a trade.Thus, after an absence of three years and one month, I wasonce more permitted to return to my old home at Baltimore.My master sent me away, because there existed against me avery great prejudice in the community, and he feared I mightbe killed.In a few weeks after I went to Baltimore, Master Hughhired me to Mr. William Gardner, an extensive ship-builder,on Fell’s Point. I was put there to learn how to calk. It, how-ever, proved a very unfavorable place for the accomplish-ment of this object. Mr. Gardner was engaged that spring inbuilding two large man-of-war brigs, professedly for theMexican government. The vessels were to be launched in theJuly of that year, and in failure thereof, Mr. Gardner was tolose a considerable sum; so that when I entered, all was hurry.There was no time to learn any thing. Every man had to dothat which he knew how to do. In entering the ship-yard,my orders from Mr. Gardner were, to do whatever the car-penters commanded me to do. This was placing me at thebeck and call of about seventy-five men. I was to regard allthese as masters. Their word was to be my law. My situationwas a most trying one. At times I needed a dozen pair ofhands. I was called a dozen ways in the space of a singleminute. Three or four voices would strike my ear at the samemoment. It was—“Fred., come help me to cant this timberhere.”— “Fred., come carry this timber yonder.”— “Fred.,bring that roller here.”— “Fred., go get a fresh can of wa-ter.”— “Fred., come help saw off the end of this timber.”—“Fred., go quick, and get the crowbar.”—”Fred., hold on theend of this fall.”— “Fred., go to the blacksmith’s shop, andget a new punch.”— “Hurra, Fred.! run and bring me a coldchisel.”— “I say, Fred., bear a hand, and get up a fire asquick as lightning under that steam-box.”— “Halloo, nigger!come, turn this grindstone.”— “Come, come! move, move!and bowsethis timber forward.”— “I say, darky, blast youreyes, why don’t you heat up some pitch?”— “Halloo! halloo!