160 LIFE AND TIMES OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
situation, and in a peculiarly quiet way, addressing me, Mr. Taber said: "Thee
get in." I never obeyed an order with more alacrity, and we were soon on our
way to our new home. When we reached "Stone Bridge" the passengers
alighted for breakfast, and paid their fares to the driver. We took no break-
fast, and when asked for our fares I told the driver I would make it right with
him when we reached New Bedford. I expected some objection to this on his
part, but he made none. When, however, we reached New Bedford he took
our baggage, including three music books,—two of them collections by
Dyer, and one by Shaw,—and held them until I was able to redeem them by
paying to him the sums due for our rides. This was soon done, for Mr.
Nathan Johnson not only received me kindly, and hospitably, but, on being
informed about our baggage, at once loaned me the two dollars with which
to square accounts with the stage-driver. Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Johnson
reached a good old age, and now rest from their labors. 1 am under many
grateful obligations to them. They not only "took me in when a stranger,"
and "fed me when hungry," but taught me how to make an honest living.
Thus, in a fortnight after my flight from Maryland, I was safe in New
Bedford,—a citizen of the grand old commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Once initiated into my new life of freedom, and assured by Mr. Johnson
that I need not fear recapture in that city, a comparatively unimportant ques-
tion arose, as to the name by which I should be known thereafter, in my new
relation as a free man. The name given me by my dear mother was no less
pretentious and long than Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. I had, how-
ever, while living in Maryland disposed with the Augustus Washington, and
retained only Frederick Bailey. Between Baltimore and New Bedford, the
better to conceal myself from the slave-hunters, I had parted with Bailey and
called myself Johnson; but finding that in New Bedford the Johnson family
was already so numerous as to cause some confusion in distinguishing one
from another, a change in this name seemed desirable. Nathan Johnson, mine
host, was emphatic as to this necessity, and wished me to allow him to select
a name for me. I consented, and he called me by my present name,—the one
by which I have been known for three and forty years,—Frederick Douglass.
Mr. Johnson had just been reading "The Lady of the Lake," and so pleased
was he with its great character that he wished me to bear his name. Since
reading that charming poem myself, I have often thought that, considering the
noble hospitality and manly character of Nathan Johnson, black man though
he was, he, far more than I, illustrated the virtues of the Douglas of Scotland.
Sure am I that if any slave-catcher had entered his domicile with a view to
my recapture, Johnson would have been like him of the "stalwart hand."
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