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LIFE AND TIMES OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS 163

said: "Well, friends and brethren, we have got him here, and I would recom-
mend that you, young men, should take him outside the door and kill him."
This was enough; there was a rush for the villain, who would probably have
been killed but for his escape by an open window. He was never seen again
in New Bedford.

The fifth day after my arrival I put on the clothes of a common laborer,
and went upon the wharves in search of work. On my way down Union
street I saw a large pile of coal in front of the house of Rev. Ephraim
Peabody
, the Unitarian minister. I went to the kitchen door and asked the
privilege of bringing in and putting away this coal. "What will you charge?"
said the lady. "l will leave that to you, madam." "You may put it away," she
said. I was not long in accomplishing the job, when the dear lady put into
my hand two silver half dollars. To understand the emotion which swelled
my heart as I clasped this money, realizing that I had no master who could
take it from me—that it was mine—that my hands were my own, and could
earn more of the precious coin—one must have been in some sense himself
a slave. My next job was stowing a sloop at Uncle Gid, Howland's wharf
with a cargo of oil for New York. I was not only a freeman but a free-work-
ing man, and no Master Hugh stood ready at the end of the week to seize my
hard earnings.

The season was growing late and work was plenty. Ships were being
fitted out for whaling, and much wood was used in storing them. The sawing
of this wood was considered a good job. With the help of old Friend Johnson
(blessings on his memory) I got a "saw" and "buck" and went at it. When I
went into a store to buy a cord with which to brace up my saw in the frame,
I asked for a "fip's" worth of cord. The man behind the counter looked rather
sharply at me and said with equal sharpness. "You don't belong about here."
I was alarmed, and thought I had betrayed myself. A fip in Maryland was six
and a quarter cents, called fourpence in Massachusetts. But no harm came,
except my fear, from the "fipenny-bit'' blunder, and I confidently and cheer-
fully went to work with my saw and buck. It was new business to me, but I
never did better work, or more of it in the same space of time for Covey, the
negro-breaker, than I did for myself in these earliest years of my freedom.

Notwithstanding the just and humane sentiment of New Bedford three
and forty years ago, the place was not entirely free from race and color preju-
dice. The good influence of the Rotches, Rodmans, Arnolds, Grinnells, and
Robesons did not pervade all classes of its people. The test of the real civili-
zation of the community came when I applied for work at my trade, and then
my repulse was emphatic and decisive. It so happened that Mr. Rodney

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