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sometimes striking me. I, of course, kept the vow
I made after the fight with Mr. Covey, and struck
back again, regardless of consequences; and while
I kept them from combining, I succeeded very well;
for I could whip the whole of them, taking them
separately. They, however, at length combined, and
came upon me, armed with sticks, stones, and heavy
handspikes. One came in front with a half brick.
There was one at each side of me, and one behind
me. While I was attending to those in front, and on
either side, the one behind ran up with the hand-
spike, and struck me a heavy blow upon the head.

It stunned me. I fell, and with this they all ran
upon me, and fell to beating me with their fists. I
let them lay on for a while, gathering strength. In
an instant, I gave a sudden surge, and rose to my
hands and knees. Just as I did that, one of their
number gave me, with his heavy boot, a powerful
kick in the left eye. My eyeball seemed to have
burst. When they saw my eye closed, and badly
swollen, they left me. With this I seized the hand-
spike, and for a time pursued them. But here the
carpenters interfered, and I thought I might as well
give it up. It was impossible to stand my hand
against so many. All this took place in sight of not
less than fifty white ship-carpenters, and not one
interposed a friendly word; but some cried, "Kill
the damned nigger! Kill him! kill him! He struck
a white person." I found my only chance for life
was in flight. I succeeded in getting away without
an additional blow, and barely so; for to strike a
white man is death by Lynch law,--and that was the
law in Mr. Gardner's ship-yard; nor is there much
of any other out of Mr. Gardner's ship-yard.

I went directly home, and told the story of my
wrongs to Master Hugh; and I am happy to say of
him, irreligious as he was, his conduct was heavenly,
compared with that of his brother Thomas under
similar circumstances. He listened attentively to my
narration of the circumstances leading to the savage
outrage, and gave many proofs of his strong indigna-
tion at it. The heart of my once overkind mistress
was again melted into pity. My puffed-out eye and
blood-covered face moved her to tears. She took a
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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