The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 243 pages of information about The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African.
board, though it was in the evening.  They put us in separate parcels, and examined us attentively.  They also made us jump, and pointed to the land, signifying we were to go there.  We thought by this we should be eaten by these ugly men, as they appeared to us; and, when soon after we were all put down under the deck again, there was much dread and trembling among us, and nothing but bitter cries to be heard all the night from these apprehensions, insomuch that at last the white people got some old slaves from the land to pacify us.  They told us we were not to be eaten, but to work, and were soon to go on land, where we should see many of our country people.  This report eased us much; and sure enough, soon after we were landed, there came to us Africans of all languages.  We were conducted immediately to the merchant’s yard, where we were all pent up together like so many sheep in a fold, without regard to sex or age.  As every object was new to me every thing I saw filled me with surprise.  What struck me first was that the houses were built with stories, and in every other respect different from those in Africa:  but I was still more astonished on seeing people on horseback.  I did not know what this could mean; and indeed I thought these people were full of nothing but magical arts.  While I was in this astonishment one of my fellow prisoners spoke to a countryman of his about the horses, who said they were the same kind they had in their country.  I understood them, though they were from a distant part of Africa, and I thought it odd I had not seen any horses there; but afterwards, when I came to converse with different Africans, I found they had many horses amongst them, and much larger than those I then saw.  We were not many days in the merchant’s custody before we were sold after their usual manner, which is this:—­On a signal given,(as the beat of a drum) the buyers rush at once into the yard where the slaves are confined, and make choice of that parcel they like best.  The noise and clamour with which this is attended, and the eagerness visible in the countenances of the buyers, serve not a little to increase the apprehensions of the terrified Africans, who may well be supposed to consider them as the ministers of that destruction to which they think themselves devoted.  In this manner, without scruple, are relations and friends separated, most of them never to see each other again.  I remember in the vessel in which I was brought over, in the men’s apartment, there were several brothers, who, in the sale, were sold in different lots; and it was very moving on this occasion to see and hear their cries at parting.  O, ye nominal Christians! might not an African ask you, learned you this from your God, who says unto you, Do unto all men as you would men should do unto you?  Is it not enough that we are torn from our country and friends to toil for your luxury and lust of gain?  Must every tender feeling be likewise sacrificed to your avarice? 
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The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.