Marché des ésclaves

By Guidel Presume

From Master Of The Crossroads

by Madison Smartt Bell

Then the ship docked, and they took Riau to the barracoons among the other slaves out of Guinée, and after a few days Bayon de Libertat came from Bréda to look at Riau where he stood on the block. I could not understand anything he said because I had not yet learned any French or creole. But Bayon showed me how to turn and move by touching me here and there with the tip of his cane. He clucked his tongue over the sores which the irons had left, and he pulled out my lower lip to look at my teeth and comes, and he leaned close to smell my breath. All these things he did with the gentleness one uses with an animal. Then he paid my price in money and took me away to Bréda, where I found Toussaint waiting. 

I had not thought of any of those things for a long time.