Frederick had achieved literacy by diverse tricks. His master’s wife who had being teaching him gradually refrained, and would not anyone, on her husband disapproval.
In hindsight; his mistress had been willing and good-natured on his arrival. And had suffered loss of her innate Olympian qualities; assuming her slaver role. She had become an opposing personality of her virtuous self.
Her turning point had been, yielding to her husband’s commandment to stop teaching Frederick. She had taken her role even further and aggressively by frowning at his reading the dailies – in a way that suggest anxiety about something.
She had become careful about Frederick being alone for too long; for fear of him reading books. But then, she had already made the mistake of showing him the alphabet.
Friendship with little white boys became Frederick’s outstanding trick. He had hurried through messages to save time for his teachers and had rewarded his little poor teachers with home made breads for the profitable “bread of knowledge”. Frederick would have loved to mention names in gratitude, but for shame and treason charge - for so it was - he would let them remain anonymous.
Frederick would brood a times, but these boys had empathized with and assured him of an incidental freedom.
At twelve, just when Frederick began to worry about his life long confinement, he had found a book “The Columbian Orator” in which a slave was caught the third time trying to escape, and actually had talked his way out of bound - following his master’s willingness.
He had read “Sheridan’s” speeches against slavery; which had encouraged him, yet he felt intense hatred for his slavers as he read and reread.
What crave that comes with being informed; that his master had feared had crept in. Frederick hated the dreadful revelation learning to read had brought – being informed of his predicament, yet incapacitated.
Frederick had wished he were dead but still longed for updates about slavery. He always had heard of the unacquainted words “abolition” and “abolitionist” in a way that appealed to him, but would not dared to ask. With time he had understood - reading published petitions from the north and he had gotten fascinated about these words.
It dawned, after two men he had helped, off loading at the shore, mentioned he could be free – if he found his way to the north and made friends there. He had thought it to be a set up, but he gave it an immense consideration. He imagined what good writing would do him, and in the meantime, he had concentrated on how he could write
Frederick got an inkling on how he could write using his first four letters “L”,“S”, “F”, “A” he learnt from materials making of the ship yard carpenter He had used these letter to challenge boys he knew could write – provoking them to write some more. He used whatever there is; as writing material. And while his mistress was out meeting, he had used the left over spaces in her son’s exercise books to perfect his writing. He did these over and again. And then he had become literate.