Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

By Frederick Douglass | Go to book overview

the timber the name of that part of the ship for which it was intended. When a piece of timber was intended for the larboard side, it would be marked thus -- "L." When a piece was for the starboard side, it would be marked thus -- "S." A piece for the larboard side forward, would be marked thus -- "L. F." When a piece was for starboard side forward, it would be marked thus -- "S. F." For larboard aft, it would be marked thus -- "L. A." For starboard aft, it would be marked thus -- "S. A." I soon learned the names of these letters, and for what they were intended when placed upon a piece of timber in the ship-yard. I immediately commenced copying them, and in a short time was able to make the four letters named. After that, when I met with any boy who I knew could write, I would tell him I could write as well as he. The next word would be, "I don't believe you. Let me see you try it." I would then make the letters which I had been so fortunate as to learn, and ask him to beat that. In this way I got a good many lessons in writing, which it is quite possible I should never have gotten in any other way. During this time, my copy-book was the board fence, brick wall, and pavement; my pen and ink was a lump of chalk. With these, I learned mainly how to write. I then commenced and continued copying the Italics in Webster's Spelling Book, until I could make them all without looking on the book. By this time, my little Master Thomas had gone to school, and learned how to write, and had written over a number of copy-books. These had been brought home, and shown to some of our near neighbors, and then laid aside. My mistress used to go to class meeting at the Wilk Street meeting-house every Monday afternoon, and leave me to take care of the house. When left thus, I used to spend the time in writing in the spaces left in Master Thomas's copy-book, copying what he had written. I continued to do this until I could write a hand very similar to that of Master Thomas. Thus, after a long, tedious effort for years, I finally succeeded in learning how to write.


CHAPTER VIII.

IN a very short time after I went to live at Baltimore, my old master's youngest son Richard died; and in about three years and six months after his death, my old master, Captain Anthony, died, leaving only his son, Andrew, and daughter, Lucretia, to share his estate. He died while on a

-26-

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Note iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Letter from Wendell Phillips, Esq xv
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 5
  • Chapter III 9
  • Chapter IV 12
  • Chapter V 16
  • Chapter VI 19
  • Chapter VII 22
  • Chapter VIII 26
  • Chapter IX 30
  • Chapter X 34
  • Chapter XI 59
  • Appendix 71
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