And here Clymene's son
Came climbing, up the stairway to the palace,
Entered the palace which might be his father's,
Turned toward the face that might have been his father's,
And stopped, far off; he could not bear that radiance.
— Ovid, " The Story of Phaethon,"
translated by Rolfe Humphries
WITH THE RESILIENCE and wonder of a bright child, Frederick explored the world he had entered. At its center was a place so grand as to have been unimaginable back on the Tuckahoe, and despite warnings from Aunt Katy, the slave who had charge of him, he would not stay away. Wye House, its white assuredness reaching out to wide, green lawns, faced the drive in from the Easton road and looked out privately, at the back, on the quiet splendor of a beautiful garden and an orangery. The curious boy could sneak up and, from behind a thick-trunked shade tree, watch people laughing and talking as they strolled in from the fine sloop Sally Lloyd, just arrived from Annapolis, or stepped down from a carriage from Easton and entered Edward Lloyd's house.
He could see Colonel Lloyd too. Often busy and brusque, but sometimes stopping to notice and smile at a slave child, this man who ruled with unbridled authority over the domain in which Frederick Bailey now lived was the most compelling figure the boy had ever encountered. If Frederick Douglass, writing a book about slavery years later, had sought to construct an archetypical master of a great plantation, he might have taken as his model a grandee in New Orleans with a larger bank account,