Mrs.Auld was kind to me from the start. When I first arrived at the Aulds’ she greeted me with the kindest of smiles. She said, “Hello you must be Frederick, my name is Mrs.Auld. I’m pleased to meet you.” “Yes, ma’am. Hello,” I said nervously. Mrs.Auld must have noticed, she asked, “What’s the matter?” “I am just not used to being treated so kindly,” I said. As her reply she had just smiled warmly. Mrs.Auld was unlike any mistress I have had in the past, though she had never owned a slave before me, and before marriage she had relied on her own business for money she had been a weaver.
My name is Frederick Douglass and I was born into slavery. I don’t know who my father was, or when I was born, I barely knew my mother. I have been to many plantations, and I have met many people. I have had many owners, all different, but they all had one thing in common, they were all corrupted by slavery. My latest masters were the Aulds in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr.Auld was a harsh man but this was nothing new. His wife, Mrs.Auld, was a kind woman with looks to match.
She was as innocent as a child and she seemed appalled by slavery. I can recall when she began to teach me to read. She had asked, “Did anyone teach you to read at your old plantation?” I answered, “No ma’am” “I believe it is time you learned how,” she said. I had learned much but my teacher had been taken when Mr.Auld had found out. He had told her that it was not right to teach a slave as well as against the law. He had said it would make me unhappy and that keeping me ignorant was for my own welfare.