Excerpted from LEARNING TO READ by Frederick Douglass

I lived in Master Hugh's family about seven years. During this time, I succeeded in learning to read and write. In accomplishing this, I was compelled to resort to various stratagems. I had no regular teacher. My mistress, who had kindly commenced to instruct me, had, in compliance with the advice and direction of her husband, not only ceased to instruct, but had set her face against my being instructed by anyone else. It is due, however, to my mistress to say of her, that she did not adopt this course of treatment immediately. She at first lacked the depravity indispensable to shutting me up in mental darkness. It was at least necessary for her to have some training in the exercise of irresponsible power, to make her equal to the task of treating me as though I were a brute.

What does the bolded sentence mean? I can't understand its structure, It is due to my mistress to say of her?, it's odd.

  • 2
    Due here has its old sense of owing: I owe it her to say X, she deserves this acknowledgment. Feb 13, 2016 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


Due here is of its old sense, meaning owing. So the sentence mean the mistress deserves a fair description, that she is not like this at first.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .