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“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now to have the great pleasure of listening to Mrs. Howe. I am going to ask you all to be very quiet, for though Mrs. Howe's voice is as sweet as ever, it is perhaps not quite so strong.”

But it carries!” said the pupil of old Cardini. The silver tone, though not loud, reached the farthest corner of the great building; the house “came down” in a thunder of applause. It was a beautiful moment for the proud daughter who sat beside her.

Music was one of the passions of her life. Indeed, she felt that it had sometimes influenced her even too much, and in recording the delight she took in the trios and quartets which Mr. Boocock arranged for her, she adds: “The reaction from this pleasure, however, was very painful, and induced at times a visitation of morbid melancholy, which threatened to upset my health.”

She felt that

in the training of young persons, some regard should be had to the sensitiveness of youthful nerves, and to the overpowering response which they often make to the appeals of music....

The power and sweep of great orchestral performances, or even the suggestive charm of some beautiful voice, will sometimes so disturb the mental equilibrium of the hearer as to induce in him a listless melancholy, or, worse still, an unreasoning and unreasonable discontent.1

In a later chapter of her “Reminiscences,” she says: “I left school at the age of sixteen, and began thereafter ”

1 Reminiscences, p. 43.

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Julia Ward Howe (2)
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