to study in good earnest.
Until that time a certain over-romantic and imaginative turn of mind had interfered much with the progress of my studies.
I indulged in day-dreams which appeared to me far higher in tone than the humdrum of my school recitations.
When these were at an end, I began to feel the necessity of more strenuous application, and at once arranged for myself hours of study, relieved by the practice of vocal and instrumental music.”
These hours of study were not all passed at home.
In 1836 she was taking certain courses at the boarding and day school of Mrs. E. Smith
, then in Fifth Avenue, “first house from Washington Square.”
The Italian master was a son of the venerable Lorenzo da Ponte
, who in his youth had written for Mozart
the librettos of “Don Giovanni
” and “Le Nozze di Figaro.”
Four languages, English, French, German
, and Italian
learned thoroughly; she spoke and wrote them throughout her life correctly as well as fluently, with singularly pure accent and inflection, and seldom or never was at a loss for a word; nor was she less proficient in history.
For mathematics she had no gift, and was wont to say that her knowledge of the science was limited to the fact that four quarts made a gallon: yet the higher mathematics had a mysterious attraction for her, as an unexplored region of wonder and romance.
She was always a student.
When she began the study of German
, she set herself a task each day; lest anything should interfere to distract her mind, she had herself securely tied
to her armchair, giving orders that she