Page:Women of distinction.djvu/85

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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION.

writing and arithmetic that she was at once admitted to one of the higher classes of the district school, and because of her eagerness and readiness to learn soon became a favorite with her teachers, although the only colored pupil in the school. She possessed an excellent memory, good reasoning powers, and at the age of nine was studying physiology and physics, and was well advanced in mathematics.

Through the kindness of a Mrs. Horton, her Sunday-school teacher, she had access to a large and well-selected library for young people, and in all probability thus acquired an additional taste for literature, which was undoubtedly, primarily, a natural inheritance from her ancestors; be this as it may, an ambition to write, and a corresponding love for the best things in literature, began to assert itself at an early period. Her school-girl efforts at composition were favorably commented upon by her teachers; and while yet in her ninth year she wrote a story which she sent to one of the prominent New York weeklies. The manuscript was returned, it is true, but was accompanied by a letter of such kind encouragement and suggestion that it served to increase rather than to diminish her ambition.

At the age of eleven the Rev. Dr. Reeve, feeling that her desire for knowledge should have better opportunities for fulfillment than could be obtained in a district school, very kindly invited her to his home in Philadelphia that she might attend the institute conducted by Mrs. Fannie Jackson-Coppin. Here, for the first time, brought in contact with a large number of cultured per-