Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Eliza Symonds Bell, November 10, 1892
I used to be very much disappointed that my children showed so little aptitude for music, but time has mended all that. Elsie has developed a good ear and great fondness for music, while Daisy, though not showing much ear as yet, has become a really good player. Under Aileen's instruction her touch has improved and she has learned to play with expression; and under my instruction she has learned to play at sight in a way few children of her age could do. She is fond of music and devotes a great deal of time to practising. Her voice is not good — and her attempts to sing betray decided lack of ear — but I have no doubt she will improve in this respect as Elsie has done. I do not encourage her to sing just now — as she has arrived at an age when great care, I think, should be taken not to exercise the vocal chords much. I presume her voice is changing at the present time and this probably accounts for its peculiar quality. I therefore prevent her from singing, excepting occasionally and prefer to wait for the establishment of the woman's voice before giving her instruction in singing.
Nearly every evening Elsie sings while Daisy plays her accompaniment. Daisy is developing very rapidly into a woman — and her conversation often starles me with its grown up air. Both she and Elsie are insatiable readers and what they read is good. Daisy's memory for language is really remarkable — I must speak to Aileen about training it. She learns poetry with the greatest case, and can repeat it from memory after very few repetitions. I think therefore it would be a good plan to store her mind with choice selections — systemically — instead of leaving her really remarkable ability in this direction — practically untrained. The contrast between the two children in this respect is very striking. Elsie has great difficulty in committing to memory the exact words of any composition. She retains the ideas — but the language slips from her. Daisy on the other hand absorbs the exact language as well as the ideas and her memory retains the words without apparent effort. Both the children have strong individualities of their own — and Daisy especially I think is going to develop into a self-reliant and beautiful woman — beautiful, I mean, in character and disposition — rather than in person — although for that matter — neither of my children, I think, will be found lacking in physical beauty.
Daisy however is developing such a sweet helpful disposition that she is a great comfort to her mother and to me. The bud is expanding into a beautiful rose of which we will all be proud. Until within the last two or three years she was of rather a fretful disposition — her voice assuming habitually quite a querulous tone. The habit of “whining” so grew upon her that at last Mabel and I determined to speak seriously to her upon the subject and urge her to conquer the