A little girl, four years old, who reads and recites better than some professional elocutionists has created a great deal of wonder in private circles in this city. Her name is Ella Burns: she is a Native of Cincinnati, and was this winter brought to New York by her mother, a widow lady, who had hopes that her extraordinary talent might be turned to some account in providing the means of giving her a suitable education. She recites poetry not only with great propriety of emphasis but great feeling, from the spirited to the plaintive and pathetic with as perfect a judgment as if she were twenty years older. Her enunciation is remarkably perfect and distinct, and she makes herself heard at a great distance, and in a crowded room. We heard her in a dialogue from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet—she taking the part of Juliet and her mother the part of Romeo—in which she gave the tenderness and innocent coquetry of the maid of Verona with an effect which seemed perilously preternatural. In another scene from a comedy, representing the quarrel between a wife and a husband, she recited the part of the wife, pleased and satisfied at first, and afterwards captious and angry, with equal spirit. This little wonder is said to have learned to read without ever having learned to spell. It was found that she had taught herself during her walks in the streets of Cincinnati, by asking what were the words on the signs which she saw; and having once learned to call them rightly there, she afterwards read them accurately from books. In reading from a book which she never saw before, the justness of her emphasis is surprising, as well as the flexibility of her intonations, adapting them to the feeling expressed. She prefers poetry to prose, probably poetry makes less use of abstruse terms. When not engaging in reading or reciting, her behavior is childlike and playful like that of other children of her age. – N. Y. Post, 21st.
Nashville Patriot 3 February 1859. Print.