"governesses had always remarked on my cleverness in a pitying tone"

Governesses were responsible for the education of the children of well-to-do families. Beauty's formal education was nurtured under the tutelage of her governesses, a sign of her family's social rank and the social expectations associated with her position as a wealthy merchant's daughter. Though Beauty aspires to attend university, it is clear that such an avenue is closed to her, despite her faith in her father's influence. While boys were encouraged to expand their knowledge through a Classical education, girls were meant to acquire feminine accomplishments in areas such as music, painting, and language. Beauty's preference for Greek literature probably irked her governesses.