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Story of My Life by Helen Keller

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come to see me.


[Tuscumbia, November, 1887.]

dear mr. anagnos I will write you a letter. I and teacher did
have pictures. teacher will send it to you. photographer does
make pictures. carpenter does build new houses. gardener does dig
and hoe ground and plant vegetables. my doll nancy is sleeping.
she is sick. mildred is well uncle frank has gone hunting deer.
we will have venison for breakfast when he comes home. I did ride
in wheel barrow and teacher did push it. simpson did give me
popcorn and walnuts. cousin rosa has gone to see her mother.
people do go to church sunday. I did read in my book about fox
and box. fox can sit in the box. I do like to read in my book.
you do love me. I do love you.


[Tuscumbia, November, 1887.]

Dear Mr. Bell.
I am glad to write you a letter, Father will send you picture. I
and Father and aunt did go to see you in Washington. I did play
with your watch. I do love you. I saw doctor in Washington. He
looked at my eyes. I can read stories in my book. I can write and
spell and count. good girl. My sister can walk and run. We do
have fun with Jumbo. Prince is not good dog. He can not get
birds. Rat did kill baby pigeons. I am sorry. Rat does not know
wrong. I and mother and teacher will go to Boston in June. I will
see little blind girls. Nancy will go with me. She is a good
doll. Father will buy me lovely new watch. Cousin Anna gave me a
pretty doll. Her name is Allie.


By the beginning of the next year her idioms are firmer. More
adjectives appear, including adjectives of colour. Although she
can have no sensuous knowledge of colour, she can use the words,
as we use most of our vocabulary, intellectually, with truth, not
to impression, but to fact. This letter is to a school-mate at
the Perkins Institution.

Tuscumbia, Ala. Jan. 2nd 1888.

Dear Sarah
I am happy to write to you this morning. I hope Mr. Anagnos is
coming to see me soon. I will go to Boston in June and I will buy
father gloves, and James nice collar, and Simpson cuffs. I saw
Miss Betty and her scholars. They had a pretty Christmas-tree,
and there were many pretty presents on it for little children. I
had a mug, and little bird and candy. I had many lovely things
for Christmas. Aunt gave me a trunk for Nancy and clothes. I went
to party with teacher and mother. We did dance and play and eat
nuts and candy and cakes and oranges and I did have fun with
little boys and girls. Mrs. Hopkins did send me lovely ring, I do
love her and little blind girls.

Men and boys do make carpets in mills. Wool grows on sheep. Men
do cut sheep's wool off with large shears, and send it to the
mill. Men and women do make wool cloth in mills.

Cotton grows on large stalks in fields. Men and boys and girls
and women do pick cotton. We do make thread and cotton dresses of
cotton. Cotton has pretty white and red flowers on it. Teacher
did tear her dress. Mildred does cry. I will nurse Nancy. Mother
will buy me lovely new aprons and dress to take to Boston. I went
to Knoxville with father and aunt. Bessie is weak and little.
Mrs. Thompson's chickens killed Leila's chickens. Eva does sleep
in my bed. I do love good girls.


The next two letters mention her visit in January to her
relatives in Memphis, Tennessee. She was taken to the cotton
exchange. When she felt the maps and blackboards she asked, "Do
men go to school?" She wrote on the blackboard the names of all
the gentlemen present. While at Memphis she went over one of the
large Mississippi steamers.

Tuscumbia, Alabama, February 15th [1888].

Dear Mr. Hale,
I am happy to write you a letter this morning. Teacher told me
about kind gentleman I shall be glad to read pretty story I do
read stories in my book about tigers and lions and sheep.

I am coming to Boston in June to see little blind girls and I
will come to see you. I went to Memphis to see grandmother and
Aunt Nannie. Teacher bought me lovely new dress and cap and
aprons. Little Natalie is a very weak and small baby. Father took
us to see steamboat. It was on a large river. Boat is like house.
Mildred is a good baby. I do love to play with little sister.
Nancy was not a good child when I went to Memphis. She did cry
loud. I will not write more to-day. I am tired.


Tuscumbia, Ala., Feb. 24th, 1888.

My dear Mr. Anagnos,--I am glad to write you a letter in Braille.
This morning Lucien Thompson sent me a beautiful bouquet of
violets and crocuses and jonquils. Sunday Adeline Moses brought
me a lovely doll. It came from New York. Her name is Adeline
Keller. She can shut her eyes and bend her arms and sit down and
stand up straight. She has on a pretty red dress. She is Nancy's
sister and I am their mother. Allie is their cousin. Nancy was a
bad child when I went to Memphis she cried loud, I whipped her
with a stick.

Mildred does feed little chickens with crumbs. I love to play
with little sister.

Teacher and I went to Memphis to see aunt Nannie and grandmother.
Louise is aunt Nannie's child. Teacher bought me a lovely new
dress and gloves and stockings and collars and grandmother made
me warm flannels, and aunt Nannie made me aprons. Lady made me a
pretty cap. I went to see Robert and Mr. Graves and Mrs. Graves
and little Natalie, and Mr. Farris and Mr. Mayo and Mary and
everyone. I do love Robert and teacher. She does not want me to
write more today. I feel tired.

I found box of candy in Mr. Grave's pocket. Father took us to see
steam boat it is like house. Boat was on very large river. Yates
plowed yard today to plant grass. Mule pulled plow. Mother will
make garden of vegetables. Father will plant melons and peas and

Cousin Bell will come to see us Saturday. Mother will make
ice-cream for dinner, we will have ice-cream and cake for dinner.
Lucien Thompson is sick. I am sorry for him.

Teacher and I went to walk in the yard, and I learned about how
flowers and trees grow. Sun rises in the east and sets in the
west. Sheffield is north and Tuscumbia is south. We will go to
Boston in June. I will have fun with little blind girls.

Good bye

"Uncle Morrie" of the next letter is Mr. Morrison Heady, of
Normandy, Kentucky, who lost his sight and hearing when he was a
boy. He is the author of some commendable verses.

Tuscumbia, Ala., March 1st 1888.

My dear uncle Morrie,--I am happy to write you a letter, I do
love you, and I will hug and kiss you when I see you.

Mr. Anagnos is coming to see me Monday. I do love to run and hop
and skip with Robert in bright warm sun. I do know little girl in
Lexington Ky. her name is Katherine Hobson.

I am going to Boston in June with mother and teacher, I will have
fun with little blind girls, and Mr. Hale will send me pretty
story. I do read stories in my book about lions and tigers and

Mildred will not go to Boston, she does cry. I love to play with
little sister, she is weak and small baby. Eva is better.

Yates killed ants, ants stung Yates. Yates is digging in garden.
Mr. Anagnos did see oranges, they look like golden apples.

Robert will come to see me Sunday when sun shines and I will have
fun with him. My cousin Frank lives in Louisville. I will come to
Memphis again to see Mr. Farris and Mrs. Graves and Mr. Mayo and
Mr. Graves. Natalie is a good girl and does not cry, and she will
be big and Mrs. Graves is making short dresses for her. Natalie
has a little carriage. Mr. Mayo has been to Duck Hill and he
brought sweet flowers home.

With much love and a kiss

In this account of the picnic we get an illuminating glimpse of
Miss Sullivan's skill in teaching her pupil during play hours.
This was a day when the child's vocabulary grew.

Tuscumbia, Ala., May 3rd 1888.

Dear Mr. Anagnos.--I am glad to write to you this morning,
because I love you very much. I was very happy to receive pretty
book and nice candy and two letters from you. I will come to see
you soon and will ask you many questions about countries and you
will love good child.

Mother is making me pretty new dresses to wear in Boston and I
will look lovely to see little girls and boys and you. Friday
teacher and I went to a picnic with little children. We played
games and ate dinner under the trees, and we found ferns and wild
flowers. I walked in the woods and learned names of many trees.
There are poplar and cedar and pine and oak and ash and hickory
and maple trees. They make a pleasant shade and the little birds
love to swing to and fro and sing sweetly up in the trees.
Rabbits hop and squirrels run and ugly snakes do crawl in the
woods. Geraniums and roses jasamines and japonicas are cultivated
flowers. I help mother and teacher water them every night before

Cousin Arthur made me a swing in the ash tree. Aunt Ev. has gone
to Memphis. Uncle Frank is here. He is picking strawberries for
dinner. Nancy is sick again, new teeth do make her ill. Adeline
is well and she can go to Cincinnati Monday with me. Aunt Ev.
will send me a boy doll, Harry will be Nancy's and Adeline's
brother. Wee sister is a good girl. I am tired now and I do want
to go down stairs. I send many kisses and hugs with letter.

Your darling child

Toward the end of May Mrs. Keller, Helen, and Miss Sullivan
started for Boston. On the way they spent a few days in
Washington, where they saw Dr. Alexander Graham Bell and called
on President Cleveland. On May 26th they arrived in Boston and
went to the Perkins Institution; here Helen met the little blind
girls with whom she had corresponded the year before.

Early in July she went to Brewster, Massachusetts, and spent the
rest of the summer. Here occurred her first encounter with the
sea, of which she has since written.

So. Boston, Mass. Sept. 1888

My dear Miss Moore
Are you very glad to receive a nice letter from your darling
little friend? I love you very dearly because you are my friend.
My precious little sister is quite well now. She likes to sit in
my little rocking-chair and put her kitty to sleep. Would you
like to see darling little Mildred? She is a very pretty baby.
Her eyes are very big and blue, and her cheeks are soft and round
and rosy and her hair is very bright and golden. She is very good
and sweet when she does not cry loud. Next summer Mildred will go
out in the garden with me and pick the big sweet strawberries and
then she will be very happy. I hope she will not eat too many of
the delicious fruit for they will make her very ill.

Sometime will you please come to Alabama and visit me? My uncle
James is going to buy me a very gentle pony and a pretty cart and
I shall be very happy to take you and Harry to ride. I hope Harry
will not be afraid of my pony. I think my father will buy me a
beautiful little brother some day. I shall be very gentle and
patient to my new little brother. When I visit many strange
countries my brother and Mildred will stay with grandmother
because they will be too small to see a great many people and I
think they would cry loud on the great rough ocean.

When Capt. Baker gets well he will take me in his big ship to
Africa. Then I shall see lions and tigers and monkeys. I will get
a baby lion and a white monkey and a mild bear to bring home. I
had a very pleasant time at Brewster. I went in bathing almost
every day and Carrie and Frank and little Helen and I had fun. We
splashed and jumped and waded in the deep water. I am not afraid
to float now. Can Harry float and swim? We came to Boston last
Thursday, and Mr. Anagnos was delighted to see me, and he hugged
and kissed me. The little girls are coming back to school next

Will you please tell Harry to write me a very long letter soon?
When you come to Tuscumbia to see me I hope my father will have
many sweet apples and juicy peaches and fine pears and delicious
grapes and large water melons.

I hope you think about me and love me because I am a good little

With much love and two kisses
From your little friend

In this account of a visit to some friends, Helen's thought is
much what one would expect from an ordinary child of eight,
except perhaps her naive satisfaction in the boldness of the
young gentlemen.

So. Boston, Mass, Sept. 24th [1888].

My dear Mother,
I think you will be very glad to know all about my visit to West
Newton. Teacher and I had a lovely time with many kind friends.
West Newton is not far from Boston and we went there in the steam
cars very quickly.

Mrs. Freeman and Carrie and Ethel and Frank and Helen came to
station to meet us in a huge carriage. I was delighted to see my
dear little friends and I hugged and kissed them. Then we rode
for a long time to see all the beautiful things in West Newton.
Many very handsome houses and large soft green lawns around them
and trees and bright flowers and fountains. The horse's name was
Prince and he was gentle and liked to trot very fast. When we
went home we saw eight rabbits and two fat puppies, and a nice
little white pony, and two wee kittens and a pretty curly dog
named Don. Pony's name was Mollie and I had a nice ride on her
back; I was not afraid, I hope my uncle will get me a dear little
pony and a little cart very soon.

Clifton did not kiss me because he does not like to kiss little
girls. He is shy. I am very glad that Frank and Clarence and
Robbie and Eddie and Charles and George were not very shy. I
played with many little girls and we had fun. I rode on Carrie's
tricicle and picked flowers and ate fruit and hopped and skipped
and danced and went to ride. Many ladies and gentlemen came to
see us. Lucy and Dora and Charles were born in China. I was born
in America, and Mr. Anagnos was born in Greece. Mr. Drew says
little girls in China cannot talk on their fingers but I think
when I go to China I will teach them. Chinese nurse came to see
me, her name was Asu. She showed me a tiny atze that very rich
ladies in China wear because their feet never grow large. Amah
means a nurse. We came home in horse cars because it was Sunday
and steam cars do not go often on Sunday. Conductors and
engineers do get very tired and go home to rest. I saw little
Willie Swan in the car and he gave me a juicy pear. He was six
years old. What did I do when I was six years old? Will you
please ask my father to come to train to meet teacher and me? I
am very sorry that Eva and Bessie are sick. I hope I can have a
nice party my birthday, and I do want Carrie and Ethel and Frank
and Helen to come to Alabama to visit me. Will Mildred sleep with
me when I come home.

With much love and thousand kisses.
From your dear little daughter.

Her visit to Plymouth was in July. This letter, written three
months later, shows how well she remembered her first lesson in

South Boston, Mass. October 1st, 1888.

My dear uncle Morrie,--I think you will be very glad to receive a
letter from your dear little friend Helen. I am very happy to
write to you because I think of you and love you. I read pretty
stories in the book you sent me, about Charles and his boat, and
Arthur and his dream, and Rosa and the sheep.

I have been in a large boat. It was like a ship. Mother and
teacher and Mrs. Hopkins and Mr. Anagnos and Mr. Rodocanachi and
many other friends went to Plymouth to see many old things. I
will tell you a little story about Plymouth.

Many years ago there lived in England many good people, but the
king and his friends were not kind and gentle and patient with
good people, because the king did not like to have the people
disobey him. People did not like to go to church with the king;
but they did like to build very nice little churches for

The king was very angry with the people and they were sorry and
they said, we will go away to a strange country to live and leave
very dear home and friends and naughty king. So, they put all
their things into big boxes, and said, Good-bye. I am sorry for
them because they cried much. When they went to Holland they did
not know anyone; and they could not know what the people were
talking about because they did not know Dutch. But soon they
learned some Dutch words; but they loved their own language and
they did not want little boys and girls to forget it and learn to
talk funny Dutch. So they said, We must go to a new country far
away and build schools and houses and churches and make new
cities. So they put all their things in boxes and said, Good-bye
to their new friends and sailed away in a large boat to find a
new country. Poor people were not happy for their hearts were
full of sad thoughts because they did not know much about
America. I think little children must have been afraid of a great
ocean for it is very strong and it makes a large boat rock and
then the little children would fall down and hurt their heads.
After they had been many weeks on the deep ocean where they could
not see trees or flowers or grass, but just water and the
beautiful sky, for ships could not sail quickly then because men
did not know about engines and steam. One day a dear little
baby-boy was born. His name was Peregrine White. I am very sorry
that poor little Peregrine is dead now. Every day the people went
upon deck to look out for land. One day there was a great shout
on the ship for the people saw the land and they were full of joy
because they had reached a new country safely. Little girls and
boys jumped and clapped their hands. They were all glad when they
stepped upon a huge rock. I did see the rock in Plymouth and a
little ship like the Mayflower and the cradle that dear little
Peregrine slept in and many old things that came in the
Mayflower. Would you like to visit Plymouth some time and see
many old things.

Now I am very tired and I will rest.

With much love and many kisses, from your little friend.

The foreign words in these two letters, the first of which was
written during a visit to the kindergarten for the blind, she had
been told months before, and had stowed them away in her memory.
She assimilated words and practised with them, sometimes using
them intelligently, sometimes repeating them in a parrot-like
fashion. Even when she did not fully understand words or ideas,
she liked to set them down as though she did. It was in this way
that she learned to use correctly words of sound and vision which
express ideas outside of her experience. "Edith" is Edith Thomas.

Roxbury, Mass. Oct. 17th, 1888.

Mon cher Monsieur Anagnos,

I am sitting by the window and the beautiful sun is shining on me
Teacher and I came to the kindergarten yesterday. There are
twenty seven little children here and they are all blind. I am
sorry because they cannot see much. Sometime will they have very
well eyes? Poor Edith is blind and deaf and dumb. Are you very
sad for Edith and me? Soon I shall go home to see my mother and
my father and my dear good and sweet little sister. I hope you
will come to Alabama to visit me and I will take you to ride in
my little cart and I think you will like to see me on my dear
little pony's back. I shall wear my lovely cap and my new riding
dress. If the sun shines brightly I will take you to see Leila
and Eva and Bessie. When I am thirteen years old I am going to
travel in many strange and beautiful countries. I shall climb
very high mountains in Norway and see much ice and snow. I hope I
will not fall and hurt my head I shall visit little Lord
Fauntleroy in England and he will be glad to show me his grand
and very ancient castle. And we will run with the deer and feed
the rabbits and catch the squirrels. I shall not be afraid of
Fauntleroy's great dog Dougal. I hope Fauntleroy take me to see a
very kind queen. When I go to France I will take French. A little
French boy will say, Parlez-vous Francais? and I will say, Oui,
Monsieur, vous avez un joli chapeau. Donnez moi un baiser. I hope
you will go with me to Athens to see the maid of Athens. She was
very lovely lady and I will talk Greek to her. I will say, se
agapo and, pos echete and I think she will say, kalos, and then I
will say chaere. Will you please come to see me soon and take me
to the theater? When you come I will say, Kale emera, and when
you go home I will say, Kale nykta. Now I am too tired to write
more. Je vous aime. Au revoir

From your darling little friend

[So. Boston, Mass. October 29, 1888.]

My dearest Aunt,--I am coming home very soon and I think you and
every one will be very glad to see my teacher and me. I am very
happy because I have learned much about many things. I am
studying French and German and Latin and Greek. Se agapo is
Greek, and it means I love thee. J'ai une bonne petite soeur is
French, and it means I have a good little sister. Nous avons un
bon pere et une bonne mere means, we have a good father and a
good mother. Puer is boy in Latin, and Mutter is mother in
German. I will teach Mildred many languages when I come home.

Tuscumbia, Ala. Dec. 11th, 1888.

My dear Mrs. Hopkins:--
I have just fed my dear little pigeon. My brother Simpson gave it
to me last Sunday. I named it Annie, for my teacher. My puppy has
had his supper and gone to bed. My rabbits are sleeping, too; and
very soon I shall go to bed. Teacher is writing letters to her
friends. Mother and father and their friends have gone to see a
huge furnace. The furnace is to make iron. The iron ore is found
in the ground; but it cannot be used until it has been brought to
the furnace and melted, and all the dirt taken out, and just the
pure iron left. Then it is all ready to be manufactured into
engines, stoves, kettles and many other things.

Coal is found in the ground, too. Many years ago, before people
came to live on the earth, great trees and tall grasses and huge
ferns and all the beautiful flowers cover the earth. When the
leaves and the trees fell, the water and the soil covered them;
and then more trees grew and fell also, and were buried under
water and soil. After they had all been pressed together for many
thousands of years, the wood grew very hard, like rock, and then
it was all ready for people to burn. Can you see leaves and ferns
and bark on the coal? Men go down into the ground and dig out the
coal, and steam-cars take it to the large cities, and sell it to
people to burn, to make them warm and happy when it is cold out
of doors.

Are you very lonely and sad now? I hope you will come to see me
soon, and stay a long time.

With much love from your little friend

Tuscumbia, Ala., Jan. 29, 1889.

My dear Miss Bennett:--I am delighted to write to you this
morning. We have just eaten our breakfast. Mildred is running
about downstairs. I have been reading in my book about
astronomers. Astronomer comes from the Latin word astra, which
means stars; and astronomers are men who study the stars, and
tell us about them. When we are sleeping quietly in our beds,
they are watching the beautiful sky through the telescope. A
telescope is like a very strong eye. The stars are so far away
that people cannot tell much about them, without very excellent
instruments. Do you like to look out of your window, and see
little stars? Teacher says she can see Venus from our window, and
it is a large and beautiful star. The stars are called the
earth's brothers and sisters.

There are a great many instruments besides those which the
astronomers use. A knife is an instrument to cut with. I think
the bell is an instrument, too. I will tell you what I know about

Some bells are musical and others are unmusical. Some are very
tiny and some are very large. I saw a very large bell at
Wellesley. It came from Japan. Bells are used for many purposes.
They tell us when breakfast is ready, when to go to school, when
it is time for church, and when there is a fire. They tell people
when to go to work, and when to go home and rest. The engine-bell
tells the passengers that they are coming to a station, and it
tells the people to keep out of the way. Sometimes very terrible
accidents happen, and many people are burned and drowned and
injured. The other day I broke my doll's head off; but that was
not a dreadful accident, because dolls do not live and feel, like
people. My little pigeons are well, and so is my little bird. I
would like to have some clay. Teacher says it is time for me to
study now. Good-bye.
With much love, and many kisses,

Tuscumbia, Alabama, February 21st, 1889.

My dear Mr. Hale,
I am very much afraid that you are thinking in your mind that
little Helen has forgotten all about you and her dear cousins.
But I think you will be delighted to receive this letter because
then you will know that I of[ten] think about you and I love you
dearly for you are my dear cousin. I have been at home a great
many weeks now. It made me feel very sad to leave Boston and I
missed all of my friends greatly, but of course I was glad to get
back to my lovely home once more. My darling little sister is
growing very fast. Sometimes she tries to spell very short words
on her small [fingers] but she is too young to remember hard
words. When she is older I will teach her many things if she is
patient and obedient. My teacher says, if children learn to be
patient and gentle while they are little, that when they grow to
be young ladies and gentlemen they will not forget to be kind and
loving and brave. I hope I shall be courageous always. A little
girl in a story was not courageous. She thought she saw little
elves with tall pointed [hats] peeping from between the bushes
and dancing down the long alleys, and the poor little girl was
terrified. Did you have a pleasant Christmas? I had many lovely
presents given to me. The other day I had a fine party. All of my
dear little friends came to see me. We played games, and ate
ice-cream and cake and fruit. Then we had great fun. The sun is
shining brightly to-day and I hope we shall go to ride if the
roads are dry. In a few days the beautiful spring will be here. I
am very glad because I love the warm sunshine and the fragrant
flowers. I think Flowers grow to make people happy and good. I
have four dolls now. Cedric is my little boy, he is named for
Lord Fauntleroy. He has big brown eyes and long golden hair and
pretty round cheeks. Ida is my baby. A lady brought her to me
from Paris. She can drink milk like a real baby. Lucy is a fine
young lady. She has on a dainty lace dress and satin slippers.
Poor old Nancy is growing old and very feeble. She is almost an
invalid. I have two tame pigeons and a tiny canary bird. Jumbo is
very strong and faithful. He will not let anything harm us at
night. I go to school every day I am studying reading, writing,
arithmetic, geography and language. My Mother and teacher send
you and Mrs. Hale their kind greetings and Mildred sends you a
With much love and kisses, from your
Affectionate cousin

During the winter Miss Sullivan and her pupil were working at
Helen's home in Tuscumbia, and to good purpose, for by spring
Helen had learned to write idiomatic English. After May, 1889, I
find almost no inaccuracies, except some evident slips of the
pencil. She uses words precisely and makes easy, fluent

Tuscumbia, Ala., May 18, 1889.

My Dear Mr. Anagnos:--You cannot imagine how delighted I was to
receive a letter from you last evening. I am very sorry that you
are going so far away. We shall miss you very, very much. I would
love to visit many beautiful cities with you. When I was in
Huntsville I saw Dr. Bryson, and he told me that he had been to
Rome and Athens and Paris and London. He had climbed the high
mountains in Switzerland and visited beautiful churches in Italy
and France, and he saw a great many ancient castles. I hope you
will please write to me from all the cities you visit. When you
go to Holland please give my love to the lovely princess
Wilhelmina. She is a dear little girl, and when she is old enough
she will be the queen of Holland. If you go to Roumania please
ask the good queen Elizabeth about her little invalid brother,
and tell her that I am very sorry that her darling little girl
died. I should like to send a kiss to Vittorio, the little prince
of Naples, but teacher says she is afraid you will not remember
so many messages. When I am thirteen years old I shall visit them
all myself.

I thank you very much for the beautiful story about Lord
Fauntleroy, and so does teacher.

I am so glad that Eva is coming to stay with me this summer. We
will have fine times together. Give Howard my love, and tell him
to answer my letter. Thursday we had a picnic. It was very
pleasant out in the shady woods, and we all enjoyed the picnic
very much.

Mildred is out in the yard playing, and mother is picking the
delicious strawberries. Father and Uncle Frank are down town.
Simpson is coming home soon. Mildred and I had our pictures taken
while we were in Huntsville. I will send you one.

The roses have been beautiful. Mother has a great many fine
roses. The La France and the Lamarque are the most fragrant; but
the Marechal Neil, Solfaterre, Jacqueminot, Nipheots, Etoile de
Lyon, Papa Gontier, Gabrielle Drevet and the Perle des Jardines
are all lovely roses.

Please give the little boys and girls my love. I think of them
every day and I love them dearly in my heart. When you come home
from Europe I hope you will be all well and very happy to get
home again. Do not forget to give my love to Miss Calliope
Kehayia and Mr. Francis Demetrios Kalopothakes.
Lovingly, your little friend,

Like a good many of Helen Keller's early letters, this to her
French teacher is her re-phrasing of a story. It shows how much
the gift of writing is, in the early stages of its development,
the gift of mimicry.

Tuscumbia, Ala., May 17, 1889.

My Dear Miss Marrett--I am thinking about a dear little girl, who
wept very hard. She wept because her brother teased her very
much. I will tell you what he did, and I think you will feel very
sorry for the little child. She had a most beautiful doll given
her. Oh, it was a lovely and delicate doll! but the little girl's
brother, a tall lad, had taken the doll, and set it up in a high
tree in the garden, and had run away. The little girl could not
reach the doll, and could not help it down, and therefore she
cried. The doll cried, too, and stretched out its arms from among
the green branches, and looked distressed. Soon the dismal night
would come--and was the doll to sit up in the tree all night, and
by herself? The little girl could not endure that thought. "I
will stay with you," said she to the doll, although she was not
at all courageous. Already she began to see quite plainly the
little elves in their tall pointed hats, dancing down the dusky
alleys, and peeping from between the bushes, and they seemed to
come nearer and nearer; and she stretched her hands up towards
the tree in which the doll sat and they laughed, and pointed
their fingers at her. How terrified was the little girl; but if
one has not done anything wrong, these strange little elves
cannot harm one. "Have I done anything wrong? Ah, yes!" said the
little girl. "I have laughed at the poor duck, with the red rag
tied round its leg. It hobbled, and that made me laugh; but it is
wrong to laugh at the poor animals!"

Is it not a pitiful story? I hope the father punished the naughty
little boy. Shall you be very glad to see my teacher next
Thursday? She is going home to rest, but she will come back to me
next autumn.
Lovingly, your little friend,

Tuscumbia, Ala., May 27, 1889.

My Dear Miss Riley:--I wish you were here in the warm, sunny
south today. Little sister and I would take you out into the
garden, and pick the delicious raspberries and a few strawberries
for you. How would you like that? The strawberries are nearly all
gone. In the evening, when it is cool and pleasant, we would walk
in the yard, and catch the grasshoppers and butterflies. We would
talk about the birds and flowers and grass and Jumbo and Pearl.
If you liked, we would run and jump and hop and dance, and be
very happy. I think you would enjoy hearing the mocking-birds
sing. One sits on the twig of a tree, just beneath our window,
and he fills the air with his glad songs. But I am afraid you
cannot come to Tuscumbia; so I will write to you, and send you a
sweet kiss and my love. How is Dick? Daisy is happy, but she
would be happy ever if she had a little mate. My little children
are all well except Nancy, and she is quite feeble. My
grandmother and aunt Corinne are here. Grandmother is going to
make me two new dresses. Give my love to all the little girls,
and tell them that Helen loves them very, very much. Eva sends
love to all.

With much love and many kisses, from your affectionate little

During the summer Miss Sullivan was away from Helen for three
months and a half, the first separation of teacher and pupil.
Only once afterward in fifteen years was their constant
companionship broken for more than a few days at a time.

Tuscumbia, Ala., August 7, 1889.

Dearest Teacher--I am very glad to write to you this evening, for
I have been thinking much about you all day. I am sitting on the
piazza, and my little white pigeon is perched on the back of my
chair, watching me write. Her little brown mate has flown away
with the other birds; but Annie is not sad, for she likes to stay
with me. Fauntleroy is asleep upstairs, and Nancy is putting Lucy
to bed. Perhaps the mocking bird is singing them to sleep. All
the beautiful flowers are in bloom now. The air is sweet with the
perfume of jasmines, heliotropes and roses. It is getting warm
here now, so father is going to take us to the Quarry on the 20th
of August. I think we shall have a beautiful time out in the
cool, pleasant woods. I will write and tell you all the pleasant
things we do. I am so glad that Lester and Henry are good little
infants. Give them many sweet kisses for me.

What was the name of the little boy who fell in love with the
beautiful star? Eva has been telling me a story about a lovely
little girl named Heidi. Will you please send it to me? I shall
be delighted to have a typewriter.

Little Arthur is growing very fast. He has on short dresses now.
Cousin Leila thinks he will walk in a little while. Then I will
take his soft chubby hand in mine, and go out in the bright
sunshine with him. He will pull the largest roses, and chase the
gayest butterflies. I will take very good care of him, and not
let him fall and hurt himself. Father and some other gentlemen
went hunting yesterday. Father killed thirty-eight birds. We had
some of them for supper, and they were very nice. Last Monday
Simpson shot a pretty crane. The crane is a large and strong
bird. His wings are as long as my arm, and his bill is as long as
my foot. He eats little fishes, and other small animals. Father
says he can fly nearly all day without stopping.

Mildred is the dearest and sweetest little maiden in the world.
She is very roguish, too. Sometimes, when mother does not know
it, she goes out into the vineyard, and gets her apron full of
delicious grapes. I think she would like to put her two soft arms
around your neck and hug you.

Sunday I went to church. I love to go to church, because I like
to see my friends.

A gentleman gave me a beautiful card. It was a picture of a mill,
near a beautiful brook. There was a boat floating on the water,
and the fragrant lilies were growing all around the boat. Not far
from the mill there was an old house, with many trees growing
close to it. There were eight pigeons on the roof of the house,
and a great dog on the step. Pearl is a very proud mother-dog
now. She has eight puppies, and she thinks there never were such
fine puppies as hers.

I read in my books every day. I love them very, very, very much.
I do want you to come back to me soon. I miss you so very, very
much. I cannot know about many things, when my dear teacher is
not here. I send you five thousand kisses, and more love than I
can tell. I send Mrs. H. much love and a kiss.
From your affectionate little pupil,

In the fall Helen and Miss Sullivan returned to Perkins
Institution at South Boston.

South Boston, Oct. 24, 1889.

My Precious Little Sister:--Good morning. I am going to send you
a birthday gift with this letter. I hope it will please you very
much, because it makes me happy to send it. The dress is blue
like your eyes, and candy is sweet just like your dear little
self. I think mother will be glad to make the dress for you, and
when you wear it you will look as pretty as a rose. The
picture-book will tell you all about many strange and wild
animals. You must not be afraid of them. They cannot come out of
the picture to harm you.

I go to school every day, and I learn many new things. At eight I
study arithmetic. I like that. At nine I go to the gymnasium with
the little girls and we have great fun. I wish you could be here
to play three little squirrels, and two gentle doves, and to make
a pretty nest for a dear little robin. The mocking bird does not
live in the cold north. At ten I study about the earth on which
we all live. At eleven I talk with teacher and at twelve I study
zoology. I do not know what I shall do in the afternoon yet.

Now, my darling little Mildred, good bye. Give father and mother
a great deal of love and many hugs and kisses for me. Teacher
sends her love too.
From your loving sister,

South Boston, Mass., Nov. 20, 1889.

My Dear Mr. Wade:--I have just received a letter from my mother,
telling me that the beautiful mastiff puppy you sent me had
arrived in Tuscumbia safely. Thank you very much for the nice
gift. I am very sorry that I was not at home to welcome her; but
my mother and my baby sister will be very kind to her while her
mistress is away. I hope she is not lonely and unhappy. I think
puppies can feel very home-sick, as well as little girls. I
should like to call her Lioness, for your dog. May I? I hope she
will be very faithful,--and brave, too.

I am studying in Boston, with my dear teacher. I learn a great
many new and wonderful things. I study about the earth, and the
animals, and I like arithmetic exceedingly. I learn many new
words, too. EXCEEDINGLY is one that I learned yesterday. When I
see Lioness I will tell her many things which will surprise her
greatly. I think she will laugh when I tell her she is a
vertebrate, a mammal, a quadruped; and I shall be very sorry to
tell her that she belongs to the order Carnivora. I study French,
too. When I talk French to Lioness I will call her mon beau
chien. Please tell Lion that I will take good care of Lioness. I
shall be happy to have a letter from you when you like to write
to me.
From your loving little friend,
P.S. I am studying at the Institution for the Blind.
H. A. K.

This letter is indorsed in Whittier's hand, "Helen A.
Keller--deaf dumb and blind--aged nine years." "Browns" is a
lapse of the pencil for "brown eyes."

Inst. for the Blind, So. Boston, Mass.,
Nov. 27, 1889.

Dear Poet,
I think you will be surprised to receive a letter from a little
girl whom you do not know, but I thought you would be glad to
hear that your beautiful poems make me very happy. Yesterday I
read "In School Days" and "My Playmate," and I enjoyed them
greatly. I was very sorry that the poor little girl with the
browns and the "tangled golden curls" died. It is very pleasant
to live here in our beautiful world. I cannot see the lovely
things with my eyes, but my mind can see them all, and so I am
joyful all the day long.

When I walk out in my garden I cannot see the beautiful flowers
but I know that they are all around me; for is not the air sweet
with their fragrance? I know too that the tiny lily-bells are
whispering pretty secrets to their companions else they would not
look so happy. I love you very dearly, because you have taught me
so many lovely things about flowers, and birds, and people. Now I
must say, good-bye. I hope [you] will enjoy the Thanksgiving very

From your loving little friend,
To Mr. John Greenleaf Whittier.

Whittier's reply, to which there is a reference in the following
letter, has been lost.

South Boston, Mass., Dec. 3, 1889.

My Dear Mother:--Your little daughter is very happy to write to
you this beautiful morning. It is cold and rainy here to-day.
Yesterday the Countess of Meath came again to see me. She gave me
a beautiful bunch of violets. Her little girls are named Violet
and May. The Earl said he should be delighted to visit Tuscumbia
the next time he comes to America. Lady Meath said she would like
to see your flowers, and hear the mocking-birds sing. When I
visit England they want me to come to see them, and stay a few
weeks. They will take me to see the Queen.

I had a lovely letter from the poet Whittier. He loves me. Mr.
Wade wants teacher and me to come and see him next spring. May we
go? He said you must feed Lioness from your hand, because she
will be more gentle if she does not eat with other dogs.

Mr. Wilson came to call on us one Thursday. I was delighted to
receive the flowers from home. They came while we were eating
breakfast, and my friends enjoyed them with me. We had a very
nice dinner on Thanksgiving day,--turkey and plum-pudding. Last
week I visited a beautiful art store. I saw a great many statues,
and the gentleman gave me an angel.

Sunday I went to church on board a great warship. After the
services were over the soldier-sailors showed us around. There
were four hundred and sixty sailors. They were very kind to me.
One carried me in his arms so that my feet would not touch the
water. They wore blue uniforms and queer little caps. There was a
terrible fire Thursday. Many stores were burned, and four men
were killed. I am very sorry for them. Tell father, please, to
write to me. How is dear little sister? Give her many kisses for
me. Now I must close. With much love, from your darling child,

So. Boston, Mass., Dec. 24, 1889

My dear Mother,
Yesterday I sent you a little Christmas box. I am very sorry that
I could not send it before so that you would receive it tomorrow,
but I could not finish the watch-case any sooner. I made all of
the gifts myself, excepting father's handkerchief. I wish I could
have made father a gift too, but I did not have sufficient time.
I hope you will like your watch-case, for it made me very happy
to make it for you. You must keep your lovely new montre in it.
If it is too warm in Tuscumbia for little sister to wear her
pretty mittens, she can keep them because her sister made them
for her. I imagine she will have fun with the little toy man.
Tell her to shake him, and then he will blow his trumpet. I thank
my dear kind father for sending me some money, to buy gifts for
my friends. I love to make everybody happy. I should like to be
at home on Christmas day. We would be very happy together. I
think of my beautiful home every day. Please do not forget to
send me some pretty presents to hang on my tree. I am going to
have a Christmas tree, in the parlor and teacher will hang all of
my gifts upon it. It will be a funny tree. All of the girls have
gone home to spend Christmas. Teacher and I are the only babies
left for Mrs. Hopkins to care for. Teacher has been sick in bed
for many days. Her throat was very sore and the doctor thought
she would have to go away to the hospital, but she is better now.
I have not been sick at all. The little girls are well too.
Friday I am going to spend the day with my little friends Carrie,
Ethel, Frank and Helen Freeman. We will have great fun I am sure.

Mr. and Miss Endicott came to see me, and I went to ride in the
carriage. They are going to give me a lovely present, but I
cannot guess what it will be. Sammy has a dear new brother. He is
very soft and delicate yet. Mr. Anagnos is in Athens now. He is
delighted because I am here. Now I must say, good-bye. I hope I
have written my letter nicely, but it is very difficult to write
on this paper and teacher is not here to give me better. Give
many kisses to little sister and much love to all. Lovingly

South Boston, Jan. 8, 1890.

My dear Mr. Hale:
The beautiful shells came last night. I thank you very much for
them. I shall always keep them, and it will make me very happy to
think that you found them, on that far away island, from which
Columbus sailed to discover our dear country. When I am eleven
years old it will be four hundred years since he started with the
three small ships to cross the great strange ocean. He was very
brave. The little girls were delighted to see the lovely shells.
I told them all I knew about them. Are you very glad that you
could make so many happy? I am. I should be very happy to come
and teach you the Braille sometime, if you have time to learn,
but I am afraid you are too busy. A few days ago I received a
little box of English violets from Lady Meath. The flowers were
wilted, but the kind thought which came with them was as sweet
and as fresh as newly pulled violets.

With loving greeting to the little cousins, and Mrs. Hale and a
sweet kiss for yourself,
From your little friend,

This, the first of Helen's letters to Dr. Holmes, written soon
after a visit to him, he published in "Over the Teacups."
[Atlantic Monthly, May, 1890]

South Boston, Mass., March 1, 1890.

Dear, Kind Poet:--I have thought of you many times since that
bright Sunday when I bade you good-bye; and I am going to write
you a letter, because I love you. I am sorry that you have no
little children to play with you sometimes; but I think you are
very happy with your books, and your many, many friends. On
Washington's birthday a great many people came here to see the
blind children; and I read for them from your poems, and showed
them some beautiful shells, which came from a little island near

I am reading a very sad story, called "Little Jakey." Jakey was
the sweetest little fellow you can imagine, but he was poor and
blind. I used to think--when I was small, and before I could
read--that everybody was always happy, and at first it made me
very sad to know about pain and great sorrow; but now I know that
we could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only
joy in the world.

I am studying about insects in zoology, and I have learned many
things about butterflies. They do not make honey for us, like the
bees, but many of them are as beautiful as the flowers they light
upon, and they always delight the hearts of little children. They
live a gay life, flitting from flower to flower, sipping the
drops of honeydew, without a thought for the morrow. They are
just like little boys and girls when they forget books and
studies, and run away to the woods and the fields, to gather wild
flowers, or wade in the ponds for fragrant lilies, happy in the
bright sunshine.

If my little sister comes to Boston next June, will you let me
bring her to see you? She is a lovely baby, and I am sure you
will love her.

Now I must tell my gentle poet good-bye, for I have a letter to
write home before I go to bed.
From your loving little friend,

TO MISS SARAH FULLER [Miss Fuller gave Helen Keller her first
lesson in articulation. See Chapter IV, Speech.]
South Boston, Mass., April 3, 1890.

My dear Miss Fuller,
My heart is full of joy this beautiful morning, because I have
learned to speak many new words, and I can make a few sentences.
Last evening I went out in the yard and spoke to the moon. I
said, "O! moon come to me!" Do you think the lovely moon was glad
that I could speak to her? How glad my mother will be. I can
hardly wait for June to come I am so eager to speak to her and to
my precious little sister. Mildred could not understand me when I
spelled with my fingers, but now she will sit in my lap and I
will tell her many things to please her, and we shall be so happy
together. Are you very, very happy because you can make so many
people happy? I think you are very kind and patient, and I love
you very dearly. My teacher told me Tuesday that you wanted to
know how I came to wish to talk with my mouth. I will tell you
all about it, for I remember my thoughts perfectly. When I was a
very little child I used to sit in my mother's lap all the time,
because I was very timid, and did not like to be left by myself.
And I would keep my little hand on her face all the while,
because it amused me to feel her face and lips move when she
talked with people. I did not know then what she was doing, for I
was quite ignorant of all things. Then when I was older I learned
to play with my nurse and the little negro children and I noticed
that they kept moving their lips just like my mother, so I moved
mine too, but sometimes it made me angry and I would hold my
playmates' mouths very hard. I did not know then that it was very
naughty to do so. After a long time my dear teacher came to me,
and taught me to communicate with my fingers and I was satisfied
and happy. But when I came to school in Boston I met some deaf
people who talked with their mouths like all other people, and
one day a lady who had been to Norway came to see me, and told me
of a blind and deaf girl [Ragnhild Kaata] she had seen in that
far away land who had been taught to speak and understand others
when they spoke to her. This good and happy news delighted me
exceedingly, for then I was sure that I should learn also. I
tried to make sounds like my little playmates, but teacher told
me that the voice was very delicate and sensitive and that it
would injure it to make incorrect sounds, and promised to take me
to see a kind and wise lady who would teach me rightly. That lady
was yourself. Now I am as happy as the little birds, because I
can speak and perhaps I shall sing too. All of my friends will be
so surprised and glad.
Your loving little pupil,

When the Perkins Institution closed for the summer, Helen and
Miss Sullivan went to Tuscumbia. This was the first home-going
after she had learned to "talk with her mouth."

Tuscumbia, Alabama, July 14, 1890.

My dear Mr. Brooks, I am very glad to write to you this beautiful
day because you are my kind friend and I love you, and because I
wish to know many things. I have been at home three weeks, and
Oh, how happy I have been with dear mother and father and
precious little sister. I was very, very sad to part with all of
my friends in Boston, but I was so eager to see my baby sister I
could hardly wait for the train to take me home. But I tried very
hard to be patient for teacher's sake. Mildred has grown much
taller and stronger than she was when I went to Boston, and she
is the sweetest and dearest little child in the world. My parents
were delighted to hear me speak, and I was overjoyed to give them
such a happy surprise. I think it is so pleasant to make
everybody happy. Why does the dear Father in heaven think it best
for us to have very great sorrow sometimes? I am always happy and
so was Little Lord Fauntleroy, but dear Little Jakey's life was
full of sadness. God did not put the light in Jakey's eyes and he
was blind, and his father was not gentle and loving. Do you think
poor Jakey loved his Father in heaven more because his other
father was unkind to him? How did God tell people that his home
was in heaven? When people do very wrong and hurt animals and
treat children unkindly God is grieved, but what will he do to
them to teach them to be pitiful and loving? I think he will tell
them how dearly He loves them and that He wants them to be good
and happy, and they will not wish to grieve their father who
loves them so much, and they will want to please him in
everything they do, so they will love each other and do good to
everyone, and be kind to animals.

Please tell me something that you know about God. It makes me
happy to know much about my loving Father, who is good and wise.
I hope you will write to your little friend when you have time. I
should like very much to see you to-day Is the sun very hot in
Boston now? this afternoon if it is cool enough I shall take
Mildred for a ride on my donkey. Mr. Wade sent Neddy to me, and
he is the prettiest donkey you can imagine. My great dog Lioness
goes with us when we ride to protect us. Simpson, that is my
brother, brought me some beautiful pond lilies yesterday--he is a
very brother to me.

Teacher sends you her kind remembrances, and father and mother
also send their regards.
From your loving little friend,

London, August 3, 1890.

My Dear Helen--I was very glad indeed to get your letter. It has
followed me across the ocean and found me in this magnificent
great city which I should like to tell you all about if I could
take time for it and make my letter long enough. Some time when
you come and see me in my study in Boston I shall be glad to talk
to you about it all if you care to hear.

But now I want to tell you how glad I am that you are so happy
and enjoying your home so very much. I can almost think I see you
with your father and mother and little sister, with all the
brightness of the beautiful country about you, and it makes me
very glad to know how glad you are.

I am glad also to know, from the questions which you ask me, what
you are thinking about. I do not see how we can help thinking
about God when He is so good to us all the time. Let me tell you
how it seems to me that we come to know about our heavenly
Father. It is from the power of love which is in our own hearts.
Love is at the soul of everything. Whatever has not the power of
loving must have a very dreary life indeed. We like to think that
the sunshine and the winds and the trees are able to love in some
way of their own, for it would make us know that they were happy
if we knew that they could love. And so God who is the greatest
and happiest of all beings is the most loving too. All the love
that is in our hearts comes from him, as all the light which is
in the flowers comes from the sun. And the more we love the more
near we are to God and His Love.

I told you that I was very happy because of your happiness.
Indeed I am. So are your Father and your Mother and your Teacher
and all your friends. But do you not think that God is happy too
because you are happy? I am sure He is. And He is happier than
any of us because He is greater than any of us, and also because
He not merely SEES your happiness as we do, but He also MADE it.
He gives it to you as the sun gives light and color to the rose.
And we are always most glad of what we not merely see our friends
enjoy, but of what we give them to enjoy. Are we not?

But God does not only want us to be HAPPY; He wants us to be
good. He wants that most of all. He knows that we can be really
happy only when we are good. A great deal of the trouble that is
in the world is medicine which is very bad to take, but which it
is good to take because it makes us better. We see how good
people may be in great trouble when we think of Jesus who was the
greatest sufferer that ever lived and yet was the best Being and
so, I am sure, the happiest Being that the world has ever seen.

I love to tell you about God. But He will tell you Himself by the
love which He will put into your heart if you ask Him. And Jesus,
who is His Son, but is nearer to Him than all of us His other
Children, came into the world on purpose to tell us all about our
Father's Love. If you read His words, you will see how full His
heart is of the love of God. "We KNOW that He loves us," He says.
And so He loved men Himself and though they were very cruel to
Him and at last killed Him, He was willing to die for them
because He loved them so. And, Helen, He loves men still, and He
loves us, and He tells us that we may love Him.

And so love is everything. And if anybody asks you, or if you ask
yourself what God is, answer, "God is Love." That is the
beautiful answer which the Bible gives.

All this is what you are to think of and to understand more and
more as you grow older. Think of it now, and let it make every
blessing brighter because your dear Father sends it to you.

You will come back to Boston I hope soon after I do. I shall be
there by the middle of September. I shall want you to tell me all
about everything, and not forget the Donkey.

I send my kind remembrance to your father and mother, and to your
teacher. I wish I could see your little sister.

Good Bye, dear Helen. Do write to me soon again, directing your
letter to Boston.
Your affectionate friend

To a letter which has been lost.

Beverly Farms, Mass., August 1, 1890.
My Dear Little Friend Helen:

I received your welcome letter several days ago, but I have so
much writing to do that I am apt to make my letters wait a good
while before they get answered.

It gratifies me very much to find that you remember me so kindly.
Your letter is charming, and I am greatly pleased with it. I
rejoice to know that you are well and happy. I am very much
delighted to hear of your new acquisition--that you "talk with
your mouth" as well as with your fingers. What a curious thing
SPEECH is! The tongue is so serviceable a member (taking all
sorts of shapes, just as is wanted),--the teeth, the lips, the
roof of the mouth, all ready to help, and so heap up the sound of
the voice into the solid bits which we call consonants, and make
room for the curiously shaped breathings which we call vowels!
You have studied all this, I don't doubt, since you have
practised vocal speaking.

I am surprised at the mastery of language which your letter
shows. It almost makes me think the world would get along as well
without seeing and hearing as with them. Perhaps people would be
better in a great many ways, for they could not fight as they do
now. Just think of an army of blind people, with guns and cannon!
Think of the poor drummers! Of what use would they and their
drumsticks be? You are spared the pain of many sights and sounds,
which you are only too happy in escaping. Then think how much
kindness you are sure of as long as you live. Everybody will feel
an interest in dear little Helen; everybody will want to do
something for her; and, if she becomes an ancient, gray-haired
woman, she is still sure of being thoughtfully cared for.

Your parents and friends must take great satisfaction in your
progress. It does great credit, not only to you, but to your
instructors, who have so broken down the walls that seemed to
shut you in that now your outlook seems more bright and cheerful
than that of many seeing and hearing children.

Good-bye, dear little Helen! With every kind wish from your

This letter was written to some gentlemen in Gardiner, Maine, who
named a lumber vessel after her.

Tuscumbia, Ala., July 14, 1890.

My Dear, Kind Friends:--I thank you very, very much for naming
your beautiful new ship for me. It makes me very happy to know
that I have kind and loving friends in the far-away State of
Maine. I did not imagine, when I studied about the forests of
Maine, that a strong and beautiful ship would go sailing all over
the world, carrying wood from those rich forests, to build
pleasant homes and schools and churches in distant countries. I
hope the great ocean will love the new Helen, and let her sail
over its blue waves peacefully. Please tell the brave sailors,
who have charge of the HELEN KELLER, that little Helen who stays
at home will often think of them with loving thoughts. I hope I
shall see you and my beautiful namesake some time.

With much love, from your little friend,
To the Messrs. Bradstreet.

Helen and Miss Sullivan returned to the Perkins Institution early
in November.

South Boston, Nov. 10, 1890.

My Dearest Mother:--My heart has been full of thoughts of you and
my beautiful home ever since we parted so sadly on Wednesday
night. How I wish I could see you this lovely morning, and tell
you all that has happened since I left home! And my darling
little sister, how I wish I could give her a hundred kisses! And
my dear father, how he would like to hear about our journey! But
I cannot see you and talk to you, so I will write and tell you
all that I can think of.

We did not reach Boston until Saturday morning. I am sorry to say
that our train was delayed in several places, which made us late
in reaching New York. When we got to Jersey City at six o'clock
Friday evening we were obliged to cross the Harlem River in a
ferry-boat. We found the boat and the transfer carriage with much
less difficulty than teacher expected. When we arrived at the
station they told us that the train did not leave for Boston
until eleven o'clock, but that we could take the sleeper at nine,
which we did. We went to bed and slept until morning. When we
awoke we were in Boston. I was delighted to get there, though I
was much disappointed because we did not arrive on Mr. Anagnos'
birthday. We surprised our dear friends, however, for they did
not expect us Saturday; but when the bell rung Miss Marrett
guessed who was at the door, and Mrs. Hopkins jumped up from the
breakfast table and ran to the door to meet us; she was indeed
much astonished to see us. After we had had some breakfast we
went up to see Mr. Anagnos. I was overjoyed to see my dearest and
kindest friend once more. He gave me a beautiful watch. I have it
pinned to my dress. I tell everybody the time when they ask me. I
have only seen Mr. Anagnos twice. I have many questions to ask
him about the countries he has been travelling in. But I suppose
he is very busy now.

The hills in Virginia were very lovely. Jack Frost had dressed
them in gold and crimson. The view was most charmingly
picturesque. Pennsylvania is a very beautiful State. The grass
was as green as though it was springtime, and the golden ears of
corn gathered together in heaps in the great fields looked very
pretty. In Harrisburg we saw a donkey like Neddy. How I wish I
could see my own donkey and my dear Lioness! Do they miss their
mistress very much? Tell Mildred she must be kind to them for my

Our room is pleasant and comfortable.

My typewriter was much injured coming. The case was broken and
the keys are nearly all out. Teacher is going to see if it can be

There are many new books in the library. What a nice time I shall
have reading them! I have already read Sara Crewe. It is a very
pretty story, and I will tell it to you some time. Now, sweet
mother, your little girl must say good-bye.

With much love to father, Mildred, you and all the dear friends,
lovingly your little daughter,

South Boston, Dec. 17, 1890.

Dear Kind Poet,
This is your birthday; that was the first thought which came into
my mind when I awoke this morning; and it made me glad to think I
could write you a letter and tell you how much your little
friends love their sweet poet and his birthday. This evening they
are going to entertain their friends with readings from your
poems and music. I hope the swift winged messengers of love will
be here to carry some of the sweet melody to you, in your little
study by the Merrimac. At first I was very sorry when I found
that the sun had hidden his shining face behind dull clouds, but
afterwards I thought why he did it, and then I was happy. The sun
knows that you like to see the world covered with beautiful white
snow and so he kept back all his brightness, and let the little
crystals form in the sky. When they are ready, they will softly
fall and tenderly cover every object. Then the sun will appear in
all his radiance and fill the world with light. If I were with
you to-day I would give you eighty-three kisses, one for each
year you have lived. Eighty-three years seems very long to me.
Does it seem long to you? I wonder how many years there will be
in eternity. I am afraid I cannot think about so much time. I
received the letter which you wrote to me last summer, and I
thank you for it. I am staying in Boston now at the Institution
for the Blind, but I have not commenced my studies yet, because
my dearest friend, Mr. Anagnos wants me to rest and play a great

Teacher is well and sends her kind remembrance to you. The happy
Christmas time is almost here! I can hardly wait for the fun to
begin! I hope your Christmas Day will be a very happy one and
that the New Year will be full of brightness and joy for you and
every one.
From your little friend


My Dear Young Friend--I was very glad to have such a pleasant
letter on my birthday. I had two or three hundred others and
thine was one of the most welcome of all. I must tell thee about
how the day passed at Oak Knoll. Of course the sun did not shine,
but we had great open wood fires in the rooms, which were all
very sweet with roses and other flowers, which were sent to me
from distant friends; and fruits of all kinds from California and
other places. Some relatives and dear old friends were with me
through the day. I do not wonder thee thinks eighty three years a
long time, but to me it seems but a very little while since I was
a boy no older than thee, playing on the old farm at Haverhill. I
thank thee for all thy good wishes, and wish thee as many. I am
glad thee is at the Institution; it is an excellent place. Give
my best regards to Miss Sullivan, and with a great deal of love I
Thy old friend,

Tommy Stringer, who appears in several of the following letters,
became blind and deaf when he was four years old. His mother was
dead and his father was too poor to take care of him. For a while
he was kept in the general hospital at Allegheny. From here he
was to be sent to an almshouse, for at that time there was no
other place for him in Pennsylvania. Helen heard of him through
Mr. J. G. Brown of Pittsburgh, who wrote her that he had failed
to secure a tutor for Tommy. She wanted him brought to Boston,
and when she was told that money would be needed to get him a
teacher, she answered, "We will raise it." She began to solicit
contributions from her friends, and saved her pennies.

Dr. Alexander Graham Bell advised Tommy's friends to send him to
Boston, and the trustees of the Perkins Institution agreed to
admit him to the kindergarten for the blind.

Meanwhile opportunity came to Helen to make a considerable
contribution to Tommy's education. The winter before, her dog
Lioness had been killed, and friends set to work to raise money
to buy Helen another dog. Helen asked that the contributions,
which people were sending from all over America and England, be
devoted to Tommy's education. Turned to this new use, the fund
grew fast, and Tommy was provided for. He was admitted to the
kindergarten on the sixth of April.

Miss Keller wrote lately, "I shall never forget the pennies sent
by many a poor child who could ill spare them, 'for little
Tommy,' or the swift sympathy with which people from far and
near, whom I had never seen, responded to the dumb cry of a
little captive soul for aid."

Institution for the Blind,
South Boston, Mass., March 20, 1891.

My Dear Friend, Mr. Krehl:--I have just heard, through Mr. Wade,
of your kind offer to buy me a gentle dog, and I want to thank
you for the kind thought. It makes me very happy indeed to know
that I have such dear friends in other lands. It makes me think
that all people are good and loving. I have read that the English
and Americans are cousins; but I am sure it would be much truer
to say that we are brothers and sisters. My friends have told me
about your great and magnificent city, and I have read a great
deal that wise Englishmen have written. I have begun to read
"Enoch Arden," and I know several of the great poet's poems by
heart. I am eager to cross the ocean, for I want to see my
English friends and their good and wise queen. Once the Earl of
Meath came to see me, and he told me that the queen was much
beloved by her people, because of her gentleness and wisdom. Some
day you will be surprised to see a little strange girl coming
into your office; but when you know it is the little girl who
loves dogs and all other animals, you will laugh, and I hope you
will give her a kiss, just as Mr. Wade does. He has another dog
for me, and he thinks she will be as brave and faithful as my
beautiful Lioness. And now I want to tell you what the dog lovers
in America are going to do. They are going to send me some money
for a poor little deaf and dumb and blind child. His name is
Tommy, and he is five years old. His parents are too poor to pay
to have the little fellow sent to school; so, instead of giving
me a dog, the gentlemen are going to help make Tommy's life as
bright and joyous as mine. Is it not a beautiful plan? Education
will bring light and music into Tommy's soul, and then he cannot
help being happy.
From your loving little friend,

[South Boston, Mass., April, 1891.]

Dear Dr. Holmes:--Your beautiful words about spring have been
making music in my heart, these bright April days. I love every
word of "Spring" and "Spring Has Come." I think you will be glad
to hear that these poems have taught me to enjoy and love the
beautiful springtime, even though I cannot see the fair, frail
blossoms which proclaim its approach, or hear the joyous warbling
of the home-coming birds. But when I read "Spring Has Come," lo!
I am not blind any longer, for I see with your eyes and hear with
your ears. Sweet Mother Nature can have no secrets from me when
my poet is near. I have chosen this paper because I want the
spray of violets in the corner to tell you of my grateful love. I
want you to see baby Tom, the little blind and deaf and dumb
child who has just come to our pretty garden. He is poor and
helpless and lonely now, but before another April education will
have brought light and gladness into Tommy's life. If you do
come, you will want to ask the kind people of Boston to help
brighten Tommy's whole life. Your loving friend,

Perkins Institution for the Blind,
South Boston, Mass., April 30, 1891.

My Dear Mr. Millais:--Your little American sister is going to
write you a letter, because she wants you to know how pleased she
was to hear you were interested in our poor little Tommy, and had
sent some money to help educate him. It is very beautiful to
think that people far away in England feel sorry for a little
helpless child in America. I used to think, when I read in my
books about your great city, that when I visited it the people
would be strangers to me, but now I feel differently. It seems to
me that all people who have loving, pitying hearts, are not
strangers to each other. I can hardly wait patiently for the time
to come when I shall see my dear English friends, and their
beautiful island home. My favourite poet has written some lines
about England which I love very much. I think you will like them
too, so I will try to write them for you.

"Hugged in the clinging billow's clasp,
From seaweed fringe to mountain heather,
The British oak with rooted grasp
Her slender handful holds together,
With cliffs of white and bowers of green,
And ocean narrowing to caress her,
And hills and threaded streams between,
Our little mother isle, God bless her!"

You will be glad to hear that Tommy has a kind lady to teach him,
and that he is a pretty, active little fellow. He loves to climb
much better than to spell, but that is because he does not know
yet what a wonderful thing language is. He cannot imagine how
very, very happy he will be when he can tell us his thoughts, and
we can tell him how we have loved him so long.

Tomorrow April will hide her tears and blushes beneath the
flowers of lovely May. I wonder if the May-days in England are as
beautiful as they are here.

Now I must say good-bye. Please think of me always as your loving
little sister,

So. Boston, May 1, 1891.

My Dear Mr. Brooks:
Helen sends you a loving greeting this bright May-day. My teacher
has just told me that you have been made a bishop, and that your
friends everywhere are rejoicing because one whom they love has
been greatly honored. I do not understand very well what a
bishop's work is, but I am sure it must be good and helpful, and
I am glad that my dear friend is brave, and wise, and loving
enough to do it. It is very beautiful to think that you can tell
so many people of the heavenly Father's tender love for all His
children even when they are not gentle and noble as He wishes
them to be. I hope the glad news which you will tell them will
make their hearts beat fast with joy and love. I hope too, that
Bishop Brooks' whole life will be as rich in happiness as the
month of May is full of blossoms and singing birds.
From your loving little friend,

Before a teacher was found for Tommy and while he was still in
the care of Helen and Miss Sullivan, a reception was held for him
at the kindergarten. At Helen's request Bishop Brooks made an
address. Helen wrote letters to the newspapers which brought many
generous replies. All of these she answered herself, and she made
public acknowledgment in letters to the newspapers. This letter
is to the editor of the Boston Herald, enclosing a complete list
of the subscribers. The contributions amounted to more than
sixteen hundred dollars.

South Boston, May 13, 1891.
Editor of the Boston Herald:
My Dear Mr. Holmes:--Will you kindly print in the Herald, the
enclosed list? I think the readers of your paper will be glad to
know that so much has been done for dear little Tommy, and that
they will all wish to share in the pleasure of helping him. He is
very happy indeed at the kindergarten, and is learning something
every day. He has found out that doors have locks, and that
little sticks and bits of paper can be got into the key-hole
quite easily; but he does not seem very eager to get them out
after they are in. He loves to climb the bed-posts and unscrew
the steam valves much better than to spell, but that is because
he does not understand that words would help him to make new and
interesting discoveries. I hope that good people will continue to
work for Tommy until his fund is completed, and education has
brought light and music into his little life.
From your little friend,

South Boston, May 27, 1891.
Dear, Gentle Poet:--I fear that you will think Helen a very
troublesome little girl if she writes to you too often; but how
is she to help sending you loving and grateful messages, when you
do so much to make her glad? I cannot begin to tell you how
delighted I was when Mr. Anagnos told me that you had sent him
some money to help educate "Baby Tom." Then I knew that you had
not forgotten the dear little child, for the gift brought with it
the thought of tender sympathy. I am very sorry to say that Tommy
has not learned any words yet. He is the same restless little
creature he was when you saw him. But it is pleasant to think
that he is happy and playful in his bright new home, and by and
by that strange, wonderful thing teacher calls MIND, will begin
to spread its beautiful wings and fly away in search of
knowledge-land. Words are the mind's wings, are they not?

I have been to Andover since I saw you, and I was greatly
interested in all that my friends told me about Phillips Academy,
because I knew you had been there, and I felt it was a place dear
to you. I tried to imagine my gentle poet when he was a
school-boy, and I wondered if it was in Andover he learned the
songs of the birds and the secrets of the shy little woodland
children. I am sure his heart was always full of music, and in
God's beautiful world he must have heard love's sweet replying.
When I came home teacher read to me "The School-boy," for it is
not in our print.

Did you know that the blind children are going to have their
commencement exercises in Tremont Temple, next Tuesday afternoon?
I enclose a ticket, hoping that you will come. We shall all be
proud and happy to welcome our poet friend. I shall recite about
the beautiful cities of sunny Italy. I hope our kind friend Dr.
Ellis will come too, and take Tom in his arms.

With much love and a kiss, from your little friend,

South Boston, June 8, 1891.
My dear Mr. Brooks,
I send you my picture as I promised, and I hope when you look at
it this summer your thoughts will fly southward to your happy
little friend. I used to wish that I could see pictures with my
hands as I do statues, but now I do not often think about it
because my dear Father has filled my mind with beautiful
pictures, even of things I cannot see. If the light were not in
your eyes, dear Mr. Brooks, you would understand better how happy
your little Helen was when her teacher explained to her that the
best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor
even touched, but just felt in the heart. Every day I find out
something which makes me glad. Yesterday I thought for the first
time what a beautiful thing motion was, and it seemed to me that
everything was trying to get near to God, does it seem that way
to you? It is Sunday morning, and while I sit here in the library
writing this letter you are teaching hundreds of people some of
the grand and beautiful things about their heavenly Father. Are
you not very, very happy? and when you are a Bishop you will
preach to more people and more and more will be made glad.
Teacher sends her kind remembrances, and I send you with my
picture my dear love.
From your little friend

When the Perkins Institution closed in June, Helen and her
teacher went south to Tuscumbia, where they remained until
December. There is a hiatus of several months in the letters,
caused by the depressing effect on Helen and Miss Sullivan of the
"Frost King" episode. At the time this trouble seemed very grave
and brought them much unhappiness. An analysis of the case has
been made elsewhere, and Miss Keller has written her account of

Brewster, Mar. 10, 1892.
My dear Mr. Munsell,
Surely I need not tell you that your letter was very welcome. I
enjoyed every word of it and wished that it was longer. I laughed
when you spoke of old Neptune's wild moods. He has, in truth,
behaved very strangely ever since we came to Brewster. It is
evident that something has displeased his Majesty but I cannot
imagine what it can be. His expression has been so turbulent that
I have feared to give him your kind message. Who knows! Perhaps
the Old Sea God as he lay asleep upon the shore, heard the soft
music of growing things--the stir of life in the earth's bosom,
and his stormy heart was angry, because he knew that his and
Winter's reign was almost at an end. So together the unhappy
monarch[s] fought most despairingly, thinking that gentle Spring
would turn and fly at the very sight of the havoc caused by their
forces. But lo! the lovely maiden only smiles more sweetly, and
breathes upon the icy battlements of her enemies, and in a moment
they vanish, and the glad Earth gives her a royal welcome. But I
must put away these idle fancies until we meet again. Please give
your dear mother my love. Teacher wishes me to say that she liked
the photograph very much and she will see about having some when
we return. Now, dear friend, Please accept these few words
because of the love that is linked with them.
Lovingly yours

This letter was reproduced in facsimile in St. Nicholas, June,
1892. It is undated, but must have been written two or three
months before it was published.

To St. Nicholas
Dear St. Nicholas:

It gives me very great pleasure to send you my autograph because
I want the boys and girls who read St. Nicholas to know how blind
children write. I suppose some of them wonder how we keep the
lines so straight so I will try to tell them how it is done. We
have a grooved board which we put between the pages when we wish
to write. The parallel grooves correspond to lines and when we
have pressed the paper into them by means of the blunt end of the
pencil it is very easy to keep the words even. The small letters
are all made in the grooves, while the long ones extend above and
below them. We guide the pencil with the right hand, and feel
carefully with the forefinger of the left hand to see that we
shape and space the letters correctly. It is very difficult at
first to form them plainly, but if we keep on trying it gradually
becomes easier, and after a great deal of practice we can write
legible letters to our friends. Then we are very, very happy.
Sometime they may visit a school for the blind. If they do, I am
sure they will wish to see the pupils write.
Very sincerely your little friend

In May, 1892, Helen gave a tea in aid of the kindergarten for the
blind. It was quite her own idea, and was given in the house of
Mrs. Mahlon D. Spaulding, sister of Mr. John P. Spaulding, one of
Helen's kindest and most liberal friends. The tea brought more
than two thousand dollars for the blind children.

South Boston, May 9, 1892.
My dear Miss Carrie:--I was much pleased to receive your kind
letter. Need I tell you that I was more than delighted to hear
that you are really interested in the "tea"? Of course we must
not give it up. Very soon I am going far away, to my own dear
home, in the sunny south, and it would always make me happy to
think that the last thing which my dear friends in Boston did for
my pleasure was to help make the lives of many little sightless
children good and happy. I know that kind people cannot help
feeling a tender sympathy for the little ones, who cannot see the
beautiful light, or any of the wonderful things which give them
pleasure; and it seems to me that all loving sympathy must
express itself in acts of kindness; and when the friends of
little helpless blind children understand that we are working for
their happiness, they will come and make our "tea" a success, and
I am sure I shall be the happiest little girl in all the world.
Please let Bishop Brooks know our plans, so that he may arrange
to be with us. I am glad Miss Eleanor is interested. Please give
her my love. I will see you to-morrow and then we can make the
rest of our plans. Please give your dear aunt teacher's and my
love and tell her that we enjoyed our little visit very much
Lovingly yours,

South Boston, May 11th, 1892.
My dear Mr. Spaulding:--I am afraid you will think your little
friend, Helen, very troublesome when you read this letter; but I
am sure you will not blame me when I tell you that I am very
anxious about something. You remember teacher and I told you
Sunday that I wanted to have a little tea in aid of the
kindergarten. We thought everything was arranged: but we found
Monday that Mrs. Elliott would not be willing to let us invite
more than fifty people, because Mrs. Howe's house is quite small.
I am sure that a great many people would like to come to the tea,
and help me do something to brighten the lives of little blind
children; but some of my friends say that I shall have to give up
the idea of having a tea unless we can find another house.
Teacher said yesterday, that perhaps Mrs. Spaulding would be
willing to let us have her beautiful house, and [I] thought I
would ask you about it. Do you think Mrs. Spaulding would help
me, if I wrote to her? I shall be so disappointed if my little
plans fail, because I have wanted for a long time to do something
for the poor little ones who are waiting to enter the
kindergarten. Please let me know what you think about the house,
and try to forgive me for troubling you so much.
Lovingly your little friend,

South Boston, May 18th, 1892.
My dear Mr. Clement:--I am going to write to you this beautiful
morning because my heart is brimful of happiness and I want you
and all my dear friends in the Transcript office to rejoice with
me. The preparations for my tea are nearly completed, and I am
looking forward joyfully to the event. I know I shall not fail.
Kind people will not disappoint me, when they know that I plead
for helpless little children who live in darkness and ignorance.
They will come to my tea and buy light,--the beautiful light of
knowledge and love for many little ones who are blind and
friendless. I remember perfectly when my dear teacher came to me.
Then I was like the little blind children who are waiting to
enter the kindergarten. There was no light in my soul. This
wonderful world with all its sunlight and beauty was hidden from
me, and I had never dreamed of its loveliness. But teacher came
to me and taught my little fingers to use the beautiful key that
has unlocked the door of my dark prison and set my spirit free.

It is my earnest wish to share my happiness with others, and I
ask the kind people of Boston to help me make the lives of little
blind children brighter and happier.
Lovingly your little friend,

At the end of June Miss Sullivan and Helen went home to

Tuscumbia, Alabama, July 9th 1892.

My dear Carrie--You are to look upon it as a most positive proof
of my love that I write to you to-day. For a whole week it has
been "cold and dark and dreary" in Tuscumbia, and I must confess
the continuous rain and dismalness of the weather fills me with
gloomy thoughts and makes the writing of letters, or any pleasant
employment, seem quite impossible. Nevertheless, I must tell you
that we are alive,--that we reached home safely, and that we
speak of you daily, and enjoy your interesting letters very much.
I had a beautiful visit at Hulton. Everything was fresh and
spring-like, and we stayed out of doors all day. We even ate our
breakfast out on the piazza. Sometimes we sat in the hammock, and
teacher read to me. I rode horseback nearly every evening and
once I rode five miles at a fast gallop. O, it was great fun! Do
you like to ride? I have a very pretty little cart now, and if it
ever stops raining teacher and I are going to drive every
evening. And I have another beautiful Mastiff- the largest one I
ever saw--and he will go along to protect us. His name is Eumer.
A queer name, is it not? I think it is Saxon. We expect to go to
the mountains next week. My little brother, Phillips, is not
well, and we think the clear mountain air will benefit him.
Mildred is a sweet little sister and I am sure you would love
her. I thank you very much for your photograph. I like to have my
friends' pictures even though I cannot see them. I was greatly
amused at the idea of your writing the square hand. I do not
write on a Braille tablet, as you suppose, but on a grooved board
like the piece which I enclose. You could not read Braille; for
it is written in dots, not at all like ordinary letters. Please
give my love to Miss Derby and tell her that I hope she gave my
sweetest love to Baby Ruth. What was the book you sent me for my
birthday? I received several, and I do not know which was from
you. I had one gift which especially pleased me. It was a lovely
cape crocheted, for me, by an old gentleman, seventy-five years
of age. And every stitch, he writes, represents a kind wish for
my health and happiness. Tell your little cousins I think they
had better get upon the fence with me until after the election;
for there are so many parties and candidates that I doubt if such
youthful politicians would make a wise selection. Please give my
love to Rosy when you write, and believe me,
Your loving friend
P.S. How do you like this type-written letter?
H. K.

My dear Mrs. Cleveland,
I am going to write you a little letter this beautiful morning
because I love you and dear little Ruth very much indeed, and
also because I wish to thank you for the loving message which you
sent me through Miss Derby. I am glad, very glad that such a
kind, beautiful lady loves me. I have loved you for a long time,
but I did not think you had ever heard of me until your sweet
message came. Please kiss your dear little baby for me, and tell
her I have a little brother nearly sixteen months old. His name
is Phillips Brooks. I named him myself after my dear friend
Phillips Brooks. I send you with this letter a pretty book which
my teacher thinks will interest you, and my picture. Please
accept them with the love and good wishes of your friend,
Tuscumbia, Alabama.
November fourth. [1892.]

Hitherto the letters have been given in full; from this point on
passages are omitted and the omissions are indicated.

Tuscumbia, Alabama, Dec. 19, 1892.

My Dear Mr. Hitz,
I hardly know how to begin a letter to you, it has been such a
long time since your kind letter reached me, and there is so much
that I would like to write if I could. You must have wondered why
your letter has not had an answer, and perhaps you have thought
Teacher and me very naughty indeed. If so, you will be very sorry
when I tell you something. Teacher's eyes have been hurting her
so that she could not write to any one, and I have been trying to
fulfil a promise which I made last summer. Before I left Boston,
I was asked to write a sketch of my life for the Youth's
Companion. I had intended to write the sketch during my vacation:
but I was not well, and I did not feel able to write even to my
friends. But when the bright, pleasant autumn days came, and I
felt strong again I began to think about the sketch. It was some
time before I could plan it to suit me. You see, it is not very
pleasant to write all about one's self. At last, however, I got
something bit by bit that Teacher thought would do, and I set
about putting the scraps together, which was not an easy task:
for, although I worked some on it every day, I did not finish it
until a week ago Saturday. I sent the sketch to the Companion as
soon as it was finished; but I do not know that they will accept
it. Since then, I have not been well, and I have been obliged to
keep very quiet, and rest; but to-day I am better, and to-morrow
I shall be well again, I hope.

The reports which you have read in the paper about me are not
true at all. We received the Silent Worker which you sent, and I
wrote right away to the editor to tell him that it was a mistake.
Sometimes I am not well; but I am not a "wreck," and there is
nothing "distressing" about my condition.

I enjoyed your dear letter so much! I am always delighted when
anyone writes me a beautiful thought which I can treasure in my
memory forever. It is because my books are full of the riches of
which Mr. Ruskin speaks that I love them so dearly. I did not
realize until I began to write the sketch for the Companion, what
precious companions books have been to me, and how blessed even
my life has been: and now I am happier than ever because I do
realize the happiness that has come to me. I hope you will write
to me as often as you can. Teacher and I are always delighted to
hear from you. I want to write to Mr. Bell and send him my
picture. I suppose he has been too busy to write to his little
friend. I often think of the pleasant time we had all together in
Boston last spring.

Now I am going to tell you a secret. I think we, Teacher, and my
father and little sister, and myself, will visit Washington next
March!!! Then I shall see you, and dear Mr. Bell, and Elsie and
Daisy again! Would not it be lovely if Mrs. Pratt could meet us
there? I think I will write to her and tell her the secret
Lovingly your little friend,

P.S. Teacher says you want to know what kind of a pet I would
like to have. I love all living things,--I suppose everyone does;
but of course I cannot have a menagerie. I have a beautiful pony,
and a large dog. And I would like a little dog to hold in my lap,
or a big pussy (there are no fine cats in Tuscumbia) or a parrot.
I would like to feel a parrot talk, it would be so much fun! but
I would be pleased with, and love any little creature you send
H. K.

Tuscumbia, Alabama, February 18, 1893.
...You have often been in my thoughts during these sad days,
while my heart has been grieving over the loss of my beloved
friend [Phillips Brooks died January 23, 1893], and I have wished
many times that I was in Boston with those who knew and loved him
as I did... he was so much of a friend to me! so tender and
loving always! I do try not to mourn his death too sadly. I do
try to think that he is still near, very near; but sometimes the
thought that he is not here, that I shall not see him when I go
to Boston,--that he is gone,--rushes over my soul like a great
wave of sorrow. But at other times, when I am happier, I do feel
his beautiful presence, and his loving hand leading me in
pleasant ways. Do you remember the happy hour we spent with him
last June when he held my hand, as he always did, and talked to
us about his friend Tennyson, and our own dear poet Dr. Holmes,
and I tried to teach him the manual alphabet, and he laughed so
gaily over his mistakes, and afterward I told him about my tea,
and he promised to come? I can hear him now, saying in his
cheerful, decided way, in reply to my wish that my tea might be a
success, "Of course it will, Helen. Put your whole heart in the
good work, my child, and it cannot fail." I am glad the people
are going to raise a monument to his memory....

In March Helen and Miss Sullivan went North, and spent the next
few months traveling and visiting friends.

In reading this letter about Niagara one should remember that
Miss Keller knows distance and shape, and that the size of
Niagara is within her experience after she has explored it,
crossed the bridge and gone down in the elevator. Especially
important are such details as her feeling the rush of the water
by putting her hand on the window. Dr. Bell gave her a down
pillow, which she held against her to increase the vibrations.

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