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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.

TO MISS MARY C. MOORE 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 Wednesday.

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 child.

With much love and two kisses From your little friend HELEN A. KELLER.

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.

TO MRS. KATE ADAMS KELLER 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. HELEN A. KELLER.

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

TO MR. MORRISON HEADY 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 themselves.

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. HELEN A. KELLER.

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.

 

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