SIR JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS
Institution for the Blind,
Boston, Mass., April 30, 1891.
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.
in the clinging billow's clasp,
seaweed fringe to mountain heather,
British oak with rooted grasp
slender handful holds together,
cliffs of white and bowers of green,
ocean narrowing to caress her,
hills and threaded streams between,
little mother isle, God bless her!"
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.
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.
I must say good-bye. Please think of me always as your loving little sister,
REV. PHILLIPS BROOKS
Boston, May 1, 1891.
Dear Mr. Brooks:
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,
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.
MR. JOHN H. HOLMES
Boston, May 13, 1891.
of the Boston Herald:
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,
DR. OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Boston, May 27, 1891.
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?
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.
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.
much love and a kiss, from your little friend,
REV. PHILLIPS BROOKS
Boston, June 8, 1891.
dear Mr. Brooks,
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.
your little friend