MR. WILLIAM WADE
February 19th, 1899.
bless you, I thought I wrote to you the day after the "Eclogues"
arrived, and told you how glad I was to have them! Perhaps you never got
that letter. At any rate, I thank you, dear friend, for taking such a
world of trouble for me. You will be glad to hear that the books from
England are coming now. I already have the seventh and eighth books of the
"Aeneid" and one book of the "Iliad," all of which is
most fortunate, as I have come almost to the end of my embossed
gives me great pleasure to hear how much is being done for the deaf-blind.
The more I learn of them, the more kindness I find. Why, only a little
while ago people thought it quite impossible to teach the deaf-blind
anything; but no sooner was it proved possible than hundreds of kind,
sympathetic hearts were fired with the desire to help them, and now we see
how many of those poor, unfortunate persons are being taught to see the
beauty and reality of life. Love always finds its way to an imprisoned
soul, and leads it out into the world of freedom and intelligence!
to the two-handed alphabet, I think it is much easier for those who have
sight than the manual alphabet; for most of the letters look like the
large capitals in books; but I think when it comes to teaching a
deaf-blind person to spell, the manual alphabet is much more convenient,
and less conspicuous....
MRS. LAURENCE HUTTON
Newbury Street, Boston,
am now sure that I shall be ready for my examinations in June. There is
but one cloud in my sky at present; but that is one which casts a dark
shadow over my life, and makes me very anxious at times. My teacher's eyes
are no better: indeed, I think they grow more troublesome, though she is
very brave and patient, and will not give up. But it is most distressing
to me to feel that she is sacrificing her sight for me. I feel as if I
ought to give up the idea of going to college altogether: for not all the
knowledge in the world could make me happy, if obtained at such a cost. I
do wish, Mrs. Hutton, you would try to persuade Teacher to take a rest,
and have her eyes treated. She will not listen to me.
have just had some pictures taken, and if they are good, I would like to
send one to Mr. Rogers, if you think he would like to have it. I would
like so much to show him in some way how deeply I appreciate all that he
is doing for me, and I cannot think of anything better to do.
one here is talking about the Sargent pictures. It is a wonderful
exhibition of portraits, they say. How I wish I had eyes to see them! How
I should delight in their beauty and color! However, I am glad that I am
not debarred from all pleasure in the pictures. I have at least the
satisfaction of seeing them through the eyes of my friends, which is a
real pleasure. I am so thankful that I can rejoice in the beauties, which
my friends gather and put into my hands!
are all so glad and thankful that Mr. Kipling did not die! I have his
"Jungle-Book" in raised print, and what a splendid, refreshing
book it is! I cannot help feeling as if I knew its gifted author. What a
real, manly, lovable nature his must be!...
DR. DAVID H. GREER
Newbury Street, Boston,
day brings me all that I can possibly accomplish, and each night brings me
rest, and the sweet thought that I am a little nearer to my goal than ever
before. My Greek progresses finely. I have finished the ninth book of the
"Iliad" and am just beginning the "Odyssey." I am also
reading the "Aeneid" and the "Eclogues." Some of my
friends tell me that I am very foolish to give so much time to Greek and
Latin; but I am sure they would not think so, if they realized what a
wonderful world of experience and thought Homer and Virgil have opened up
to me. I think I shall enjoy the "Odyssey" most of all. The
"Iliad" tells of almost nothing but war, and one sometimes
wearies of the clash of spears and the din of battle; but the
"Odyssey" tells of nobler courage--the courage of a soul sore
tried, but steadfast to the end. I often wonder, as I read these splendid
poems why, at the same time that Homer's songs of war fired the Greeks
with valor, his songs of manly virtue did not have a stronger influence
upon the spiritual life of the people. Perhaps the reason is, that
thoughts truly great are like seeds cast into the human mind, and either
lie there unnoticed, or are tossed about and played with, like toys,
until, grown wise through suffering and experience, a race discovers and
cultivates them. Then the world has advanced one step in its heavenward
am working very hard just now. I intend to take my examinations in June,
and there is a great deal to be done, before I shall feel ready to meet
will be glad to hear that my mother, and little sister and brother are
coming north to spend this summer with me. We shall all live together in a
small cottage on one of the lakes at Wrentham, while my dear teacher takes
a much needed rest. She has not had a vacation for twelve years, think of
it, and all that time she has been the sunshine of my life. Now her eyes
are troubling her a great deal, and we all think she ought to be relieved,
for a while, of every care and responsibility. But we shall not be quite
separated; we shall see each other every day, I hope. And, when July
comes, you can think of me as rowing my dear ones around the lovely lake
in the little boat you gave me, the happiest girl in the world!...
MRS. LAURENCE HUTTON
May 28th .
have had a hard day. Mr. Keith was here for three hours this afternoon,
pouring a torrent of Latin and Greek into my poor bewildered brain. I
really believe he knows more Latin and Greek Grammar than Cicero or Homer
ever dreamed of! Cicero is splendid, but his orations are very difficult
to translate. I feel ashamed sometimes, when I make that eloquent man say
what sounds absurd or insipid; but how is a school-girl to interpret such
genius? Why, I should have to be a Cicero to talk like a Cicero!...
Haguewood is a deaf-blind girl, one of the many whom Mr. William Wade has
helped. She is being educated by Miss Dora Donald who, at the beginning of
her work with her pupil, was supplied by Mr. Hitz, Superintendent of the
Volta Bureau, with copies of all documents relating to Miss Sullivan's
work with Miss Keller.
MR. WILLIAM WADE
Mass., June 5, 1899.
Haguewood's letter, which you sent me some weeks ago, interested me very
much. It seemed to show spontaneity and great sweetness of character. I
was a good deal amused by what she said about history. I am sorry she does
not enjoy it; but I too feel sometimes how dark, and mysterious and even
fearful the history of old peoples, old religions and old forms of
government really is.
I must confess, I do not like the sign-language, and I do not think it
would be of much use to the deaf-blind. I find it very difficult to follow
the rapid motions made by the deaf-mutes, and besides, signs seem a great
hindrance to them in acquiring the power of using language easily and
freely. Why, I find it hard to understand them sometimes when they spell
on their fingers. On the whole, if they cannot be taught articulation, the
manual alphabet seems the best and most convenient means of communication.
At any rate, I am sure the deaf-blind cannot learn to use signs with any
degree of facility.
other day, I met a deaf Norwegian gentleman, who knows Ragnhild Kaata and
her teacher very well, and we had a very interesting conversation about
her. He said she was very industrious and happy. She spins, and does a
great deal of fancy work, and reads, and leads a pleasant, useful life.
Just think, she cannot use the manual alphabet! She reads the lips well,
and if she cannot understand a phrase, her friends write it in her hand,
and in this way she converses with strangers. I cannot make out anything
written in my hand, so you see, Ragnhild has got ahead of me in some
things. I do hope I shall see her sometime...
MRS. LAURENCE HUTTON
July 29, 1899.
passed in all the subjects I offered, and with credit in advanced
Latin.... But I must confess, I had a hard time on the second day of my
examinations. They would not allow Teacher to read any of the papers to
me; so the papers were copied for me in braille. This arrangement worked
very well in the languages, but not nearly so well in the Mathematics.
Consequently, I did not do so well as I should have done, if Teacher had
been allowed to read the Algebra and Geometry to me. But you must not
think I blame any one. Of course they did not realize how difficult and
perplexing they were making the examinations for me. How could they--they
can see and hear, and I suppose they could not understand matters from my
point of view....
far my summer has been sweeter than anything I can remember. My mother,
and sister and little brother have been here five weeks, and our happiness
knows no bounds. Not only do we enjoy being together; but we also find our
little home most delightful. I do wish you could see the view of the
beautiful lake from our piazza, the islands looking like little emerald
peaks in the golden sunlight, and the canoes flitting here and there, like
autumn leaves in the gentle breeze, and breathe in the peculiarly
delicious fragrance of the woods, which comes like a murmur from an
unknown clime. I cannot help wondering if it is the same fragrance that
greeted the Norsemen long ago, when, according to tradition, they visited
our shores--an odorous echo of many centuries of silent growth and decay
in flower and tree....
MRS. SAMUEL RICHARD FULLER
October 20, 1899.
suppose it is time for me to tell you something about our plans for the
winter. You know it has long been my ambition to go to Radcliffe, and
receive a degree, as many other girls have done; but Dean Irwin of
Radcliffe, has persuaded me to take a special course for the present. She
said I had already shown the world that I could do the college work, by
passing all my examinations successfully, in spite of many obstacles. She
showed me how very foolish it would be for me to pursue a four years'
course of study at Radcliffe, simply to be like other girls, when I might
better be cultivating whatever ability I had for writing. She said she did
not consider a degree of any real value, but thought it was much more
desirable to do something original than to waste one's energies only for a
degree. Her arguments seemed so wise and practical, that I could not but
yield. I found it hard, very hard, to give up the idea of going to
college; it had been in my mind ever since I was a little girl; but there
is no use doing a foolish thing, because one has wanted to do it a long
time, is there?
while we were discussing plans for the winter, a suggestion which Dr. Hale
had made long ago flashed across Teacher's mind--that I might take courses
somewhat like those offered at Radcliffe, under the instruction of the
professors in these courses. Miss Irwin seemed to have no objection to
this proposal, and kindly offered to see the professors and find out if
they would give me lessons. If they will be so good as to teach me and if
we have money enough to do as we have planned, my studies this year will
be English, English Literature of the Elizabethan period, Latin and
MR. JOHN HITZ
Brattle St., Cambridge,
to the braille question, I cannot tell how deeply it distresses me to hear
that my statement with regard to the examinations has been doubted.
Ignorance seems to be at the bottom of all these contradictions. Why, you
yourself seem to think that I taught you American braille, when you do not
know a single letter in the system! I could not help laughing when you
said you had been writing to me in American braille--and there you were
writing your letter in English braille!
facts about the braille examinations are as follows:
I passed my Entrance Examinations for Radcliffe College.
the 29th and 30th of June, 1899, I took my examinations for Radcliffe
College. The first day I had elementary Greek and advanced Latin, and the
second day Geometry, Algebra and advanced Greek.
college authorities would not permit Miss Sullivan to read the examination
papers to me; so Mr. Eugene C. Vining, one of the instructors at the
Perkins Institution for the Blind, was employed to copy the papers for me
in braille. Mr. Vining was a perfect stranger to me, and could not
communicate with me except by writing in braille. The Proctor also was a
stranger, and did not attempt to communicate with me in any way; and, as
they were both unfamiliar with my speech, they could not readily
understand what I said to them.
the braille worked well enough in the languages; but when it came to
Geometry and Algebra, it was different. I was sorely perplexed, and felt
quite discouraged, and wasted much precious time, especially in Algebra.
It is true that I am perfectly familiar with all literary braille--English,
American, and New York Point; but the method of writing the various signs
used in Geometry and Algebra in the three systems is very different, and
two days before the examinations I knew only the English method. I had
used it all through my school work, and never any other system.
Geometry, my chief difficulty was, that I had always been accustomed to
reading the propositions in Line Print, or having them spelled into my
hand; and somehow, although the propositions were right before me, yet the
braille confused me, and I could not fix in my mind clearly what I was
reading. But, when I took up Algebra, I had a harder time still--I was
terribly handicapped by my imperfect knowledge of the notation. The signs,
which I had learned the day before, and which I thought I knew perfectly,
confused me. Consequently my work was painfully slow, and I was obliged to
read the examples over and over before I could form a clear idea what I
was required to do. Indeed, I am not sure now that I read all the signs
correctly, especially as I was much distressed, and found it very hard to
keep my wits about me....
there is one more fact, which I wish to state very plainly, in regard to
what Mr. Gilman wrote to you. I never received any direct instruction in
the Gilman School. Miss Sullivan always sat beside me, and told me what
the teachers said. I did teach Miss Hall, my teacher in Physics, how to
write the American braille, but she never gave me any instruction by means
of it, unless a few problems written for practice, which made me waste
much precious time deciphering them, can be called instruction. Dear Frau
Grote learned the manual alphabet, and used to teach me herself; but this
was in private lessons, which were paid for by my friends. In the German
class Miss Sullivan interpreted to me as well as she could what the
if you would send a copy of this to the head of the Cambridge School, it
might enlighten his mind on a few subjects, on which he seems to be in
total darkness just now....
MISS MILDRED KELLER
Brattle Street, Cambridge,
last we are settled for the winter, and our work is going smoothly. Mr.
Keith comes every afternoon at four o'clock, and gives me a "friendly
lift" over the rough stretches of road, over which every student must
go. I am studying English history, English literature, French and Latin,
and by and by I shall take up German and English composition--let us
groan! You know, I detest grammar as much as you do; but I suppose I must
go through it if I am to write, just as we had to get ducked in the lake
hundreds of times before we could swim! In French Teacher is reading
"Columba" to me. It is a delightful novel, full of piquant
expressions and thrilling adventures, (don't dare to blame me for using
big words, since you do the same!) and, if you ever read it, I think you
will enjoy it immensely. You are studying English history, aren't you. O
but it's exceedingly interesting! I'm making quite a thorough study of the
Elizabethan period--of the Reformation, and the Acts of Supremacy and
Conformity, and the maritime discoveries, and all the big things, which
the "deuce" seems to have invented to plague innocent youngsters
we have a swell winter outfit--coats, hats, gowns, flannels and all. We've
just had four lovely dresses made by a French dressmaker. I have two, of
which one has a black silk skirt, with a black lace net over it, and a
waist of white poplin, with turquoise velvet and chiffon, and cream lace
over a satin yoke. The other is woollen, and of a very pretty green. The
waist is trimmed with pink and green brocaded velvet, and white lace, I
think, and has double reefers on the front, tucked and trimmed with
velvet, and also a row of tiny white buttons. Teacher too has a silk
dress. The skirt is black, while the waist is mostly yellow, trimmed with
delicate lavender chiffon, and black velvet bows and lace. Her other dress
is purple, trimmed with purple velvet, and the waist has a collar of cream
lace. So you may imagine that we look quite like peacocks, only we've no
week ago yesterday there was [a] great football game between Harvard and
Yale, and there was tremendous excitement here. We could hear the yells of
the boys and the cheers of the lookers-on as plainly in our room as if we
had been on the field. Colonel Roosevelt was there, on Harvard's side; but
bless you, he wore a white sweater, and no crimson that we know of! There
were about twenty-five thousand people at the game, and, when we went out,
the noise was so terrific, we nearly jumped out of our skins, thinking it
was the din of war, and not of a football game that we heard. But, in
spite of all their wild efforts, neither side was scored, and we all
laughed and said, "Oh, well now the pot can't call the kettle