The Story of My Life
Part II. Letters (1887–1901)
TO MR. JOHN HITZ
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 too....
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 me.
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