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Helen Keller

New World A-Coming

Helen Keller

Oct 28 1947

MUSIC. [Strains of beautiful, majestic symphony, up and out.] 

HELEN. Music — hear it? — Beautiful symphonic music. But to me it is like the patter of little hands that feather my face. Vibrations. Music? Beautiful symphonic music? I cannot hear it, because silence sits immense upon my soul. I am deaf. 

MUSIC. [Up and segue into:] 

SOUND. [Of train up and out.] 

ANN SULLIVAN. We're in a valley now, Helen, passing between two mountains leaning against the sky. The sun is a red round ball with puffy little clouds sailing along in the wind. It's beautiful, Helen, it's beautiful ... 

MUSIC. [Strains of symphony come in softly.] 

HELEN. Is it? Is it beautiful? What does the sky look like? . . . What means a cloud is sailing along in the wind? . . . Does it look like a flower? -- a red one? Is it like a luminous flower? I don't know. I live in a silent everlasting darkness ... I am blind, too. 

MUSIC. [Punctuate.] 

HELEN. And when one is deaf, and when one is blind, how do you know the sounds that speak a beautiful poem? 

MAN. [Rich voice.] 

"Comrades, leave me here a little, while as yet 'tis early morn; 

Leave me, and when you want me, sound upon the bugle horn. 

'Tis the place, and all around it, as of old the curlews call . . . 

Dreary gleams about the moorland, flying over Locksley Hall."

MUSIC. [Up and down.]

HELEN. No symphonies for my ears, no mountains to gaze upon . . . Where are the poems and the symphonies and the sky? Where? Where did I lose them? 

MUSIC. [Chord.] 

HELEN. A child, nineteen months old, is sick. 

SOUND. [Door close.] 

MRS. KELLER. How is she, Doctor? 

DOCTOR. [Smiling.] The fever is gone, Mrs. Keller. Now you just feed her well, try to keep her happy and occupied, and in a few days she'll be as good as new. 

[Mrs. Keller sighs in relief.] 

CAPTAIN KELLER. And what was it, Doctor? Just a fever? 

DOCTOR. Captain Keller, I can't tell you. It was a congestion of her stomach and brain. Yes, a fever. But now it's disappeared. 

CAPTAIN KELLER. So now she's all well ... 

DOCTOR. Yes . . . she will be, anyway, in a few days. But expect her to be grumpy and hard to please for a while, as she's recuperating . . . Just try to keep her happy. 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

SOUND. [Mrs. Keller's quick footsteps . . . shade pulled up.] 

MRS. KELLER. [Happy.] There! Let the sun in! What a beautiful day, Helen, just look at that sun! How do you feel this morning, dear? 

SOUND. [Footsteps up and stop.] 

MRS. KELLER. Aren't you awake yet? Helen! Aren't you awake? Oh yes, you are. Feel better today? . . . Come on, let's get dressed now. I think today you can go outside, you've been in bed long enough. Let's get this nightgown off and, what dress do you want to wear for your first day up? . . . Helen, why don't you answer me, dear? [Laughs.] Well, you'll feel better after breakfast. What dress do you want to wear? This one? -- No? [Troubled.] Look, Helen, look at me . . . Your red one? -- No? -- The blue with the crinkled violets? . . . Helen! You don't seem to care! . . . Why don't you look at me, dear? . . . Why are you so listless? . . . Oh --

SOUND. [Footsteps.] 

MRS. KELLER. [Calls.] Arthur! Arthur! 

CAPTAIN KELLER. [Off.] What is it, Kate? 

MRS. KELLER. [Calls.] Please -- Arthur. Come up here a minute. 

CAPTAIN KELLER. [Off.] Sure. What is it? 

SOUND. [Footsteps, off, running up stairs . . . come on.] 

CAPTAIN KELLER. [On slightly breathless.] What is it? 

MRS. KELLER. I don't know. Arthur, I --

CAPTAIN KELLER. [Interrupts.] How's Helen today? How's my baby? 

MRS. KELLER. Arthur, sit down. I want you to -- watch this. Listen. 

CAPTAIN KELLER. What do you mean? 

MRS. KELLER. I don't know what I mean. Just listen . . . [Gay.] Helen, what dress do you want to wear today? This one? -- No? Look at me, Helen . . . Your red one with the ruffles? Helen, dear, how about the blue with the crinkled violets? . . . Baby, I said -- [Voice drops.] Arthur, you see -- ? 

CAPTAIN KELLER. [Jovial.] Just acting like a baby again . . . This'll get her. My watch. See, Helen, here's my watch . . . come and sit on my knee and you can play with it . . . Come on, Helen! [Serious.] Helen! Look! Come here to Daddy! 

SOUND. [His footsteps under.] 

CAPTAIN KELLER. There! I've got you! Now, sit on my knee . . . that's it. See my watch? Hear it? Tick tock, tick tock, hear it, Helen? . . . Kate, she doesn't seem to hear it . . . 

MRS. KELLER. Arthur . . . Arthur, I --

CAPTAIN KELLER. [Desperately.] Look, baby. Look. See what Daddy has? You always liked to play with my watch . . . Here, take it . . . Look -- take it in your hand, Helen. 

MRS. KELLER. Arthur, she doesn't --

CAPTAIN KELLER. See what daddy has, Helen? Look -- ! [Pause.] Kate, she can't --


CAPTAIN KELLER. . . . and she can't --

[Mrs. Keller screams, as 

MUSIC. [Comes in quickly and out.] 

HELEN. I wonder if my mother screamed out when she discovered the truth. For she could have, and I would never have known. Her little girl was blind and deaf . . . 

MUSIC. [Two chords.] 

HELEN. I fancy I still have fleeting memories, if they be memories, of light, of figures, of the sky and the earth . . . Gradually I got used to the silence and the darkness that surrounded me and forgot that it had ever been different. 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

HELEN. A little girl, five years old, is playing with her friend . . . 

SOUND. [Barking of dog, off.] 

MARTHA. [Seven years old.] Helen wants to go hunt for eggs, Mrs. Keller. Is it all right? Could we go? 

MRS. KELLER. She -- wants to hunt for eggs? 

MARTHA. Yes'm. 

MRS. KELLER. How do you know, Martha? How did she tell you? 

MARTHA. Why -- whenever she puts her two fists together in the grass, her fists are eggs . . . she means she wants to go hunting for them behind the barn. 

MRS. KELLER. I see . . . Martha, you play with Helen all day long . . . does she do that all the time? 

MARTHA. Yes ma'am. She has lots of ways to tell me things. 

MUSIC. [Sting.] 

HELEN. I have expressed myself. The child is growing up into a world filled with new thoughts and new desires. By signs, I have communicated with the outside world. But none has yet communicated with me. Always alone, always alone, my silent, aimless, dayless existence began to grow unbearable ... I began to struggle against the invisible hands which were pressing me back ... I struggled --

MUSIC. [Punctuate, and out.] 

SOUND. [Of child breathing hard, whimpering, then behind.] 

MRS. KELLER. Helen is putting her fingers on my lips when I speak to you, Arthur. I don't think she likes it when we talk to each other. 

SOUND. [Child's running footsteps behind, as Captain Keller begins to speak.] 

CAPTAIN KELLER. No, Kate. I don't believe she's trying to stop us . . . I think she's only trying to find out what we're doing. Her fingers are so light when she touches my lips and my throat. 

MRS. KELLER. That's true. [Sound of child's footsteps under.] Look how she runs back and forth between us as we speak. 

CAPTAIN KELLER. [Growing excitement.] She's figured out that after one speaks, then the other one speaks . . . 

SOUND. [Of child whimpering stronger.] 

MRS. KELLER. But why is she so distressed? . . . Why are you pulling me, Helen . . . why -- 

CAPTAIN KELLER. She's pulling me, too. Kate, she wants to get us together. 

SOUND. [Footsteps, a few.] 

MRS. KELLER. She wants to touch our lips, both at the same time. 

CAPTAIN KELLER. [Excited.] She understands . . . she understands! She knows we're talking to each other! 

MRS. KELLER. Now she's moving her lips too . . . 

CAPTAIN KELLER. She's trying to talk . , . Kate! She's trying to talk! 

MRS. KELLER. But -- nothing -- nothing happens.

SOUND. [Child bursts into frantic cries, screams, stamps her feet.] 

MRS. KELLER. Oh, Arthur, what can we do? Helen, please, darling, don't cry so! Arthur! Do something! Don't just stand there! 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

HELEN. The desire to express myself continued to grow. The few signs I used became less and less adequate. I cried out for communication -- the need of the human being — communication became so urgent that the outbursts of passion occurred daily, hourly! Have you ever been in a ship at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore? I was like that ship. "Light! Give me light!" was the wordless cry of my soul. 

SOUND. [Child screaming, kicking, pounding: then sobs behind.] 

MRS. KELLER. [Yearning.] Helen, let me hold you, dear. Don't push me away! [Frantic.] Arthur, we must do something! 

CAPTAIN KELLER. There must be someone in the world who knows how to teach a child who is blind and deaf . . . There must be someone . . . 

SOUND. [Child's sobs segue into:] 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

HELEN. The most important day I remember in all my life is the one on which my teacher, Ann Mansfield Sullivan, came to me. I am filled with wonder when I consider the immeasurable contrast between the two lives which it connects. I was not quite seven years old. 

SOUND. [Clink of dishes and silverware.] 

MRS. KELLER. I hope you like this chicken, Miss Sullivan. Pass her plate, Arthur, please . . . 

CAPTAIN KELLER. Of course. Here you are, Miss Sullivan. Be careful .. . 

MISS SULLIVAN. Thank you . . . [Distressed.] Oh! Helen, oh, no, don't touch my plate! 

CAPTAIN KELLER. I thought this time I might pass you your plate without her grabbing it -- she always does that. 

MRS. KELLER. She eats whatever she wants, with her fingers. It makes no difference to her whose plate it is. 

MISS SULLIVAN. You never tried to teach her? 

MRS. KELLER. How could we? 

MISS SULLIVAN. Well, perhaps we'll have her leave the table until she learns -- 

CAPTAIN KELLER. No child of mine shall ever leave the table without his dinner, for any reason. 

MISS SULLIVAN. But -- she must be taught. You understand that? No, Helen, not my plate . . . No! 

SOUND. [Of a scuffle.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Take your spoon, Helen . . . Here, in your hand . . . your spoon! Don't touch my plate! 

CAPTAIN KELLER. [Distressed.] Miss Sullivan, I don't think -- 

SOUND. [Child begins to scream.] 

MRS. KELLER. [Interrupting.] Arthur, come with me. We'll leave Miss Sullivan alone with Helen. 

CAPTAIN KELLER. I don't think -- 

MRS. KELLER. [Firmly.] Come, Arthur. She knows best for Helen. 

SOUND. [Footsteps go off. Door closes.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Sit down in your chair, Helen . . . Sit down! 

SOUND. [Of a scuffle, then child kicking, screaming -- not crying, but angry.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. All right, then don't sit down. But you shall not touch my plate! Don't pinch me! 

SOUND. [A slap.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Every time you pinch me, I'll slap you. [Distressed.] Oh, how can I make you understand? 

SOUND. [Screaming, kicking, pounding.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. All right -- lie down on the floor. Kick as long as you like . . . Try to pull the chair out from under me. 

SOUND. [Child runs, stops, runs again, stops.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Yes, Helen, you and I are alone. You won't find anybody sitting around the table but me . . . Oh? You're puzzled? 

SOUND. [Slow footsteps.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. All right, come back and sit down. Here's your spoon. Now, eat with it. 

SOUND. [Spoon bounces on the floor.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Bend down, and pick it up, Helen. [Breathing hard.] Pick -- it -- up. There! Now use it. Eat with it. 

SOUND. [Child screams and pounds again, but giving in.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Here! I'll help you. Spoon -- in the dish -- to your mouth . . . [Delighted.] Helen! You did it! You darling! I'll kiss you! 

SOUND. [A kiss . . . then a slap.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. [Hurt.] You slapped me! 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

HELEN. Yes, I slapped her. Not for the battle we had had. I liked battles, I enjoyed them at that time -- there was movement in them -- movement between another and myself, there was a communication, even though it be an angry one. I slapped her because she kissed me. I allowed no one to kiss me, no caress. In the dark still world in which I lived there was no sentiment or tenderness. 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. I'll help you get undressed, Helen . . . Isn't this a lovely little cabin? I told your parents we must get away from the family, and here we are, just you and I . . . Now your nightgown -- hurry, it's chilly even with the fire. There . . . now, get in bed. Fine! . . . Now, I'll get in bed too . . . We'll let the fire die down by itself . . . Helen! Why do you get out of bed? 

SOUND. [Patter of bare feet.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Get back in bed, Helen! You'll catch cold! 

SOUND. [Patter of feet stops.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Now I'll cover you again. You mustn't do that again, Helen 

. . . [Sighs.] I'm tired . . . Let's go to sleep. 

SOUND. [Patter of feet again.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. [Distressed.] You don't want to sleep with me? You never want anybody to touch you? Helen, you'll catch cold, get back in bed! 

MUSIC. [Up quickly and out.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. [Exhausted.] Two hours this has been going on! Helen, you must get back in bed! And stay there! No, I will not let you go . . . it's freezing in here now . . . you'll get a terrible cold . . . All right, sleep on the edge . . . but don't fall off . . . I won't touch you . . . [Sleepily.] It's -- a -- good -- thing -- I'm bigger than you. 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

MRS. KELLER. I just had to come and see how you're getting along, Miss Sullivan. How's Helen? 

MISS SULLIVAN. We're stringing beads today . . . she's been very docile for two days now . . . and she likes to string beads . . . two glass ones and one wooden one, then two glass ones. 

MRS. KELLER. [Delighted.] She never did that before! Oh, I'm so glad! 

MISS SULLIVAN. She seems to enjoy it . . . come around this way, you can see her sitting at the table. 

MRS. KELLER. She's tying the string around her neck! 

MISS SULLIVAN. [Laughs.] She's always putting on some piece of finery . . . then preening before the mirror, just as though she could see herself! 

MRS. KELLER. Has she learned any more words? 

MISS SULLIVAN. She has learned several more, and she spells them into my hand correctly . . . She knows about sixteen . . . but she still has no idea what they mean, or that everything has a name. 

MRS. KELLER. [Worried.] Do you think she'll ever learn? 

MISS SULLIVAN. Give us time, Mrs. Keller. After all, I've been here only two weeks. I just have to try over and over and over again. Patience! 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Hold my hand, Helen. D-o-l-l. Now you spell into mine. D-o-l-l. That's very good. Here, now take the doll. Now I'll spell it for you. Come, Helen, spell it. Helen! 

SOUND. [Crash of porcelain doll.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. You broke your lovely new doll. [Sighs.] I'll sweep her into the fireplace. 

SOUND. [Of broom.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Don't look so pleased with yourself! That was a naughty thing -- but then, you enjoy doing naughty things, don't you? To get your own way. [Sighs.] How will I ever get to you, Helen? Where is the magic formula I need to make contact with your brain? 

MUSIC. [Up and out.]

HELEN. She brought me my hat, and I knew I was going out into the warm sunshine. This thought -- if a wordless sensation may be called a thought -- made me hop and skip with pleasure. 

SOUND. [Of water pump and water gushing out.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Here, Helen, put your hand into the water. Hold it there . . . Now I'll spell into your hand. W-A-T-E-R. Water. W-A-T-E-R. [Agony of delight.] Helen! Your face! You understand that the name of this is water! 

MUSIC. [Triumphant crash.] 

HELEN. My teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into my other hand the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten -- a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! 

MUSIC. [Happy, up and out.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Helen learned 30 words this afternoon . . . sister, mother, father, teacher, brother . . . what a beginning! 

MRS. KELLER. She kisses me every five minutes! 

CAPTAIN KELLER. [Laughs.] She almost knocks me over with her sudden hugs. What a child! 

HELEN. It would have been difficult to find a happier child than I was as I lay in my bed at the close of that eventful day, and lived over the joys it had brought me, and for the first time longed for a new day to come. 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. In two months Helen has learned 625 words! Do you realize how fantastic that is, Mrs. Keller? 

MRS. KELLER. And all because of you, Miss Sullivan . . . She's so bright, so eager, so full of joy. 

MISS SULLIVAN. No, not all because of me . . . it was just an accident that I discovered the best way to teach her is to concentrate on what interests her at the moment . . . But how can one person answer all her questions? Even the easy ones . . . Mrs. Keller, tell me something that Father Nature does. 

MRS. KELLER. Well, I --

MISS SULLIVAN. What color is think? 


MISS SULLIVAN. Who made all things and Boston? 

MRS. KELLER. Uh . . . I . . . 

MISS SULLIVAN. Who made God? 


MISS SULLIVAN. [Laughs.] . . . And then she asked where do people go when they die. I answered, "To Heaven, a lovely beautiful place for the good souls." And quick as a flash her answer came -- "How do you know since you've never been dead?" 

SOUND. [They laugh.] 

HELEN. It was my teacher's genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. She realized that a child's mind is like a shallow brook which ripples and dances merrily over the stony course of its education and reflects here a flower, there a bush, yonder a fleecy cloud . . . Any teacher can take a child to the classroom, but not every teacher can make him learn. 

NOTE: Play dream sequence on filter if possible. 

HELEN. Before Miss Sullivan came to me, my dreams were few and far between, but now I rarely sleep without dreaming . . . and in the beginning my dreams took on the rare and beautiful aspect of physical perfection . . . 

MUSIC. [Up dreamily and fade away.] 

HELEN. Mother! 

MRS. KELLER. Helen! 

HELEN. Mother, look at all these marvelous bananas. I want you to string them, all peeled, straight through the dining room and up to the cupboard. 

MRS. KELLER. Helen! 

HELEN. Hurry, mother, peel the bananas. Baby sister is singing such a pretty song. Doesn't she have nice tunes in her head? . . . I'm going to eat my way right straight through the cupboard. How I love bananas! 

MRS. KELLER. But Helen! God -- she can talk to me! She can see! 

HELEN. Naturally, Mother. Everybody does. Who can't? 

MUSIC. [Punctuate.] 

HELEN. Those are the rare and beautiful moments when I can see and I can hear in dreamland. What if in my waking hours a sound should ring through the silent halls of hearing? What if a ray of light should flash through the darkened chambers of my soul? What would happen, I ask many and many a time. Would the heart, overweighted with sudden joy, stop beating for very excess of happiness? 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

MISS SULLIVAN. Helen is twelve now. She wants to learn to talk like other people. 

MRS. KELLER. Is it possible, can she really learn? 

MISS SULLIVAN. There is a school where she can learn. Do you want her to go? 

MRS. KELLER. But of course! Why not? . . . She knows so much now, why shouldn't she learn to talk if she wants to? She knows how to typewrite, how to read and write Braille . . . she knows French and German and Latin and Greek -- and she knows the Morse Code. Why shouldn't she learn to talk? 

HELEN. And so, I learned to talk. Though I couldn't hear what I myself said out loud, there are many people who understand my oral language. 

MUSIC. [Up and out.] 

HELEN. It was in the fall of 1900, when I was twenty years old, that my dreams of going to college came true. I still remember my first day at Radcliffe. I had looked forward to it for years. A potent force within me, stronger than the persuasion of my friends, stronger even than the pleadings of my heart, impelled me to try my strength at the standards of those who see and hear. I knew that in college there were many bypaths where I could touch hands with girls who were thinking and struggling like me. The day I took luncheon with the Freshman Class at Radcliffe was my first real experience in college life, and it was a delightful one. 

SOUND. [Gay laughter of many girls.] 

GIRL. Miss Sullivan, I want to talk to Helen. 

MISS SULLIVAN. Come close, dear . . . Let her touch your lips as you speak. 

GIRL. [Struck.] Uh -- what should I say? 

MISS SULLIVAN. Why -- speak to her as you would to any girl. 

GIRL. [Hesitantly and stiffly.] Er -- a -- Miss Keller. I mean Helen -- a -- how do you like college? [Then swiftly rattling it off.] Isn't this a delightful luncheon? Are you studying terribly hard? I'm taking French, German, History, English Composition and English literature. What are you taking? 

HELEN. The same as you. But -- you tell me about yourself. 

GIRL. Well, uh -- where would I begin? 

HELEN. [Laughs.] Do you know that I was caught out of bounds yesterday? I was taking a walk -- I found a most adorable little path and I wandered away where it went, and the next thing I knew, they were calling me in for being out of bounds! [Laughs gayly.] 

GIRL. Helen -- I thought -- you were different from the other girls. I thought -- you weren't interested in the same things. 

HELEN. [Sober.] But -- I don't understand. I'm twenty years old. How old are you? 

GIRL. I'm nineteen -- not quite twenty. 

HELEN. And -- the other girls? 

GIRL. We're all about the same. 

HELEN. Yes. We're all about the same. So why should I be different? 

GIRL. Well -- I thought -- Oh, I don't know what I thought! 

HELEN. Because I can't see and hear like you girls? But that's the only difference! That's all! 

GIRL. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I wasn't thinking. 

HELEN. Oh, let's not be so serious! [Laughs.] Are you on the rowing team? Are you going out for basketball? 

GIRL. [Laughs, too.] Oh no! I'm not the athletic type! My sports are canoeing and that's all . . . 

HELEN. Me, too! 

SOUND. [They laugh, as:] 

MUSIC. [Comes in, hold and down behind.] 

HELEN. But even while I laugh I feel a twinge of pain in my heart, because it seems rather hard to me that anyone should imagine that I do not feel as others feel. Sometimes a sense of isolation enfolds me like a cold mist as I sit alone and wait at life's shut gate. Too many times have I been treated by people as though they were talking to a person from another planet -- different . . . 

MUSIC. [Out.] 

VOICE I. Do you close your eyes when you sleep? 

MUSIC. [Trombone laughs lingeringly.] 

VOICE II. Can you tell the time of day without a watch? 

MUSIC. [Trombone laughs again.] 

VOICE III. Do you think it is a blessing to be poor? 

VOICE IV. Do you dream? 

MUSIC. [Trombone laughs behind:] 

HELEN. Don't laugh, my friends. [Music out.] I have been asked these questions. But why don't they ask me a question that I want to answer? I am, myself, still a reasonable human being. Although, also, only a woman. In my isolation, I have had the opportunity to read, and to ponder, and to think, and to be educated -- the opportunity that most women deny themselves. And to me, the darkness and the silence exist no longer. Now, for once, let me tell you about myself. Forget my handicaps. Ask me a question that interests me. A real question! And remember, delicate banter is not my strongest point . . . 

VOICE. All right, Miss Keller. What do you think of our country? 

HELEN. My country? I love my country. To say that is like saying I love my family. I did not choose my country any more than I chose my parents, but I am her daughter just as truly as I am the child of my Southern mother and father. What I am my country has made me. She has fostered the spirit which made my education possible. This is true, and I wish that my feelings for the United States could end there, a perfectly beautiful description of a perfect country. But my love for America is not blind. Perhaps I am more conscious of her faults because I love her so deeply. I preach love, brotherhood and peace . . . but I see so little of it around me. Do you see the intolerance that I see all about me in this great free country of ours? Do you see the bigotry, the racial prejudice? Where is the communication, the need of the human race? No nation can live if its children must struggle not to die. No nation can decay if its children are healthy and happy and free from the burden of bigotry! When man stands on the rights of man, he is unconquerable. 

MUSIC. [Up and down behind: 

HELEN. One soft autumn day I was walking on the street with a friend. Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I felt at peace that day, and happy, although I know all too well that millions of human beings live and die without ever knowing the joy of living. The sunshine felt warm on my face that day . . . And suddenly I sensed a tap, tap, tapping on the walk, coming nearer to me. . . . 

SOUND. [Tapping of cane up full to mike . . . then fade.] 

HELEN. What was that? 

FRIEND. [Sadly.] A blind man, Helen. Feeling his way alone across the sidewalk. 

HELEN. And you pity him? 

FRIEND. Of course I -- [Cuts off.] 

HELEN. Don't pity him. He wants life, not pity. You think how different his feelings are from your own? 

FRIEND. Well ... 

HELEN. Oh, that is a cruel illusion! Will you listen to the truth? 

FRIEND. [Wondering.] The truth? 

HELEN. Hearts are hearts, and pain is pain, and joy, ambition and love are in the blind man, just as in you. 

FRIEND. [Protesting.] But that man was a Negro! 

HELEN. A Negro? . . . But still, a man. He wants the same things that you do . . . Negro or white. Like you, he dreams of love and success and happiness. The color of his skin cannot change that. If you were blinded tomorrow by an accident, or if by an accident of birth, your skin were not white, your desires would still be the same. 

MUSIC. [Up and down to B.G.] 

HELEN. I am deaf, and I am blind, and it may be an odd thought for one such as me -- but I do think too many people go through the world deaf to the problems of life, and blind to the beauty of self-education. Even a woman, alone all day with her child, quietly making the home which her husband is striving for, ignores the fact that her happiness depends upon her knowledge of the facts of life . . . and in her is wrapped the hope of the future: The way she brings up her child. 

MUSIC. [Up and down behind: 

HELEN. I have never had a child of my own, but my tenderness for the youth in the world seeps through me every silent, busy day. It is not possible, I think, for civilization to flow backwards while there is youth in the world. Through our youth alone shall salvation come. My work in connection with the American Foundation for the Blind led me into lecture halls to raise money, and led me into homes in tenements soon to be torn down to make room for our new building. And it was that way that I met a young Italian woman living in a tenement, who had just given birth to a tiny scrap of future. . . . 

MUSIC. [Up and segue into: 

SOUND. [New baby's cry.] 

MOTHER. [Weakly.] Just think -- I have a baby, Miss Keller. 

HELEN. I envy you. 

MOTHER. It was hard ... 

HELEN. May I touch him? 

MOTHER. Of course. 

HELEN. Soft skin ... so soft. So tiny. 

MOTHER. It was hard to bear a child. 

HELEN. No, it isn't easy to risk your life for your country. 

MOTHER. For my country? 

HELEN. Surely. This home of yours where he will grow up is a small part of the United States. Every little home, all of them added together, makes up the whole country. Now you have a real job to do -- now your travail is just beginning. 

MOTHER. How can you say that? He's all born, he's alive . . . Now all I have to do is take care of him. 

HELEN. Now he is only a promise, a promise which you must fulfill. Keeping him clean and warm and full of food and health is only the basis for the strength he will need. You must fill him full of love, and love for peace so that when he grows up he and the millions of others like him will build a sane, kind world for everybody. 

SOUND. [Baby's wail, up and segue into: 

MUSIC. [Up and down behind: 

HELEN. Silence and darkness sit immense upon my soul? Oh, no, I think not now. For hope comes with a smile and whispers, "There is joy in self-forgetfulness." So I try to make the light in others' eyes my sun, the music in others' ears my symphony, the smile on others' lips my happiness. 

MUSIC. [Surges up and down again behind: 

HELEN. A happiness will come for everyone when each home builds its own love and helps to make the world outside a peaceful, bright home for mankind. When each woman begins to realize that her home embraces everything we strive for in this world. When each woman realizes that the new child, the new civilization, all the possibilities that sleep in mankind are enfolded in her. In her travail is the resurrection of the human race. All this glorious promise can be brought to naught by ignorance of the world in which it is to be fulfilled. 

To plead with Woman, to urge her to open her eyes to the great affairs of life, is merely to bid her make her house ready for the child that is born. 

MUSIC. [Up to tag.]