The manual alphabet was not the only means of presenting words to Helen Keller's fingers.
In the three years during which at various times Miss Keller and Miss Sullivan were guests of the Perkins Institution, the teachers there did not help Miss Sullivan, and Mr. Anagnos did not even use the manual alphabet with facility as a means of communication.
One who reads or talks to me spells with his hand, using the single-hand manual alphabet generally employed by the deaf.
It was three years from the time when Helen began to communicate by means of the manual alphabet that she received her first lesson in the more natural and universal medium of human intercourse--oral language.
After Laura's education had progressed for two months with the use only of raised letters, Dr. Howe sent one of his teachers to learn the manual alphabet from a deaf-mute.
She has learned that EVERYTHING HAS A NAME, AND THAT THE MANUAL ALPHABET IS THE KEY TO EVERYTHING SHE WANTS TO KNOW.
It astonished me to find how much easier it is to talk than to spell with the fingers, and I discarded the manual alphabet as a medium of communication on my part; but Miss Sullivan and a few friends still use it in speaking to me, for it is more convenient and more rapid than lip-reading.
The manual alphabet is that in use among all educated deaf people.
On the whole, if they cannot be taught articulation, the manual alphabet seems the best and most convenient means of communication.
It is a clumsy and unsatisfactory way of receiving communication, useless when Miss Sullivan or some one else who knows the manual alphabet is present to give Miss Keller the spoken words of others.