If the data items to be sent are known at the time when the page containing the applet is generated, then you can use the <param> subtag of the <applet> tag. You could use parameter names like "item1", "item2" etc., and add an additional parameter called "numberOfItems" or some such.
This assumes that the web page is created dynamically using JSPs, but since you say that you're using servlets anyway, that shouldn't be a problem.
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