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BOSTON 
PUBLIC 
LIBRARY 





A MEDAL WELL BESTOWED. 



CUORE 

AN 

ITALIAN SCHOOLBOY'S JOURNAL 

& 3Boofe for Bogs 

BY 

EDMONDO DE AMICIS 



TRANSLATED FROM THE THIRTY-NINTH ITALIAN EDITION 

BY 

ISABEL F. HAPGOOD 



NEW YORK 

THOMAS Y. CROWELL & COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 



OPEN SHELF 






'&nlr 




Copyright, 

By Thomas Y. Crowell & Company, 

1S87 AND 1895. 




92 



1 



Set 

A 5 1 G <=■ 






CONTENTS. 



OCTOBER. „ A „„ 

PAGB 

The First Day of School 1 

Our Master 3 

An Accident 5 

The C alabrian Boy 6 

Mv Comrades 8 

A Generous Deed 10 

My Schoolmistress of the Upper First 12 

In an A ttic 14 

The School 16 

The Little Patriot of Padua 17 

The Chimney-Sweep 20 

The Day of the Dead 22 

NOVEMBER. 

My Friend Garrone 24 

The Charcoal-Man and the Gentleman 26 

My Brother's Schoolmistress 28 

My Mother 30 

My Companion Coretti 31 

The Head-Master 85 

The Soldiers 38 

Nelli's Protector 40 

The Head of the Class 42 

The Little Vidette of Lombard y 44 

The Poor 50 

DECEMBER. 

The Trader 52 

Vanity 54 

The First Snow-Storm 56 

The Little Mason 58 



< 



i v CONTENTS. 

PAGB 

A Snowball 60 

The Mistresses 62 

In the House of the Wounded Man 64 

TJie Little Florentine Scribe 66 

Will 75 

Gratitude 77 

JANUARY. 

The Assistant Master 79 

Stardi's Library 81 

The Son of the Blacksmith-Ironmonger 83 

A Fine Visit 85 

The Funeral of Vittorio Emanuele 87 

Franti Expelled from School 89 

The Sardinian Drummer-Boy 91 

The Love of Country 100 

Envy 102 

Franti's Mother 104 

Hope 105 

FEBRUARY. 

A Medal Well Bestowed 108 

Good Resolutions 1 10 

The Engine 112 

Pride 114 

The Wounds of Labor 116 

The Prisoner 118 

Daddy's Nurse . . 122 

The Workshop 132 

The Little Harlequin 135 

The Last Day of the Carnival 139 

The Blind Boys 142 

The Sick Master 149 

The Street 151 

MARCH. 

The Evening Schools 154 

The Fight 156 

The Boys' Parents 158 



CONTENTS. v 

PAOB 

Number 78.... 100 

A Little Dead Boy 103 

The Eve of the Fourteenth of March 104 

The Distribution of Prizes 100 

Strife 172 

My Sister 174 

Blood of Romagna 170 

The Little Mason on His Sick-Bed 184 

Count Cavour 187 

APRIL. 

Spring 189 

King Umberto 191 

The Infant Asylum 190 

Gymnastics 201 

My Father's Teacher 204 

Convalescence 215 

Friends Among the Workingmen 217 

Garrone's Mother 219 

Giuseppe Mazzini 221 

Civic Valor ,223 

MAY. 

Children with the Rickets , 229 

Sacrifice 231 

The Fire 233 

From the Apennines to the Andes 237 

Summer 270 

Poetry 278 

The Deaf-Mute 280 

JUNE. 

Garibaldi 290 

The Army 291 

Italy 293 

Thirty-Two Degrees 295 

My Father , 297 

In the Country 298 



Vi CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

The Distribution of Prizes to the Workingmen 302 

My Dead Schoolmistress 305 

Thanks 308 

Shipwreck 309 

JULY. 

The Last Page from my Mother 317 

The Examinations 318 

The Last Examination 321 

Farewell » 323 



CTJORE. 

AN ITALIAN SCHOOLBOY'S JOURNAL. 



OCTOBER. 



FIEST DAY OF SCHOOL. 

Monday, 17th- 

To-dat is the first day of school. These three 
months of vacation in the country have passed like a 
dream. This morning my mother conducted me to the 
Baretti schoolhouse to have me enter for the third 
elementary course : I was thinking of the country, and 
went unwillingly. All the streets were swarming with 
boys : the two book-shops were thronged with fathers 
and mothers who were purchasing bags, portfolios, 
and copy-books, and in front of the school so many 
people had collected, that the beadle and the policeman 
found it difficult to keep the entrance disencumbered. 
Near the door, I felt myself touched on the shoulder : 
it was my master of the second class, cheerful, as usual, 
and with his red hair ruffled, and he said to me : — 
" So we are separated forever, Enrico ? " 
I knew it perfectly well, yet these words pained me. 
We made our way in with difficulty. Ladies, gentle- 
men, women of the people, workmen, officials, nuns, 
servants, all leading boys with one hand, and holding 
the promotion books in the other, filled the anteroom 
and the stairs, making such a buzzing, that it seemed 
as though one were entering a theatre. I beheld again 
with pleasure that large room on the ground floor, with 



* 



2 THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. 

the doors leading to the seven classes, where I had 
passed nearly ever} 7 da}' for three years. There was 
a throng ; the teachers were going and coming. My 
schoolmistress of the first upper class greeted me from 
the door of the class-room, and said : — 

" Enrico, you are going to the floor above this year. 
I shall never see you pass by any more ! " and she 
gazed sadly at me. The director was surrounded by 
women in distress because there was no room for their 
sons, and it struck me that his beard was a little whiter 
than it had been last year. I found the boys had 
grown taller and stouter. On the ground floor, where 
the divisions had already been made, there were little 
children of the first and lowest section, who did not 
want to enter the class-rooms, and who resisted like 
donkeys : it was necessary to drag them in by force, 
and some escaped from the benches ; others, when they 
saw their parents depart, began to ciy, and the parents 
had to go back and comfort and reprimand them, and 
the teachers were in despair. 

M} T little brother was placed in the class of Mis- 
tress Delcati : I was put with Master Perboni, up 
stairs on the first floor. At ten o'clock we were all in 
our classes : fifty-four of us ; only fifteen or sixteen of 
my companions of the second class, among them, 
Derossi, the one who always gets the first prize. The 
school seemed to me so small and gloomy when I 
thought of the woods and the mountains where I had 
passed the summer ! I thought again, too, of my 
master in the second class, who was so good, and who 
always smiled at us, and was so small that he seemed 
to be one of us, and I grieved that I should no longer 
see him there, with his tumbled red hair. Our teacher 
is tall ; he has no beard ; his hair is gray and long ; and 




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OUR MASTER. 3 

he has a perpendicular wrinkle on his forehead : he has 
a big voice, and he looks at ns fixedly, one after the 
other, as though he were reading our inmost thoughts ; 
and he never smiles. I said to myself : "This is my 
first day. There are nine months more. What toil, 
what monthly examinations, what fatigue ! " I really 
needed to see my mother when I came out, and I ran 
to kiss her hand. She said to me : — 

" Courage, Enrico ! we will study together." And I 
returned home content. But I no longer have mv 
■master, with his kind, merrv smile, and school does not 
seem pleasant to me as it did before. 



OUR MASTER. 

Tuesday, 18th. 

My new teacher pleases me also, since this morning. 
While we were coming in, and when he was already 
seated at his post, some one of his scholars of last year 
every now and then peeped in at the door to salute 
him ; they would present themselves and greet him : — 

" Good morning, Signor Teacher ! " " Good morning, 
Signor Perboni ! " Some entered, touched his hand, and 
ran awa} T . It was evident that they liked him, and 
would have liked to return to him. He responded, 
"Good morning, " and shook the hands which were 
extended to him, but he looked at no one ; at every 
greeting his smile remained serious, with that perpen- 
dicular wrinkle on his brow, with his face turned 
towards the window, and staring at the roof of the 
house opposite ; and instead of being cheered by these 
greetings, he seemed to suffer from them. Then he sur- 
veyed us attentively, one after the other. While he was 
dictating, he descended and walked among the benches. 



4 OUR MASTER. 

and, catching sight of a bey whose face was all red vith 
little pimples, he stopped dictating, took the lad's face 
between his hands and examined it ; then he asked him 
what was the matter with him, and laid his hand on 
his forehead, to feel if it was hot. Meanwhile, a 
boy behind him got up on the bench, and began to 
play the marionette. The teacher turned round sud- 
denly ; the boy resumed his seat at one dash, and re- 
mained tnere, with head hanging, in expectation of 
being punished. The master placed one hand on his 
head and said to him : — 

"Don't do so again." Nothing more. 

Then he returned to his table and finished the dicta- 
tion. When he had finished dictating, he looked at us 
a moment in silence ; then he said, very, very slowl}', 
with his big but kind voice : — 

"Listen. We have a year to pass together; let 
us see that we pass it well. Study and be good. I 
have no family ; you are my family. Last year I had 
still a mother ; she is dead. I am left alone. I have 
no one but vou in all the world ; I have no other affec- 
tion, no other thought than you : 3-011 must be my sons. 
I wish 3"ou well, and you must like me too. I do not 
wish to be obliged to punish any one. Show me that 
you are boys of heart : our school shall be a family, and 
you shall be my consolation and my pride. I do not 
ask you to give me a promise on your word of honor ; 
I am sure that in your hearts you have already 
answered me ' yes,' and I thank you." 

At that moment the beadle entered to announce the 
close of school. We all left our seats very, very 
quietly. The boy who had stood up on the bench 
approached the master, and said to him, in a trembling 
voice % — 



AN ACCIDENT. 5 

"Forgive me, Signor Master." 

The master kissed him on the brow, and said, " Go, 
my son." 

AN ACCIDENT. 

Friday, 2lst. 

. The year has begun with an accident. On 1113* way 
to school this morning I was repeating to my father 
these words of our teacher, when we perceived that the 
street was full of people, who were pressing close to 
the door of the schoolhouse. Suddenly my father 
said : " An accident ! The year is beginning badly ! " 

We entered with great difficulty. The big hall was 
crowded with parents and children, whom the teachers 
had not succeeded in drawing off into the class-rooms, 
and all were turning towards the director's room, and 
we heard the words, " Poor boy ! Poor Robetti ! " 

Over their heads, at the end of the room, we could 
see the helmet of a policeman, and the bald head of 
the director ; then a gentleman with a tall hat entered, 
and all said, " That is the doctor." My father in- 
quired of a master, "What has happened?" — "A 
wheel has passed over his foot," replied the latter. 
" His foot has been crushed," said another. He was a 
boy belonging to the second class, who, on his way to 
school through the Via Dora Grossa, seeing a little 
child of the lowest class, who had run away from its 
mother, fall down in the middle of the street, a few 
paces from an omnibus which was bearing down upon 
it, had hastened boldly forward, caught up the child, 
and placed it in safety ; but, as he had not withdrawn 
his own foot quickly enough, the wheel of the omnibus 
had passed over it. He is the son of a captain of 
artillery. While we were being told this, a woman 



g THE CALABRIAN BOY. 

entered the big hall, like a lunatic, and forced her way 
through the crowd : she was Robetti's mother, who had 
been sent for. Another woman hastened towards her, 
and flung her arms about her neck, with sobs : it was 
the mother of the babj* who had been saved. Both 
flew iuto the room, and a desperate cry made itself 
heard : "Oh my Giulio ! My child ! " 

At that moment a carriage stopped before the door, 
and a little later the director made his appearance, with 
the boy in his arms ; the latter leaned his head on his 
shoulder, with pallid face and closed eyes. Every one 
stood very still ; the sobs of the mother were audible. 
The director paused a moment, quite pale, and raised 
the boy up a little in his arms, in order to show him to 
the people. And then the masters, mistresses, parents, 
and boys all murmured together: "Bravo, Robetti ! 
Bravo, poor child!" and they threw kisses to him; 
the mistresses and boys who were near him kissed his 
hands and his arms. He opened his eyes and said, 
" My portfolio ! " The mother of the little boy whom 
he had saved showed it to him and said, amid her 
tears, " I will carry it for you, my dear little angel ; I 
will cany it for you." And in the meantime, the 
ji other of the wounded bov smiled, as she covered her 
face with her hands. They went out, placed the lad 
comfortably in the carriage, and the carriage drove 
away. Then we all entered school in silence. 



-»<>•- 



THE CALABRIAN BOY. 

Saturday, 22d. 
Yesterday afternoon, while the master was telling us 
the news of poor Robetti, who will have to go on 
crutches, the director entered with a new pupil, a lad 



THE CALABRIAN BOY, 7 

with a very brown lace, black hair, large black eyes, 
and thick eyebrows which met on his forehead : he was 
dressed entirely in dark clothes, with a black morocco 
belt round his waist. The director went away, after 
speaking a few words in the master's ear, leaving 
beside the latter the boy, who glanced about with his 
bio- black eves as though frightened. The master took 
him bv the hand, and said to the class: "You ought 
to be glad. To-dav there enters our school a little 
Italian born in Reggio, in Calabria, more than five hun- 
dred miles from here. Love your brother who has 
come from so far away. He was born in a glorious 
land, which has given illustrious men to Italy, and 
which now furnishes her with stout laborers and brave 
soldiers ; in one of the most beautiful lands of our 
country, where there are great forests, and great moun- 
tains, inhabited by people full of talent and courage. 
Treat him well, so that he shall not perceive that he is 
far away from the city in which he was born ; make 
him see that an Italian boy, in whatever Italian school 
he sets his foot, will find brothers there." So saying, 
he rose and pointed out on the wall map of Italy the 
spot where lay Reggio, in Calabria. Then he called 
loudly : — 

" Ernesto Derossi ! " — the boy who always has the 
first prize. Derossi rose. 

" Come here," said the master. Derossi left his 
bench and stepped up to the little table, facing the 
Calabrian. 

"As the head boy in the school/' said the master to 
him, "bestow the embrace of welcome on this new 
companion, in the name of the whole class — the em- 
brace of the sons of Piedmont to the son of Calabria." 

Derossi embraced the Calabrian, saying in his clear 



8 



MY COMRADES. 



voice, "Welcome!" and the other kissed him im« 
petuously on the cheeks. All clapped their hands. 
" Silence ! " cried the master ; " don't clap your hands 
in school ! " But it was evident that he was pleased. 
And the Calabrian was pleased also. The master 
assigned him a place, and accompanied him to the 
bench. Then he said again : — 

" Bear well in mind what I have said to you. In 
order that this case might occur, that a Calabrian boy 
should be as though in his own house at Turin, and 
that a boy from Turin should be at home in Calabria, 
our countrv fought for fifty vears, and thirty thousand 
Italians died. You must all respect and love each 
other ; but any one of you who should give offence to 
this comrade, because he was not born in our province, 
would render himself unworthy of ever again raising 
his eyes from the earth when he passes the tricolored 
flag." 

Hardly was the Calabrian seated in his place, when 
his neighbors presented him with pens and a print ; and 
another bo}', from the last bench, sent him a Swiss 
postage-stamp. 



-•<>•- 



MY COMRADES. 

Tuesday, 25th. 
The boy who sent the postage-stamp to the Ca- 
labrian is the one who pleases me best of all. His 
name is Garrone : he is the biggest boy in the class; 
he is about fourteen 3-ears old ; his head is large, 
his shoulders broad ; he is good, as one can see when 
he smiles ; but it seems as though he always thought 
like a man. I already know : any cf my comrades. 
Another one pleases me, too, by the name of Coretti. 



MY COMRADES. 9 

and he wears chocolate-colored trousers and a catskin 
cap : he is always jolly ; he is the son of a huckster 
of wood, who was a soldier in the war of 1866, in the 
squadron of Prince Umberto, and they say that he has 
three medals. There is little Nelli, a poor hunch- 
back, a weak boy, with a thin face. There is one who 
is very well dressed, who always wears fine Florentine 
plush, and is named Votini. On the bench in front of 
me there is a boy who is called "the little mason" 
because his father is a mason : his face is as round 
as an apple, with a nose like a small ball ; he possesses 
a special talent : he knows how to make a hare's face, 
and they all get him to make a hare's face, and then 
they laugh. He wears a little ragged cap, which he 
carries rolled up in his pocket like a handkerchief. 
Beside the little mason there sits Garoffi, a long, 
thin, silly fellow, with a nose and beak of a screech- 
owl, and very small eyes, who is always trafficking 
in little pens and images and match-boxes, and who 
writes the lesson on his nails, in order that he may read 
it on the sly. Then there is a young gentleman, Carlo 
Nobis, who seems very haughty ; and he is between 
two bo}'s who are sympathetic to me, — the son of a 
bladksmith-ironmonger, clad in a jacket which reaches 
to his knees, who is pale, as though from illness, who 
always has a frightened air, and who never laughs ; 
and one with red hair, who has a useless arm, and 
wears it suspended from his neck ; his father has gone 
away to America, and his mother goes about peddling 
pot-herbs. And there is another curious type, — nry 
neighbor on the left, — Stardi — small and thickset, with 
no neck, — a gruff fellow, who speaks to no one, and 
seems not to understand much, but stands attending to 
the master without winking, his brow corrugated with 



10 A GENEROUS DEED. 

wrinkles, and his teeth clenched ; and if he is ques- 
tioned when the master is speaking, he makes no reply 
the first and second times, and the third time he gives 
a kick : and beside him there is a bold, cunning face, 
belonging to a boy named Franti, who has already 
been expelled from another district. There are, in 
addition, two brothers who are dressed exactly alike, 
who resemble each other to a hair, and both of whom 
wear caps of Calabrian cut, with a peasant's plume. 
But handsomer than all the rest, the one who has the 
most talent, who will surely be the head this year also, 
is Derossi ; and the master, who has already perceived 
this, always questions him. But I like Precossi, the 
son of the blacksmith-ironmonger, the one with the 
long jacket, who seems sickly. They sa} T that his 
father beats him ; he is very timid, and even- time that 
he addresses or touches any one, he says, "Excuse 
me," and gazes at them with his kind, sad eyes. But 
Garrone is the biggest and the nicest. 



-+0+- 



A GENEROUS DEED. 

Wednesday, 26th. 
It was this very morning that Garrone let us know 
what he is like. When I entered the school a little 
late, because the mistress of the upper first had stopped 
me to inquire at what hour she could find me at home, 
the master had not yet arrived, and three or four boys 
were tormenting poor Crossi, the one with the red hair, 
who has a dead arm, and whose mother sells vegeta- 
bles. They were poking him with rulers, hitting him 
in the face with chestnut shells, and were making 
him out to be a cripple and a monster, by mimicking 



A GENEROUS DEED. H 

him, with his arm hanging from his neck. And he, 
alone on the end of the bench, and quite pale, began to 
be affected by it, gazing now at one and now at another 
with beseeching eyes, that they might leave him in 
peace. But the others mocked him worse than ever, 
and he began to tremble and to turn crimson with rage. 
All at once, Franti, the boy with the repulsive face, 
sprang upon a bench, and pretending that he was car- 
lwing a basket on each arm, he aped the mother of 
Crossi, when she used to come to wait for her son at 
the door ; for she is ill now. Many began to laugh 
loudly. Then Crossi lost his head, and seizing an ink- 
stand, he hurled it at the other's head with all his 
strength ; but Franti dodged, and the inkstand struck 
the master, who entered at the moment, full in the 
breast. 

All flew to their places, and became silent with 
terror. 

The master, quite pale, went to his table, and said 
in a constrained voice : — 

"Who did it?" 

No one replied. 

The master cried out once more, raising his voice 
still louder, "Who is it?" 

Then Garrone, moved to pity for poor Crossi, rose 
abruptly and said, resolutely, " It was I." 

The master looked at him, looked at the stupefied 
scholars ; then said in a tranquil voice, " It was not 
you." 

And, after a moment: "The culprit shall not be 
punished. Let him rise ! " 

Crossi rose and said, weeping, " They were strik- 
ing me and insulting me, and I lost my head, and 
threw it." 



12 MY SCHOOLMISTRESS OF THE UPPER FIRST. 

" Sit down," said the master. " Let those who 
provoked him rise." 

Four rose, and hung their heads. 

"You," said the master, "have insulted a compan- 
ion who had given you no provocation ; you have 
scoffed at an unfortunate lad, you have struck a 
weak person who could not defend himself. You 
have committed one of the basest, the most shameful 
acts with which a human creature can stain himself. 
Cowards ! " 

Having said this, he came down among; the benches, 
put his hand under Garrone's chin, as the latter stood 
with drooping head, and having made him raise it, he 
looked him straight in the eye, and said to him, "You 
are a noble soul." 

Garrone profited by the occasion to murmur some 
words, I know not what, in the ear of the master ; 
and he, turning towards the four culprits, said, 
abruptly, " I forgive you." 



MY SCHOOLMISTRESS OF THE UPPER FIRST. 

Thursday, 27th. 
My schoolmistress has kept her promise which she 
made, and came to-day just as I was on the point of 
going out with my mother to carry some linen to a poor 
woman recommended by the Gazette. It was a year 
since I had seen her in our house. We all made a 
great deal of her. She is just the same as ever, a little 
thing, with a green veil wound about her bonnet, care- 
lessly dressed, and with untidy hair, because she has 
not time to keep herself nice ; but with a little less 




A GENEROUS DEED. 



MY SCHOOLMISTRESS OF THE UPPER FIRST. 13 

color than last year, with some white hairs, and a 
constant cough. Mv mother said to her : — 

"And your health, my dear mistress? You do not 
take sufficient care of yourself ! " 

" It does not matter," the other replied, with her 
smile, at once cheerful and melancholy. 

" You speak too loud," my mother added ; " you ex- 
ert yourself too much with your boys." 

That is true ; her voice is always to be heard ; I 
remember how it was when I went to school to her ; she 
talked and talked all the time, so that the boys might 
not divert their attention, and she did not remain 
seated a moment. I felt quite sure that she would 
come, because she never forgets her pupils ; she re- 
members their names for years ; on the days of the 
monthly examination, she runs to ask the director 
what marks thev have won ; she waits for them at the 
entrance, and makes them show her their compositions, 
in order that she ma}' see what progress they have 
made ; and many still come from the gymnasium to see 
her, who already wear long trousers and a watch. To- 
day she had come back in a great state of excitement, 
from the picture-gallery, whither she had taken her 
boys, just as she had conducted them all to a museum 
every Thursday in years gone by, and explained every- 
thing to them. The poor mistress has grown still thin- 
ner than of old. But she is always brisk, and always 
becomes animated when she speaks of her school. She 
wanted to have a peep at the bed on which she had 
seen me lying very ill two years ago, and which is now 
occupied by my brother ; she gazed at it for a while, 
and could not speak. She was obliged to go away soon 
to visit a boy belonging to her class, the son of a sad- 
dler, who is ill with the measles ; and she had besides 



X4 IN AN ATTIC. 

a package of sheets to correct, a whole evening's work, 
and she has still a private lesson in arithmetic to give 
to the mistress of a shop before nightfall. 

" Well, Enrico," she said to me as she was going, 
4 'are yon still fond of your schoolmistress, now that 
you solve difficult problems and write long composi- 
tions?" She kissed me, and called up once more from 
the foot of the stairs : " You are not to forget me, vou 
know, Enrico ! " Oh, my kind teacher, never, never 
will I forget thee ! Even when I grow up I will re- 
member thee and will go to seek thee among thy boys ; 
and eveiy time that I pass near a school and hear the 
voice of a schoolmistress, I shall think that I hear thy 
voice, #nd I shall recall the two years that I passed in 
thy school, where I learned so many things, where I 
so often saw thee ill and weary, but always earnest, al- 
ways indulgent, in despair when any one acquired a 
bad trick in the writing-fingers, trembling when the ex- 
aminers interrogated us, happy when we made a good 
appearance, always kind and loving as a mother. 
Never, never shall I forget thee, my teacher ! 



IN AN ATTIC. 

Friday, 28th. 

Yesterday afternoon I went with my mother and my 
sister Sylvia, to carry the linen to the poor woman rec- 
ommended by the newspaper : I carried the bundle ; 
Sylvia had the paper with the initials of the name and 
the address. We climbed to the very roof of a tall 
house, to a long corridor with many doors. My mother 
knocked at the last ; it was opened by a woman who 
Was still young, blond and thin, and it instantly struck 



IN AN ATTIC. 15 

me that I had seen her many times before, with that 
very same blue kerchief that she wore on her head. 

'"Are you the person of whom the newspaper says 
so and so? " asked my mother. 

" Yes, signora, I am." 

"Well, we have brought vou a little linen." Then 
the woman began to thank us and bless us, and could 
not make enough of it. Meanwhile I espied in one 
corner of the bare, dark room, a boy kneeling in front 
of a chair, with his back turned towards us, who ap- 
peared to be writing ; and he really was writing, with 
his paper on the chair and his inkstand on the floor. 
How did he manage to write thus in the dark? While 
I was saying this to myself, I suddenly recognized the 
red hair and the coarse jacket of Crossi, the son of the 
vegetable-pedler, the boy with the useless arm. 1 
told my mother softly, while the woman was putting 
away the things. 

" Hush ! " replied my mother ; " perhaps he will feel 
ashamed to see you giving alms to his mother : don't 
speak to him." 

But at that moment Crossi turned round ; I was em- 
barrassed ; he smiled, and then my mother gave me a 
push, so that I should run to him and embrace him. 
I did embrace him : he rose and took me b}' the hand. 

"Here I am," his mother was sa}ing in the mean- 
time to my mother, " alone with this boy, my husband 
in America these seven years, and I sick in addition, 
so that I can no longer make my rounds with my vege- 
tables, and earn a- few cents. We have not even a 
table left for my poor Luigino to do his work on. 
When there was a bench down at the door, he could, 
at least, write on the bench ; but that has been taken 
away. He has not even a little light so that he can 



16 THE SCHOOL. 

study without ruining his eyes. And it is a mercy that 
I can send him to school, since the city provides him 
with books and copy-books. Poor Luigino, who would 
be so glad to study ! Unhappy woman, that I am!" 

My mother gave her all that she had in her purse, 
kissed the boy, and almost wept as we went out. And 
she had good cause to say to me : ' ' Look at that poor 
boy ; see how he is forced to work, when you have 
every comfort, and yet study seems hard to you ! Ah ! 
Enrico, there is more merit in the work which he does 
in one day, than in your work for a year. It is to 
such that the first prizes should be given ! " 



-»<>♦- 



THE SCHOOL. 

Friday, 28th. 
Yes, study comes hard to you, my dear Enrico, as youi 
mother says : I do not yet see you set out for school with 
that resolute mind and that smiling face which I should 
like. You are still intractable. But listen ; reflect a little ! 
What a miserable, despicable thing your day would be il 
you did not go to school ! At the end of a week you would 
beg with clasped hands that you might return there, for you 
would be eaten up with weariness and shame ; disgusted with 
your sports and with your existence. Everybody, everybody 
studies now, my child. Think of the workmen who go to 
school in the evening after having toiled all the day ; think 
of the women, of the girls of the people, who go to school 
on Sunday, after having worked all the week; of the sol' 
diers who turn to their books and copy-books when they 
return exhausted from their drill ! Think of the dumb and 
of the boys who are blind, but who study, nevertheless ; and 
last of all, think of the prisoners, who also learn to read and 
write. Reflect in the morning, when you set out, that at 
that very moment, in your own city, thirty thousand other 



THE LITTLE PATRIOT OF PADUA. 17 

boys are going like yourself, to shut themselves up in a 
room for three hours and study. Think of the innumerable 
boys who, at nearly this precise hour, are going to school in 
all countries. Behold them with your imagination, going, 
going, through the lanes of quiet villages ; through the streets 
of the noisy towns, along the shores of rivers and lakes; 
here beneath a burning sun ; there amid fogs, in boats, in 
countries which are intersected with canals ; on horseback 
on the far-reaching plains ; in sledges over the snow ; through 
valleys and over hills ; across forests and torrents, over the 
solitary paths of mountains ; alone, in couples, in groups, in 
long files, all with their books under their arms, clad in a 
thousand ways, speaking a thousand tongues, from the most 
remote schools in Russia. Almost lost in the ice to the fur- 
thermost schools of Arabia, shaded by palm-trees, millions 
and millions, all going to learn the same things, in a hun- 
dred varied forms. Imagine this vast, vast throng of boys 
of a hundred races, this immense movement of which you 
form a part, and think, if this movement were to cease, 
humanity would fall back into barbarism; this movement is 
the progress, the hope, the glory of the world. Courage, 
then, little soldier of the immense army. Your books are 
your arms, your class is your squadron, the field of battle is 
the whole earth, and the victory is human civilization. Be 

not a cowardly soldier, my Enrico. 

Thy Father. 



THE LITTLE PATRIOT OF PADUA. 

(The Monthly Story.) 

Saturday, 29th. 

I will not be a cowardly soldier, no ; but I should be 

much more willing to go to school if the master would 

tell us a story every day, like the one he told us this 

morning. " Every month," said he, " I shall tell you 

one ; I shall give it to you in writing, and it will always 

be the tale of a fine and noble deed performed by a 



18 THE LITTLE PATRIOT OF PADUA. 

bo}'. This one is called The Little Patriot of Padua, 
Here it is. A French steamer set out from Barce- 
lona, a city in Spain, for Genoa ; there were on board 
Frenchmen, Italians, Spaniards, and Swiss. Among 
the rest was a lad of eleven, poorly clad, and alone, 
who always held himself aloof, like a wild animal, and 
stared at all with gloomy eyes. He had good reasons 
for looking at every one with forbidding eyes. Two 
years previous to this time his parents, peasants in the 
neighborhood of Padua, had sold him to a company of 
mountebanks, who, after the} 7 had taught him how to 
perform tricks, by dint of blows and kicks and starv- 
ing, had carried him all over France and Spain, beat- 
ing him continually and never giving him enough to 
eat. On his arrival in Barcelona, being no longer able 
to endure ill treatment and hunger, and being reduced 
to a pitiable condition, he had fled from his slave-mas- 
ter and had betaken himself for protection to the Ital- 
ian consul, who, moved with compassion, had placed 
him on board of this steamer, and had given him a letter 
to the treasurer of Genoa, who was to send the boy 
back to his parents — to the parents who had sold him 
like a beast. The poor lad was lacerated and weak. 
He had been assigned to the second-class cabin. 
Every one stared at him ; some questioned him, but he 
made no reply, and seemed to hate and despise every 
one, to such an extent had privation and affliction 
saddened and irritated him. Nevertheless, three trav- 
ellers, by dint of persisting in their questions, suc- 
ceeded in making him unloose his tongue ; and in a few 
rough words, a mixture of Venetian, French, and 
Spanish, he related his story. These three travellers 
were not Italians, but they understood him ; and partly 
out of compassion, partly because they were excited 



THE LITTLE PATRIOT OF PADUA. 19 

with wine, the}' gave him soldi, jesting with him and 
urging him on to tell them other tilings ; and as several 
ladies entered the saloon at the moment, they gave him 
some more money for the purpose of making a show, 
and cried : ' Take this ! Take this, too ! ' as they 
made the money rattle on the table. 

"The boy pocketed it all, thanking them in a low 
voice, with his surly mien, but with a look that was 
for the first time smiling and affectionate. Then he 
climbed into his berth, drew the curtain, and la} T quiet, 
thinking over his affairs. With this monev he would 

CD v 

be able to purchase some good food on board, after 
having suffered for lack of bread for two vears ; he 

CD *- ' 

could buy a jacket as soon as he landed in Genoa, 
after having gone about clad in rags for two years ; 
and he could also, by carrying it home, insure for 
himself from his father and mother a more humane 
reception than would have fallen to his lot if he had 
arrived with empty pockets. This money was a little 
fortune for him ; and he was taking comfort out of 
this thought behind the curtain of his berth, while the 
three travellers chatted away, as they sat round the 
dining -table in the second-class saloon. They were 
drinking and discussing their travels and the countries 
which they had seen ; and from one topic to another 
they began to discuss Italv. One of them began to 

%J CD *• O 

complain of the inns, another of the railways, and 
then, growing warmer, they all began to speak evil 
of eveiything. Oue would have preferred a trip in 
Lapland ; another declared that he had found nothing 
but swindlers and brigands in Italy ; the third said 
that Italian officials do not know how to read. 

"'It's an ignorant nation,' repeated the first. 'A 
filth v nation,' added the second. ' Ro — ' exclaimed 



20 THE CHIMNEY-SWEEP. 

the third, meaning to say ' robbers' ; but "he was not 
allowed to finish the word : a tempest of soldi and 
half-lire descended upon their heads and shoulders, 
and leaped upon the table and the floor with a demoni- 
acal noise. All three sprang up in a rage, looked up, 
and received another handful of coppers in their faces. 
" 'Take back your soldi !' said the lad, disdainfully, 
thrusting his head between the curtains of his berth ; 
' I do not accept alms from those who insult my 
country. 



> >> 



-*o*- 



THE CHIMNEY-SWEEP. 

November 1st. 

Yesterday afternoon I went to the girls' school build- 
ing, near ours, to give the story of the boy from 
Padua to Silvia's teacher, who wished to read it. 
There are seven hundred girls there. Just as I ar- 
rived, they began to come out, all greatly rejoiced at 
the holiday of All Saints and All Souls ; and here is a 
beautiful thing that I saw : Opposite the door of the 
school, on the other side of the street, stood a very 
small chimney-sweep, his face entirely black, with his 
sack and scraper, with one arm resting against the 
wall, and his head supported on his arm, weeping 
copiously and sobbing. Two or three of the girls of 
the second grade approached him and said, "What is 
the matter, that you weep like this ? " But he made no 
reply, and went on crying. 

" Come, tell us what is the matter with you and why 
you are crying," the girls repeated. And then he 
raised his face from his arm, — a baby face, — and 
said through his tears that he had been to several 
houses to sweep the chimneys, and had earned thirty 



THE CHIMNEY-SWEEP. 21 

soldi, and that he had lost them, that they had slipped 
through a hole in his pocket, — and he showed the 
bole, — and he did not dare to return home without 
the money. 

;t The master will beat me," he said, sobbing; and 
again dropped his head upon his arm, like one in 
despair. The children stood and stared at him very 
seriously. In the meantime, other girls, large and 
small, poor girls and girls of the upper classes, with 
their portfolios under their arms, had come up ; and 
one large girl, who had a blue feather in her hat, pulled 
two soldi from her pocket, and said : — 

"I have only two soldi; let us make a collec- 
tion." 

"I have two soldi, also," said another girl, dressed 
in red ; " we shall certainly find thirty soldi among the 
whole of us " ; and then they began to call out : — 

" Amalia ! Luigia ! Annina ! — A soldo. Who has 
anj T soldi ? Bring your soldi here ! " 

Several had soldi to buy flowers or copy-books, and 
they brought them ; some of the smaller girls gave 
centesimi ; the one with the blue feather collected all, 
and counted them in a loud voice : — 

"Eight, ten, fifteen!" But more was needed. 
Then one larger than any of them, who seemed to 
be an assistant mistress, made her appearance, and 
gave half a lira ; and all made much of her. Five 
soldi were still lacking. 

" The girls of the fourth class are coming ; they will 
have it," said one girl. The members of the fourth 
class came, and the soldi showered down. All hur- 
ried forward eagerly ; and it was beautiful to see that 
poor chimney-sweep in the midst of all those many- 
colored dresses, of all that whirl of feathers, ribbons, 



22 THE DAY OF THE DEAD. 

and curls. The thirty soldi were already obtained, 
and more kept pouring in ; and the very smallest who 
had no money made their way among the big girls, 
and offered their bunches of flowers, for the sake of 
giving something. All at once the portress made her 
appearance, screaming : — 

" The Signora Directress ! " The girls made their 
escape in all directions, like a flock of sparrows ; and 
then the little chimney-sweep was visible, alone, in the 
middle of the street, wiping his eyes in perfect con- 
tent, with his hands full of money, and the button- 
holes of his jacket, his pockets, his hat, were full of 
flowers ; and there were even flowers on the ground at 
his feet. 



-+o*- 



THE DAY OF THE DEAD. 

(All- Souls-Day.) 

November 2d. 
This day is consecrated to the commemoration of the 
dead. Do you know, Enrico, that all you boys should, on 
this day, devote a thought to those who are dead ? To those 
who have died for you, — for boys and little children. How 
many have died, and how many are dying continually! 
Have you ever reflected how many fathers have worn out 
their lives in toil ? how many mothers have descended to the 
grave before their time, exhausted by the privations to which 
they have condemned themselves for the sake of sustaining 
their children ? Do you know how many men have planted 
a knife in their hearts in despair at beholding their children 
in misery? how many women have drowned themselves or 
have died of sorrow, or have gone mad, through having lost 
a child ? Think of all these dead on this day, Enrico. Think 
of how many schoolmistresses have died young, have pined 
away through the fatigues of the school, through love of the 
children, from whom they had not the heart to tear them- 



THE* DAY OF THE DEAD. 23 

selves away : think of the doctors who have perkhed oj 
contagious diseases, having courageously sacrificed them- 
selves to cure the children ; think of all those who in 
shipwrecks, in conflagrations, in famines, in moments of 
supreme danger, have yielded to infancy the last morsel of 
bread, the last place of safety, the last rope of escape from 
the flames, to expire content with their sacrifice, since they 
preserved the life of a little innocent. Such dead as these 
are innumerable, Enrico ; every graveyard contains hun- 
dreds of these sainted beings, who, if they could rise for a 
moment from their graves, would cry the name of a child to 
whom they sacrificed the pleasures of youth, the peace of old 
age, their affections, their intelligence, their life : wives of 
twenty, men in the flower of their strength, octogenarians, 
youths, — heroic and obscure martyrs of infancy, — so grand 
and so noble, that the earth does not produce as many flow r ers 
as should strew their graves. To such a degree are ye loved, 
O children ! Think to-day on those dead with gratitude, 
and you will be kinder and more affectionate to all those 
who love you, and who toil for you, my dear, fortunate son, 
who, on the day of the dead, have, as yet, no one to grieve 

for. 

Thy Mother. 



24 MY FRIEND GARRGNE. 



NOVEMBER. 



MY FRIEND GARRONE. 

Friday, 4th. 
There had been but two clays of vacation, yet it 
peemed to me as though I had been a long time 
without seeing Garrone. The more I know him, the 
better I like him ; and so it is with all the rest, except 
with the overbearing, who have nothing to say to him, 
because he does not permit them to exhibit their oppres- 
sion. Every time that a big boy raises his hand 
against a little one, the little one shouts, " Garrone !" 
and the big one stops striking him. His father is an 
engine-driver on the railway ; he has begun school late, 
because he was ill for two years. He is the tallest 
and the strongest of the class ; he lifts a bench with 
one hand ; he is always eating ; and he is good. What- 
ever he is asked for, — a pencil, rubber, paper, or pen- 
knife, — he lends or gives it ; and he neither talks nor 
laughs in school : he alwa} T s sits perfectly motionless 
on a bench that is too narrow for him, with his spine 
curved forward, and his big head between his shoulders ; 
and when I look at him, he smiles at me with his eyes 
half closed, as much as to say, " Well, Enrico, are we 
friends?" He makes me laugh, because, tall and 
broad as he is, he has a jacket, trousers, and sleeves 
which are too small for him, and too short ; a cap which 
will not stay on his head ; a threadbare cloak ; coarse 



-yy FRIEND QAKRONE. 25 

shoes ; and a necktie which is always twisted into a cord. 
Dear Garrone ! it needs but one glance in thv face to 
inspire love for thee. All the little boys would like to 
be near his bench. He knows arithmetic well. He 
carries his books bound together with a strap of red 
leather. He has a knife, with a mother-of-pearl han- 
dle, which he found in the field for military manoeu- 
vres, last year, and one day he cut his finger to the 
bone ; but no one in school envies him it, and no one 
breathes a word about it at home, for fear of alarming 
his parents. He lets us say anything to him in jest, 
and he never takes it ill ; but woe to any one who says 
to him, " That is not true," when he affirms a thing: 
then fire flashes from his eyes, and he hammers down 
blows enough to split the bench. Saturday morning he 
gave a soldo to one of the upper first class, who was 
crying in the middle of the street, because his own had 
been taken from him, and he could not buy his copy- 
book. For the last three days he has been working 
over a letter of eight pages, with pen ornaments on 
the margins, for the saint's day of his mother, who 
often comes to get him, and who, like himself, is tall 
and large and sympathetic. The master is always 
glancing at him, and every time that he passes near 
him he taps him on the neck with his hand, as though 
he were a good, peaceable young bull. I am very fond 
of him. I am happy when I press his big hand, which 
seems to be the hand of a man, in mine. I am 
almost certain that he would risk his life to save that 
of a comrade ; that he would allow himself to be killed 
in his defence, so clearly can I read his eyes ; and al- 
though he alwa}'s seems to be grumbling with that big 
voice of his, one feels that it is a voice that comes from 
a gentle heart. 



26 THE CHARCOAL-MAN AND THE GENTLEMAN. 

THE CHARCOAL-MAN AND THE GENTLEMAN. 

Monday, 7th. 

Garrone would certainly never have uttered the 
words which Carlo Nobis spoke yesterday morning to 
Betti. Carlo Nobis is proud, because his father is a 
great gentleman ; a tall gentleman, with a black beard, 
and very serious, who accompanies his son to school 
nearly every day. Yesterday morning Nobis quar- 
relled with Betti, one of the smallest boys, and the son 
of a charcoal-man, and not knowing what retort to 
make, because he was in the wrong, said to him vehe- 
mently, "Your father is a tattered beggar!" Betti 
reddened up to his very hair, and said nothing, but the 
tears came to his eyes ; and when he returned home, 
he repeated the words to his father ; so the charcoal- 
dealer, a little man, who was black all over, made his 
appearance at the afternoon session, leading his boy 
by the hand, in order to complain to the master. While 
he was making his complaint, and every one was silent, 
the father of Nobis, who was taking off his son's coat 
at the entrance, as usual, entered on hearing his name 
pronounced, and demanded an explanation. 

"This workman has come," said the master, "to 
complain that 3'our son Carlo said to his boy, c Your 
father is a tattered beggar.' " 

Nobis's father frowned and reddened slisrhtlv. Then 
he asked his son, "Did you say that?" 

His son, who was standing in the middle of the 
school, with his head hanging, in front of little Betti, 
made no reply. 

Then his father grasped him by one arm and pushed 
him forward, facing Betti, so that they nearly touched, 
and said to him, " Beg his pardon.' 



5> 




THE CHARCOAL-MAN AND THE GENTLEMAN. 



THE CHARCOAL-MAN AND THE GENTLEMAN. 27 

The charcoal-man tried to interpose, saying, " No, 
no ! " but the gentleman paid no heed to him, and re- 
peated to his son, " Beg his pardon. Repeat my 
words. ' I beg your pardon for the insulting., foolish, 
and ignoble words which I uttered against your father, 
whose hand ury father would feel himself honored to 
press.' " 

The charcoal-man made a resolute gesture, as though 
to say, " I will not allow it." The gentleman did not 
second him, and his son said slowly, in a veiy thread of 
a voice, without raising his eyes from the ground, "I 
beg your pardon — for the insulting — foolish — igno- 
ble — words which I uttered against your father, 
whose hand my father — would feel himself honored — 
to press." 

Then the gentleman offered his hand to the charcoal- 
man, who shook it vigorously, and then, with a sudden 
push, he thrust his son into the arms of Carlo Nobis. 

"Do me the favor to place them next each other," 
said the gentleman to the master. The master put 
Betti on Nobis' s bench. When they were seated, the 
father of Nobis bowed and went awa}'. 

The charcoal-man remained standing there in thought 
for several moments, gazing at the two boys side by 
side ; then he approached the bench, and fixed upon 
Nobis a look expressive of affection and regret, as 
though he were desirous of saying something to him, 
but he did not say anything ; he stretched out his hand 
to bestow a caress upon him, but he did not dare, and 
merely stroked his brow with his large fingers. Then 
he made his way to the door, and turning round for 
one last look, he disappeared. 

" Fix what you have just seen firmly in your minds, 
bo} T s," said the master; "this is the finest lesson of 
the year." 



28 MY BROTHER'S SCHOOLMISTRESS. 



MY BROTHER'S SCHOOLMISTRESS. 

Thursday, 10th. 
The son of the charcoal-man had been a pupil of 
that schoolmistress Delcati who had come to see my 
brother when he was ill, and who had made us laugh 
by telling us how, two years ago, the mother of this 
boy had brought to her house a big apronful of char- 
coal, out of gratitude for her having given the medal 
to her son ; and the poor woman had persisted, and 
had not been willing to carry the coal home again, and 
had wept when she was obliged to go away with her 
apron quite full. And she told us, also, of another 
good woman, who had brought her a very heavy bunch 
of flowers, inside of which there was a little hoard of 
soldi. We had been greatlv diverted in listening to 
her, and so nry brother had swallowed his medicine, 
which he had not been willing to do before. How 
much patience is necessary with those boys of the 
lower first, all toothless, like old men, who cannot pro- 
nounce their r's and s's ; and one coughs, and another 
has the nosebleed, and another loses his shoes under 
the bench, and another bellows because he has pricked 
himself with his pen, and another one cries because he 
has bought copy-book No. 2 instead of No. 1. Fifty 
in a class, who know nothing, with those flabby little 
hands, and all of them must be taught to write ; they 
oarry in their pockets bits of licorice, buttons, phial 
,?orks, pounded brick, — all sorts of little things, and 
the teacher has to search them ; but they conceal these 
objects even in their shoes. And they are not atten- 
tive : a flv enters through the window, and throws 
them all into confusion ; and in summer they bring 



MY BROTHER'S SCHOOLMISTRESS. 29 

grass into school, and horn-bugs, which fly round in 
circles or fall into the inkstand, and then streak the 
copy-books all over with ink. The schoolmistress has 
to play mother to all of them, to help them dress them- 
selves, bandage up their pricked fingers, pick up their 
caps when they drop them, watch to see that they do 
not exchange coats, and that thev do not indulge in 
cat-calls and shrieks. Poor schoolmistresses ! And 
then the mothers comp to complain : " How comes it, 
signorina, thctt my boy has lost his pen ? How does it 
happen that mine learns nothing? Why is not my boy 
mentioned honorably, when he knows so much ? Why 
don't you have that nail which tore my Piero's trou- 
sers, taken out of the bench?" 

Sometimes my brother's teacher gets into a rage 
with the boys ; and when she can resist no longer, she 
bites her finger, to keep herself from dealing a blow ; 
she loses patience, and then she repents, and caresses 
the child whom she has scolded ; she sends a little 
rogue out of school, and then swallows her tears, and 
flies into a rage with parents who make the little ones 
fast by way of punishment. Schoolmistress Delcati 
is young and tall, well-dressed, brown of complexion, 
and restless ; she does everything vivaciously, as though 
on springs, is affected by a mere trifle, and at such 
times speaks with great tenderness. 

"• But the children become attached to you, surely," 
my mother said to her. 

it 

" Many do," she replied ; " but at the end of the year 
the majority of them pay no further heed to us. When 
they are with the masters, they are almost ashamed of 
having been with us — with a woman teacher. After 
two years of cares, after having loved a child so much, 
it makes us feel sad to part from him ; but we say to 



30 MY MOTHER. 

ourselves, ' Oh, I am sure of that one ; he is fond of 
me.' But the vacation over, he comes back to school. 
I run to meet him ; ' Oh, my child, my child ! ' And 
he turns his head awa}\" Here the teacher interrupted 
herself. "But you will not do so, little one?" she 
said, raising her humid eyes, and kissing my brother. 
"You will not turn aside your head, will you? You 
will not deny your poor friend ? " 



-*o*- 



MY MOTHER. 

Thursday, November 10th. 
In the presence of your brother's teacher you failed in 
respect to your mother ! Let this never happen again, my 
Enrico, never again ! Your irreverent word pierced my 
heart like a point of steel. I thought of your mother when, 
years ago, she bent the whole of one night over your little 
bed, measuring your breathing, weeping blood in her an- 
guish, and with her teeth chattering with terror, because she 
thought that she had lost you, and I feared that she would 
lose her reason ; and at this thought I felt a sentiment of 
horror at you. You, to offend your mother ! your mother, 
who would give a year of happiness to spare you one hour of 
pain, who would beg for you, who would allow herself to be 
killed to save your life ! Listen, Enrico. Fix this thought 
well in your mind. Reflect that you are destined to experi' 
ence many terrible days in the course of your life : the most 
terrible will be that on which you lose your mother. A 
thousand times, Enrico, after you are a man, strong, and in- 
ured to all fates, you will invoke her, oppressed with an in- 
tense desire to hear her voice, if but for a moment, and to see 
once more her open arms, into which you can throw yourself 
sobbing, like a poor child bereft of comfort and protection. 
How vou will then recall everv bitterness that you have 
caused her, and with what remorse you will pay for all, un- 
happy wretch ! Hope for no peace in your life, if you have 



MY COMPANION CORETTI. 31 

caused your mother grief. You will repent, you will beg her 
forgiveness, you will venerate her memory — in vain; con- 
science will give you no rest; that sweet and gentle image 
will always wear for you an expression of sadness and of re- 
proae 1 ' which will put your soul to torture. Oh, Enrico, be- 
ware ; this is the most sacred of human affections ; unhappy 
he who tramples it under foot. The assassin who respects 
his mother has still something honest and noble in his heart; 
the most glorious of men who grieves and offends her is but a 
vile creature. Never again let a harsh word issue from your 
lips, for the being who gave you life. And if one should 
ever escape you, let it not be the fear of your father, but let 
it be the impulse of your soul, which casts you at her feet, 
to beseech her that she will cancel from your brow, with the 
kiss of forgiveness, the stain of ingratitude. I love you, my 
son ; you are the dearest hope of my life ; but I would rather 
see you dead than ungrateful to your mother. Go away, for 
a little space ; offer me no more of your caresses ; I should 
not be able to return them from my heart. 



MY COMPANION CORETTI. 

Sunday, ]?th. 
My father forgave me ; but I remained rather sad ; 
and then my mother sent me, with the porter's big 
son, to take a walk on the Corso. Half-way down the 
Corso, as we were passing a eart which was standing 
in front of a shop, I heard some one call me by name : 
I turned round ; it was Coretti, my schoolmate, with 
chocolate-colored clothes and his catskin cap, all ill a 
perspiration, but merry, with a big load of wood on 
his shoulders. A man who was standing in the cart 
was handing him an armful of wood at a time, which 
he took and carried into his father's shop, where he 
piled it up in the. greatest haste. 



32 MY COMPANION CORETTL 

" What are you doing, Coretti?" I asked him. 

"Don't you see?' : he answered, reaching out his 
arms to receive the load; "I am reviewing my 
lesson." 

I laughed ; but he seemed to be serious, and, having 
grasped the armful of wood, he began to repeat as he 
ran, " The conjugation of the verb — consists in its vari- 
ations according to number — according to number and 
person — " 

And then, throwing down the wood and piling it, 
4 ' according to the time — according to the time to which 
the action refers." 

And turning to the cart for another armful, " ac- 
cording to the mode in ivhich the action is enunciated." 

It was our grammar lesson for the following day. 
"What would you have me do?" he said. "I am 
putting my time to use. My father has gone off with 
the man on business ; my mother is ill. It falls to me 
to do the unloading. In the meantime, I am going 
over my Grammar lesson. It is a difficult lesson to- 
day ; I cannot succeed in getting it into my head. — 
My father said that he would be here at seven o'clock 
to give you your money," he said to the man with the 
cart. 

The cart drove off. " Come into the shop a minute," 
Coretti said to me. I went in. It was a large apart- 
ment, full of piles of wood and fagots, with a steel- 
yard on one side. 

" This is a bus}' da}', I can assure you," resumed 
Coretti ; " I have to do my work by fits and starts. I 
was writing my phrases, when some customers came 
in. I went to writing again, and behold, that cart 
arrived. I have already made two trips to the wood 
market in the Piazza Yenezia this morning. My legs 



MY COMPANION CORETTI. 33 

are so tired that I cannot stand, and my hands are all 
swollen. I should be in a pretty pickle if I had to 
draw ! " And as he spoke he set about sweeping up 
the dry leaves and the straw which covered the brick- 
paved floor. 

" But where do you do your work, Coretti?" I 
inquired. 

" Not here, certainly," he replied. " Come and 
see " ; and he led me into a little room behind the 
shop, which serves as a kitchen and dining-room, with 
a table in one corner, on which there were books ana 
copy-books, and work which had been begun. "Here 
it is," he said ; " I left the second answer unfinished : 
with which shoes are made, and belts. Now I will ado, 
and valises." And, taking his pen, he began to write 
in his fine hand. 

" Is there any one here?" sounded a call from the 
shop at that moment. It was a woman who had come 
to buy some little fagots. 

" Here I am !" replied Coretti ; and he sprang out, 
weighed the fagots, took the money, ran to a corner to 
enter the sale in a shabby old account-book, and re- 
turned to his work, saying, " Let's see if I can finish 
that sentence." And he wrote, travelling-bags, and 
knapsacks for soldiers. " Oh, my poor coffee is boiling 
over !" he exclaimed, and ran to the stove to take the 
coffee-pot from the fire. "It is coffee for mamma," 
he said; "I had to learn how to make it. Wait 
a while, and we will carry it to her ; you'll see what 
pleasure it will give her. She has been in bed a whole 
week. — Conjugation of the verb ! I always scald my 
fingers with this coffee-pot. What is there that I can 
add after the soldiers' knapsacks? Something more 
is needed, and I can think of nothing. Come to 
mamma." 



34 MY COMPANION CORETTL 

He opened a door, and we entered another small 
room : there Coretti's mother lay in a big bed, with a 
white kerchief wound round her head. 

"Ah, brave little master!" said the woman to me; 
" yon have come to visit the sick, have you not? " 

Meanwhile, Coretti was arranging the pillows be- 
hind his mother's back, readjusting the bedclothes, 
brightening up the fire, and driving the cat off the 
chest of drawers. 

"Do you want anything else, mamma?" he asked, 
as he took the cup from her. "Have you taken the 
two spoonfuls of syrup? When it is all gone, I will 
make a trip to the apothecary's. The wood is un- 
loaded. At four o'clock I will put the meat on the 
stove, as you told me ; and when the butter- woman 
passes, I will give her those eight soldi. Everything 
will go on well ; so don't give it a thought." 

"Thanks, my son ! " replied the woman. "Go, my 
poor boy ! — he thinks of everything." 

She insisted that I should take a lump of sugar ; and 
then Coretti showed me a little picture, — the photo- 
graph portrait of his father dressed as a soldier, with 
the medal for bravery which he had won in 1866, 
in the troop of Prince Umberto : he had the same face 
as his son, with the same vivacious eyes and his merry 
smile. 

We went back to the kitchen. " I have found the 
thing," said Coretti ; and he added on his copy-book, 
horse-trajypmgs are also made of it. " The rest I will 
do this evening; I shall sit up later. How happy you 
are, to have time to stud}' and to go to walk, too ! " 
And still gay and active, he re-entered the shop, and 
began to place pieces of wood on the horse and to saw 
them, saying: "This is gymnastics ; it is quite differ- 



THE HEAD-MASTER. 35 

ent from the throw your arms forwards. I want rrry 
father to find all this wood sawed when he gets home ; 
how glad he will be ! The worst part of it is that after 
sawing I make T's and L's which look like snakes, so 
the teacher says. What am I to do? I will tell him 
that I have to move my arms about. The important 
thing is to have mamma get well quickly. She is 
better to-day, thank Heaven ! I will study my gram- 
mar to-morrow morning at cock-crow. Oh, here's the 
cart with logs ! To work ! " 

A small cart laden with lo2;s halted in front of the 
shop. Coretti ran out to speak to the man, then re- 
turned : "I cannot keep your company any longer 
now," he said; "farewell until to-morrow. You did 
right to come and hunt me up. A pleasant walk to 
you ! happy fellow ! " 

And pressing my hand, he ran to take the first log, 
and began once more to trot back and forth between 
the cart and the shop, with a face as fresh ss a rose 
beneath his catskin cap, and so alert ihat it was a 
pleasure to see him. 

" Happy fellow ! " he had said to me. Ah, no, Cor- 
etti, no ; you are the happier, because you study and 
work too ; because you are of use to your father and 
your mother ; because you are better — a hundred 
times better — and more courageous than I, my dear 
schoolmate. 



THE HEAD-MASTER. 

Friday, 18th. 
Coretti was pleased this morning, because his master 
of the second class, Coatti, a big man, with a huge head 
of curly hair, a great black beard, big dark eyes, and 



36 THE HEAD-MASTER. 

a voice like a cannon, had come to assist in the work 
of the monthly examination. He is always threatening 
the boys that he will break them in pieces and cany 
them by the nape of the neck to the quaestor, and he 
makes all sorts of frightful faces ; but he never pun- 
ishes any one, but always smiles the while behind his 
beard, so that no one can see it. There are eight mas- 
ters in all, including Coatti, and a little, beardless 
assistant, who looks like a boy. There is one master 
of the fourth class, who is lame and always wrapped up 
in a big woollen scarf, and who is always suffering from 
pains which he contracted when he was a teacher in the 
country, in a damp school, where the walls were dripping 
with moisture. Another of the teachers of the fourth 
is old and perfectly white-haired, and has been a 
teaclier of the blind. There is one well-dressed master, 
with eye-glasses, and a blond mustache, who is called 
the little lawyer, because, while he was teaching, he 
studied law and took his diploma ; and he is also making 
a book to teach how to write letters. On the other 
hand, the one who teaches gymnastics is of a soldierly 
type, and was with Garibaldi, and has on his neck a 
jcar from a sabre wound received at the battle of 
Milazzo. Then there is the head-master, who is tall 
and bald, and wears gold spectacles, with a gray beard 
that flows down upon his breast ; he dresses entirely in 
black, and is always buttoned up to the chin. He is so 
kind to the bovs, that when thev enter the director's 
room, all in a tremble, because they have been sum- 
moned to receive a reproof, he does not scold them, but 
takes them by the hand, and tells them so many reasons 
why they ought not to behave so, and why they should 
be sorry, and promise to be good, and he speaks in such 
a kind manner, and in so gentle a voice, that they all 



THE HEAD-MASTER. 37 

come out with red eves, more confused than if thev had 
been punished. Poor head-master ! he is always the 
first at his post in the morning, waiting for the scholars 
and lending an ear to the parents ; and when the other 
masters are already on their wav home, he is sti21 hov- 
ering about the school, and looking out that the boys do 
not get under the carriage- wheels, or hang about the 
streets to stand on their heads, or fill their bags with 
sand or stones ; and the moment he makes his appear- 
ance at a corner, so tall and black, flocks of boys 
scamper off in all directions, abandoning their games of 
coppers and marbles, and he threatens them from afar 
with his forefinger, with his sad and loving air. No 
one has ever seen him smile, my mother says, since the 
death of his son, who was a volunteer in the army : he 
always keeps the latter' s portrait before his eyes, on a 
little table ii the head-master's room. He wanted to go 
away after this misfortune ; he prepared liis application 
for retirement to the Municipal Council and kept it 
always on his table, putting off sending it from day to 
day, because it grieved him to leave the boys. But the 
other day he seemed undecided ; and my father, who 
was in the director's room with him, was just saying to 
him, " What a shame it is that vou are o-oins; awav, 
Signor Director ! " when a man entered for the purpose 
of inscribing the name of a bov who was to be trans- 
f erred from another schoolhouse to ours, because he 
had changed his residence. At the sight of this bov. 
the head-master made a gesture of astonishment, 
gazed at him for a while, gazed at the portrait that lie 
keeps on his little table, and then stared at the boy 
again, as he drew him between his knees, and made him 
hold up his head. This boy resembled his dead son. 
The head-master said, "It is all right," wrote down 



38 THE SOLDIERS. 

his name, dismissed the father and son, and remained 
absorbed in thought. u What a pity that you are going 
away ! " repeated my father. And then the head- 
master took up his application for retirement, tore it in 
two, and said, " I shall remain." 



-•<>♦- 



THE SOLDIERS. 

Tuesday, 22d. 

His son had been a volunteer in the army when he 
died : this is the reason why the head-master always 
goes to the Corso to see the soldiers pass, when we 
come out of school. Yesterda}' a regiment of infantry 
was passing, and fifty boys began to dance around the 
band, sino-ino- and beating time with their rulers on their 
bags and portfolios. We were standing in a group on 
the sidewalk, watching them : Garrone, squeezed into 
his clothes, which were too tight for him, was biting at 
a large piece of bread ; Votini, the well-dressed boy, 
who always wears Florence plush ; Precossi, the son of 
the blacksmith, with his father's jacket; and the Cala- 
brian ; and the "little mason"; and Crossi, with his 
red head ; and Franti, with his bold face ; and Robetti, 
too, the son of the artillery captain, the boy who saved 
the child from the omnibus, and who now walks on 
crutches. Franti burst into a derisive laugh, in the 
face of a soldier who was limping. But all at once he 
felt a man's hand on his shoulder : he turned round ; it 
was the head-master. "Take care," said the master 
to him ; " jeering at a soldier when he is in the ranks, 
when he can neither avenge himself nor reply, is like 
insulting a man who is bound : it is baseness." 

Franti disappeared. The soldiers were marching by 
fours, all perspiring and covered with dust, and their 



THE SOLDIERS. 39 

guns were gleaming in the sun. The head-master 
said : — 

44 You ought to feel kindly towards soldiers, boys. 
The}' are our defenders, who would go to be killed for 
our sakes, if a foreign armv were to menace our country 
to-morrow. Thev are bovs too ; thev are not many 
years older than you ; and they, too, go to school ; and 
there are poor men and gentlemen among them, just as 
there are among }*ou, and they come from every part of 
Italv. See if you cannot recognize them by their faces : 
Sicilians are passing, and Sardinians, and Neapolitans, 
and Lombards. This is an old regiment, one of those 
which fought in 1848. They are not the same soldiers, 
but the flag is still the same. How many have already 
died for our country around that banner twenty years 
before you were born ! " 

" Here it is ! " said Garrone. And in fact, not far 
off, the flag was visible, advancing, above the heads of 
the soldiers. 

"Do one thing, my sons," said the head-master; 
1 'make your scholar's salute, with your hand to your 
brow, when the tricolor passes." 

The flag, borne by an officer, passed before us, all 
tattered and faded, and with the medals attached to the 
staff. We put our hands to our foreheads, all together. 
The officer looked at us with a smile, and returned our 
salute with his hand. 

" Bravi, boys!" said some one behind us. We 
turned to look ; it was an old man who wore in his but- 
ton-hole the blue ribbon of the Crimean campaign — a 
pensioned officer. "Bravi ! " he said ; " you have done 
a fine deed." 

In the meantime, the band of the regiment had made 
a turn at the end of the Corso, surrounded by a throng 



40 NELLI' 8 PROTECTOR. 

of boys, and a hundred merry shouts accompanied the 
blasts of the trumpets, like a war-song. 

* ' Bravi ! " repeated the old officer, as he gazed upon 
us; "he who respects the flag when he is little will 
know how to defend it when he is grown up." 



NELLI'S PROTECTOR. 

Wednesday, 23d. 

Nelli, too, poor little hunchback ! was looking at the 
soldiers 3-esterday, but with an air as though he were 
thinking, "I can never be a soldier!" He is good, 
and he studies; but he is so puny and wan, and he 
breathes with difficulty. He always wears a long apron 
of shining black cloth. His mother is a little blond 
woman who dresses in black, and alwa} T s comes to get 
him at the end of school, so that he may not come out 
in the confusion with the others, and she caresses him. 
At first many of the boys ridiculed him, and thumped 
him on the back with their bags, because he is so un- 
fortunate as to be a hunchback ; but he never offered 
an} T resistance, and never said anything to his mother, 
in order not to give her the pain of knowing that her 
son was the laughing-stock of his companions : they 
derided him, and he held his peace and wept, with his 
head laid against the bench. 

But one morning Garrone jumped up and said, 
"The first person who touches Nelli will get such a 
box on the ear from me that he will spin round three 
times ! " 

Franti paid no attention to him ; the box on the ear 
was delivered : the fellow spun round three times, and 
from that time forth no one ever touched Nelli again. 



NELLPS PROTECTOR. 41 

The master placed Garrone near him, on the same 
bench. They have become friends. Nelli has grown 
verv fond of Garrone. As soon as he enters the 
schoolroom he looks to see if Garrone is there. He 
never goes away without saying, "Good b}', Gar- 
rone," and Garrone does the same with him. 

When Nelli drops a pen or a book under the bench, 
Garrone stoops quickly, to prevent his stooping and 
tiring himself, and hands him his book or his pen, and 
then he helps him to put his things in his bag and to 
twist himself into his coat. For this Nelli loves him, 
and gazes at him constantly ; and when the master 
praises Garrone he is pleased, as though he had been 
praised himself. Nelli must at last have told his 
mother all about the ridicule of the early days, and 
what they made him suffer ; and about the comrade 
who defended him, and how he had grown fond of the 
latter ; for this is what happened this morning. The 
master had sent me to cany to the director, half an 
hour before the close of school, a programme of the 
lesson, and I entered the office at the same moment 
with a small blond woman dressed in black, the 
mother of Nelli, who said, " Signor Director, is there 
in the class with my son a bov named Garrone?" 

" Yes," replied the head-master. 

"Will you have the o-oodness to let him come here 
for a moment, as I have a word to say to him ? " 

The head-master called the beadle and sent him to 
the school, and after a minute Garrone appeared on the 
threshold, with his big, close-cropped head, in perfect 
amazement. No sooner did she catch sight of him 
than the woman flew to meet him, threw her arms on 
his shoulders, and kissed him a great many timec on 
the head, saying : — 



42 THE HEAD OF THE CLASS. 

"You are Garrone, the friend of my little son, the 
protector of my poor child ; it is you, my dear, brave 
boy ; it is you ! " Then she searched hastily in all her 
pockets, and in her purse, and finding nothing, she de- 
tached a chain from her neck, with a small cross, and 
put it on Garrone's neck, underneath his necktie, and 
said to him : — 

" Take it ! wear it in memory of me, my dear boy ; 
in memory of Nelli's mother, who thanks and blesses 
you." 



THE HEAD OF THE CLASS. 

Friday, 25th. 

Garrone attracts the love of all ; Derossi, the admi- 
ration. He has taken the first medal ; he will always 
be the first, and this year also ; no one can compete 
with him ; all recognize his superiority in all points. 
He is the first in arithmetic, in grammar, in composi- 
tion, in drawing ; he understands everything on the 
instant ; he has a marvellous memory ; he succeeds in 
everything without effort ; it seems as though study 
were play to him. The teacher said to him yester- 
day : — 

' ' You have received great gifts from God ; all you 
have to do is not to squander them." He is, moreover, 
tall and handsome, with a great crown of golden curls ; 
he is so nimble that he can leap over a bench b} T rest- 
ing one hand on it ; and he already understands fenc- 
ing. He is twelve years old, and the son of a merchant ; 
he is always dressed in blue, with gilt buttons ; he is 
alwa}'s lively, merry, gracious to all, and helps all he 
can in examinations ; and no one has ever dared to do 
anything disagreeable to him, or to say a rough word 



THE HEM) OF THE CLASS. 43 

to him. Nobis and Franti alone look askance at him, 
and Votini darts envy from his eyes ; but lift does not 
even perceive it. All smile at him, and take his hand 
or his arm, when he goes about, in his graceful way, to 
collect the work. He gives away illustrated papers, 
drawings, everything that is given him at home ; he 
has made a little geographical chart of Calabria for the 
Calabrian lad ; and he gives eveiything with a smile, 
without paying any heed to it, like a grand gentleman, 
and without favoritism for any one. It is impossible 
not to envy him, not to feel smaller than he in every- 
thing. Ah ! I, too, envy him, like Votini. And I feel 
a bitterness, almost a certain scorn, for him, sometimes, 
when I am striving to accomplish my work at home, 
and think that he has already finished his, at this same 
moment, extremely well, and without fatigue. But 
then, when I return to school, and behold him so hand- 
some, so smiling and triumphant, and hear how frankly 
and confidently he replies to the master's questions, 
and how courteous he is, and how the others all like 
him, then all bitterness, all scorn, departs from my 
heart, and I am ashamed of having experienced these 
sentiments. I should like to be alwa^ys near him at 
such times ; I should like to be able to do all my 
school tasks with him : his presence, his voice, inspire 
me with courage, with a will to work, with cheerful- 
ness and pleasure. 

The teacher has given him the monthly story, which 
will be read to-morrow, to copy, — The Little Vidette of 
Lombardy. He copied it this morning, and was so 
much affected by that heroic deed, that his face was all 
aflame, his eyes humid, and his lips trembling ; and I 
gazed at him : how handsome and noble he was ! With 
what pleasure would I not have said frankly to his 



44 THE LITTLE VIDETTE OF LOMBARD Y. 

face: "Derossi, you are worth more than I in every- 
thing ! You are a man in comparison with me I I 
respect you and I admire you ! " 



-•<>♦- 



THE LITTLE VIDETTE OF LOMBARDY. 

(Monthly Story.) 

Saturday, 26th. 

In 1859, during the war for the liberation of Lom- 
bardy, a few days after the battle of Solfarino and San 
Martino, won by the French and Italians over the Aus- 
trians, on a beautiful morning in the month of June, a 
little band of cavahy of Saluzzo was proceeding at a 
slow pace along a retired path, in the direction of the 
enemy, and exploring the country attentively. The 
troop was commanded by an officer and a sergeant, 
and all were gazing into the distance ahead of them, 
with eyes fixed, silent, and prepared at any moment to 
see the uniforms of the enemy's advance-posts gleam 
white before them through the trees. In this order they 
arrived at. a rustic cabin, surrounded by ash-trees, in 
front of which stood a solitary boy, about twelve years 
old, who was removing the bark from a small branch 
with a knife, in order to make himself a stick of it. 
From one window of the little house floated a large tri- 
colored flag ; there was no one inside : the peasants 
had fled, after hanging out the flag, for fear of the 
Austrians. As soon as the lad saw the cavalry, he 
flung aside his stick and raised his cap. He was a 
handsome boy, with a bold face and large blue eyes 
and long golden hair : he was in his shirt-sleeves and 
his breast was bare. 

" What are you doing here?" the officer asked him, 



THE LITTLE VlDETTE OF LOMJL.RDY. 45 

reining in his horse. "Why did yon not flee with 
your family ? " 

"I have no family," replied the boy. "I am a 
foundling. I do a little work for everybody. I re- 
mained here to see the war." 

' ' Have you seen an} 7 Austrians pass ? " 

" No ; not for these three days." 

The officer paused a while in thought ; then he 
leaped from his horse, and leaving his soldiers there, 
with their faces turned towards the foe, he entered the 
house and mounted to the roof. The Ijouse was 
low ; from the roof only a small tract of country was 
visible. "It will be necessary to climb the trees," 
said the officer, and descended. Just in front of the 
garden plot rose a very lofty and slender ash- tree, 
which was rocking its crest in the azure. The officer 
stood a brief space in thought, gazing now at the tree, 
and again at the soldiers ; then, all of a sudden, he 
asked the lad : — 

" Is your sight good, you monkey?" 

"Mine?" replied the boy. "I can spy a young 
sparrow a mile away." 

" Are you good for a climb to the top of this tree?" 

"To the top of this tree? I? I'll be up there in 
half a minute." 

"And will you be able to tell me what you see up 
there — if there are Austrian soldiers in that direction, 
clouds of dust, gleaming guns, horses?" 

"Certainly I shall." 

" What do you demand for this service?" 

"What do I demand?" said the fad, smiling. 
"Nothing. A fine thing, indeed! And then — if it 
were for the Germans, I wouldn't do it on any terms \ 
but for our men ! I am a Lombard ! " 

" Good ! Then up with you." 



46 TBK LITTLE VIDETTE OF LOMBARDT. 

" Wait a moment, until I take off my shoes." 

He pulled off his shoes, tightened the girth of his 
trousers, flung his cap on the grass, and clasped the 
trunk of the ash. 

"Take care, now!" exclaimed the officer, making 
a movement to hold him back, as though seized with a 
sudden terror. 

The boy turned to look at him, with his handsome 
blue eyes, as though interrogating him. 

" No matter," said the officer ; " up with you." 

Up went the lad like a cat. 

"Keep watch ahead!" shouted the officer to the 
soldiers. 

In a few moments the boy was at the top of the tree, 
twined around the trunk, with his legs among the 
leaves, but his body displayed to view, and the sun 
beating down on his blond head, which seemed to be 
of gold. The officer could hardly see him, so small 
did he seem up there. 

4 ' Look straight ahead and far away ! " shouted the 
officer. 

The lad, in order to see better, removed his right 
hand from the tree, and shaded his eyes with it. 

" "What do you see? " asked the officer. 

The boy inclined his head towards him, and making 
a speaking-trumpet of his hand, replied, " Two men 
on horseback, on the white road." 

"At what distance from here?" 

"Half a mile." 

" Are they moving?" 

" They are standing still." 

"What else do you see?" asked the officer, after a 
momentary silence. " Look to the right." The boy 
looked to the ?)ght. 



THE LITTLE VIDETTE OF LOMBARDT. 47 

Then he said : " Near the cemetery, among the trees, 
there is something glittering. It seems to be bayonets." 

" Do you see men? " 

" No. They must be concealed in the grain." 

At that moment a sharp whiz of a bullet passed 
high up in the air, and died away in the distance, be- 
hind the house. 

" Come down, my lad ! " shouted the officer. "They 
have seen you. I don't want anything more. Come 
down." 

" I'm not afraid," replied the boy. 

" Come down ! " repeated the officer. " What else 
do you see to the left?" 

"To the left?" 

"Yes, to the left." 

The lad turned his head to the left : at that mo- 
ment, another whistle, more acute and lower than the 
first, cut the air. The boy was thoroughly aroused. 
" Deuce take them ! " he exclaimed. " They actually 
are aiming at me ! " The bullet had passed at a short 
distance from him. 

" Down ! " shouted the officer, imperious and irri- 
tated. 

" I'll come down presently," replied the boy. " But 
the tree shelters me. Don't fear. You want to 
know what there is on the left ? " 

"Yes, on the left," answered the officer; "but 
come down." 

" On the left," shouted the lad, thrusting his body 
out in that direction, " yonder, where there is a chapel, I 
think I see — " 

A third fierce whistle passed through the air, and 
almost instantaneously the boy was seen to descend, 



48 THE LITTLE VIDETTE OF LOMBARD Y. 

catching for a moment at the trunk and branches, and 
then falling headlong with arms outspread. 

" Curse it ! " exclaimed the officer, running up. 

The boy landed on the ground, upon his back, and 
remained stretched out there, w.'th arms outspread and 
supine ; a stream of blood flowed from his breast, on 
the left. The sergeant and two soldiers leaped from 
their horses ; the officer bent over and opened his shirt : 
the ball had entered his left lung. "He is dead!" 
exclaimed the officer. 

"No, he still lives !" replied the sergeant. — "Ah, 
poor boy ! brave boy ! " cried the officer. " Cour- 
age, courage ! " But while he was saying " courage," 
he was pressing his handkerchief on the wound. The 
boy rolled his ej'es wildly and dropped his head back. 
He was dead. The officer turned pale and stood for a 
moment gazing at him ; then he laid him down care- 
fully on his cloak upon the grass ; then rose and stood 
looking at him ; the sergeant and two soldiers also 
stood motionless, gazing upon him : the rest were fac- 
ing in the direction of the enemy. 

"Poor boy!" repeated the officer. "Poor, brave 
boy ! " 

Then he approached the house, removed the tri- 
color from the window, and spread it in guise of a 
funeral pall over the little dead boy, leaving his face 
uncovered. The sergeant collected the dead bov's 
shoes, cap, his little stick, and his knife, and placed 
them beside him. 

They stood for a few moments longer in silence ; 
then the officer turned to the sergeant and said to him, 
"We will send the ambulance for him: he died as a 
soldier ; the soldiers shall bury him." Having said 
this, he wafted a kiss with his hand to the dead boy 1 



THE LITTLE VIDETTE OF LOMBARD Y. 49 

and shouted " To horse ! " All sprang into the sad- 
dle, the troop drew together and resumed its road. 

And a few hours later the little dead boy received 
the honors of war. 

At sunset the whole line of the Italian advance-posts 
marched forward towards the foe, and along the same 
road which had been traversed in the morning by the 
detachment of cavalry, there proceeded, in two files, 
a heavy battalion of sharpshooters, who, a few days 
before, had valiantly watered the hill of San Martino 
with blood. The news of the boy's death had already 
spread among the soldiers before they left the encamp- 
ment. The path, flanked by a rivulet, ran a few paces 
distant from the house. When the first officers of the 
battalion caught sight of the little body stretched at the 
foot of the ash-tree and covered with the tricolored 
banner, they made the salute to it with their swords, 
and one of them bent over the bank of the streamlet, 
which was covered with flowers at that spot, plucked a 
couple of blossoms and threw them on it. Then all the 
sharpshooters, as they passed, plucked flowers and threw 
them on the body. In a few minutes the boy was cov- 
ered with flowers, and officers and soldiers all saluted 
him as they passed by : "Bravo, little Lombard!" 
hi Farewell, my lad ! " "I salute thee, gold locks ! " 
' ' Hurrah ! " " Glory ! " " Farewell ! " One officer 
tossed him his medal for valor ; another went and 
kissed his brow. And flowers continued to rain down 
on his bare feet, on his blood-stained breast, on his 
golden head. And there he la} T asleep on the grass, 
enveloped in his flag, with a white and almost smiling 
face, poor boy ! as though he heard these salutes and 
was glad that he had given his life for his Lombardy. 



50 THE POOR. 



THE POOR. 

Tuesday, 29th. 
To give one's life for one's country as the Lombard boy 
did, is a great virtue ; but you must not neglect the lesser 
virtues, my son. This morning as you walked in front of 
me, when we were returning from school, you passed near 
a poor woman who was holding between her knees a thin, 
pale child, and who asked alms of you. You looked at her 
and gave her nothing, and yet you had some coppers in your 
pocket. Listen, my son. Do not accustom yourself to pass 
indifferently before misery which stretches out its hand to 
you, and far less before a mother who asks a copper for her 
child. Reflect that the child may be hungry ; think of the 
agony of that poor woman. Picture to yourself the sob of 
despair of your mother, if she were some day forced to say, 
" Enrico, I cannot give you any bread even to-day ! " When 
I give a soldo to a beggar, and he says to me, " God preserve 
your health, and the health of all belonging to you !" you 
cannot understand the sweetness which these words produce 
in my heart, the gratitude that I feel for that poor man. It 
seems to me certain that such a good wish must keep one in 
good health for a long time, and I return home content, and 
think, " Oh, that poor man has returned to me very much 
more than I gave him ! " Well, let me sometimes feel that 
good wish called forth, merited by you ; draw a soldo from 
your little purse now and then, and let it fall into the hand 
of a blind man without means of subsistence, of a mother 
without bread, of a child without a mother. The poor love 
the alms of boys, because it does not humiliate them, and 
because boys, who stand in need of everything, resemble 
themselves : you see that there are always poor people 
around the schoolhouses. The alms of a man is an act of 
charity ; but that of a child is at one and the same time an 
act of charity and a caress — do you understand ? It is as 
though a soldo and a flower fell from your hand together. 
Reflect that you lack nothing, and that they lack everything; 



THE POOR. , 51 

that -while you aspire to be happy, they are content simply 
with not dying. Reflect, that it is a horror, in the midst of 
so many palaces, along the streets thronged with carriages, 
and children clad in velvet, that there should be women and 
children who have nothing to eat. To have nothing to eat ! 
O God ! Boys like you, as good as you, as intelligent as you, 
who, in the midst of a great city, have nothing to eat, like 
wild beasts lost in a desert! Oh, never again, Enrico, pass a 
mother who is begging, without placing a soldo in her 
hand! 

Thy Father. 



52 THE TRADER. 



DECEMBEE. 



■*o*- 



THE TRADER. 

ThjU'jday, 1st. 
My father wishes me to have some one of my com- 
panions come to the house every holiday, or that I 
should go to see one of them, in order that I may 
gradually become friends with all of them. Sunda}' I 
shall go to walk with Votini, the well-dressed boy who 
is always polishing himself up, and who is so envious 
of Derossi. In the meantime, Garoffi came to the 
house to-day, — that long, lank boy, with the nose like 
an owl's beak, and small, knavish eyes, which seem to 
be ferreting everywhere. He is the son of a grocer; 
he is an eccentric fellow ; he is alwavs counting the 
soldi that he has in his pocket ; he reckons them on 
his fingers very, very rapidly, and goes through some 
process of multiplication without any tables ; and he 
hoards his money, and already has a book in the 
Scholars' Savings Bank. He never spends a soldo, I 
am positive ; and if he drops a centesimo under the 
benches, he is capable of hunting for it for a week. 
He does as magpies do, so Derossi says. Eveiything 
that he finds — worn-out pens, postage-stamps that 
have been used, pins, candle-ends — he picks up. He 
has been collecting postage-stamps for more than two 
years now ; and he already has hundreds of them 
from everv countrv, in a large album, which he wil] 



THE TRADER. 53 

s«ll to a bookseller later on, when he has got it quite 
foil. Meanwhile, the bookseller gives him his cop}'- 
books gratis, because he takes a great many boys to 
She shop. In school, he is alwa3's bartering ; he effects 
•sales of little articles every day, and lotteries and 
exchanges ; then he regrets the exchange, and wants 
his stuff back ; he buys for two and gets rid of it for 
four ; he plays at pitch-penny, and never loses ; he 
sells old newspapers over again to the tobacconist ; 
and he keeps a little blank-book, in which he sets 
down his transactions, which is completely filled with 
sums and subtractions. At school he studies nothing 
but arithmetic ; and if he desires the medal, it is only 
that he may have a free entrance into the puppet-show. 
But he pleases me ; he amuses me. We played at 
keeping a market, with weights and scales. He knows 
the exact price of everything ; he understands weigh- 
ing, and makes handsome paper horns, like shop- 
keepers, with great expedition. He declares that as 
soon as he has finished school he shall set up in busi- 
ness — in a new business which he has invented him- 
self. He was very much pleased when I gave him 
some foreign postage-stamps ; and he informed me 
exactly how each one sold for collections. My father 
pretended to be reading the newspaper ; but he listened 
to him, and was greatly diverted. His pockets are 
bulging, full of his little wares ; and he covers them 
up with a long black cloak, and always appears 
thoughtful and preoccupied with business, like a mer- 
chant. But the thing that he has nearest his heart 
is his collection of postage-stamps. This is his treas- 
ure ; and lie always speaks of it as though he were 
going to get a fortune out of it. His companions 
accuse him of miserliness and usury. I do not know : 



54 VANITY. 

I like him ; be teaches me a great many things ; h«» 
seems a man to me. Coretti, the son of the wood- 
merchant, says that he would not give him his postage- 
stamps to save his mother's life. My father does not 
believe it. 

" Wait a little before you condemn him," he said to 
me ; "he has this passion, but he has heart as well." 



VANITY. 

Monday, 5th. 

Yesterday I went to take a walk alono- the Rivoli 
road with Votini and his father. As we were passing 
through the Via Dora Grossa we saw Stardi, the boy 
who kicks disturbers, standing stiffly in front of the 
window of a book-shop, with his eyes fixed on a 
geographical map ; and no one knows how long he had 
been there, because he studies even in the street. He 
barely returned our salute, the rude fellow ! Votini 
was well dressed — even too much so. He had on 
morocco boots embroidered in red, an embroidered 
coat, small silken frogs, a white beaver hat, and a 
watch ; and he strutted. But his vanity was destined 
to come to a bad end on this occasion. After having 
run a tolerably long distance up the Rivoli road, leav- 
ing his father, who was walking slowly, a long way in 
the rear, we halted at a stone seat, beside a modestly 
clad boy, who appeared to be weary, and was meditat- 
ing, with drooping head. A man, who must have beer 
his father, was walking to and fro under the trees, 
reading the newspaper. We sat down. Votini placed 
himself between me and the boy. All at once he 
recollected that he was well dressed, and wanted to 
make his neighbor admire and envy him. 



VANITY. 55 

He lifted one foot, and said to me, " Have you seen 
my officer's boots?" He said this in order to make 
the other boy look at them ; but the latter paid no 
attention to them. 

Then he dropped his foot, and showed me his silk 
frogs, glancing askance at the boy the while, and said 
that these frogs did not please him, and that he wanted 
to have them changed to silver buttons ; but the boy 
did not look at the frogs either. 

Then Votini fell to twirling his very handsome white 
castor hat on the tip of his forefinger ; but the boy — 
and it seemed as though he did it on purpose — did 
not deign even a glance at the hat. 

Votini, who began to become irritated, drew out his 
watch, opened it, and showed me the wheels ; but the 
boy did not turn his head. "Is it of silver gilt?" I 
asked him. 

" No," he replied ; "it is gold." 

" But not entirely of gold," I said ; " there must be 
some silver with it." 

"Why, no! " he retorted; and, in order to compel 
the boy to look, he held the watch before his face, and 
said to him, " Say, look here! isn't it true that it is 
entirely of gold ? " 

The boy replied curtly, " I don't know." 

" Oh ! oh ! " exclaimed Votini, full of wrath, "what 
pride ! " 

As he was saying this, his father came up, and 
heard him ; he looked steadily at the lad for a moment, 
then said sharply to his son, "Hold your tongue!" 
and, bending down to his ear, he added, "he is blind ! " 

Votini sprang to his feet, with a shudder, and stared 
the boy in the face : the latter's eyeballs were glassy, 
without expression, without sight. 



56 THE FIRST SNOW-STORM. 

Votini stood humbled, — speechless, — with his eyes 
fixed on the ground. At length he stammered, "I 
am sorry ; I did not know." 

But the blind boy, who had understood it all, said, 
with a kind and melancholy smile, " Oh, it's no 
matter ! " 

Well, he is vain ; but Votini has not at all a bad 
heart. He never laughed again during the whole of 
the walk. 



THE FIRST SNOW-STORM. 

Saturday, 10th. 
Farewell, walks to Rivoli ! Here is the beautiful 
friend of the boys ! Here is the first snow ! Ever 
since yesterday evening it has been falling in thick 
flakes as large as gillyflowers. It was a pleasure this 
morning at school to see it beat against the panes and 
pile up on the window-sills ; even the master watched 
it, and rubbed his hands ; and all were glad, when 
they thought of making snowballs, and of the ice 
which will come later, and of the hearth at home. 
Stardi, entirely absorbed in his lessons, and with his 
fists pressed to his temples, was the only one who paid 
no attention to it. What beauty, what a celebration 
there was when we left school ! All danced down the 
streets, shouting and tossing their arms, catching up 
handfuls of snow, and dashing about in it, like poodles 
in water. The umbrellas of the parents, who were 
waiting for them outside, were all white ; the police- 
man's helmet was white ; all our satchels were white 
in a few moments. Every one appeared to be beside 
himself with jo} T — even Precossi, the son of the 
blacksmith, that pale boy who never laughs ; and 



THE FIRST SNOW-STORM. 57 

Robetti, the lad who saved the little child from the 
omnibus, poor fellow ! jumped about on his crutches. 
The Calabrian, who had never touched snow, made 
himself a little ball of it, and began to eat it, as though 
it had been a peach ; Crossi, the son of the vegetable- 
vendor, filled his satchel with it ; and the little mason 
made us burst with laughter, when my father invited 
him to come to our house to-morrow. He had his 
mouth full of snow, and, not dariug either to spit it 
out or to swallow it, he stood there choking and star- 
ing at us, and made no answer. Even the school- 
mistress came out of school on a run, laughing ; and 
my mistress of the first upper class, poor little thing ! 
ran through the drizzling snow, covering her face with 
her green veil, and coughiug ; and meanwhile, hun- 
dreds of girls from the neighboring schoolhouse 
passed by, screaming and frolicking on that white 
carpet; and the masters and the beadles and the 
policemen shouted, "Home! home!" swallowing 
flakes of snow, and whitening their moustaches and 
beards. But they, too, laughed at this wild hilarity 
of the scholars, as they celebrated the winter. 

You hail the arrival of winter ; but there are boys 
who have neither clothes nor shoes nor fire. There are 
thousands of them, who descend to their villages, over 
a long road, carrying in hands bleeding from chilblains a 
bit of wood to warm the schoolroom. There are hundreds 
of schools almost buried in the snow, bare and dismal as 
caves, where the boys suffocate with smoke or chatter their 
teeth with cold as they gaze in terror at the white flakes 
which descend unceasingly, which pile up without cessation 
on their distant cabins threatened by avalanches. You 
rejoice in the winter, boys. Think of the thousands of 
creatures to whom winter brings misery and death. 

Thy Father. 



58 THE LITTLE MASON. 



THE LITTLE MASON. 

Sunday, 11th. 

The little mason carae to-day, in a hunting-jacket, 
entirely dressed in the cast-off clothes of his father, 
which were still white with lime and plaster. My 
father was even more anxious than I that he should 
come. How much pleasure he gives us ! No sooner 
had he entered than he pulled off his ragged cap, which 
was all soaked with snow, and thrust it into one of his 
pockets ; then he advanced with his listless gait, like 
a wearv workman, turning his face, as smooth as an 
apple, with its ball-like nose, from side to side ; and 
when he entered the dining-room, he cast a glance 
round at the furniture and fixed his eyes on a small 
picture of Rigoletto, a hunchbacked jester, and made 
a " hare's face." 

It is impossible to refrain from laughing when one 
sees him make that hare's face. We went to playing 
with bits of wood : he possesses an extraordinary skill 
at making towers and bridges, which seem to stand as 
though by a miracle, and he works at it quite seriously, 
with the patience of a man. Between one tower and 
another he told me about his family : they live in a 
garret ; his father goes to the evening school to learn 
to read, and his mother is a washerwoman. And they 
must love him, of course, for he is clad like a poor 
bo}', but he is well protected from the cold, with neatly 
mended clothes, and with his necktie nicely tied by his* 
mother's hands. His father, he told me, is a fine man, 
— a giant, who has trouble in getting through doors \ 
but he is kind, and always calls his son "hare's face": 
the son, on the contrary, is rather small. 



THE LITTLE MASON. 59 

At four o'clock we lunched on bread and goat's-milk 
cheese, as we sat on the sofa ; and when we rose, I do 
not know why, but my father did not wish me to brush 
off the back, which the little mason had spotted with 
white, from his jacket: he restrained my hand, and 
then rubbed it off himself on the sly. While we were 
playing, the little mason lost a button from his hunting- 
jacket, and m}- mother sewed it on, and he grew quite 
red, and began to watch her sew, in perfect amazement 
and confusion, holding his breath the while. Then we 
gave him some albums of caricatures to look at, and 
he, without being aware of it himself, imitated the gri- 
maces of the faces there so well, that even nry father 
laughed. He was so much pleased when he went 
away that he forgot to put on his tattered cap ; and 
when we reached the landing, he made a hare's face at 
me once more in sign of his gratitude. His name is 
Antonio Rabucco, and he is eight years and eight 
months old. 

Do you know, my son, why I did not wish you to wipe off 
the sofa ? Because to wipe it while your companion was look- 
ing on would have been almost the same as administering a 
reproof to him for having soiled it. And this was not well, 
in the first place, because he did not do it intentionally, and in 
the next, because he did it with the clothes of his father, who 
had covered them with plaster while at work ; and what is 
contracted while at work is not dirt; it is dust, lime, varnish, 
whatever you like, but it is not dirt. Labor does not engen- 
der dirt. Never say of a laborer coming from his work, " He 
is filthy." You should say, " He has on his garments the 
signs, the traces, of his toil." Remember this. And you 
must love the little mason, first, because he is your comrade ; 
and next, because he is the son of a workingman. 

Thy Father. 



60 A SNOWBALL. 



A SNOWBALL. 

Friday, 16th. 

It is still snow, snow. A shameful thing happened 
in connection with the snow this morning when we 
came out of school. A flock of boys had no sooner 
got into the Corso than they began to throw balls of 
that watery snow which makes missiles as solid and 
heavy as stones. Many persons were passing along 
the sidewalks. A gentleman called out, " Stop that, 
you little rascals ! " and just at that moment a sharp 
cry rose from another part of the street, and we saw 
an old man who had lost his hat and was staggering 
about, covering his face with his hands, and beside him 
a bo}' who was shouting, " Help ! help ! " 

People instantly ran from all directions. He had 
been struck in the eye with a ball. All the boys dis- 
persed, fleeing like arrows. I was standing in front 
of the bookseller's shop, into which my father had 
gone, and I saw several of my companions approaching 
at a run, mingling with others near me, and pretending 
to be engaged in staring at the windows : there was 
Garrone, with his penny roll in his pocket, as usual ; 
Coretti, the little mason ; and Garoffi, the boy with the 
postage-stamps. In the meantime a crowd had formed 
around the old man, and a policeman and others were 
running to and fro, threatening and demanding : " Whc 
was it? Who did it? Was it you? Tell me who did 
it ! " and they looked at the boys' hands to see whethei 
they were wet with snow. 

Garoffi was standing beside me. I perceived that he 
was trembling all over, and that his face was as white 
as that of a corpse. "Who was it? Who did it?" 
the crowd continued to cry. 




'STOP THAT, YOU LITTLE RASCALS." 



A SNOWBALi,. 61 

Then I overheard Garrone sav in a low voice to 
Garotli, " Come, go and present yourself; it would be 
cowardly to allow any one else to be arrested." 

"But I did not do it on purpose," replied Garoffi, 
trembling like a leaf. 

14 No matter ; do your duty," repeated Garrone. 

" But I have not the courage." 

M Take courage, then ; I will accompan}* you." 

And the policeman and the other people were crying 
more loudly than ever: "Who was it? Who did it? 
One of his glasses has been driven into his eye ! He 
has been blinded ! The ruffians ! " 

I thought that Garoffi would fall to the earth. 
"Come," said Garrone, resolutely, "I will defend 
you ; " and grasping him b}~ the arm, he thrust him 
forward, supporting him as though he had been a sick 
man. The people saw, and instantly understood, and 
several persons ran up with their fists raised ; but 
Garrone thrust himself between, crying:: — 

" Do ten men of you set on one boy?" 

Then they ceased, and a policeman seized Garoffi by 
the hand and led him, pushing aside the crowd as he 
went, to a pastry-cook's shop, where the wounded man 
had been carried. On catching sight of him, I sud- 
denly recognized him as the old employee who lives on 
the fourth floor of our house with his grandnephew. 
He was stretched out on a chair, with a handkerchief 
over his eves. 

"I did not do it intentionally!" sobbed Garoffi, 
half dead with terror; "I did not do it intention- 
ally I " 

Two or three persons thrust him violently into thi 
shop, crying • " Your face to the earth ! Beg his par. 
don!" and they threw him to the ground- But all at 



62 THE MISTRESSES. 

once two vigorous arms set him on his feet again, and 
a, resolute voice said : — 

"No, gentlemen!' It was our head-master, who 
had seen it all. " Since he has had the courage to pre- 
sent himself," he added, " no one has the right to hu- 
miliate him." All stood silent. " Ask his forgiveness," 
said the head-master to Garoffi. Garoffl, bursting into 
tears, embraced the old man's knees, and the latter, 
bavins; felt for the bov's head with his hand, caressed 
his hair. Then all said : — 

" Go away, boy ! go, return home." 

And my father drew me out of the crowd, and said 
to me as we passed along the street, "Enrico, would 
you have had the courage, under similar circumstances, 
to do your duty, — to go and confess your fault?" 

I told him that I should. And he said, " Give me 
your word, as a lad of heart and honor, that you would 
do it." " I give thee mv word, father mine 1" 



-*o*- 



THE MISTRESSES. 

Saturday, 17th. 

Garoffl was thoroughly terrified to-day, in the expec- 
tation of a severe punishment from the teacher ; but 
the master did not make his appearance ; and as the as- 
sistant was also missing, Signora Cromi, the oldest of 
the schoolmistresses, came to teach the school ; she 
has two grown-up children, and she has taught several 
women to read and write, who now come to accompairy 
their sons to the Baretti schoolhouse. 

She was sad to-day, because one of her sons is ill. 
No sooner had they caught sight of her, than they be- 
gan to make an uproar. But she said, in a slow and 



THE MISTRESSES. 63 

tranquil toue, " Respect my white hair ; I am not only 
a school-teacher, I am also a mother " ; and then no 
one dared to speak again, in spite of that brazen face 
of Franti, who contented himself with jeering at her on 
the sly. 

Signora Delcati, my brother's teacher, was sent to take 
charge of Signora Cromi's class, and to Signora Delcati' s 
was sent the teacher who is called "the little nun," 
because she always dresses in dark colors, with a black 
apron, and has a small white face, hair that is always 
smooth, very bright eyes, and a delicate voice, that 
seems to be forever murmuring prayers. And it is 
incomprehensible, my mother says ; she is so gentle 
and timid, with that thread of a voice, which is always 
even, which is hardly audible, and she never speaks 
loud nor flies into a passion ; but, nevertheless, she 
keeps the boys so quiet that you cannot hear them, and 
the most roguish bow their heads when she merely 
admonishes them with her finger, and her school seems 
like a church ; and it is for this reason, also, that she is 
called "the little nun." 

But there is another one who pleases me, — the young 
mistress of the first lower, No. 3, that vouns: girl with 
the rosy face, who has two pretty dimples in her cheeks, 
and who wears a large red feather on her little bonnet, 
and a small cross of yellow glass on her neck. She is 
always cheerful, and keeps her class cheerful ; she is 
always calling out with that silvery voice of hers, which 
makes her seem to be singing, and tapping her little 
rod on the table, and clapping her hands to impose si- 
lence ; then, when they come out of school, she runs 
after one and another like a child, to bring them back 
into line : she pulls up the cape of one, and buttons the 
coat of another, so that they may not take cold ; she 



64 ^ r THE HOUSE OF THE WOUNDED MAN. 

follows them even into the street, in order that they 
may not fall to quarrelling ; she beseeches the parents 
not to whip them at home ; she brings lozenges to those 
who have coughs ; she lends her muff to those who are 
cold ; and she is continually tormented by the smallest 
children, who caress her and demand kisses, and pull 
at her veil and her mantle ; but she lets them do it, and 
kisses them all with a smile, and returns home all 
rumpled and with her throat all bare, panting and 
happy, with her beautiful dimples and her red feather. 
She is also the girls' drawing-teacher, and she sup- 
ports her mother and a brother by her own labor. 



■+o+- 



IN THE HOUSE OF THE WOUNDED MAN. 

Sunday, 18th. 

The grandnephew of the old employee who was 
struck in the eye by Garoffi's snowball is with the 
schoolmistress who has the red feather : we saw him 
to-day in the house of his uncle, who treats him like a 
son. I had finished writing out the monthly story for 
the coming week, — The Little Florentine Scribe, — 
which the master had given to me to copy ; and my 
father said to me : — 

" Let us go up to the fourth floor ^ and see how that 
old gentleman's eye is." 

We entered a room which was almost dark, where 
the old man was sitting up in bed, with a great many 
pillows behind his shoulders ; by the bedside sat his 
wife, and in one corner his nephew was amusing hiin~ 
self. The old man's eve was bandaged. He was verv 
glad to see niy father ; he made us sit down, and said 
that he was better, that his eve was not onlv not ruined, 
but that he should be quite well again in a few days. 



IN THE HOUSE OF THE WOUNDED MAN. 65 

" It was an accident," he added. " I regret the terror 
which it must have caused that poor boy." Then he 
talked to us about the doctor, whom he expected every 
momeut to attend him. Just then the door-bell rang. 

" There is the doctor," said his wife. 

The door opened — and whom did I see? Garoffi, 
iu his loug cloak, standing, with bowed head, on the 
threshold, and without the courage to enter. 

u Who is it?" asked the sick man. 

" It is the boy who threw the snowball," said my 
father. And then the old man said : — 

"Oh, my poor D03* ! come here; you have come to 
inquire after the wounded man, have you not? But he 
is better ; be at ease ; he is better and almost well. 
Come here." 

Garoffi, who did not perceive us in his confusion, 
approached the bed, forcing himself not to cry ; and 
the old man caressed him, but could not speak. 

"Thanks," said the old man; "go and tell your 
father and mother that all is going well, and that they 
are not to think any more about it." 

But Garoffi did not move, and seemed to have some- 
thing to say which he dared not utter. 

' ' What have you to say to me ? What is it that you 
want?" 

" I ! — Nothing." 

"Well, good by, until we meet again, my boy; go 
with your heart in peace." 

Garoffi went as far as the door ; but there he halted, 
turned to the nephew, who was following him, and 
gazed curiously at him. All at once he pulled some 
object from beneath his cloak, put it in the boy's hand, 
and whispered hastily to him, "It is for you," and 
away he went like a flash. 



66 THE LITTLE FLORENTINE SCRIBE. 

The boy carried the object to his uncle ; we saw that 
on it was written, I give you this; we looked inside, 
and uttered an exclamation of surprise. It was the 
famous album, with his collection of postage-stamps, 
which poor Garoffi had brought, the collection of which 
he was always talking, upon which he had founded so 
many hopes, and which had cost him so much trouble ; 
it was his treasure, poor boy ! it was the half of his 
very blood, which he had presented in exchange for 
his pardon. 



-•o*- 



THE LITTLE FLORENTINE SCRIBE. 

{Monthly Story.) 

He was in the fourth elementary class. He was a 
graceful Florentine lad of twelve, with black hair and 
a white face, the eldest son of an employee on the rail- 
way, who, having a large family and but small pa}', lived 
in straitened circumstances. His father loved him and 
was tolerably kind and indulgent to him — indulgent in 
everything except in that which referred to school : on 
this point he required a great deal, and showed himself 
severe, because his son was obliged to attain such a 
rank as would enable him to soon obtain a place and 
help his family ; and in order to accomplish anything 
quickly, it was necessary that he should work a great 
deal in a very short time. And although the lad stud- 
ied, his father was always exhorting him to study more. 

His father was advanced in years, and too much toil 
had aged him before his time. Nevertheless, in order 
to provide for the necessities of his family, in addition 
to the toil which his occupation imposed upon him, he 
obtained special work here and there as a copyist, and 



THE LITTLE FLORENTINE SCRIBE. 67 

passed a good part of the night at his writing-table. 
Lately, he had undertaken, in behalf of a house which 
published journals and books in parts, to write upon 
the parcels the names and addresses of their subscrib- 
ers, and he earned three lire l for every five hundred 
of these paper wrappers, written in large and regular 
characters. But this work wearied him, and he often 
complained of it to his family at dinner. 

"My eyes are giving out," he said ; " this night work 
is killing me." One day his soil said to him, " Let me 
work instead of you, papa ; you know that I can write 
like you, and fairly well." But the father answered : — 

"No, my son, you must study; your school is a 
much more important thing than my wrappers ; I feel 
remorse at robbing you of a single hour ; I thank you, 
but I will not have it ; do not mention it to me again." 

The son knew that it was useless to insist on such a 
matter with his father, and he did not persist ; but this 
is what he did. He knew that exactly at midnight his 
father stopped writing, and quitted his workroom to go 
to his bedroom ; he had heard him several times : as 
soon as the twelve strokes of the clock had sounded, he 
had heard the sound of a chair drawn back, and the 
slow step of his father. One night he waited until the 
latter was in bed, then dressed himself very, very 
softly, and felt his way to the little workroom, lighted 
the petroleum lamp again, seated himself at the writing- 
table, where lay a pile of white wrappers and the list of 
addresses, and began to write, imitating exactly his 
father's handwriting. And he wrote with a will, gladly, 
a little in fear, and the wrappers piled up, and from 
time to time he dropped the pen to rub his hands, and 
then began again with increased alacrity, listening and 

1 Sixty cents. 



&8 THE LITTLE FLORENTINE SCRIBE. 

smiling. He wrote a hundred and sixty — one Ural 
Then he stopped, placed the pen where he had found it, 
extinguished the light, and went back to bed on tiptoe. 

At noon that day his father sat down to the table in 
a good humor. He had perceived nothing. He per- 
formed the work mechanically, measuring it by the 
hour, and thinking of something else, and only counted 
the wrappers he had written on the following day. He 
seated himself at the table in a fine humor, and slapping 
his son on one shoulder, he said to him : — 

" Eh, Giulio ! Your father is even a better workman 
than you thought. In two hours I did a good third 
more work than usual last night. M3 7 hand is still 
nimble, and my eyes still do their duty." And Giulio, 
silent but content, said to himself, "Poor daddy, 
besides the money, I am o-ivmg him some satisfaction 
in the thought that he has grown young again. Well, 
courage ! " 

Encouraged by these good results, when night came 
and twelve o'clock struck, he rose once more, and set 
to work. And this he did for several nights. And his 
father noticed nothing ; only once, at supper, he uttered 
this exclamation, "It is strange how much oil has been 
used in this house lately ! " This was a shock to 
Giulio ; but the conversation ceased there, and the 
nocturnal labor proceeded. 

However, by dint of thus breaking his sleep every 
night, Giulio did not get sufficient rest : he rose in the 
morning fatigued, and when he was doing his school 
work in the evening, he had difficulty in keeping his 
eyes open. One evening, for the first time in his life, 
he fell asleep over his copy-book. 

" Courage ! courage ! " cried his father, clapping his 
hands ; " to work ! " 



THE LITTLE FLORENTINE SCRIBE. 69 

He shook himself and set to work again. But the 
next evening, and on the days following, the same thing 
occurred, and worse : he dozed over his books, he rose 
later than usual, he studied his lessons in a languid 
wav, he seemed disgusted with study. His father 
began to observe him, then to reflect seriously, and at 
last to reprove him. He should never have done it ! 

" Giulio," he said to him one morning, " you put me 
quite beside myself ; you are no longer as you used to 
be. I don't like it. Take care ; all the hopes of } T our 
family rest on you. I am dissatisfied ; do you under- 
stand?" 

At this reproof, the first severe one, in truth, which 
he had ever received, the boy grew troubled. 

" Yes," he said to himself, " it is true ; it cannot go 
on so ; this deceit must come to an end." 

But at dinner, on the evening of that very same day, 
his father said with much cheerfulness, " Do you know 
that this month I have earned thirty-two lire more at 
addressing those wrappers than last month ! " and so 
saying, he drew from under the table a paper package 
of sweets which he had bought, that he might celebrate 
with his children this extraordinary profit, and they all 
hailed it with clapping of hands. Then Giulio took 
heart again, courage again, and said in his heart, " No, 
poor papa, I will not cease to deceive you ; I will make 
greater efforts to work during the day, but I shall con- 
tinue to work at night for you and for the rest." And 
his father added, " Thirtv-two lire more ! I am satis- 
fied. But that boy there," pointing at Giulio, " is the 
one who displeases me." And Giulio received the 
reprimand in silence, forcing back two tears which tried 
to flow ; but at the same time he felt a great pleasure 
in his heart. 



70 THE LITTLE FLORENTINE SCRIBE. 

And he continued to work by main force ; but fatigue 
added to fatigue rendered it ever more difficult for him 
to resist. Thus things went on for two months. The 
father continued to reproach his son, and to gaze at 
him with eyes which grew constantly more wrathful. 
One day he went to make inquiries of the teacher, and 
the teacher said to him : " Yes, he gets along, he gets 
along, because he is intelligent ; but he no longer has 
the good will which he had at first. He is drowsy, he 
yawns, his mind is distracted. He writes short compo- 
sitions, scribbled down in all haste, in bad chirography. 
Oh, he could do a great deal, a great deal more." 

That evening the father took the son aside, and 
.spoke to him words which were graver than any the 
latter had ever heard. " Giulio, you see how I toil, 
how I am wearing out my life, for the family. You do 
not second my efforts. You have no heart for me, nor 
for your brothers, nor for your mother ! " 

"Ah no! don't sav that, father!" cried the son, 
bursting into tears, and opening his mouth to confess 
all. But his father interrupted him, saying : — 

" You are aware of the condition of the family ; } r ou 
know that good will and sacrifices on the part of all 
are necessarv. I mvself, as vou see, have had to 
double my work. I counted on a gift of a hundred lire 
from the railway company this month, and this morning 
I have learned that I shall receive nothing ! " 

At this information, Giulio repressed the confession 
which was on the point of escaping from his soul, and 
repeated resolutely to himself : " No, papa, I shall tell 
you nothing ; I shall guard my secret for the sake of 
being able to work for you ; I will recompense you in 
another way for the sorrow which I occasion you ; I 
will study enough at school to win promotion ; the im- 



THE LITTLE FLORENTINE SCRIBE. 71 

portant point is to help you to earn our living, and to 
relieve you of the fatigue which is killing you." 

And so he went on, and two months more passed, of 
labor by night and weakness by da} 7 , of desperate 
efforts on the part of the son, and of bitter reproaches 
on the part of the father. But the worst of it was, 
that the latter grew gradually colder towards the boy, 
only addressed him rarely, as though he had been a 
recreant son, of whom there was nothing any longer to 
be expected, and almost avoided meeting his glance. 
And Giulio perceived this and suffered from it, and 
when his father's back was turned, he threw him a fur- 
tive kiss, stretching forth his face with a sentiment of 
sad and dutiful tenderness ; and between sorrow and 
fatigue, he grew thin and pale, and he was constrained 
to still further neglect his studies. And he understood 
well that there must be an end to it some day, and 
every evening he said to himself, "I will not get up 
to-night"; but when the clock struck twelve, at the 
moment when he should have vigorously reaffirmed his 
resolution, he felt remorse : it seemed to him, that by 
remaining in bed he should be failing in a duty, and 
robbing his father and the family of a lira. And he 
rose, thinking; that some night his father would wake 
up and discover him, or that he would discover the 
deception b}' accident, by counting the wrappers twice ; 
and then all would come to a natural end, without any 
act of his will, which he did not feel the courage to 
exert. And thus he went on. 

But one evening at dinner his father spoke a word 
which was decisive so far as he was concerned. His 
mother looked at him, and as it seemed to her that he 
was more ill and weak than usual, she said to him, 
" Giulio, you are ill." And then, turning to his father, 



72 THE LITTLE FLORENTINE SCRIBE. 

with anxiety: " Giulio is ill. See how pale be is 1 
Giulio, my dear, how do you feel? " 

His father gave a hasty glance, and said : " It is his 
bad conscience that produces his bad health. He was 
not thus when he was a studious scholar and a loving 
son." 

" But he is ill ! " exclaimed the mother. 

" I don't care anything about him an}* longer ! *' 
replied the father. 

This remark was like a stab in the heart to the poor 
bov. Ah ! he cared nothing anv more. His father, who 
once trembled at the mere sound of a cough from him ! 
He no longer loved him ; there was no longer any doubt ; 
he was dead in his father's heart. "Ah, no ! my father," 
said the boy to himself, his heart oppressed with anguish, 
- ' now all is over indeed ; I cannot live without your 
affection ; I must have it all back. I will tell you all ; 
I will deceive you no longer. I will study as of old, 
come what will, if you will only love me once more, 
my poor father ! Oh, this time I am quite sure of my 
resolution ! " 

Nevertheless he rose that night again, by force of 
habit more than anything else ; and when he was once 
up, he wanted to go and salute and see once more, for 
the last time, in the quiet of the night, that little 
chamber where he toiled so much in secret with his 
heart full of satisfaction and tenderness. And when he 
beheld again that little table with the lamp lighted and 
those white wrappers on which he was never more to 
write those names of towns and persons, which he had 
come to know by heart, he was seized with a great 
sadness, and with an impetuous movement he grasped 
the pen to recommence his accustomed toil. But in 
reaching out his hand he struck a book, and the book 



THE LITTLE FLORENTINE SCRIBE. 73 

fell. The blood rushed to his heart. What if his father 
had waked ! Certainly he would not have discovered 
him in the commission of a bad deed : he had himself 
decided to tell him all, and vet — the sound of that 
step approaching in the darkness, — the discovery at 
that hour, in that silence, — his mother, who would be 
awakened and alarmed, — and the thought, which had 
occurred to him for the first time, that his father might 
feel humiliated in his presence on thus discovering 
all; — all this terrified him almost. He bent his ear, 
with suspended breath. He heard no sound. He 
laid his ear to the lock of the door behind him — • 
nothing. The whole house was asleep. His father 
had not heard. He recovered his composure, and he 
set himself again to his writing, and wrapper was piled 
on wrapper. He heard the regular tread of the police- 
man below in the deserted street ; then the rumble of a 
carriage which gradually died away ; then, after an 
interval, the rattle of a file of carts, which passed 
slowly by ; then a profound silence, broken from time 
to time by the distant barking of a dog. And he wrote 
on and on : and meanwhile his father was behind him. 
He had risen on hearing the fall of the book, and had 
remained waiting for a long time : the rattle of the 
carts had drowned the noise of his footsteps and the 
creaking of the door-casing ; and he was there, with his 
white head bent over Giulio's little black head, and he 
had seen the pen frying over the wrappers, and in an 
instant he had divined all, remembered all, understood 
all, and a despairing penitence, but at the same time an 
immense tenderness, had taken possession of his mind 
and had held him nailed to the spot suffocating behind 
his child. Suddenly Giulio uttered a piercing shriek.' 
two arms had pressed his head convulsively. 



74 THE LITTLE FLORENTINE SCRIBE. 

"Oh, papa, papa! forgive me, forgive rne ! " he 
cried, recognizing his parent by his weeping. 

" Do you forgive me ! " replied his father, sobbing, 
and covering his brow with kisses. "I have under- 
stood all, I know all ; it is I, it is I who ask your 
pardon, my blessed little creature ; come, come with 
me ! " and he pushed or rather carried him to the bed- 
side of his mother, who was awake, and throwing him 
into her arms, he said : — 

" Kiss this little angel of a son, who has not slept 
for three months, but has been toiling for me, while I 
was saddening his heart, and he was earning our 
bread ! " The mother pressed him to her breast and 
held him there, without the power to speak ; at last 
she said : " Go to sleep at once, m}' baby, go to sleep 
and rest. — Carry him to bed." 

The father took him from her arms, carried him to 
his room, and laid him in his bed, still breathing hard 
and caressing him, and arranged his pillows and cov- 
erlets for him. 

"Thanks, papa," the child kept repeating ; "thanks ; 
but go to bed }'ourself now ; I am content ; go to bed, 
papa." 

But his father wanted to see him fall asleep ; so he 
sat down beside the bed, took his hand, and said to 
him, " Sleep, sleep, nrv little son ! " and Giulio, being 
weak, fell asleep at last, and slumbered many hours, 
enjoying, for the first time in many months, a tranquil 
sleep, enlivened by pleasant dreams ; and as he opened 
his eyes, when the sun had already been shining for a 
tolerably long time, he first felt, and then saw, close 
to his breast, and resting upon the edge of the little 
bed, the white head of his father, who had passed the 
night thus, and who was still asleep, with his brow 
against his son's heart. 



WILL. 75 



WILL. 

Wednesday, 28th. 

There is Stardi in nry school, who would have the 
force to do what the little Florentine did. This rnorn- 
ino- two events occurred at the school : Garoffi, wild 
with delight, because his album had been returned to 
him, with the addition of three postage-stamps of the 
Republic of Guatemala, which he had been seeking for 
three months ; and Stardi, who took the second medal- 
Stardi the next in the class after Derossi ! All were 
amazed at it. Who could ever have foretold it, when, 
in October, his father brought him to school bundled 
up in that big green coat, and said to the master, in 
presence of every one : — 

" You must have a great deal of patience with him, 
because he is very hard of understanding ! " 

Every one credited him with a wooden head from the 
very beginning. But he said, "I will burst or I will 
succeed," and he set to work doggedly, to studying 
day and night, at home, at school, while walking, with 
set teeth and clenched fists, patient as an ox, obstinate 
as a mule ; and thus, by dint of trampling on every 
one, disregarding mockery, and dealing kicks to dis- 
turbers, this big thick-head passed in advance of the 
rest. He understood not the first thing of arithmetic, 
he filled his compositions with absurdities, he never 
succeeded in retaining a phrase in his mind ; and now 
he solves problems, writes correctly, and sings his les- 
sons like a sons;. And his iron will can be divined 
from the seeing how he is made, so very thickset and 
squat, with a square head and no neck, with short, 
thick hands, and coarse voice. He studies even on 



76 WILL. 

scraps of newspaper, and on theatre bills, and every 
time that he has ten soldi, he buys a book ; he has al- 
ready collected a little library, and in a moment of good 
humor he allowed the promise to slip from his mouth 
that he would take me home and show it to me. He 
speaks to no one, he plays with no one, he is alwa3*s 
on hand, on his bench, with his fists pressed to his 
temples, firm as a rock, listening to the teacher. How 
he must have toiled, poor Stardi ! The master said to 
him this morning, although he was impatient and in a 
bad humor, when he bestowed the medals : — 

"Bravo, Stardi! he who endures, conquers." But 
the latter did not appear in the least puffed up with pride 
— he did not smile ; and no sooner had he returned 
to his seat, with the medal, than he planted his fists on 
his temples again, and became more motionless and 
more attentive than before. But the finest thiug hap- 
pened when he went out of school ; for his father, a 
blood-letter, as big and squat as himself, with a huge 
face and a huge voice, was there waiting for him. 
He had not expected this medal, and he was not will- 
ing to believe in it, so that it was necessary for the 
master to reassure him, and then he began to laugh 
heartily, and tapped his son on the back of the neck, 
saying energetically, "Bravo! good! my dear pump- 
kin : you'll do ! " and he stared at him, astonished and 
smiling. And all the boys around him smiled too, ex- 
cept Stardi. He was already ruminating the lesson 
for to-morrow morning in that huge head of his. 



GRATITUDE. 77 



GRATITUDE. 

Saturday, 31st. 
Your comrade Stardi never complains of his teacher ; I am 
sure of that. " The master was in a bad temper, was im- 
patient," — you say it in a tone of resentment. Think an 
instant how often you give way to acts of impatience, and 
towards whom? towards your father and your mother, 
towards whom your impatience is a crime. Your master 
has very good cause to be impatient at times ! Reflect 
that he has been laboring for boys these many years, and 
that if he has found many affectionate and noble individuals 
among them, he has also found many ungrateful ones, who 
have abused his kindness and ignored his toils ; and that, 
between you all, you cause him far more bitterness than sat- 
isfaction. Reflect, that the most holy man on earth, if 
placed in his position, would allow himself to be conquered 
by wrath now and then. And then, if you only knew how 
often the teacher goes to give a lesson to a sick boy, all 
alone, because he is not ill enough to be excused from school 
and is impatient on account of his suffering, and is pained 
to see that the rest of you do not notice it, or abuse it ! Re- 
spect, love, your master, my son. Love him, also, because 
your father loves and respects him ; because he consecrates 
his life to the welfare of so many boys who will forget him ; 
love him because he opens and enlightens your intelligence 
and educates your mind ; because one of these days, when 
you have become a man, and when neither I nor he shall be 
in the world, his image will often present itself to your mind, 
side by side with mine, and then you will see certain expres- 
sions of sorrow and fatigue in his honest countenance to which 
you now pay no heed : you will recall them, and they will 
pain you, even after the lapse of thirty years ; and you will 
feel ashamed, you will feel sad at not having loved him, at 
having behaved badly to him. Love your master ; for he 
belongs to that vast family of fifty thousand elementary in- 
structors, scattered throughout all Italy, who are the intel- 



78 GRATITUDE. 

lectual fathers of the millions of boys who are growing up 
with you ; the laborers, hardly recognized and poorly recom- 
pensed, who are preparing in our country a people superior 
to those of the present. I am not content with the affection 
which you have for me, if you have it not also for all those 
who are doing you good, and among these, your master 
stands first, after your parents. Love him as you would love 
a brother of mine ; love him when he caresses and when he 
reproves you; when he is just, and when he appears to you 
to be un j ust ; love him when he is amiable and gracious ; and 
love him even more when you see him sad. Love him al- 
ways. And always pronounce with reverence that name of 
"teacher," which, after that of your father, is the noblest, 
the sweetest name which one man can apply to another man. 

Thy Father. 



THE ASSISTANT MASTER. 79 



JANUARY. 



-•<>♦- 



THE ASSISTANT MASTER. 

Wednesday, 4th. 

My father was right ; the master was in a bad humor 
because he was not well ; for the last three clays, in 
fact, the assistant has been coming in his stead, — that 
little man, without a beard, who seems like a youth. 
A shameful thing happened this morning. There had 
been an uproar on the first and second days, in the 
school, because the assistant is very patient and does 
nothing but say, " Be quiet, be quiet, I beg of you." 

But this morning they passed all bounds. Such a 
noise arose, that his words were no longer audible, and 
he admonished and besought ; but it was a mere waste 
of breath. Twice the head-master appeared at the door 
and looked in ; but the moment he disappeared the 
murmur increased as in a market. It was in vain that 
Derossi and Garrone turned round and made signs to 
their comrades to be good, so that it was a shame. 
No one paid any heed to them. Stardi alone remained 
quiet, with his elbows on the bench, and his fists to 
his temples, meditating, perhaps, on his famous library ; 
and Garoffi, that boy with the hooked nose and the 
postage-stamps, who was wholly occupied in making a 
catalogue of the subscribers at two centesimi each, for 
a lottery for a pocket inkstand. The rest chattered 
and laughed, pounded on the points of pens fixed in 



80 THE ASSISTANT MASTER. 

the benches, and snapped pellets of paper at each 
other with the elastics of their garters. 

The assistant grasped now one, now another, by the 
arm, and shook him ; and he placed one of them against 
the wall — time wasted. He no longer knew what to 
do, and he entreated them. " Why do vou behave like 
this? Do you wish me to punish you by force?" 
Then he thumped the little table with his fist, and 
shouted in a voice of wrath and lamentation, " Si- 
lence ! silence ! silence ! " It was difficult to hear him. 
But the uproar continued to increase. Franti threw 
a paper dart at him, some uttered cat-calls, others 
thumped each other on the head ; the hurly-burly was 
indescribable ; when, all of a sudden, the beadle en- 
tered and said : — 

" Signor Master, the head-master has sent for you." 
The master rose and went out in haste, with a gesture 
of despair. Then the tumult began more vigorously 
than ever. But suddenly Garrone sprang up, his face 
all convulsed, and his fists clenched, and shouted in a 
voice choked with rage : — 

"Stop this! You are brutes! You take advan- 
tage of him because he is kind. If he were to bruise 
your bones for 3'ou, you would be as abject as dogs. 
You are a pack of cowards ! The first one of you that 
jeers at him again, I shall wait for outside, and I will 
break his teeth, — I swear it, — even under the very 
eyes of his father ! " 

All became silent. Ah, what a fine thing it was to 
see Garrone, with his eyes darting flames ! He seemed 
to be a furious young lion. He stared at the most 
daring, one after the other, and all hung their heads. 
When the assistant re-entered, with red - eyes, not a 
breath was audible. He stood in amazement ; then, 



STARDI'S LIBRARY. 81 

catching sight of Garrone, who was still all fiery and 
trembling, he understood it all, and he said to him, with 
accents of great affection, as he might have spoken to 
a brother, " I thank vou, Garrone." 



STARDI'S LIBRARY. 

I have been home with Stardi, who lives opposite the 
schoolhouse ; and I really experienced a feeling of envy 
at the sight of his library. He is not at all rich, and 
he cannot buy man}' books ; but he preserves his school- 
books with great care, as well as those which his rela- 
tives give him ; and he lays aside every soldo that is 
given to him, and spends it at the bookseller's. In this 
way he has collected a little library ; and when his 
father perceived that he had this passion, he bought 
him a handsome bookcase of walnut wood, with a green 
curtain, and he has had most of his volumes bound for 
him in the colors that he likes. Thus when he draws a 
little cord, the green curtain runs aside, and three rows 
of books of ever} T color become visible, all ranged in 
order, and shining, with gilt titles on their backs, — 
books of tales, of travels, and of poetry ; and some 
illustrated ones. And he understands how to combine 
colors well : he places the white volumes next to the red 
ones, the yellow next the black, the blue beside the 
white, so that, viewed from a distance, they make a 
veiy fine appearance ; and he amuses himself by varying 
the combinations. He has made himself a catalogue. 
He is like a librarian. He is always standing near his 
books, dusting them, turning over the leaves, examining 
the bindings : it is something to see the care with which 
he opens them, with his big, stubby hands, and blows 



82 STARDI'S LIB BART. 

between the pages : then they seem perfectly new again. 
I have worn out all of mine. It is a festival for him to 
polish off every new book that he buys, to put it in its 
place, and to pick it up again to take another look at it 
from all sides, and to brood over it as a treasure. He 
showed me nothing else for a whole hour. His eyes 
were troubling him, because he had read too much. 
At a certain time his father, who is large and thickset 
like himself, with a big head like his, entered the room, 
and gave him two or three taps on the nape of the neck, 
saying with that huge voice of his : — 

"What do 3'ou think of him, eh? of this head of 
bronze? It is a stout head, that will succeed in any- 
thing, I assure you ! " 

And Stardi half closed his eyes, under these rough 
caresses, like a big hunting-dog. I do not know, I did 
not dare to jest with him ; it did not seem true to me, 
that he was only a year older than myself ; and when 
he said to me, " Farewell until we meet again," at the 
door, with that face of his that always seems wrathful, 
I came very near replying to him, " I salute you, sir," 
as to a man. I told my father afterwards, at home : 
" I don't understand it ; Stardi has no natural talent, 
he has not fine manners, and his face is almost ridicu- 
lous ; yet he suggests ideas to me." And my father 
answered, " It is because he has character." And I 
added, " During the hour that I spent with him he did 
not utter fifty words, he did not show me a single play- 
thing, he did not laugh once ; yet I liked to go there." 

And my father answered, "That is because you 
esteem him." 



THE SON OF THE BLACKSMITH-IRONMONGER. 83 



THE SON OF THE BLACKSMITH-IRONMONGER. 

Yes, but I also esteem Precossi ; and to say that I 
esteem him is not enough, — Precossi, the son of the 
blacksmith-ironmonger, — that thin little fellow, who 
has kind, melancholy eyes and a frightened air ; who 
is so timid that he says to every one, " Excuse me" ; 
who is always sickly, and who, nevertheless, studies 
so much. His -father returns home, intoxicated with 
branch', and beats him without the slightest reason in 
the world, and flings his books and his copy-books in 
the air with a backward turn of his hand ; and he 
comes to school with the black and blue marks on his 
face, and sometimes with his face all swollen, and his 
eyes inflamed with much weeping. But never, never 
can he be made to acknowledge that his father beats 
him. 

"Your father has been beating you," his companions 
say to him; and he instantly exclaims, "That is not 
true ! it is not true ! " for the sake of not dishonoring 
his father. 

"You did not burn this leaf," the teacher says to 
him, showing him his work, half burned. 

"Yes," he replies, in a trembling voice; "I let it 
fall on the fire." 

But we know very well, nevertheless, that his 
drunken father overturned the table and the light with 
a kick, while the boy was doing his work. He lives in 
a garret of our house, on another staircase. The por- 
tress tells my mother everything : my sister Silvia 
heard him screaming from the terrace one day, when 
his father had sent him headlong down stairs, because 
he had asked for a few soldi to buy a grammar. His 



84 THE SON OF THE BLACKSMITH-IRONMONGER. 

father drinks, but does not work, and his family suffeis 
from hunger. How often Precossi comes to school with 
an empty stomach and nibbles in secret at a roll which 
Garrone has given him, or at an apple brought to him 
by the schoolmistress with the red feather, who was his 
teacher in the first lower class. But he never says, 
' ' I am hungry ; my father does not give me anything 
to eat." His father sometimes comes for him, when 
he chances to be passing the schoolhouse, — pallid, 
unsteady on his legs, with a fierce face, and his hair 
over his eyes, and his cap awry ; and the poor boy 
trembles all over when he catches sight of him in the 
street; but he immediately runs to meet him, with a 
smile ; and his father does not appear to see him, but 
seems to be thinking of something else. Poor Pre- 
cossi ! He mends his torn copy-books, borrows books 
to study his lessons, fastens the fragments of his shirt 
together with pins ; and it is a pity to see him perform- 
ing his gvmnastics, with those huge shoes in which he is 
fairly lost, in those trousers which drag on the ground, 
and that jacket which is too long, and those huge sleeves 
turned back to the very elbows. And he studies ; he 
does his best ; he would be one of the first, if he were 
able to work at home in peace. This morning he came 
to school with the marks of finger-nails on one cheek, 
and they all began to say to him : — 

" It is your father, and you cannot deny it this time ; 
it was your father who did that to you. Tell the head- 
master about it, and he will have him called to account 
for it." 

But he sprang up, all flushed, with a voice trembling 
with indignation : — 

"It's not true! it's not true! M3- father never 
beats me ! " 



.1 FINE VISIT. 85 

But afterwards, during lesson time, his tears fell 
upon the bench, and when any one looked at him, he 
tried to smile, in order that he might not show it. 
Poor Precossi ! To-morrow Derossi, Coretti, and 
Nelli are coming to my house ; I want to tell him to 
come also ; and I want to have him take luncheon 
with me : I want to treat him to books, and turn the 
house upside down to amuse him, and to fill his pockets 
with fruit, for the sake of seeing him contented for 
once, poor Precossi ! who is so good and so courageous. 



-~>»- 



A FINE VISIT. 

Thursday, 12th. 
This has been one of the finest Thursdays of the 
year for me. At two o'clock, precisely, Derossi and 
Coretti came to the house, with Nelli, the hunchback: 
Precossi was not permitted by his father to come. 
Derossi and Coretti were still laughing at their en- 
counter with Crossi, the son of the vegetable-seller, in 
the street, — the boy with the useless arm and the red 
hair, — who was carrying a huge cabbage for sale, and 
with the soldo which he was to receive for the cabbage 
he was to go and buy a pen. He was perfectly happy 
because his father had written from America that they 
might expect him any da}'. Oh, the two beautiful 
hours that we passed together ! Derossi and Coretti 
are the two jolliest bo}s in the school; my father fell 
in love with them. Coretti had on his chocolate- 
colored tights and his catskin cap. He is a lively imp, 
who wants to be always doing something, stirring up 
something, setting something in motion. He had 
already carried on his shoulders half a cartload of 



Sff A FINE VISIT. 

wood, early that morning ; nevertheless, he galloped 
all over the house, taking note of everything and talk- 
ing incessantly, as sprightly and nimble as a squirrel ; 
and passing into the kitchen, he asked the cook how 
much we had to pay a myriagramme for wood, because 
his father sells it at forty-five centesimi. He is always 
talking of his father, of the time when he was a soldier 
in the 49th regiment, at the battle of Custoza, where he 
served in the squadron of Prince Umberto ; and he is 
so gentle in his manners ! It makes no difference that 
he was born and brought up surrounded by wood : he 
has nobility in his blood, in his heart, as my father says. 
And Derossi amused us greatly ; he knows geography 
like a master : he shut his eyes and said : — 

"There, I see the whole of Italy ; the Apennines, 
which extend to the Ionian Sea, the rivers flowing here 
and there, the white cities, the gulfs, the blue bays, the 
green islands ; " and he repeated the names correctly 
in their order and very rapidly, as though he were read- 
ing them on the map ; and at the sight of him standing 
thus, with his head held high, with all his golden curls, 
with his closed eves, and all dressed in bright blue with 
gilt buttons, as straight and handsome as a statue, we 
were all filled with admiration. In one hour he had 
learned by heart nearly three pages, which he is to 
recite the day after to-morrow, for the anniversary of 
the funeral of King Vittorio. And even Nelli gazed 
at him in wonder and affection, as he rubbed the folds 
of his apron of black cloth, and smiled with his clear 
and mournful eyes. This visit gave me a great deal of 
pleasure ; it left something like sparks in my mind and 
my heart. And it pleased me, too, when they went 
away, to see poor Nelli between the other two tall, 
strong fellows, who carried him home on their arms, 



THE FUNERAL OF VITTORIO EMANUELE. 87 

and made him laugh as T have never seen him laugh 
before. On returning to the dining-room, I perceived 
that the picture representing Rigoletto, the hunch- 
backed jester, was no longer there. My father had 
taken it away in order that Nelli might not see it. 



-»o»- 



THE FUNERAL OF VITTORIO EMANUELE. 

January, 17th. 

To-day, at two o'clock, as soon as we entered the 
schoolroom, the master called up Derossi, who went 
and took his place in front of the little table facing us, 
and began to recite, in his vibrating tones, gradually 
raising his limpid voice, and growing flushed in the 
face : — 

" Four years ago, on this day, at this hour, there 
arrived in front of the Pantheon at Rome, the funeral 
car which bore the body of Vittorio Emanuele II., the 
first king of Italy, dead after a reign of twenty-nine 
years, during which the great Italian fatherland, broken 
up into seven states, and oppressed by strangers and 
by tyrants, had been brought back to life in one single 
state, free and independent ; after a reign of twenty- 
nine years, which he had made illustrious and beneficent 
with his valor, with loyalty, with boldness amid perils, 
with wisdom amid triumphs, with constancy amid mis- 
fortunes. The funeral car arrived, laden with wreaths, 
after having traversed Rome under a rain of flowers, 
amid the silence of an immense and sorrowing multi- 
tude, which had assembled from every part of Italy ; 
preceded by a legion of generals and by a throng of 
ministers and princes, followed by a retinue of crippled 
veterans, by a forest of banners, by the envoys ot 



S8 THE FUNERAL OF VITTORIO EMANUELE. 

three hundred towns, by everything which represents 
the power and the glory of a people, it arrived before 
the august temple where the tomb awaited it. At that 
moment twelve cuirassiers removed the coffin from the 
car. At that moment Italv bade her last farewell to 
her dead king, to her old king whom she had loved so 
dearly, the last farewell to her soldier, to her father, 
to the twenty-nine most fortunate and most blessed 
years in her history. It was a grand and solemn mo- 
ment. The looks, the souls, of all were quivering at the 
sight of that coffin and the darkened banners of the 
eighty regiments of the army of Italy, borne by eighty 
officers, drawn up in line on its passage : for Italy was 
there in those eighty tokens, which recalled the thou- 
sands of dead, the torrents of blood, our most sacred 
glories, our most holy sacrifices, our most tremendous 
griefs. The coffin, borne by the cuirassiers, passed, 
and then the banners bent forward all together in salute, 
— the banners of the new regiments, the old, tattered 
banners of Goito, of Pastreugo, of Santa Lucia, of 
Novara, of the Crimea, of Palestro, of San Martino, 
of Castelfidardo ; eighty black veils fell, a hundred 
medals clashed against the staves, and that sonorous 
and confused uproar, which stirred the blood of all, was 
like the sound of a thousand human voices saying all 
together, ' Farewell, good king, gallant king, loyal 
king ! Thou wilt live in the heart of thy people as 
long as the sun shall shine over Italy.' 

" After this, the banners rose heavenward once more, 
and King Vittorio entered into the immortal glory of 
the tomb." 



FRANTI EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL. 89 



FRANTI EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL. 

Saturday, 21st. 
Only one bo}' was capable of laughing while Derossi 
was declaiming the funeral oration of the king, and 
Franti laughed. I detest that fellow. He is wicked. 
When a father comes to the school to reprove his 
son, he enjo^'s it ; when any one cries, he laughs. He 
trembles before Garrone, and he strikes the little mason 
because he is small ; he torments Crossi because he has 
a helpless arm ; he ridicules Precossi, whom every one 
respects ; he even jeers at Robetti, that boy in the 
second grade who walks on crutches, through having 
saved a child. He provokes those who are weaker 
than himself, and when it comes to blows, he grows 
ferocious and tries to do harm. There is something 
beneath that low forehead, in those turbid eyes, which 
he keeps nearly concealed under the visor of his small 
cap of waxed cloth, which inspires a shudder. He fears 
no one ; he laughs in the master's face ; he steals when 
he gets a chance ; he denies it with an impenetrable 
countenance ; he is always engaged in a quarrel with 
some one ; he brings big pins to school, to prick his 
neighbors with ; he tears the buttons from his own 
jackets and from those of others, and plays with them : 
his paper, books, and copy-books are all crushed, torn, 
dirty ; his ruler is jagged, his pens gnawed, his nails 
bitten, his clothes covered with stains and rents which 
he has got in his brawls. They say that his mother has 
fallen ill from the trouble that he causes her, and that 
his father has driven him from the house three times ; 
his mother comes every now and then to make inquiries, 
and she always goes away in tears, He hates school. 



90 FRANTL EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL. 

he hates his companions, he hates the teacher. Tho 
master sometimes pretends not to see his rascalities, 
and he behaves all the worse. He tried to get a hold 
on him hy kind treatment, and the boy ridiculed him 
for it. He said terrible things to him, and the boy 
covered his face with his hands, as though he were 
crying ; but he was laughing. He was suspended from 
school for three da} T s, and he returned more perverse 
and insolent than before. Derossi said to him one day, 
" Stop it ! don't you see how much the teacher surfers ? " 
and the other threatened to stick a nail into his stomach. 
But this morning, at last, he got himself driven out like 
a dog. While the master was giving to Garrone the 
rough draft of The Sardinian Drummer-Boy, the 
monthly story for January, to copy, he threw a petard 
on the floor, which exploded, making the schoolroom 
resound as from a discharge of musketry. The whole 
class was startled by it. The master sprang to his 
feet, and cried : — 

" Franti, leave the school ! " 

The latter retorted, " It wasn't I ; " but he laughed. 
The master repeated : — 

"Go!" 

" I won't stir," he answered. 

Then the master lost his temper, and flung himself 
upon him, seized him by the arms, and tore him from 
his seat. He resisted, ground his teeth, and made him 
carry him out by main force. The master bore him 
thus, heavy as he was, to the head-master, and then 
returned to the schoolroom alone and seated himself at 
his little table, with his head clutched in his hands, 
gasping, and with an expression of such weariness and 
trouble that it was painful to look at him. 

" After teaching school for thirty years ! " he ex- 



THE SARDINIAN DRUMMER-BOY. 91 

claimed sadly, shaking his head. No one breathed. 
His hands were trembling with fury, and the perpen- 
dicular wrinkle that he has in the middle of his fore- 
head was so deep that it seemed like a wound. Poor 
master ! All felt sorry for him. Derossi rose and 
said, " Signor Master, do not grieve. We love you." 
And then he grew a little more tranquil, and said, " We 
will go on with the lesson, boys." 



-»<>*- 



THE SARDINIAN DRUMMER-BOY. 

(Monthly Story.} 

On the first day of the battle of Custoza, on the 24th 
of July, 1848, about sixty soldiers, belonging to an 
infantry regiment of our army, who had been sent to an 
elevation to occupy an isolated house, suddenly found 
themselves assaulted by two companies of Austrian 
soldiers, who, showering them with bullets from various 
quarters, hardly gave them time to take refuge in the 
house and to barricade the doors, after leaving several 
dead and wounded on the field. Having barred the 
doors, our men ran in haste to the windows of the 
ground floor and the first story, and began to fire 
brisk discharges at their assailants, who, approaching 
gradually, ranged in a semicircle, made vigorous 
reply. The sixty Italian soldiers were commanded by 
two non-commissioned officers and a captain, a tall, 
dry, austere old man, with white hair and mustache ; 
and with them there was a Sardinian drummer-bov, a 
lad of a little over fourteen, who did not look twelve, 
small, with an olive-brown complexion, and two small, 
deep, sparkling e}-es. The captain directed the de- 
fence from a room on the first floor, launching com- 



92 THE SARDINIAN DRUMMER -BOY. 

mands that seemed like pistol-shots, and no sign of 
emotion was visible on his iron countenance. The 
drummer-boy, a little pale, but firm on his legs, had 
jumped upon a table, and was holding fast to the wall 
and stretching out his neck in order to gaze out of the 
windows, and athwart the smoke on the fields he saw 
the white uniforms of the Austrians, who were slowly 
advancing-. The house was situated at the summit of 
a steep declivity, and on the side of the slope it had 
but one high window, corresponding to a chamber in 
the roof : therefore the Austrians did not threaten the 
house from that quarter, and the slope was free ; the 
fire beat only upon the front and the two ends. 

But it was an infernal fire, a hailstorm of leaden 
bullets, which split the walls on the outside, ground the 
tiles to powder, and in the interior cracked ceilings, 
furniture, window-frames, and door-frames, sending 
splinters of wood flying through the air, and clouds of 
plaster, and fragments of kitchen utensils and glass, 
whizzing, and rebounding, and breaking everything 
with a noise like the crushing of a skull. From time 
to time one of the soldiers who were firing from the 
windows fell crashing back to the floor, and was 
dragged to one side. Some staggered from room to 
room, pressing their hands on their wounds. There 
was already one dead body in the kitchen, with its 
forehead cleft. The semicircle of the enemy was 
drawing together. 

At a certain point the captain, hitherto impassive, 
was seen to make a gesture of uneasiness, and to leave 
the room with huge strides, followed by a sergeant. 
Three minutes later the sergeant returned on a run, and 
summoned the drummer-boy, making him a sign to 
follow. The lad followed him at a quick pace up the 



THE SARDINIAN DRUMMER-BOY. 95 

wooden staircase, and entered with him into a bare 
garret, where he saw the captain writing with a pencil 
on a sheet of paper, as he leaned against the little 
window ; and on the floor at his feet lay the well-rope. 

The captain folded the sheet of paper, and said 
sharply, as he fixed his cold gray eyes, before which 
all the soldiers trembled, on the boy : — 

" Drummer ! " 

The drummer-boy put his hand to his visor. 

The captain said, " You have courage.'' 

The boy's eyes flashed. 

" Yes, captain," he replied. 

" Look down there," said the captain, pushing him 
to the window; "on the plain, near the houses of 
Villafranca, where there is a gleam of bayonets. There 
stand our troops, motionless. You are to take this 
billet, tie yourself to the rope, descend from the win- 
dow, get down that slope in an instant, make your 
way across the fields, arrive at our men, and give the 
note to the first officer you see. Throw off your belt 
and knapsack." 

The drummer took off his belt and knapsack and 
thrust the note into his breast pocket ; the sergeant 
flung the rope out of the window, and held one end of 
it clutched fast in his hands ; the captam helped the 
lad to clamber out of the small window, with his back 
turned to the landscape. 

"Now look out," he said; "the salvation of this 
detachment lies in your courage and in your leo-s." 

" Trust to me, Signor Captain," replied the drummer- 
boy, as he let himself down. 

" Bend over on the slope," said the captain, grasp- 
ing the rope, with the sergeant. 

" Never fear." 



94 THE SARDINIAN DRUMMER-BOY. 

"God aid you!" 

In a few moments the drummer -boy was on the 
ground ; the sergeant drew in the rope and disap- 
peared ; the captain stepped impetuously in front of 
the window and saw the boy flying down the slope. 

He was already hoping that he had succeeded in 
escaping unobserved, when five or six little puffs of 
powder, which rose from the earth in front of and 
behind the lad, warned him that he had been espied 
by the Austrians, who were firing down upon him 
from the top of the elevation : these little clouds were 
thrown into the air by the bullets. But the drummer 
continued to run at a headlong speed. All at once he 
fell to the earth. " He is killed ! " roared the captain, 
biting his fist. But before he had uttered the word he 
saw the drummer spring up again. "Ah, only a fall," 
he said to himself, and drew a long breath. The 
drummer, in fact, set out again at full speed ; but he 
limped. "He has turned his ankle," thought the 
captain. Again several cloudlets of powder smoke 
rose here and there about the lad, but ever more dis- 
tant. He was safe. The captain uttered an exclama- 
tion of triumph. But he continued to follow him with 
his eyes, trembling because it was an affair of minutes : 
if he did not arrive yonder in the shortest possible 
time with that billet, which called for instant succor, 
either all his soldiers would be killed or he should be 
obliged to surrender himself a prisoner with them. 

The boy ran rapidly for a space, then relaxed his 
pace and limped, then resumed his course, but grew 
constantly more fatigued, and every little while he 
stumbled and paused. 

"Perhaps a bullet has grazed him," thought the 
captain, and he noted all his movements, quivering 



THE SARDINIAN DRUMMER-BOY. 95 

with excitement; and he encouraged him, he spoke to 
him, as though he could hear him ; he measured 
incessantly, with a flashing eye, the space intervening 
between the fleeing boy and that gleam of arms which 
he could see in the distance on the plain amid the fields 
of grain gilded by the sun. And meanwhile he heard 
the whistle and the crash of the bullets in the rooms 
beneath, the imperious and angry shouts of the ser- 
geants and the officers, the piercing laments of the 
wounded, the ruin of furniture, and the fall of rubbish. 

"On! courage !" he shouted, following the far-off 
drummer with his glance. "Forward! run! He 
halts, that cursed boy ! Ah, he resumes his course ! " 

An officer came panting to tell him that the enemy, 
without slackening their fire, were flinging out a white 
flag to hint at a surrender. " Don't reply to them ! " 
he cried, without detaching his eyes from the boy, 
who was already on the plain, but who was no longer 
running, and who seemed to be dragging himself along 
with difficulty. 

"Go! run!" said the captain, clenching his teeth 
and his fists ; "let them kill you ; die, you rascal, but 
go!" Then he uttered a horrible oath. "Ah, the 
infamous poltroon ! he has sat down ! " In fact, the. 
boy, whose head he had hitherto been able to see 
projecting above a field of grain, had disappeared, as 
though he had falleu ; but, after the lapse of a minute, 
his head came into sight again ; finally, it was lost 
behind the hedges, and the captain saw it no more. 

Then he descended impetuously ; the bullets were 
coming in a tempest ; the rooms were encumbered with 
the wounded, some of whom were whirling round like 
drunken men, and clutching at the furniture ; the walls 
and floor were bespattered with blood ; corpses lay 



96 THE SARDINIAN DRUMMER-BOY. 

across the doorways ; the lieutenant had had his arm 
shattered by a ball ; smoke and clouds of dust envel- 
oped everything. 

" Courage ! " shouted the captain. " Stand firm at 
your post ! Succor is on the way ! Courage for a 
little while longer ! " 

The Austrians had approached still nearer : their 
contorted faces were already visible through the smoke, 
and amid the crash of the firing their savage and offen- 
sive shouts were audible, as they uttered insults, sug- 
gested a surrender, and threatened slaughter. Some 
soldiers were terrified, and withdrew from the windows ; 
the sergeants drove them forward again. But the fire of 
the defence weakened ; discouragement made its appear- 
ance on all faces. It was not possible to protract the 
resistance longer. At a given moment the fire of the 
Austrians slackened, and a thundering voice shouted, 
first in German and then in Italian, " Surrender!" 

" No ! " howled the captain from a window. 

And the firms; recommenced more fast and furious 
on both sides. More soldiers fell. Already more than 
one window was without defenders. The fatal moment 
was near at hand. The captain shouted through his 
teeth, in a strangled voice, "They are not coming! 
they are not coming ! " and rushed wildly about, 
twisting his sword about in his convulsively clenched 
hand, and resolved to die ; when a sergeant descend- 
ing from the garret, uttered a piercing shout, "The}' 
are coming!" "They are coming!" repeated the 
captain, with a cit of joy. 

At that cry all, well and wounded, sergeants and 
officers, rushed to the windows, and the resistance 
became fierce once more. A few moments later a sort 
of uncertainty was noticeable, and a beginning of dis* 



THE SARDINIAN DRUMMER-BOY. ■ 97 

order among the foe. Suddenly the captain hastily 
collected a little troop in the room on the ground floor, 
in order to make a sortie with fixed bayonets. Then 
he flew up stairs. Scarcely had he arrived there when 
they heard a hasty trampling of feet, accompanied by 
a formidable hurrah, and saw from the windows the 
two-pointed hats of the Italian carabineers advancing 
through the smoke, a squadron rushing forward at 
great speed, and a lightning flash of blades whirling 
in the air, as they fell on heads, on shoulders, and on 
backs. Then the troop darted out of the door, with 
bayonets lowered ; the enemy wavered, were thrown 
into disorder, and turned their backs ; the field was left 
unincumbered, the house was free, and a little later 
two battalions of Italian infantry and two cannon 
occupied the eminence. 

The captain, with the soldiers that remained to him, 
rejoined his regiment, went on fighting, and was slightly 
wounded in the left hand by a bullet on the rebound, 
in the final assault with bayonets. 

The day ended with the victory on our side. 

But on the following day, the conflict having begun 
again, the Italians were overpowered by the over- 
whelming numbers of the Austrians, in spite of a val- 
orous resistance, and on the morning of the 27th they 
sadly retreated towards the Mincio. 

The captain, although wounded, made the march on 
foot with his soldiers, weary and silent, and, arrived at 
the close of the day at Goito, on the Mincio, he imme- 
diately sought out his lieutenant, who had been picked 
up with his arm shattered, by our ambulance corps, and 
who must have arrived before him. He was directed 
to a church, where the field hospital had been installed 
in haste. Thither he betook himself. The church was 



98 THE SARDINIAN DRUMMER-BOY. 

full of wounded men, ranged in two lines of beds, and 
on mattresses spread on the floor ; two doctors and 
numerous assistants were going and coming, busily oc- 
cupied ; and suppressed cries and groans were audible. 

No sooner had the captain entered than he halted and 
cast a glance around, in search of his officer. 

At that moment he heard himself called in a weak 
voice, — " Signor Captain!" He turned round. It 
was his drummer-boy. He was lying on a cot bed, 
covered to the breast with a coarse window curtain, in 
red and white squares, with his arms on the outside, 
pale and thin, but with eyes which still sparkled like 
black gems. 

"Are you here?" asked the captain, amazed, but 
still sharply. " Bravo ! You did your duty." 

" I did all that I could," replied the drummer-boy. 

"Were you wounded?" said the captain, seeking 
with his eyes for his officer in the neighboring beds. 

" What could one expect? " said the lad, who gained 
courage by speaking, expressing the loft}' satisfaction 
of having been wounded for the first time, without 
which he would not have dared to open his mouth in 
the presence of this captain; "I had a fine run, all 
bent over, but suddenly the}* caught sight of me. I 
should have arrived twenty minutes earlier if they had 
not hit me. Luckily, I soon came across a captain of 
the staff, to whom I gave the note. But it was hard 
work to get down after that caress ! I was dying of 
thirst. I was afraid that I should not get there at all. 
I wept with rage at the thought that at every moment 
of delay another man was setting out yonder for the 
other world. But enough ! I did what I could. I am 
content. But, with your permission, captain, you 
should look to yourself : you are losing blood." 




"THEN THE TROOP DARTED OUT OF THE DOOR." 



THE SARDINIAN DRUMMER-BOY. 99 

Several drops of blood had in fact trickled down on 
the captain's fingers from his imperfectly bandaged 
palm. 

"Would you like to have me give the bandage a 
tarn, captain? Hold it here a minute." 

The captain held out his left hand, and stretched out 
his right to help the lad to loosen the knot and to tie 
it again ; but no sooner had the boy raised himself 
from his pillow than he turned pale and was obliged to 
support his head once more. 

"That will do, that will do," said the captain, looking 
at him and withdrawing his bandaged hand, which the 
other tried to retain. " Attend to your own affairs, 
instead of thinking of others, for things that are not 
severe may become serious if they are neglected." 

The drummer-boy shook his head. 

" But you," said the captain, observing him atten- 
tively, " must have lost a great deal of blood to be as 
weak as this." 

"Must have lost a great deal of blood !" replied the 
bov, with a smile. "Something else besides blood: 
look here." And with one movement he drew aside 
the coverlet. 

The captain started back a pace in horror. 

The lad had but one leg. His left leg had been 
amputated above the knee ; the stump was swathed in 
blood-stained cloths. 

At that moment a small, plump, military surgeon 
passed, in his shirt-sleeves. "Ah, captain," he said, 
rapidly, nodding towards the drummer, " this is an 
unfortunate case ; there is a leg that might have been 
saved if he had not exerted himself in such a crazy 
manner — that cursed inflammation ! It had to be cut 
off away up here. Oh, but he's a brave lad, I can 



100 THE LOVE OF COUNTRY. 

assure you ! He never shed a tear, nor uttered a cry ) 
He was proud of being an Italian boy, while I was 
performing the operation, upon my word of honor. He 
comes of a good race, by Heavens ! " And away he 
went, on a run. 

The captain wrinkled his heavy white brows, gazed 
fixedly at the drummer-boy, and spread the coverlet 
over him again, and slowly, then as though uncon- 
sciously, and still gazing intently at him, he raised his 
hand to his head, and lifted his cap. 

" Signor Captain ! " exclaimed the boy in amaze- 
ment. " What are you doing, captain? To me ! " 

And then that rough soldier, who had never said a 
gentle word to an inferior, replied in an indescribably 
sweet and affectionate voice, "I am only a captain; 
you are a hero." 

Then he threw himself with wide-spread arms upon 
the drummer-boy, and kissed him three times upon 
the heart. 



-♦<>♦- 



THE LOVE OF COUNTRY. 

Tuesday, 24th. 
Since the tale of the Drummer-boy has touched your heart, 
it should be easy for you this morning to do your composi- 
tion for examination — Why you love Italy — well. Why 
do I love Italy ? Do not a hundred answers present them- 
selves to you on the instant? I love Italy because my 
mother is an Italian ; because the blood that flows in my 
veins is Italian ; because the soil in which are buried the 
dead whom my mother mourns and whom my father vene- 
rates is Italian ; because the town in which I was born, the 
language that I speak, the books that educate me, — because 
my brother, my sister, my comrades, the great people among 
whom I live, and the beautiful nature which surrounds me, 



THE LOVE OF COUNTRY. 101 

and all that I see, that 1 love, that I study, that I admire, 
is Italian. Oh, you cannot feel that affection in its entirety! 
You will feel it when you become a man; when, returning 
from a long journey, after a prolonged absence, you step up 
in the morning to the bulwarks of the vessel and see on the 
distant horizon the lofty blue mountains of your country; 
you will feel it then in the impetuous flood of tenderness 
which will fill your eyes with tears and will wrest a cry from 
your heart. You will feel it in some great and distant city, 
in that impulse of the soul which will impel you from the 
strange throng towards a workingman from whom you have 
heard in passing a word in your own tongue. You will feel 
it in that sad and proud wrath which will drive the blood 
to your brow when you hear insults to your country from 
the mouth of a stranger. You will feel it in more proud and 
vigorous measure on the day when the menace of a hostile 
race shall call forth a tempest of fire upon your country, 
and when you shall behold arms raging on every side, youths 
thronging in legions, fathers kissing their children and say- 
ing, " Courage ! " mothers bidding adieu to their young sons 
and crying, "Conquer! " You w r ill feel it like a joy divine 
if you have the good fortune to behold the re-entrance to 
your town of the regiments, weary, ragged, with thinned 
ranks, yet terrible, with the splendor of victory in their 
eyes, and their banners torn by bullets, followed by a vast 
convoy of brave fellow r s, bearing their bandaged heads and 
their stumps of arms loftily, amid a wild throng, which covers 
them with flowers, with blessings, and with kisses. Then 
you wall comprehend the love of country ; then you will 
feel your country, Enrico. It is a grand and sacred thing. 
May I one day see you return in safety from a battle fought 
for her, safe, — you who are my flesh and soul; but if I should 
learn that you have preserved your life because you were con- 
cealed from death, your father, who welcomes you with a cry 
of joy w r hen you return from school, will receive you with 
a sob of anguish, and I shall never be able to love you again, 
and I shall die with that dagger in my heart. 

Thy Father. 



102 ENVY. 



ENVY. 

Wednesday s 25th. 

The boy who wrote the best composition of all on 
our country was Derossi, as usual. And Votini, who 
thought himself sure of the first medal — I like Votini 
well enough, although he is rather vain and does polish 
himself up a trifle too much, — but it makes me scorn 
him, now that I am his neighbor on the bench, to see 
how envious he is of Derossi. He would like to vie 
with him ; he studies hard, but he cannot do it by any 
possibility, for the other is ten times as strong as he is 
on every point ; and Votini rails at him. Carlo Nobis 
envies him also ; but he has so much pride in his body 
that, purely from pride, he does not allow it to be per- 
ceived. Votini, on the other hand, betraj'S himself: 
he complains of his difficulties at home, and says that 
the master is unjust to him ; and when Derossi replies 
so promptly and so well to questions, as he always 
does, his face clouds over, he hangs his head, pretends 
not to hear, or tries to laugh, but he laughs awkwardl} 7 . 
And thus every one knows about it, so that when the 
master praises Derossi they all turn to look at Votini, 
who chews his venom, and the little mason makes a 
hare's face at him. To-day, for instance, he was put 
to the torture. The head-master entered the school 
and announced the result of the examination, — " De- 
rossi ten tenths and the first medal." 

Votini gave a huge sneeze. The master looked at 
him : it was not hard to understand the matter. " Vo- 
tini," he said, " do not let the serpent of envy enter 
your body ; it is a serpent which gnaws at the brain 
and corrupts the heart." 

Every one stared at him except Derossi. Votini 



ENVY. 103 

tried to make some answer, but could not ; he sat 
'here as though turned to stone, and with a white face. 
Then, while the master was conducting the lesson, he 
began to write in large characters on a sheet of paper, 
u I am not envious of those who gain the first medal 
through favoritism and injustice.'" It was a note which 
he meant to send to Derossi. But, in the meantime, I 
perceived that Derossi's neighbors were plotting among 
themselves, and whispering in each other's ears, and one 
cut with penknife from paper a big medal on which 
they had drawn a black serpent. But Votini did not 
notice this. The master went out for a few moments. 
All at once Derossi's neighbors rose and left their seats, 
for the purpose of coming and solemnly presenting the 
paper medal to Votini. The whole class was prepared 
for a scene. Votini had already begun to quiver all 
over. Derossi exclaimed : — 

"Give that to me !" 

" So much the better," they replied ; " you are the 
one who ou^ht to carrv it." 

Derossi took the medal and tore it into bits. At 
that moment the master returned, and resumed the 
lesson. I kept my eye on Votini. He had turned as 
red as a coal. He took his sheet of paper very, very 
quietly, as though in absence of mind, rolled it into a 
ball, on the sly, put it into his mouth, chewed it a 
little, and then spit it out under the bench. When 
school broke up, Votini, who was a little confused, let 
fall his blotting-paper, as he passed Derossi. Derossi 
politely picked it up, put it in his satchel, and helped 
him to buckle the straps. Votini dared not raise his 
eyes. 



104 FRANTFS MOTHER. 



FRANTI'S MOTHER. 

Saturday, 28th. 

But Votini is incorrigible. Yesterday morning, dur- 
ing the lesson on religion, in the presence of the head- 
master, the teacher asked Derossi if he knew by heart 
the two couplets in the reading-book, — 

" Where'er I turn my gaze, 'tis Thee, great God, I see/' 

Derossi said that he did not, and Votini suddenly 
exclaimed, "I know them !" with a smile, as though to 
pique Derossi. But he was piqued himself, instead, 
for he could not recite the poetry, because Fraud's* 
mother suddenly flew into the schoolroom, breathless, 
with her gray hair dishevelled and all wet with snow, 
and pushing before her her son, who had been sus- 
pended from school for a week. What a sad scene we 
were doomed to witness ! The poor woman flung her- 
self almost on her knees before the head-master, with 
clasped hands, and besought him : — 

" Oh, Signor Director, do me the favor to put my 
boy back in school ! He has been at home for three 
days. I have kept him hidden ; but God have mercy 
on him, if his father finds out about this affair : he will 
murder him ! Have pity ! I no longer know what to 
do ! I entreat you with my whole soul ! " 

The director tried to lead her out, but she resisted, 
still continuing to pray and to weep. 

" Oh, if you only knew the trouble that this boy has 
caused me, you would have compassion ! Do me this 
favor ! I hope that he will reform. I shall not live 
long, Signor Director ; I bear death within me ; but I 
should like to see him reformed before my death, be- 
cause " — and she broke into a passion of weeping— 



HOPE. 105 

M he is my son — I love him — I shall die in despair ! 
Take him back once more, Signor Director, that a 
misfortune may not happen in the family ! Do it out 
of pity for a poor woman ! " And she covered her 
face with her hands and sobbed. 

Franti stood impassive, and hung his head. The 
head-master looked at him, reflected a little, then said, 
" Franti, go to your place." 

Then the woman removed her hands from her face, 
quite comforted, and began to express thanks upon 
thanks, without giving the director a chance to speak, 
and made her way towards the door, wiping her eyes, 
and saying hastily : " I beg of you, my son. — May all 
have patience. — Thanks, Signor Director; you have 
performed a deed of mercy. — Be a good boy. — Good 
day, boys. — Thanks, Signor Teacher; good by, ana 
forgive a poor mother." And after bestowing another 
supplicating glance at her son from the door, she went 
away, pulling up the shawl which was trailing after 
he?, pale, bent, with a head which still trembled, and 
we heard her coughing all the way down the stairs. 
The head-master gazed intently at Franti, amid the 
silence of the class, and said to him in accents of a 
kind to make him tremble : — 

" Franti, you are killing your mother ! " 

We all turned to look at Franti ; and that infamous* 
boy smiled. 



HOPE. 

Sunday, 29th. 

Very beautiful, Enrico, was the impetuosity with which 
you flung yourself on your mother's heart on your return 
from your lesson of religion. Yes, your master said grand 



106 HOPE. 

and consoling things to you. God threw you in each other*! 
arms ; he will never part you. When I die, when your 
father dies, we shall not speak to each other these despairing 
words, "Mamma, papa, Enrico, I shall never see you again!'' 
We shall see each other again in another life, where he who 
has suffered much in this life will receive compensation; 
where he who has loved much on earth will find again the 
souls whom he has loved, in a world without sin, without 
sorrow, and without death. But we must all render our- 
selves worthy of that other life. Reflect, my son. Every 
good action of yours, every impulse of affection for those 
who love you, every courteous act towards your companions, 
every noble thought of yours, is like a leap towards that other 
world. And every misfortune, also, serves to raise you towards 
that world ; every sorrow, for every sorrow is the expiation 
of a sin, every tear blots out a stain. Make it your rule to 
become better and more loving every day than the day 
before. Say every morning, "To-day I will do something 
for which my conscience will praise me, and with which 
my father will be satisfied ; something which will render me 
beloved by such or such a comrade, by my teacher, by my 
brother, or by others." And beseech God to give you the 
strength to put your resolution into practice. " Lord, I 
wish to be good, noble, courageous, gentle, sincere; help 
me ; grant that every night, when my mother gives me her 
last kiss, I may be able to say to her, < You kiss this night 
a nobler and more worthy boy than you kissed last night.' " 
Keep always in your thoughts that other superhuman and 
blessed Enrico which you may be after this life. And pray. 
You cannot imagine the sweetness that you experience, — 
how much better a mother feels when she sees her child 
with hands clasped in prayer. When I behold you pray- 
ing, it seems impossible to me that there should not be 
some one there gazing at you and listening to you. Then I 
believe more firmly that there is a supreme goodness and 
an infinite pity ; T love you more, I work with more ardor, 
I endure with more force, I forgive with all my heart, and 



HOPE. 107 

I think of death with serenity. O great and good God J 
To hear once more, after death, the voice of my mother, 
to meet my children again, to see my Enrico once more, 
my Enrico, blessed and immortal, and to clasp him in an 
embrace which shall nevermore be loosed, nevermore, never- 
more to all eternity ! Oh, pray ! let us pray, let us love each 
other, let us be good, let us bear this celestial hope in out 
hearts and souls, my adored child ! 

Thy Mother. 



108 ^ MEDAL WELL BESTOWED. 



FEBRUARY. 



A MEDAL WELL BESTOWEL. 

Saturday, 4th. 

This morning the superintendent of the schools, a 
gentleman with a white beard, and dressed in black, 
came to bestow the medals. He entered with the 
head-master a little before the close and seated himself 
beside the teacher. He questioned a few, then gave 
the first medal to Derossi, and before giving the 
second, he stood for a few moments listening to the 
teacher and the head-master, who were talking to him 
in a low voice. All were asking themselves, " To 
whom will he give the second ? " The superintendent 
said aloud : — 

" Pupil Pietro Precossi has merited the second 
medal this week, — merited it by his work at home, 
by his lessons, by his handwriting, by his conduct in 
every way." All turned to look at Precossi, and it 
was evident that all took pleasure in it. Precossi rose 
in such confusion that he did not know where he stood. 

"Come here," said the superintendent. Precossi 
sprang up from his seat and stepped up to the master's 
table. The superintendent looked attentively at that 
little waxen face, at that puny body enveloped in 
turned and ill-fitting garments, at those kind, sad 
eyes, which avoided his, but which hinted at a story 
of suffering ; then he said to him, in a voice full of 
affection, as he fastened the medal on his shoulder: — 



A MEDAL WELL BESTOWED. 109 

u I give you the medal, Precossi. No one is more 
worthy to wear it than } t ou. I bestow it not only on 
/our intelligence and your good will ; I bestow it on 
your heart, I give it to your courage, to your character 
of a brave and good son. Is it not true," he added, 
turning to the class, " that he deserves it also on that 
score? " 

" Yes, yes ! " all answered, with one voice. Precossi 
made a movement of the throat as though he were 
swallowing something, and cast upon the benches a 
very sweet look, which was expressive of immense grat- 
itude. 

" Go, my dear boy," said the superintendent ; " and 
may God protect you ! " 

It was the hour for dismissing the school. Our class 
got out before the others. As soon as we were outside 
the door, whom should we esp} T there, in the large hall, 
just at the entrance? The father of Precossi, the 
blacksmith, pallid as was his wont, with fierce face, 
hair hanging over his eyes, liis cap awry, and unsteady 
on his legs. The teacher caught sight of him instant- 
ly, and whispered to the superintendent. The latter 
sought out Precossi in haste, and taking him by the 
hand, he led him to his father. The boy was trembling. 
The boy and the superintendent approached ; many 
boys collected around them. 

" Is it true that vou are the father of this lad?" 
demanded the superintendent of the blacksmith, with a 
cheerful air, as though they were friends. And, with- 
out awaiting a reply : — 

"I rejoice with you. Look: he has won the sec- 
ond medal over fifty-four of his comrades. He has de- 
served it by his composition, his arithmetic, everything- 
He is a boy of great intelligence and good will, who will 



HO GOOD RESOLUTIONS. 

accomplish great things ; a fine boy, who possesses 
the affection and esteem of all. You may feel proud 
of him, I assure you." 

The blacksmith, who had stood there with open mouth 
listening to him, stared at the superintendent and the 
head-master, and then at his son, who was standing 
before him with downcast eyes and trembling ; and as 
though he had remembered and comprehended then, for 
the first time, all that he had made the little fellow suf- 
fer, and all the goodness, the heroic constancy, with 
which the latter had borne it, he displayed in his coun- 
tenance a certain stupid wonder, then a sullen remorse, 
and finally a sorrowful and impetuous tenderness, and 
with a rapid gesture he caught the boy round the head 
and strained him to his breast. We all passed before 
them. I invited him to come to the house on Thurs- 
day, with Garrone and Crossi ; others saluted him ; 
one bestowed a caress on him, another touched his 
medal, all said something to him ; and his father stared 
at us in amazement, as he still held his son's head 
pressed to his breast, while the boy sobbed. 



-*o+- 



GOOD RESOLUTIONS. 

Sunday, 5th. 
That medal given to Precossi has awakened a re- 
morse in me. I have never earned one yet ! For 
some time past I have not been studying, and I am 
discontented with myself, and the teacher, my father 
and mother are discontented with me. I no longer 
experience the pleasure in amusing myself that I did 
formed} 7 , when I worked with a will, and then sprang 
up from the table and ran to my games full of mirth, 



GOOD RESOLUTIONS. Ill 

as though I had not played for a mouth. Neither do I 
sit dowu to the table with my family with the same 
contentment as of old. I have always a shadow in mv 
soul, an inward voice, that says to me continually, 
-- It won't do ; it won't do." 

In the evening I see a great many boys pass through 
the square on their return from work, in the midst of a 
group of workingmen, weary but mem'. They step 
briskly along, impatient to reach their homes and sup- 
pers, and the} 7 talk loudly, laughing and slapping each 
other on the shoulder with hands blackened with coal, 
or whitened with plaster ; and I reflect that the}* have 
been working since daybreak up to this hour. And 
with them are also many others, who are still smaller, 
who have been standing all day on the summits of 
roofs, in front of ovens, among machines, and in the 
water, and underground, with nothing to eat but a 
little bread ; and I feel almost ashamed, I, who in all 
that time have accomplished nothing but scribble four 
small pages, and that reluctantly. Ah, I am discon- 
tented, discontented ! I see plainly that my father is 
out of humor, and would like. to tell me so ; but he is 
sorry, and he is still waiting. My dear father, who 
works so hard ! all is yours, all that I see around me 
in the house, all that I touch, all that I wear and eat, 
all that affords me instruction, and diversion, — - all is 
the fruit of your toil, and I do not work ; all has 
cost you thought, privations, trouble, effort ; and I 
make no effort. Ah, no ; this is too unjust, and causes 
me too much pain. I will begin this very day ; I will 
apply myself to my studies, like Stardi, with clenched 
fists and set teeth. I will set about it with all the 
strength of my will and my heart. I will conquer my 
drowsiness in the evening, I will come down promptly 



XI 2 THE ENGINE. 

in the morning, I will cudgel my brains without ceas- 
ing, I will chastise my laziness without mere}*. I will, 
toil, suffer, even to the extent of making myself ill ; 
but I will put a stop, once for all, to this languishing 
and tiresome life, which is degrading me and causing 
sorrow to others. Courage ! to work ! To work with 
all my soul, and all my nerves ! To work, which will 
restore to me sweet repose, pleasing games, cheerful 
meals ! To work, which will give me back again the 
kindly smile of my teacher, the blessed kiss of my 
father ! 



THE ENGINE. 

Friday, 10th. 

Precossi came to our house to-day with Garrone. 
I do not think that two sons of princes would have 
been received with greater delight. This is the first 
time that Garrone has been here, because he is rather 
shv, and then he is ashamed to show himself because 
he is so large, and is still in the third grade. We all 
went to open the door when they rang. Crossi did not 
come, because his father has at last arrived from Amer- 
ica, after an absence of seven }'ears. My mother 
kissed Precossi at once. My father introduced Gar- 
rone to her, saying : — - 

" Here he is. This lad is not only a good boy ; he 
is a man of honor and a gentleman." 

And the boy dropped his big, shagg}' head, with a 
sly smile at me. Precossi had on his medal, and he 
was happy, because his father has gone to work again, 
and has not drunk anything for the last five days, 
wants him to be always in the workshop to keep him 
company, and seems quite another man. 



THE ENGINE. 113 

We began to play, and I brought out all my things. 
Precossi was enchanted with my train of cars, with the 
engine that goes of itself on being wound up. He 
had never seen anything of the kind. He devoured 
the little red and yellow cars with his eyes. I gave 
him the key to play with, and he knelt down to his 
amusement, and did not raise his head again. I have 
never seen him so pleased. He kept saying, " Excuse 
me, excuse me," to everything, and motioning to us 
with his hands, that we should not stop the engine ; 
and then he picked it up and replaced the cars with a 
thousand precautions, as though they had been made of 
glass. He was afraid of tarnishing them with his 
breath, and he polished them up again, examining them 
top and bottom, and smiling to himself. We M stood 
around him and gazed at him. We looke_. a 1 that 
slender neck, those poor little ears, which I ^ad seen 
bleeding one da} T , that jacket with the sleeves turned 
up, from which projected two sickly little arms, which 
had been upraised to ward off blows from his face. Oh ! 
at that moment I could have cast all my playthings and 
all my books at his feet, I could have torn the last 
morsel of bread from my lips to give to him, I could 
have divested myself of my clothing to clothe him, I 
could have flung myself on my knees to kiss his hand. 
"I will at least give you the train," I thought; but it 
was necessary to ask permission of my father. At that 
moment I felt a bit of paper thrust into my hand. I 
looked ; it was written in pencil by my father ; it said : 

" Your train pleases Precossi. He has no play- 
things. Does your heart suggest nothing to you ? " 

Instantly I seized the engine and the cars in both 
hands, and placed the whole in his arms, saying : — 

" Take this ; it is yours." 



114 PRIDE. 

He looked at me, and did not understand. "It is 
yours," I said ; " I give it to .you." 

Then he looked at nry father and mother, in still 
greater astonishment, and asked me : — 

"But why?" 

My father said to him : — 

"Enrico gives it to you because he is your friend, 
because he loves 3*011 — to celebrate your medal." 

Precossi asked timidly : — 

" I may carry it away — home ? " 

"Of course!" we all responded. He was already 
at the door, but he dared not go out. He was happy ! 
He begged our pardon with a mouth that smiled and 
quivered. Garrone helped him to wrap up the train in 
a handkerchief, and as he bent over, he made the 
things with which his pockets were filled rattle. 

" Some day," said Precossi to me, "you shall come 
to the shop to see my father at work. I will give you 
some nails." 

My mother put a little bunch of flowers into Gar- 
rone's buttonhole, for him to carry to his mother in her 
name. Garrone said, "Thanks," in his big voice, 
without raising his chin from his breast. But all his 
kind and noble soul shone in his eyes. 



PRIDE. 

Saturday, 11th. 

The idea of Carlo Nobis rubbing off his sleeve affect- 
edly, when Precossi touches him in passing ! That 
fellow is pride incarnate because his father is a rich 
man. But Derossi's father is rich too. He would like 
to have a bench to himself ; he is afraid that the rest 



PRIDE. 115 

will soil it ; he looks down on every bod}' and always has 
a scornful smile on his lips : woe to him who stumbles 
over his foot,, when we go out in files two by two ! For 
a mere trifle he flings an insulting word in your face, or 
a threat to get his father to come to the school. It is 
true that his father did give him a good lesson when he 
called the little son of the charcoal-man a ragamuffin. 
I have never seen so disagreeable a schoolboy ! No 
one speaks to him, no one says good by to him when 
he goes out ; there is not even a dog who would give 
him a suggestion when he does not know his lesson. 
And he cannot endure any one, and he pretends to 
despise Derossi more than all, because he is the head 
boy ; and Garrone, because he is beloved by all. But 
Derossi pays no attention to him when he is by ; and 
when the boys tell Garrone that Nobis has been 
speaking ill of him, he says : — 

" His pride is so senseless that it does not deserve 
even my passing notice." 

But Coretti said to him one day, when he was smil- 
ing disdainfully at his catskin cap : — 

" Go to Derossi for a while, and learn how to play 
the gentleman ! " 

Yesterday he complained to the master, because the 
Calabrian touched his leg with his foot. The master 
asked the Calabrian : — 

"Did you do it intentionally? — "No, sir," he re- 
plied, frankly. — "You are too petulant, Nobis." 

And Nobis retorted, in his airy way, "I shall tell 
my father about it." Then the teacher got angry. 

' ' Your father will tell vou that vou are in the wrong;, 
as he has on other occasions. And besides that, it is 
the teacher alone who has the right to judge and punish 
in school." Then he added pleasantly : — 



116 THE WOUNDS OF LABOR. 

" Come, Nobis, change your ways ; be kind and cour- 
teous to your comrades. You see, we have here sons 
of workingmen and of gentlemen, of the rich and the 
poor, and all love each other and treat each other like 
brothers, as they are. Why do not you do like the 
rest? It would not cost you much to make every one 
like you, and you would be so much happier yourself, 
too ! — "Well, have you no reply to make me? " 

Nobis, who had listened to him with his customary 
scornful smile, answered coldly : — 

"No, sir." 

" Sit down," said the master to him. "lam sorry 
for you. You are a heartless boy." 

This seemed to be the end of it all ; but the little 
mason, who sits on the front bench, turned his round 
face towards Nobis, who sits on the back bench, and 
made such a fine and ridiculous hare's face at him, that 
the whole class burst into a shout of laughter. The 
master reproved him ;' but he was obliged to put his 
hand over his own mouth to conceal a smile. And 
even Nobis laughed, but not in a pleasant way. 



-•<>♦- 



THE WOUNDS OF LABOR. 

Monday, 15th. 
Nobis can be paired off with Franti : neither of them 
was affected this morning in the presence of the 
terrible sight which passed before their eyes. On com- 
ing out of school, I was standing with my father and 
looking at some big rogues of the second grade, who 
had thrown themselves on their knees and were wiping 
off the ice with their cloaks and caps, in order to make 
slides more quickly, when we saw a crowd of people 
appear at the end of the street, walking hurriedly, all 



THE WOUNDS OF LABOR. H7 

serious and seemingly terrified, and conversing in low 
tones. In the midst of them were three policemen, 
and behind the policemen two men carrying a litter. 
Boys hastened up from all quarters. The crowd ad- 
vanced towards us. On the litter was stretched a man, 
pale as a corpse, with his head resting on one shoulder, 
and his hair tumbled and stained with blood, for he 
had been losing blood through the mouth and ears ; and 
beside the litter walked a woman with a baby in her 
arms, who seemed crazy, and who shrieked from time 
to time, "He is dead ! He is dead ! He is dead ! " 

Behind the woman came a boy who had a portfolio 
under his arm and who was sobbing. 

" What has happened? " asked my father. A neigh- 
bor replied, that the the man was a mason who had 
fallen from the fourth story while at work. The 
bearers of the litter halted for a moment. Many 
turned away their faces in horror. I saw the school- 
mistress of the red feather supporting my mistress of 
the upper first, who was almost in a swoon. At the 
same moment I felt a touch on the elbow ; it was the 
little mason, who was ghastly white and trembling 
from head to foot. He was certainly thinking of his 
father. I was thinking of him, too. I, at least, am 
at peace in my mind while I am in school : I know that 
my father is at home, seated at his table, far removed 
from all danger ; but how many of my companions 
think that their fathers are at work on a very high 
bridge or close to the wheels of a machine, and that a 
movement, a single false step, may cost them their 
lives ! They are like so many sons of soldiers who 
have fathers in the battle. The little mason gazed and 
gazed, and trembled more and more, and my father 
noticed it and said : — 



118 THE PRISONER. 

" Go home, my boy ; go at once to your father, and 
you wiil find him safe and tranquil ; go ! " 

The little mason went off, turning round at every 
step. And in the meanwhile the crowd bad begun to 
move again, and the woman to shriek in a way that 
rent the heart, "He is dead! He is dead! He is 
dead ! " 

" No, no; he is not dead," people on all sides said 
to her. But she paid no heed to them, and tore her 
hair. Then I heard an indignant voice say, " You are 
laughing ! " and at the same moment I saw a bearded 
man staring; in Franti's face. Then the man knocked 
his cap to the ground with his stick, saying : — 

" Uncover your head, you wicked boy, when a man 
wounded by labor is passing by ! " 

The crowd had already passed, and a long streak of 
blood was visible in the middle of the street. 



-»<>♦- 



THE PRISONER. 

Friday, 17th. 
Ah, this is certainly the strangest event of the 
whole year ! Yesterday morning my father took me 
to the suburbs of Moncalieri, to look at a villa which 
he thought of hiring- for the coming- summer, because 
we shall not go to Chieri again this year, and it turned 
out that the person who had the keys was a teacher 
who acts as secretary to the owner. He showed us the 
house, and then he took us to his own room, where he 
gave us something to drink. On his table, among the 
glasses, there was a wooden inkstand, of a conical 
form, carved in a singular manner. Perceiving that 
my father was looking at it, the teacher said : — 



THE PRISONER. 119 

* ' That inkstand is very precious to me : if you only 
knew, sir, the history of that inkstand ! " And he 
told it. 

Years ago he was a teacher at Turin, and all one 
winter he went to give lessons to the prisoners in the 
judicial prison. He gave the lessons in the chapel of 
the prison, which is a circular building, and all around 
it, on the high, bare walls, are a great many little 
square windows, covered with two cross-bars of iron, 
each one of which corresponds to a ver}- small cell in- 
side. He gave his lessons as he paced about the dark, 
cold chapel, and his scholars stood at the holes, with 
their copy-books resting agajnst the gratings, showing 
nothing in the shadow but wan, frowning faces, gray 
and ragged beards, staring eyes of murderers and 
thieves. Among the rest there was one, No. 78, who 
was more attentive than all the others, and who stud- 
ied a great deal, and gazed at his teacher with eyes 
full of respect and gratitude. He was a young man, 
with a black beard, more unfortunate than wicked, a 
cabinet-maker who, in a fit of rage, had flung a plane 
at his master, who had been persecuting him for some 
time, and had inflicted a mortal wound on his head : 
for this he had been condemned to several 3 T ears of se- 
clusion. In three months he had learned to read and 
write, and he read constantly, and the more he learned, 
the better he seemed to become, and the more remorse- 
ful for his crime. One day, at the conclusion of the 
lesson, he made a sign to the teacher that he should 
come near to his little window, and he announced to 
him that he was to leave Turin on the following day, 
to go and expiate his crime in the prison at Venice ; 
and as he bade him farewell, he begged in a humble 
and much moved voice, that he might be allowed to 



120 THE PRISONER. 

touch the master's hand. The master offered him his 
hand, and he kissed it ; then he said : — 

" Thanks ! thanks ! " and disappeared. The master 
drew back his hand ; it was bathed with tears. After 
that he did not see the man again. 

Six years passed. " I was thinking of anything ex- 
cept that unfortunate man," said the teacher, " when, 
the other morning, I saw a stranger come to the house, 
a man with a large black beard already sprinkled with 
gray, and badly dressed, who said to me : ' Are you 
the teacher So-and-So, sir?' 'Who are } t ou?' I asked 
him. 'I am prisoner No. 78,' he replied; 'you 
taught me to read and write six years ago ; if you 
recollect, you gave me your hand at the last lesson ; I 
have now expiated my crime, and I have come hither 
— to beg you to do me the favor to accept a memento 
of me, a poor little thing which I made in prison. 
Will you accept it in memory of me, Signor Master?' 

"I stood there speechless. He thought that I did 
not wish to take it, and he looked at me as much as to 
say, ' So six years of suffering are not sufficient to 
cleanse my hands ! ' but with so poignant an expres- 
sion of pain did he gaze at me, that I instantly ex- 
tended my hand and took the little object. This is it." 

We looked attentively at the inkstand : it seemed to 
have been carved with the point of a nail, and with 
great patience ; on its top was carved a pen lying 
across a copy-book, and around it was written: "To 
my teacher. A memento of No. 78. Six years! " And 
below, in small letters, "Study and hope.' 3 

The master said nothing more ; we went away. But 
all the way from Moncalieri to Turin I could not 
get that prisoner, standing at his little window, that 
farewell to his master, that poor inkstand made in 



THE PRISONER. 121 

prison, which told so much, out of my head ; and I 
dreamed of them all night, and was still thinking of 
them this morning — far enough from imagining the 
surprise which awaited me at school ! No sooner had 
I taken my new seat, beside Derossi, and written my 
problem in arithmetic for the monthly examination, 
than I told my companion the story of the prisoner 
and the inkstand, and how the inkstand was made, 
with the pen across the cop}'-book, and the inscription 
around it, "Six years!" Derossi sprang up at these 
words, and began to look first at me and then at Crossi, 
the son of the vegetable-vender, who sat on the bench 
in front, with his back turned to us, wholly absorbed 
on his problem. 

"Hush!" he said; then, in a low voice, catching 
me by the arm, "don't you know that Crossi spoke 
to me day before yesterday of having caught a glimpse 
of an inkstand in the hands of his father, who has re- 
turned from America ; a conical inkstand, made by 
hand, with a copy-book and a pen, — that is the one; 
six years ! He said that his father was in America ; 
instead of that he was in prison : Crossi was a little 
boy at the time of the crime ; he does not remember it ; 
his mother has deceived him ; he knows nothing ; let 
not a syllable of this escape ! " 

I remained speechless, with my e}'es fixed on Crossi. 
Then Derossi solved his problem, and passed it under 
the bench to Crossi ; he gave him a sheet of paper ; he 
took out of his hands the monthly story, Daddy's Nurse, 
which the teacher had given him to copy out, in order 
that he might copy it in his stead ; he gave him pens, 
and stroked his shoulder, and made me promise on my 
honor that I would say nothing to any one ; and when 
we left school, he said hastily to me : — 



X22 DADDY'S NURSE. 

"His father came to get him yesterday ; he will be 
here again this morning : do as I do." 

We emerged into the street ; Crossi's father was 
there, a little to one side : a »man with a black beard 
sprinkled with gray, badly dressed, with a colorless and 
thoughtful face. Derossi shook Crossi's hand, in a 
way to attract attention, and said to him in a loud 
tone, "Farewell until we meet again, Crossi," — and 
passed his hand under his chin. I did the same. But 
as he did so, Derossi turned crimson, and so did I; 
and Crossi's father gazed attentively at us, with a 
kindly glance ; but through it shone an expression of 
uneasiness and suspicion which made our hearts grow 
cold. 



-*o*- 



DADDY'S NURSE. 

(Monthly Story.') 

One morning, on a rainy day in March, a lad dressed 
like a country boy, all muddy and saturated with 
water, with a bundle of clothes under his arm, pre- 
sented himself to the porter of the great hospital at 
Naples, and, presenting a letter, asked for his father. 
He had a fine oval face, of a pale brown hue, thought- 
ful eyes, and two thick lips, always half open, which 
displayed extremely white teeth. He came from a vil- 
lage in the neighborhood of Naples. His father, who 
had left home a } 7 ear previously to seek work in France, 
had returned to Italy, and had landed a few days be- 
fore at Naples, where, having fallen suddenly ill, he 
had hardly time to write a line to announce his arrival 
to his famil}' , and to saj' that he was going to the hos- 
pital. His wife, in despair at this news, and unable to 



DADDY'S NURSE. 12* 

ieave home because she had a sick child, and a baby at 
the breast, had sent her eldest son to Naples, with a 
few soldi, to help his father — his daddy, as they called 
him : the boy hud walked ten miles. 

The porter, after glancing at the letter, called a nurse 
and told him to conduct the lad to his father. 

" What father?" inquired the nurse. 

The boy, trembling with terror, lest he should hear 
bad news, gave the name. 

The nurse did not recall such a name. 

"An old laborer, arrived from abroad?" he asked. 

"Yes, a laborer," replied the lad, still more uneasy; 
" not so very old. Yes, arrived from abroad." 

"When did he enter the hospital?" asked the 
nurse. 

The lad glanced at his letter; "Five days ago, I 
think." 

The nurse stood a while in thought ; then, as though 
suddenly recalling him ; " Ah ! " he said, " the furthest 
bed in the fourth ward." 

"Is he very ill? How is he?" inquired the boy, 
anxiously. 

The nurse looked at him, without replying. Then 
he said, " Come with me." 

They ascended two flights of stairs, walked to the 
end of a Ions; corridor, and found themselves facing 
the open door of a large hall, wherein two rows of 
beds were arranged. " Come," repeated the nurse, 
entering. The boy plucked up his courage, and fol- 
lowed him, casting terrified glances to right and left, 
on the pale, emaciated faces of the sick people, some 
of whom had their eyes closed, and seemed to be dead, 
while others were staring into the air, with their eyes 
wide open and fixed, as though frightened. Some 



124 DADDY'S NURSE. 

were moaning like children. The big room was dark, 
the air was impregnated with an acute odor of medi- 
cines. Two sisters of charity were going about with 
phials in their hands. 

Arrived at the extremity of the great room, the nurse 
halted at the head of a bed, drew aside the curtains, 
and said, ' w Here is your father." 

The boy burst into tears, and letting fall his bundle, 
he dropped his head on the sick man's shoulder, clasp- 
ing with one hand the arm which was lying motionless 
on the coverlet. The sick man did not move. 

The boy rose to his feet, and looked at his father, and 
broke into a fresh fit of weeping. Then the sick man 
gave a long look at him, and seemed to recognize him ; 
but his lips did not move. Poor daddy, how he was 
changed! The son would never have recognized him. 
His hair had turned white, his beard had grown, his face 
was swollen, of a dull red hue, with the skin tightly drawn 
and shining; his eyes were diminished in size, his lips very 
thick, his whole countenance altered. There was no 
longer anything natural about him but his forehead and 
the arch of his eyebrows. He breathed with difficulty. 

"Daddy! daddy!" said the boy, "it is I; don't 
yon know me? I am Cicillo, your own Cicillo, who 
has come from the country : mamma has sent me. 
Take a good look at me ; don't you know me ? Say 
one word to me."' 

But the sick man, after having looked attentively 
at him, closed his eyes. 

' ' Daddy ! daddy ! What is the matter with you ? 
I am your little son — }Our own Cicillo." 

The sick man made no movement, and continued to 
breathe painfully. 

Then the lad, still weeping, took a chair, seated him« 



CADDY'S NURSE. \2\ 

self and waited, without taking his eyes from his 
father's face. "A doctor will surely come to pay him 
a visit," he thought; "he will tell me something." 
And he became immersed in sad thoughts, recalling 
man}- things about his kind father, the day of parting, 
when he said the last good by to him on board the 
ship, the hopes which his family had founded on his 
journey, the desolation of his mother on the arrival of 
the letter ; and he thought of death : he beheld iiis 
father dead, his mother dressed in black, the family in 
misery. And he remained a long time thus. A light 
hand touched him on the shoulder, and he started up : 
it was a nun. 

" What is the matter with my father?" he asked her 
quickly. 

"Is he your father?" said the sister gently. 

"Yes, he is my father; I have come. What ails 
him?" 

"Courage, my boy," replied the sister; "the doc- 
tor will be here soon now." And she went away 
without saying anything more. 

Half an hour later he heard the sound of a bell, and 
he saw the doctor enter at the further end of the hall, 
accompanied by an assistant ; the sister and a nurse 
followed him. The}' began the visit, pausing at every 
bed. This time of waiting seemed an eternity to the 
lad, and his anxiety increased at every step of the doc- 
tor. At leno-th thev arrived at the next bed. The 
doctor was an old man, tall and stooping, with a grave 
face. Before he left the next bed the boy rose to his 
feet, and when he approached he began to cry. 

The doctor looked at him. 

"He is the sick man's son," said the sister; "he 
arrived this morning from the country.' 



5> 



126 DADDY'S NURSE. 

The doctor placed one hand on his shoulder ; then 
bent over the sick man, felt his pulse, touched his fore- 
head, and asked a few questions of the sister, who 
replied, "There is nothing new." Then he thought 
for a while and said, kk Continue the present treatment." 

Then the boy plucked up courage, and asked in a 
tearful voice, " What is the matter with my father?" 

"Take courage, my D03V replied the doctor, laying 
his hand on his shoulder once more; "he has erysip- 
elas in his face. It is a serious case, but there is still 
hope. Help him. Your presence may do him a great 
deal of good." 

" But he does not know me ! " exclaimed the boy in 
a tone of affliction. 

"He will recognize you — to-morrow perhaps. Let 
us hope for the best and keep up our courage." 

The bov would have liked to ask some more 
questions, but he did not dare. The doctor passed on. 
And then he began his life of nurse. As he could do 
nothing: else, he arranged the coverlets of the sick man, 
touched his hand every now and then, drove away the 
flies, bent over him at every groan, and when the 
sister brought him something to drink, he took the 
glass or the spoon from her hand, and administered it 
in her stead. The sick man looked at him occasion- 
ally, but he gave no sign of recognition. However, 
his glance rested longer on the lad each time, especially 
when the latter put his handkerchief to his e}'es. 

Thus passed the first day. At night the boy slept 
on two chairs, in a corner of the ward, and in the 
morning he resumed his work of mercy. That day it 
seemed as though the eyes of the sick man revealed 
a dawning of consciousness. At the sound of the 
boy's caressing voice a vague expression of gratitude 



DADDY'S NURSE. 12> 

seemed to gleam for an instant in his pupils, and once 
he moved his lips a little, as though he wanted to say 
something. After each brief nap he seemed, on open- 
ing his eyes, to seek his little nurse. The doctor, who 
had passed twice, thought he noted a slight improve- 
ment. Towards evening, on putting the cup to his 
lips, the lad fancied that he perceived a very faint 
smile glide across the swollen lips. Then he began 
to take comfort and to hope ; and with the hope of 
being understood, confusedly at least, he talked to 
him — talked to him at great length — of his mother, of 
his little sisters, of his own return home, and he ex- 
horted him to courage with warm and loving words. 
And although he often doubted whether he was heard, 
he still talked ; for it seemed to him that even if he 
did not understand him, the sick man listened with a 
certain pleasure to his voice, — to that unaccustomed 
intonation of affection and sorrow. And in this man- 
ner passed the second day, and the third, and the 
fourth, with vicissitudes of slight improvements and 
unexpected changes for the worse ; and the boy was 
so absorbed in all his cares, that he hardly nibbled a 
bit of bread and cheese twice a day, when the sister 
brought it to him, and hardly saw what was going on 
around him, — the dying patients, the sudden running 
up of the sisters at night, the moans and despairing 
gestures of visitors, — all those doleful and lugubrious 
scenes of hospital life, which on any other occasion 
would have disconcerted and alarmed him. Hours, 
days, passed, and still he was there with his daddy ; 
watchful, wistful, trembling at every sigh and at every 
look, agitated incessantly between a hope which re- 
lieved his mind and a discouragement which froze hi* 
heart. 



128 DADDY'S NURSE. 

On the fifth day the sick man suddenly grew worse. 
The doctor, on being interrogated, shook his head, as 
much as to say that all was over, and the boy flung 
himself on a chair and burst out sobbing. But one 
thing comforted him. In spite of the fact that he was 
worse, the sick man seemed to be slowly regaining a 
little intelligence. He stared at the lad with increas- 
ing intentness, and, with an expression which grew in 
sweetness, would take his drink aud medicine from no 
one but him, aud made strenuous efforts with his lips 
with greater frequency, as though he were trying to 
pronounce some word ; and he did it so plainly some- 
times that his son grasped his arm violently, inspired 
hy a sudden hope, and said to him in a tone which was 
almost that of joy, "Courage, courage, daddy; you 
will get well, we will go away from here, we will re- 
turn home with mamma ; courage, for a little while 
longer! " 

It was four o'clock in the afternoon, and just when 
the boy had abandoned himself to one of these out- 
bursts of tenderness and hope, when a sound of foot- 
steps became audible outside the nearest door in the 
ward, and then a strong voice uttering two words only, 
■ — "Farewell, sister!" — which made him spring to 
his feet, with a cry repressed in. his throat. 

At that moment there entered the ward a man with 
a thick bandage on his hand, followed by a sister. 

The boy uttered a sharp cry, and stood rooted tc 
the spot. 

The man turned round, looked at him for a moment, 
and uttered a cry in his turn, — " Cicillo ! " — and 
darted towards him. 

The boy fell into his father's arms, choking with 
emotion. 



x/ADDY'S NURSE. 129 

The sister, the nurse, and the assistant ran up, and 
stood there in amazement. 

The boy could not recover his voice. 

"Oh, my Cicillo ! " exclaimed the father, after be- 
stowing an attentive look on the sick man, as he kissed 
the boy repeatedly. "Cicillo, my son, how is this? 
They took you to the bedside of another man. And 
there was I, in despair at not seeing you after mamma 
had written, ' I have sent him.' Poor Cicillo ! How 
many days have you been here ? How did this mistake 
occur ? 1 have come out of it easily ! I have a good 
constitution, vou know! And how is mamma? And 
Concettella ? And the little baby — how are they all ? 
I am leaving the hospital now. Come, then. Oh, 
Lord God ! Who would have thought it ! " 

The boy tried to interpolate a few words, to tell the 
news of the family. "Oh how happy I am!' he 
stammered. " How happy I am ! What terrible days 
I have passed ! " And he could not finish kissing his 
father. 

But he did not stir. 

"Come," said his father; "we can get home this 
evening." And he drew the lad towards him. The 
boy turned to look at his patient. 

"Well, are you coming or not?" his father de- 
manded, in amazement. 

The boy cast yet another glance at the sick man. 
who opened his eyes at that moment and gazed intentl}' 
at him. 

Then a flood of words poured from his very soul. 
"No, daddy; wait — here — I can't. Here is this old 
man. I have been here for five days. He gaze© at 
me incessantly. I thought he was you. I love him 
dearly. He looks at me ; I give him his drink ; bs 



|30 DADDY'S IfUBSE. 

wants me always beside him ; he is very ill now. Have 
patience ; I have not the courage — I don't know — it 
pains me too much ; I will return home to-morrow ; let 
me stav here a little longer ; I don't at all like to leave 
him. See how he looks at me ! I don't know who he 
is, but he wants me ; he will die alone : let me stay 
here, dear daddy ! " 

" Bravo, little fellow ! " exclaimed the attendant. 

The father stood in perplexity, staring at the boy ; 
then he looked at the sick man. "Who is he?" he 
inquired. 

" A countryman, like yourself," replied the attendant, 
" just arrived from abroad, and who entered the hospi- 
tal on the very day that vou entered it. He was out 
of his senses when thev brought him here, and could 
not speak. Perhaps he has a family far away, and 
sons. He probably thinks that your son is one of his." 

The sick man was still looking at the boy. 

The father said to Cicillo, " Stav." 

" He will not have to stay much longer," murmured 
the attendant. 

" Sta} 7 ," repeated his father: " you have heart. 
I will go home immediately, to relieve mamma's dis- 
tress. Here is a scudo for your expenses. Good by, 
my brave little son, until we meet ! " 

He embraced him, looked at him intentl}', kissed 
him again on the brow, and went away. 

The boy returned to his post at the bedside, and the 
sick man appeared consoled. And Cicillo began again 
to play the nurse, no longer weeping, but with the 
same eagerness, the same patience, as before ; he again 
began to give the man his drink, to arrange his bed- 
clothes, to caress his hand, to speak softly to him, to 
exhort him to courage. He attended him all that day ? 



DADDY'S XVRsK. \%\ 

all that night ; he remained beside him all the follow- 
ing day. But the sick man continued to grow con- 
stantly worse ; his face turned a purple color, his 
breathing grew heavier, his agitation increased, inar- 
ticulate cries escaped his lips, the inflara nation became 
excessive. On his evening visit, the doctor said that 
he woiud not live through the night. And then Cicillo 
redoubled his cares, and never took his eves from him 
for a minute. The sick man gazed and gazed at him, 
and kept moving his lips from time to time, with great 
effort, as though he wanted to say something, and an 
expression of extraordinary tenderness passed over his 
eyes now and then, as the}* continued to grow smaller 
and more dim. And that night the boy watched with 
him until he saw the first rays of dawn gleam white 
through the windows, and the sister appeared. The 
sister approached the bed, cast a glance at the patient, 
and then went away with rapid steps. A few moments 
later she reappeared with the assistant doctor, and 
with a nurse, who carried a lantern. 

" He is at his last gasp," said the doctor. 

The boy clasped the sick man's hand. The latter 
opened his eyes, gazed at him, and closed them once 
more. 

-At that moment the lad fancied that he felt his hand 
pressed. " He pressed my hand ! " he exclaimed. 

The doctor bent over the patient for an instant, then 
straightened himself up. 

The sister detached a crucifix from the wall. 

" He is dead ! " cried the boy. 

"Go, my son," said the doctor: "your work of 
mercy is finished. Go, and may fortune attend you ! 
for you deserve it. God will protect you. Farewell ! " 

The sister, who had stepped aside for a moment, re- 



1% THE WORKSHOP 



lurried with a little bunch of violets which she had 
:aken from a glass on the window-sill, and handed 
bhena to the boy, saying : — 

"I have nothing else to give 3"ou. Take these in 
meinoiw of the hospital." 

"Thanks," returned the boy, taking the bunch of 
flowers with one hand and drying his eves with the 
other ; " but I have such a long distance to go on foot 
— I shall spoil them." And separating the violets, he 
scattered them over the bed, saying : " I leave them as 
a memento for my poor dead man. Thanks, sister! 
thanks, doctor ! " Then, turning to the dead man, 
"Farewell — " And while he sought a name to give 
him, the sweet name which he had applied to him 
for five days recurred to his lips, — "Farewell, poor 
daddy ! " 

So saying, he took his little bundle of clothes under 
his arm, and, exhausted with fatigue, he walked slowly 
away. The day was dawning. 



-•<>♦- 



THE WORKSHOP. 

Saturday, 18th. 
Precossi came last night to remind me that I was to 
go and see his workshop, which is down the street, and 
this morning when I went out with my father, I got 
him to take me there for a moment. As we approached 
the shop, Garoffi issued from it on a run, with a pack- 
age in his hand, and making his big cloak, with which 
he covers up his merchandise, flutter. Ah ! now I 
know where he goes to pilfer iron filings, which he 
sells for old papers, that barterer of a Garoffi ! When 
we arrived in front of the door, we saw Precossi seated 



BE K EKl HOP. 13| 

on a iUtie pile of bricks, engaged in studying his lesson, 
with his book resting on his knees. He rose quickly 
and invited us to en + er. It was a large apartment, full 
of coal-dust, bristling with hammers, pincers, bars, and 
old iron of every description ; and in one corner burned 
a fire in a small furnace, where puffed a pair of bellows 
worked by a boy. Precossi, the father, was standing 
near the anvil, and a young man was holding a bar of 
iron in the fire. 

"Ah! here he is," said the smith, as soon as he 
caught sight of us, and he lifted his cap, " the nice 
boy who gives away railway trains ! He has come to 
see me work a little, has he not ? I shall be at your 
service in a moment." And as he said it, he smiled ; 
and he no longer had the ferocious face, the malevolent 
eves of former days. The young man handed him a 
long bar of iron heated red-hot on one end, and the 
smith placed it on the anvil. He was making one of 
those curved bars for the rail of terrace balustrades. 
He raised a large hammer and began to beat it, pushing 
the heated part now here, now there, between one point 
of the anvil and the middle, and turning it about in 
various ways ; and it was a marvel to see how the 
iron curved beneath the rapid and accurate blows of 
the hammer, and twisted, and gradually assumed the 
graceful form of a leaf torn from a flower, like a pipe of 
dough which he had modelled with his hands. And 
meanwhile his son watched us with a certain air of 
pride, as much as to say, "-See how my father works !" 

"Do you see how it is done, little master?" the 
blacksmith asked me, when he had finished, holding out 
the bar, which looked like a bishop's crosier. Then he 
laid it aside, and thrust another into the fire. 

"That was very well made, indeed," my father said 



134 THE WORKSHOP. 

to him. And he added, "So you are working — eh ? 
You have returned to good habits ? " 

" Yes, I have returned," replied the workman, wiping 
.away the perspiration, and reddening a little. "And 
do you know who has made me return to them ? " Mr 
father pretended not to understand. " This brave boy," 
said the blacksmith, indicating his son with his finger ; 
" that brave boy there, who studied and did honor to 
his father, while his father rioted, and treated him like a 
doo\ When I saw that medal — Ah ! thou little lad 
of mine, no bigger than a soldo * of cheese, come hither, 
that I may take a good look at thy phiz ! " 

The bov ran to him instantlv ; the smith took him 
and set him directly on the anvil, holding him under 
the arms., and said to him : — 

"Polish off the frontispiece of this big beast of a 
daddy of yours a little ! ' ' 

And then Precossi covered his father's black face 
with kisses, until he was all black himself. 

" That's as it should be," said the smith, and he set 
him on the around again . 

"That reallv is as it should be, Precossi!" ex- 
claimed my father, delighted. And bidding the smith 
and his son good day, he led me awa\\ As I was 
going out, little Precossi said to me, "Excuse me," 
and thrust a little packet of nails into my pocket. 
I invited him to come and view the Carnival from my 
house.- 

"You gave him your railway train," my father said 
tome in the street; "but if it had been made of 
gold and filled with pearls, it would still have been but 
a petty gift to that sainted son, who has reformed his 
father's heart." 

1 The twentieth part of a cubit; Florentine measure. 



AilE LITTLE HARLEQUIN. 1& 



THE LITTLE HARLEQUIN". 

Monday, 20th. 
The whole city is in a tumult over the Carnival, 
which is nearing its close. In every square rise booth? 
of mountebanks and jesters ; and we have under oin 
windows a circus-tent, in which a little Venetian com- 
pany, with five horses, is giving a show. The circus 
is in the centre of the square ; and in one cornel 
there are three very large vans in which the mounte- 
banks sleep and dress themselves, — three small house* 
on wheels, with their tiny windows, and a chimney 
in each of them, which smokes continually ; and be- 
tween window and window the baby's swaddling-bands 
are stretched. There is one woman who is nursing 
a child, who prepares the food, and dances on the 
tight-rope. Poor people ! The word mountebank is 
spoken as though it were an insult ; but they earn 
their living honestly, nevertheless, by amusing all 
the world — and how they work ! All day long they 
run back and forth between the circus-tent and the 
vans, in tights, in all this cold ; they snatch a mouth- 
ful or two in haste, standing, between two perform- 
ances ; and sometimes, when they get their tent full, 
a wind arises, wrenches away the ropes and extin- 
guishes the lights, and then good by to the show ! 
They are obliged to return the money, and to work the 
entire night at repairing their booth. There are two 
iacls who work ; and my father recognized the smallest 
one as he was traversing the square ; and he is the 
son of the proprietor, the same one whom we saw per- 
form tricks on horseback last year in a circus on the 
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. And he has grown ; he 



136 THE LITTLE HARLEQViN: 

must be eight years old : he is a handsome boy, with a 
round and roguish face, with so manv black curls that 
they escape from his pointed cap. He is dressed up like 
a harlequin, decked out in a sort of sack, with sleeves 
of white, embroidered with black, and his slippers are 
of cloth. He is a merry little imp. He charms every 
one. He does everything. We see him early in the 
morning, wrapped in a shawl, carrying milk to his 
wooden house ; then he goes to get the horses at the 
boarding-stable on the Via Bertola. He holds the tinv 
baby in his arms ; he transports hoops, trestles, rails, 
ropes ; he cleans the vans, lights the fire, and in his 
leisure moments he always hangs about his mother. 
My father is always watching him from the window, 
and does nothing but talk about him and his family, 
who have the air of nice people, and of being fond of 
their children. 

One evening we went to the circus : it was cold ; 
there was hardly any one there ; but the little harlequin 
exerted himself greatly to cheer those few people : he 
executed precarious leaps ; he caught hold of the horses' 
tails ; he walked with his legs in the air, all alone ; he 
sang, always with a smile constantly on his handsome 
little brown face. And his father, who had on a red 
vest and white trousers, with tall boots, and a whip in 
his hand, watched him : but it was melancholy. My 
father took pity on him, and spoke of him on the fol- 
lowing day to Delis the painter, who came to see us. 
These poor people were killing themselves with hard 
work, and their affairs were going so badly ! The little 
boy pleased him so much ! What could be done for 
them? The painter had an idea. 

''Write a fine article for the Gazette" he said: 
you know how to write well : relate the miraculous 



THE LITTLE HARLEQUIN. 137 

things which the little harlequin does, and I will take 
his portrait for you. Everybody reads the Gazette, and 
people will flock thither for once." 

And thus they did. My father wrote a fine article, 
full of jests, which told all that we had observed from 
the window, and inspired a desire to see and caress the 
little artist ; and the painter sketched a little portrait 
which was graceful and a good likeness, and which 
was published on Saturday evening. And behold ! at 
the Sunday performance a great crowd rushed to the 
circus. The announcement was made : Performance 
for the Benefit of the Little Harlequin, as he was st\'led 
in the Gazette. The circus was crammed ; many of the 
spectators held the Gazette in their hands, and showed 
it to the little harlequin, who laughed and ran from one 
to another, perfectly delighted. The proprietor was de- 
lighted also. Just fancy ! Not a single newspaper had 
ever done him such an honor, and the money-box was 
filled. My father sat beside me. Among the specta- 
tors we found persons of our acquaintance. Near the 
entrance for the horses stood the teacher of gymnas- 
tics — the one who has been with Garibaldi; and op- 
posite us, in the second row, was the little mason, with 
his little round face, seated beside his gigantic father; 
and no sooner did he catch sight of me than he made 
a hare's face at me. A little further on I espied 
Garoffi, who was counting the spectators, and calcu- 
lated on his fingers how much money the company had 
taken in. On one of the chairs in the first row, not 
far from us, there was also poor Robetti, the boy who 
saved the child from the omnibus, with his crutches 
between his knees, pressed close to the side of his 
father, the artillery captain, who kept one hand on his 
shoulder. The performance began. The little harlequin 



138 THE LITTLE HARLEQUIK 

accomplished wonders on his horse, on the trapeze, on 
the tight-rope ; and every time that he jumped down, 
ever}' one clapped their hands, and many pulled his curls. 
Then several others, rope -dancers, jugglers, and riders, 
clad in tights, and sparkling with silver, went through 
their exercises ; but when the boy was not performing, 
the audience seemed to grow weary. At a certain point 
I saw the teacher of gymnastics, who held his post at 
the entrance for the horses, whisper in the ear of the 
proprietor of the circus, and the latter instantly glanced 
around, as though in search of some one. His glance 
rested on us. My father perceived it, and understood 
that the teacher had revealed that he was the author of 
the article, and in order to escape being thanked, he 
hastily retreated, saying to me : — 

" Remain, Enrico ; I will wait for you outside." 
After exchanging a few words with his father, the lit- 
tle harlequin went through still another trick : erect 
upon a galloping horse, he appeared in four characters 
— as a pilgrim, a sailor, a soldier, and an acrobat ; and 
every time that he passed near me, he looked at me. 
And when he dismounted, he began to make the tour 
of the circus, with his harlequin's cap in his hand, and 
everybody threw soldi or sugar-plums into it. I had 
two soldi ready ; but when he got in front of me, in- 
stead of offering his cap, he drew it back, gave me a 
look and passed on. I was mortified. Why had he 
offered me that affront? 

The performance came to an end ; the proprietor 
thanked the audience ; and all the people rose also, 
and thronged to the doors. I was confused by the 
crowd, and was on the point of going out, when I felt 
a touch on my hand. I turned round : it was the little 
harlequin, with his tiny brown face and his black curls, 



THE LAST DAY OF THE CARNIVAL. 139 

who was smiling at me ; he' had his hands full of sugar- 
plums. Then I understood. 

" Will you accept these sugar-plums from the little 
harlequin?" said he to me, in his dialect. 

I nodded, and took three or four. 

" Then," he added, u please accept a kiss also." 

"Give me two," I answered; and held up my 
face to him. He rubbed off his floury face with his 
hand, put his arm round my neck, and planted two 
kisses on my cheek, saying : — 

" There ! take one of them to your father." 



-*o*- 



THE LAST DAY OF THE CARNIVAL. 

Tuesday, 21st. 
What a sad scene was that which we witnessed 
to-day at the procession of the masks' ! It ended well ; 
but it might have resulted in a great misfortune. In 
the San Carlo Square, all decorated with red, white, 
and yellow festoons, a vast multitude had assembled ; 
masks of every hue were flitting about ; cars, gilded 
and adorned, in the shape of pavilions ; little theatres, 
barks filled with harlequins and warriors, cooks, sailors, 
and shepherdesses ; there was such a confusion that one 
knew not where to look ; a tremendous clash of trum- 
pets, horns, and cymbals lacerated the ears ; and the 
masks on the chariots drank and sang, as the}' apos- 
trophized the people in the streets and at the windows, 
who retorted at the top of their lungs, and hurled 
oranges and sugar-plums at each other vigorously ; 
and above the chariots and the throng, as far as the 
e\'e could reach, one could see banners fluttering, 
helmets gleaming, plumes waving, gigantic pasteboard 



140 THE LAST DAY OF THE CARNIVAL. 

heads moving, huge head-dresses, enormous trumpets, 
fantastic arms, little drums, castanets, red caps, and 
bottles; — all the world seemed to have gone mad. 
When our carriage entered the square, a magnificent 
chariot was driving in front of us, drawn by four 
horses covered with trappings embroidered in gold, 
and all wreathed in artificial roses, upon which there 
were fourteen or fifteen gentlemen masquerading as 
gentlemen at the court of France, all glittering with 
silk, with huge white wigs, a plumed hat, under the arm 
a small-sword, and a tuft of ribbons and laces on the 
breast. They were very gorgeous. They were singing 
a French canzonette in concert and throwing sweet- 
meats to the people, and the people clapped their 
hands and shouted. Suddenly, on our left, we saw 
a man lift a child of five or six above the heads of 
the crowd, — a poor little creature, who wept piteously, 
and fluno; her arms about as though in a fit of convul- 
sions. The man made his way to the gentlemen's 
chariot; one of the latter bent down, and the othel 
said aloud : — 

"Take this child; she has lost her mother in the 
crowd ; hold her in vour arms ; the mother may not 
be far off, and she will catch sight of her : there is 
no other way." 

The gentleman took the child in his arms : all the 
rest stopped singing ; the child screamed and strug- 
gled ; the gentleman removed his mask ; the chariot 
continued to move slowly onwards. Meanwhile, as 
we were afterwards informed, at the opposite extremity 
of the square a poor woman, half crazed with despair, 
was forcing her way through the crowd, by dint of 
shoves and elbowing, and shrieking : — 

"Maria! Maria! Maria! I have lost my little 



THE LAST DAY OF THE CARNIVAL. 141 

daughter ! She has been stolen from me ! They have 
suffocated my child ! " And for a quarter of an hour 
she raved and expressed her despair in this manner, 
straying now a little way in this direction, and then 
a little way in that, crushed by the throng through 
which she strove to force her way. 

The gentleman on the car was meanwhile holding 
the child pressed against the ribbons and laces on his 
breast, casting glances over the square, and trying to 
calm the poor creature, who covered her face with her 
hands, not knowing where she was, and sobbed as 
though she would break her heart. The gentleman was 
touched : it was evident that these screams went to 
his soul. All the others offered the child oranges and 
sugar-plums ; but she repulsed them all, and grew con- 
stantly more convulsed and frightened. 

" Find her mother ! " shouted the gentleman to the 
crowd; "seek her mother!" And everyone turned 
to the right and the left ; but the mother was not to 
be found. Finally, a few paces from the place where 
the Via Roma enters the square, a woman was seen 
to rush towards the chariot. Ah, I shall never forget 
that ! She no longer seemed a human creature : her 
hair was streaming, her face distorted, her garments 
torn ; she hurled herself forward with a rattle in her 
throat, — one knew not whether to attribute it to either 
joy, anguish, or rage, — and darted out her hands like 
two claws to snatch her child. The chariot halted. 

" Here she is," said the gentleman, reaching out the 
child after kissing it ; and he placed her in her mother's 
arms, who pressed her to her breast like a fury. But 
one of the tiny hands rested a second longer in the 
hands of the gentleman ; and the latter, pulling off of 
his right hand a gold ring set with a large diamond, 



142 THE BLIND BOYS. 

and slipping it with a rapid movement upon the finger 
of the little girl, said : — 

" Take this ; it shall be your marriage dowry." 
The mother stood rooted to the spot, as though en- 
chanted ; the crowd broke into applause ; the gentleman 
put on his mask again, his companions resumed their 
song, and the chariot started on again slowly, amid a 
tempest of hand-clapping and hurrahs. 

KX 



THE BLIND BOYS. 

Thursday, 24th. 

The master is very ill, and they have sent in his 
stead the master of the fourth grade, who has been a 
teacher in the Institute for the Blind. He is the oldest 
of all the instructors, with hair so white that it looks 
like a wig made of cotton, and he speaks in a peculiar 
manner, as though he were chanting a melancholy 
song ; but he does it well, and he knows a great deal. 
No sooner had he entered the schoolroom than, catch- 
ing sight of a bov with a bandage on his eve, he 
approached the bench, anti asked him what was the 
matter. 

" Take care of your eyes, nry 003'," he said to him. 
And then Derossi asked him : — 

"Is it true, sir, that you have been a teacher of 
the blind?" 

" Yes, for several years," he replied. And Derossi 
said, in a low tone, " Tell us something about it." 

The master went and seated himself at his table. 

Coretti said aloud, "The Institute for the Blind is 
in the Via Nizza." 

" You say blind — blind," said the master, " as you 




THE BLIND BOYS. 



THE BLIND BOYS. 143 

would say poor or ill, or I know not what. But do you 
thoroughly comprehend the significance of that word? 
Reflect a little. Blind ! Never to see anything ! Not 
to be able to distinguish the day from night ; to see 
neither the sky, nor sun, nor your parents, nor any- 
thing of what is around you, and which you touch ; 
to be immersed in a perpetual obscurity, and as though 
buried in the bowels of the earth ! Make a little 
effort to close your eyes, and to think of being obliged 
to remain forever thus ; you will suddenly be over- 
whelmed by a mental agony, by terror; it will seem to 
you impossible to resist, that you must burst into a 
scream, that you must go mad or die. But, poor boys ! 
when you enter the Institute of the Blind for the first 
time, during their recreation hour, and hear them play- 
ing on violins and flutes in all directions, and talking 
loudly and laughing, ascending and descending the 
stairs at a rapid pace, and wandering freely through 
the corridors and dormitories, you would never pro- 
nounce these unfortunates to be the unfortunates that 
they are. It is necessary to observe them closely. 
There are lads of sixteen or eighteen, robust and 
cheerful, who bear their blindness with a certain ease, 
almost with hardihood ; but you understand from a 
certain proud, resentful expression of countenance 
that they must have suffered tremendously before they 
became resigned to this misfortune. 

" There are others, with sweet And pallid faces, on 
which a profound resignation is visible ; but they are 
sad, and one understands that they must still weep at 
times in secret. Ah, nry sons ! reflect that some of 
them have lost their sight in a few days, some after 
years of martyrdom and many terrible chirurgical oper- 
ations, and that many were born so, — born into ? 



144 THE BLIND BOYS. 

night that has no dawn for them, that they entered into 
the world as into an immense tomb, and that they do 
not know what the human countenance is like. Picture 
to yourself how they must have suffered, and how they 
must still suffer, when they think thus confusedly of 
the tremendous difference between themselves and those 
who see, and ask themselves, ' Why this difference, if 
we are not to blame ? ' 

" I who have spent many years among them, when I 
recall that class, all those eyes forever sealed, all those 
pupils without sight and without life, and then look at 
the rest of you, it seems impossible to me that you 
should not all be happy. Think of it ! there are about 
twenty-six thousand blind persons in Italy ! Twenty- 
six thousand persons who do not see the light — do 
you understand? An army which would employ four 
hours in marching past our windows." 

The master paused. Not a breath was audible in all 
the school. Derossi asked if it were true that the 
blind have a finer sense of feeling than the rest of us. 

The master said : " It is true. All the other senses 
are finer in them, because, since they must replace, 
among them, that of sight, they are more and better 
exercised than they are in the case of those who 
see. In the morning, in the dormitory, one asks 
another, ' Is the sun shining ? ' and the one who is 
the most alert in dressing runs instantly into the yard, 
and flourishes his hands in the air, to find out whether 
there is an}- warmth of the sun perceptible, and then 
he runs to communicate the good news, ' The sun is 
shining ! ' From the voice of a person they obtain an 
idea of his height. We judge of a man's soul by his 
eyes ; the}', by his voice. They remember intonations 
and accents for years. They perceive if there is more 



THE BLIND BOYS. 145 

than one person in a room, even if only one speaks, 
and the rest remain motionless. They know by their 
touch whether a spoon is more or less polishod. Little 
girls distinguish dyed wools from that which is of the 
natural color. As tliev walk two and two along the 
streets, they recognize nearly all the shops by their 
odors, even those in which we perceive no odor. They 
spin top, and b}' listening to its humming they go 
straight to it and pick it up without any mistake. They 
trundle hoop, play at ninepins, jump the rope, build 
little houses of stones, pick violets as though they saw 
them, make mats and baskets, weaving together straw 
of various colors rapidly and well — to such a degree is 
their sense of touch skilled. The sense of touch is 
their sight. One of their greatest pleasures is to handle, 
to grasp, to guess the forms of things by feeling them. 
It is affecting to see them when they are taken to the 
Industrial Museum, where they are allowed to handle 
whatever they please, and to observe with what eager- 
ness they fling themselves on geometrical bodies, on 
little models of houses, on instruments ; with what joy 
they feel over and rub and turn everything about in 
their hands, in order to see how it is made. They call 
this seeing ! " 

Garoffi interrupted the teacher to inquire if it was 
true that blind bovs learn to reckon better than others 

The master replied: "It is true. They learn to 
reckon and to write. They have books made on pur- 
pose for them, with raised characters ; they pass their 
fingers over these, recognize the letters and pronounce 
the words. They read rapidly ; and you should see 
them blush, poor little things, when they make a mis- 
take. And they write, too, without ink, They write 
on a thick and hard sort of paper with a metal bod* 



X46 THE BLIND BOYS. 

kin, which makes a great many little hollows, grouped 
according to a special alphabet ; these little punctures 
stand out in relief on the other side of the paper, so 
that by turning the paper over and drawing their fingers 
across these projections, they can read what they have 
written, and also the writing of others ; and thus they 
write compositions : and they write letters to each 
other. They write numbers in the same way, and 
the}' make calculations ; and they calculate mentally 
with an incredible facility* since their minds are not 
diverted by the sight of surrounding objects, as ours 
are. And if you could see how passionately fond they 
are of reading, how attentive the}* are, how well they 
remember everything, how they discuss among them- 
selves, even the little ones, of things connected with 
history and language, as they sit four or five on 
the same bench, without turning to each other, and 
converse, the first with the third, the second with the 
fourth, in a loud voice and all together, without losing 
a single word, so acute and prompt is their hearing. 

" And they attach more importance to the examina- 
tions than }*ou do, I assure you, and they are fonder 
of their teachers. They recognize their teacher by his 
step and his odor ; the}* perceive whether he is in a good 
or bad humor, whether he is well or ill, simply by the 
sound of a single word of his. They want the teacher 
to touch them when he encourages and praises them, 
and they feel of his hand and his arms in order to 
express their gratitude. And they love each other and 
are good comrades to each other. In play time they 
are always together, according to their wont. In the 
girls' school, for instance, they form into groups ac- 
cording to the instrument on which they play, — 
violinists, pianists, and flute-players, — and they never 



THE BLIND BOYS. 14/ 

separate. When the}' have become attached to any 
one, it is difficult for them to break it off. They take 
much comfort in friendship. They judge correctly 
among themselves. They have a clear and profound 
idea of good and evil. No one grows so enthusiastic 
as they over the narration of a generous action, of a 
grand deed." 

Votini inquired if they played well. 

" They are ardently fond of music," replied the mas- 
ter. "It is their delight: music is their life. Little 
blind children, when thev first enter the Institute, are 
capable of standing three hours perfectly motionless, 
to listen to playing. They learn easily ; they play 
with fire. When the teacher tells one of them that 
he has not a talent for music, he feels very sor- 
rowful, but he sets to studying desperately. Ah ! if 
you could hear the music there, if you could see them 
when they are playing, with their heads thrown back, 
a smile on their lips, their faces aflame, trembling 
with emotion, in ecstasies at listening to that harmony 
which replies to them in the obscurity which envelops 
them, you would feel what a divine consolation is 
music ! And the}' shout for joy, they beam with hap- 
piness when a teacher says to them, "You will 
become an artist." The one who is first in music, who 
succeeds the best on the violin or piano, is like a king 
to them ; they love, they venerate him. If a quarrel 
arises between two of them, they go to him ; if two 
friends fall out, it is he who reconciles them. The 
smallest pupils, whom he teaches to play, regard him 
as a father. Then all go to bid him good night before 
retiring to bed. And thev talk constantly of music. 
The}' are already in bed, late at night, wearied by 
study and work, and half asleep, and still they are dis' 



148 '-THE BLIND BOTS. 

cussing, in a low tone, operas, masters, instruments, 
and orchestras. It is so great a punishment for them 
to be deprived of the reading, or lesson in music, it 
causes them such sorrow that one hardly ever has the 
courage to punish them in that way. That which the 
light is to our eyes, music is to their hearts." 

Derossi asked whether we could not go to see them. 

"Yes," replied the teacher; "but you boys must 
not go there now. You shall go there later on, when 
you are in a condition to appreciate the whole extent 
of this misfortune, and to feel all the compassion which 
it merits. It is a sad sight, my boys. You will some- 
times see there boys seated in front of an open 
window, enjoying the fresh air, with immovable coun- 
tenances, which seem to be gazing at the wide green 
expanse and the beautiful blue mountains which you 
can see ; and when you remember that they see nothing 
■ — that they will never see anj'thing — of that vast loveli- 
ness, your soul is oppressed, as though j'ou had your- 
selves become blind at that moment. And then there 
are those who were born blind, who, as the}' have 
never seen the world, do not complain because they 
do not possess the image of anything, and who, 
therefore, arouse less compassion. But there are lads 
who have been blind but a few months, who still recall 
everything, who thoroughly understand all that they have 
lost ; and these have, in addition, the grief of feeling 
their minds obscured, the dearest images grow a little 
more dim in their minds day by day, of feeling the 
persons whom they have loved the most die out of their 
memories. One of these boys said to me one day, 
with inexpressible sadness, ' I should like to have 
my sight again, only for a moment, in order to see 
mamma's face once more, for I no longer remember 



THE SICK MASTER. 149 

it ! ' And when their mothers come to see them, 
the boys place their hands on her face ; they feel her 
over thoroughly from brow to chin, and her ears, 
to see how they are made, and they can hardly 
persuade themselves that they cannot see her, and 
they call her by name many times, to beseech her 
that she will allow them, that she will make them see 
her just once. How man}', even hard-hearted men, 
go away in tears ! And when you do go out, your 
case seems to you to be the exception, and the power 
to see people, houses, and the sky a hardly deserved 
privilege. Oh ! there is not one of you, I am sure, 
who, on emerging thence, would not feel disposed 
to deprive himself of a portion of his own sight, in 
order to bestow a gleam at least upon all those poor 
children, for whom the sun has no light, for whom a 
mother has no face ! " 



-•<>♦- 



THE SICK MASTER. 

Saturday, 25th. 
Yesterday afternoon, on coming out of school, I went 
to pay a visit to my sick master. He made himself ill 
by overworking. Five hours of teaching a day, then 
an hour of gymnastics, then two hours more of evening 
school, which is equivalent to saying but little sleep, 
getting his food by snatches, and working breathlessly 
from morning till night. He has ruined his health. 
That is what my mother says. My mother was 
waiting for me at the big door ; I came out alone, and 
on the stairs I met the teacher with the black beard — 
Coatti, — the one who frightens every one and pun- 
ishes no one. He stared at me with wide-open eyes, 
and made his voice like that of a lion, in jest, buj 



X50 • THE ^IGK MASTER. 

without laughing. I was still laughing when I pulled 
the bell on the fourth floor ; but I ceased very suddenly 
when the servant let me into a wretched, half-lighted 
room, where nry teacher was in bed. He was lying in 
a little iron bed. His beard was long. He put one 
hand to his brow in order to see better, and exclaimed 
\n his affectionate voice : — 

"Oh, Enrico!" 

I approached the bed ; he laid one hand on my 
shoulder and said : — 

" Good, my boy. You have done well to come and 
see your poor teacher. I am reduced to a sad state, 
rs you see, my dear Enrico. And how fares the 
school? How are your comrades getting along? All 
well, eh? Even without me? You do very well with- 
out your old master, do you not? " 

I was on the point of saying " no" ; he interrupted 
me. 

" Come, come, I know that you do not hate me ! " 
4nd he heaved a sigh. 

I glanced at some photographs fastened to the wall. 

t; Do you see?" he said to me. "All of them are 
of boys who gave me their photographs more than 
twenty } T ears ago. They were good boys. These are 
my souvenirs. When I die, m} T last glance will be at 
them ; at those roguish urchins among whom my life 
has been passed. You will give me your portrait, 
also, will you not, when you have finished the elemen- 
tarv course ? " Then he took an orange from his night- 
stand, and put it in my hand. 

" I have nothing else to give you," he said ; " it is 
the gift of a sick man.''' 

I looked at it, and my heart was sad ; I know not 
why. 



THE STREET. ■ 151 

"Attend to me," he began again. "I hope to 
get over this ; but if I should not recover, see that 
von strengthen vonrself in arithmetic, which is yonr 
weak point ; make an effort. It is merely a question of 
a first effort : because sometimes there is no lack of 
aptitude ; there is merely an absence of a fixed purpose 
— of stability, as it is called." 

But in the meantime he was breathing hard ; and 
it was evident that he was suffering. 

"I am feverish," he sighed; "I am half gone; I 
beseech you, therefore, apply yourself to arithmetic, 
to problems. If you don't succeed at first, rest a little 
and begin afresh. And press forward, but quietly r 
without fa^oino- vourself , without straining vour mind. 
Go ! My respects to your mamma. And do not 
mount these stairs again. "We shall see each other 
again* in school. And if we do not. vou must now 
and then call to mind your master of the third grade, 
who was fond of you." 

I felt inclined to cry at these words. 

" Bend down your head," he said to me. 

I bent my head to his pillow ; he kissed my hair. 
Then he said to me, "Go!" and turned his face 
towards the wall. And I flew down the stairs ; for I 
longed to embrace my mother. 



-+0+- 



THE STREET. 

Saturday, 25th. 
I was watching you from the window this afternoon, 
when you were on your way home from the master's ; you 
came in collision with a woman. Take more heed to your 
manner of walking in the street. There are duties to be 
fulfilled even there. If you keep your steps and gestures 



152 THE STREET. 

within bounds in a private house, why should you not do the 
same in the street, which is everybody's house. Remember 
this, Enrico. Every time that you meet a feeble old man, 
a poor person, a woman with a child in her arms, a cripple 
with his crutches, a man bending beneath a burden, a family 
dressed in mourning, make way for them respectfully. We 
must respect age, misery, maternal love, infirmity, labor, 
death. Whenever you see a person on the point of being 
run down by a vehicle, drag him away, if it is a child ; 
warn him, if he is a man ; always ask what ails the child 
who is crying all alone ; pick up the aged man's cane, when 
he lets it fall. If two boys are fighting, separate them ; if it 
is two men, go away : do not look on a scene of brutal vio- 
lence, which offends and hardens the heart. And when a 
man passes, bound, and walking between a couple of police- 
men, do not add your curiosity to the cruel curiosity of the 
crowd ; he may be innocent. Cease to talk with your com- 
panion, and to smile, when you meet a hospital litter, which 
is, perhaps, bearing a dying person, or a funeral procession; 
for one may issue from your own home on the morrow. Look 
with reverence upon all boys from the asylums, who walk 
two and tw T o, — the blind, the dumb, those afflicted with the 
rickets, orphans, abandoned children ; reflect that it is mis- 
fortune and human charity which is passing by. Always pre- 
tend not to notice any one who has a repulsive or laughter- 
provoking deformity. Always extinguish every match that 
you find in your path ; for it may cost some one his life. 
Always answer a passer-by who asks you the way, with 
politeness. Do not look at any one and laugh ; do not run 
without necessity ; do not shout. Respect the street. The 
education of a people is judged first of all by their behavior 
on the street. Where you find offences in the streets, there 
you will find offences in the houses. And study the streets ; 
study the city in which you live. If you were to be hurled 
far away from it to-morrow, you would be glad to have it 
clearly present in your memory, to be able to traverse it all 
again in memory. Your own city, and your little country — 
that which has been for so many years your world ; where 



THE STREET. \oo 

you took your first steps at your mother's side ; where you 

experienced your first emotions, opened your mind to its first 

ideas; found your first friends. It has been a mother to 

you : it has taught you, loved you, protected you. Study it 

in its streets and in its people, and love it ; and when you 

hear it insulted, defend it. 

Thy Father. 



154 THE EVENING SCHOOLS. 



MARCH. 



-•0+- 



THE EVENING SCHOOLS. 

Thursday, 2d. 

Last night my father took me to see the evening 
schools in our Baretti schoolhouse, which were all 
lighted up already, and where the workingmen were 
already beginuing to enter. On our arrival we found 
the head-master and the other masters in a great rage, 
because a little while before the glass in one window 
had been broken by a stone. The beadle had darted 
forth and seized a boy b}~ the hair, who was passing ; 
but thereupon, Stardi, who lives in the house opposite, 
had presented himself, and said : — 

" This is not the right one ; I saw it with my own 
eyes ; it was Franti who threw it ; and he said to me, 
' Woe to you if you tell of me ! ' but I am not afraid." 

Then the head-master declared that Franti should be 
expelled for good. In the meantime I was watching 
the workingmen enter by twos and threes ; and more 
than two hundred had already entered. I have never 
seen anything so fine as the evening school. There 
were boys of twelve and upwards ; bearded men who 
were on their wa}' from their work, carrying their 
books and copy-books ; there were carpenters, en- 
gineers with black faces, masons with hands white with 
plaster, bakers' boys with their hair full of flour ; and 



THE EVENING SCHOOLS. 155 

there was perceptible the odor of varnish, hides, fish, oil, 
■ — odors of all the various trades. There also entered 
a squad of artillery workmen, dressed like soldiers and 
headed by a corporal. They all filed briskl}* to their 
benches, removed the board underneath, on which we 
put our feet, and immediately bent their heads over 
their work. 

Some stepped up to the teachers to ask explanations, 
with their open copy-books in their hands. I caught 
sight of that young and well-dressed master, " the 
little lawyer," who had three or four workingmen clus- 
tered round his table, and was making corrections with 
his pen ; and also the lame one, who was laughing with 
a dyer who had brought him a copy-book all adorned 
with red and blue dyes. My master, who had recov- 
ered, and who will return to school to-morrow, was 
there also. The doors of the schoolroom were open. 
I was amazed, when the lesspns began, to see how at- 
tentive they all were, and how they kept their eyes 
fixed on their work. Yet the greater part of them, so 
the head-master said, for fear of being late, had not 
even been home to eat a mouthful of supper, and they 
were hunsfrv. 

But the 3*ounger ones, after half an hour of school, 
were falling off the benches with sleep ; one even went 
fast asleep with his head on the bench, and the master 
waked him up by poking his ear with a pen. But the 
grown-up men did nothing of the sort ; they kept awake, 
and listened, with their mouths wide open, to the lesson, 
without even winking ; and it made a deep impression 
on me to see all those bearded men on our benches. 
We also ascended to the story floor above, and I ran 
to the door of my schoolroom and saw in my seat a 
man with a bis; mustache and a bandaged hand, who 



156 THE FIGHT. 

might have injured himself while at work about some 
machine ; but he was trying to write, though very, 
very slowly. 

But what pleased me most was to behold in the seat 
of the little mason, on the very same bench and in the 
very same corner, his father, the mason, as huge as a 
giant, who sat there all coiled up into a narrow space, 
with his chin on his fists and his eyes on his book, so 
absorbed that he hardly breathed. And there was no 
chance about it, for it was he himself who said to the 
head-master the first evening he came to the school : — 

" Signor Director, do me the favor to place me in 
the seat of 'my hare's face.' " For he alwa} T s calls his 
son so. 

My father kept me there until the end, and in the 
street we saw many women with children in their arms, 
waiting for their husbands ; and at the entrance a 
change was effected : the husbands took the children in 
their arms, and the women made them surrender their 
books and copy-books ; and in this wise they proceeded 
to their homes. For several minutes the street was 
filled with people and with noise. Then all grew 
silent, and all we could see was the tall and weary 
form of the head-master disappearing in the distance. 



THE FIGHT. 

Sunday, 5th. 

It was what might have been expected. Franti, on 

being expelled by the head-master, wanted to revenge 

himself on Stardi, and he waited for Stardi at a 

corner, when he came out of school, and when the 

latter was passing with his sister, whom he escorts 

every day from an institution in the Via Dora Grossa 



THE FIGHT. 157 

My sister Silvia, on emerging from her schoolhouse, 
witnessed the whole affair, and came home thoroughly 
terrified. This is what took place. Franti, with his 
cap of waxed cloth canted over one ear, ran up on 
tiptoe behind Stardi, and in order to provoke him, 
gave a tug at his sister's braid of hair, — a tug so 
violent that it almost threw the girl flat on her 
back on the ground. The little girl uttered a cry ; 
her brother whirled round ; Franti, who is much taller 
and stronger than Stardi, thought : — 

u He'll not utter a word, or I'll break his skin for 
him ! " 

But Stardi never paused to reflect, and small and 
ill-made as he is, he flung himself with one bound 
on that big fellow, and began to belabor him with his 
fists. He could not hold his own, however, and he 
got more than he gave. There was no one in the 
street but girls, so there was no one who could sep- 
arate them. Franti flung him on the ground ; but the 
other instantly got up, and then down he went on his 
back again, and Franti pounded away as though upon 
a door : in an instant he had torn away half an ear, 
and bruised one eye, and drawn blood from the other's 
nose. But Stardi was tenacious ; he roared : — 

" You may kill me, but I'll make you pay for it ! " 
And down went Franti, kicking and cuffing, and Stardi 
under him, butting and lungeing out with his heels. 
A woman shrieked from a window, "Good for the 
little one!" Others said, "It is a boy defending his 
sister ; courage ! give it to him well ! " And they 
screamed at Franti, "You overbearing brute! you 
coward ! " But Franti had grown ferocious ; he held 
out his leg ; Stardi tripped and fell, and Franti on top 
of him. 



158 THE BOYS' PARENTS. 

"Surrender!" — "No!"— "Surrender!" — "No!" 

and in a flash Stardi recovered his feet, clasped Franti 
by the body, and, with one furious effort, hurled him 
on the pavement, and fell upon him with one knee on 
his breast. 

"Ah, the infamous fellow ! he has a knife !" shouted 
a man, rushing up to disarm Franti. 

But Stardi, beside himself with rage, had already 
grasped Franti's arm with both hands, and bestowed 
on the fist such a bite that the knife fell from it, and 
the hand began to bleed. More people had run up in 
the meantime, who separated them and set them on 
their feet. Franti took to his heels in a sorry plight, 
and Stardi stood still, with his face all scratched, and 
a black eye, — but triumphant, — beside his weeping 
sister, while some of the girls collected the books and 
copy-books which were strewn over the street. 

"Bravo, little fellow!" said the bystanders; "he 
defended his sister ! " 

But Stardi, who was thinking more of his satchel 
than of his victory, instantlv set to examining: the 
books and copy-books, one by one, to see whether 
anything was missing or injured. He rubbed them off 
with his sleeve, scrutinized his pen, put everything 
back in its place, and then, tranquil and serious as 
usual, he said to his sister, " Let us go home quickly, 
for I have a problem to solve." 



THE BOYS' PARENTS. 

Monday, 6th. 
This morning big Stardi, the father, came to wait 
for his son, fearing lest he should again encounter 
Franti. But they say that Franti will not be seen 
again, because he will be put in the penitentiary. 



THE BOYS' PARENTS. 159 

There were a great many parents there this morning. 
Among the rest there was the retail wood-dealer, the 
lather of Coretti, the perfect image of his son, slender, 
brisk, with his mustache brought to a point, and a 
ribbon of two colors in the button-hole of his jacket. I 
know nearly all the parents of the boys, through con- 
stantly seeing them there. There is one crooked grand- 
mother, with her white cap, who comes four times a day, 
whether it rains or snows or storms, to accompany 
and to get her little grandson, of the upper primary ; 
and she takes off his little cloak and puts it on for him, 
adjusts his necktie, brushes off the dust, polishes him 
up, and takes care of the copy-books. It is evident 
that she has no other thought, that she sees nothing 
in the world more beautiful. The captain of artillery 
also comes frequently, the father of Robetti, the lad 
with the crutches, who saved a child from the omnibus, 
and as all his son's companions bestow a caress on 
him in passing, he returns a caress or a salute to every 
one, and he never forgets any one ; he bends over all, 
and the poorer and more badly dressed they are, the 
more pleased he seems to be, and he thanks them. 

At times, however, sad sights are to be seen. A 
gentleman who had not come for a month because 
one of his sons had died, and who had sent a maid- 
servant for the other, on returning: vesterdav and 
beholding the class, the comrades of his little dead 
boy, retired into a corner and burst into sobs, with 
both hands before his face, and the head-master took 
him by the arm and led him to his office. 

There are fathers and mothers who know all their 
sons' companions by name. There are girls from the 
neighboring schoolhouse, and scholars in the gymna- 
sium, who come to wait for their brothers. There is 



IQO NUMBER 78. 

one old gentleman who was a colonel formerly, and 
who, when a boy drops a copy-book or a pen, picks it 
up for him. There are also to be seen well-dressed 
men, who discuss school matters with others, who have 
kerchiefs on their heads, and baskets on their arm, and 
who say : — 

"Oh! the problem has been a difficult one this 
time." — " That grammar lesson will never come to an 
end this morning ! " 

And when there is a sick boy in the class, they all 
know it ; when a sick boy is convalescent, they all 
rejoice. And this morning there were eight or ten 
gentlemen and workingmen standing around Crossi's 
mother, the vegetable-vender, makiug inquiries about 
a poor baby in my brother's class, who lives in her 
court, and who is in danger of his life. The school 
seems to make them all equals and friends. 



NUMBER 78. 

Wednesday, 8th. 

I witnessed a touching scene yesterday afternoon. 
For several da}'s, every time that the vegetable-vender 
has passed Derossi she has gazed and gazed at him 
with an expression of great affection ; for Derossi, 
since he made the discovery about that inkstand and 
prisoner Number 78, has acquired a love for her son, 
Crossi, the red-haired boy with the useless arm ; and he 
helps him to do his work in school, suggests answers to 
him, gives him paper, pens, and pencils ; in short, he 
behaves to him like a brother, as though to compen- 
sate him for his father's misfortune, which has affected 
him, although he does not know it. 

The vegetable-vender had been gazing at Derossi 



NUMBER 78. 161 

for several days, and she seemed loath to take her 
eyes from him, for she is a good woman who lives only 
for her son ; and Derossi, who assists him and makes 
him appear well, Derossi, who is a gentleman and the 
head of the school, seems to her a ting, a saint. She 
continued to stare at him, and seemed desirous of say- 
ing something to him, yet ashamed to do it. But at 
last, yesterday morning, she took courage, stopped 
him in front of a gate, and said to him : — 

"I beg a thousand pardons, little master! Will 
you, who are so kind to my son, and so fond of him, 
do me the fayor to accept this little memento from a 
poor mother?" and she pulled out of her vegetable- 
basket a little pasteboard box of white and gold. 

Derossi flushed up all over, and refused, saying with 
decision : — 

" Give it to your son ; I will accept nothing." 

The woman was mortified, and stammered an ex- 
cuse : — 

" I had no idea of offending you. It is only cara- 
mels." 

But Derossi said "no," again, and shook his head. 
Then she timidly lifted from her basket a bunch of 
radishes, and said : — 

"Accept these at least, — they are fresh, — and 
carry them to your mamma." 

Derossi smiled, and said : — 

" No, thanks : I don't want anything ; I shall always 
do all that I can for Crossi, but I cannot accept any- 
thing. I thank you all the same." 

" But you are not at all offended? " asked the woman, 
anxiously. 

Derossi said "No, no !" smiled, and went off, while 
she exclaimed, in great delight : — 



162 NUMBER 78. 

"Oh, what a good boy ! I have never seen so fine 
and handsome a boy as he ! " 

And that appeared to be the end of it. But in the 
afternoon, at four o'clock, instead of Crossi's mother, 
his father approached, with that gaunt and melancholy 
face of his. He stopped Derossi, and from the way in 
which he looked at the latter I instantly understood 
that he suspected Derossi of knowing his secret. He 
looked at him intently, and said in his sorrowful, affec- 
tionate voice : — 

"You are fond of my son. Wiry do you like him 
so much? " 

Derossi's face turned the color of fire. He would 
have liked to say : "I am fond of him because he 
has been unfortunate ; because you, his father, have 
been more unfortunate than guilty, and have nobly ex- 
piated your crime, and are a man of heart." But he 
had not the courage to sav it, for at bottom he still 
felt fear and almost loathing in the presence of this 
man who had shed another's blood, and had been six 
years in prison. But the latter divined it all, and low- 
ering his voice, he said in Derossi's ear, almost trem- 
bling the while : — 

"You love the son; but you do not hate, do not 
wholly despise the father, do you ? " 

" Ah, no, no ! Quite the reverse ! " exclaimed De- 
rossi, with a soulful impulse. And then the man made 
an impetuous movement, as though to throw one arm 
round his neck ; but he dared not, and instead he took 
one of the lad's golden curls between two of his fingers, 
smoothed it out, and released it ; then he placed his 
hand on his mouth and kissed his palm, gazing at De- 
rossi with moist eyes, as though to say that this kiss 
was for him. Then he took his son by the hand, and 
went away at a rapid pace. 



A LITTLE DEAD BOY. 163 



A LITTLE DEAD BOY. 

Monday, 13th. 

The little boy who lived in the vegetable-vender's 
eourt, the one who belonged to the upper primary, and 
was the companion of my brother, is dead. Schoolmis- 
tress Delcati came in great affliction, on Saturday after- 
noon, to inform the master of it ; and instantly Garrone 
and Coretti volunteered to carry the coffin. He was a 
fine little lad. He had won the medal last week. He 
was fond of my brother, and he had presented him with 
a broken money-box. My mother always caressed him 
when she met him. He wore a cap with two stripes 
of red cloth. His father is a porter on the rail- 
way. Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, at half-past four 
o'clock, we went to his house, to accompaii}- him to 
the church. 

They live on the ground floor. Many boys of the 
upper primary, with their mothers, all holding candles, 
and five or six teachers and several neighbors were 
already collected in the courtyard. The mistress with 
the red feather and Signora Delcati had gone inside, 
and through an open window we beheld them weeping. 
We could hear the mother of the child sobbing loudly. 
Two ladies, mothers of two school companions of the 
dead child, had brought two garlands of flowers. 

Exactlv at five o'clock we set out. In front went a 
boy carrying a cross, then a priest, then the coffin, — ■ 
a very, very small coffin, poor child ! — covered with a 
black cloth, and round it were wound the garlands of 
flowers brou o-ht bv the two ladies. On the black cloth, 
on one side, were fastened the medal and honorable 
mentions which the little boy had won in the course of 



164 THE EVE OF THE FOURTEENTH OF MARCH. 

the year. Garrone, Coretti, and two boys from the 
courtvard bore the coffin. Behind the coffin, first came 
Signora Delcati, who wept as though the little dead boy 
were her own ; behind her the other schoolmistresses ; 
and behind the mistresses, the boys, among whom were 
some very little ones, who carried bunches of violets in 
one hand, and who stared in amazement at the bier, 
while their other hand was held by their mothers, who 
carried candles. I heard one of them say, " And shall 
I not see him at school again? " 

"When the coffin emerged from the court, a despairing 
cry was heard from the window. It was the child's 
mother ; but they made her draw back into the room 
immediately. On arriving in the street, we met the 
boys from a college, who were passing in double file, 
and on catching sight of the coffin with the medal and 
the schoolmistresses, they all pulled off their hats. 

Poor little boy ! he went to sleep forever with his 
medal. We shall never see his red cap again. He 
was in perfect health ; in four days he was dead. On 
the last dav he made an effort to rise and do his little 
task in nomenclature, and he insisted on keeping his 
medal on his bed for fear it would be taken from him. 
No one will ever take it from you again, poor boy ! 
Farewell, farewell !, We shall always remember thee 
at the Baretti School ! Sleep in peace, dear little boy ! 



-•<>♦- 



THE EVE OF THE FOURTEENTH OF MARCH. 

To-day has been more cheerful than vesterdav. The 
thirteenth of March ! The eve of the distribution of 
prizes at the Theatre Vittorio Emanuele, the greatest 
and most beautiful festival of the whole year ! But 



THE EVE OF THE FOURTEENTH OF MARCH. 165 

this time the boys who are to go upon the stage and 
present the certificates of the prizes to the gentlemen 
who are to bestow them are not to be taken at hap- 
hazard. The head-master came in this morning, at 
the close of school, and said : — 

"Good news, boys ! " Then he called, " Coraci ! " 
the Calabrian. The Calabrian rose. " Would vou 
like to be one of those to carry the certificates of the 
prizes to the authorities in the theatre to-morrow?" 
Hie Calabrian answered that he should. 

"That is well," said the head-master; "then there 
will also be a representative of Calabria there ; and that 
will be a fine thing. The municipal authorities are 
desirous that this year tlie ten or twelve lads who hand 
the prizes should be from all parts of Italy, and se- 
lected from all the public school buildings. We nave 
twenty buildings, with five annexes — seven thousand 
pupils. Among such a multitude there has been no 
difficulty in finding one bo}~ for each region of Italy. 
Two representatives of the Islands were found in the 
Torquato Tasso schoolhouse, a Sardinian, and a Sicil- 
ian ; the Boncompagni School furnished a little Floren- 
tine, the son of a wood-carver; there is a Roman, a 
native of Rome, in the Tommaseo building ; several 
Venetians, Lombards, and natives of Romagna have 
been found ; the Monviso School gives us a Neapolitan, 
the son of an officer ; we furnish a Genoese and a 
Calabrian, — you, Coraci, — with the Piemontese : 
that will make twelve. Does not this strike you as 
nice? It will be your brothers from all quarters of 
Italy who will give you your prizes. Look out ! the 
whole twelve will appear on the stage together. Re- 
ceive them with heart}* applause. The}' are only boys, 
but they represent the country just as though they were 



X66 THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 

men. A small tricolored flag is the symbol of Italy 
as much as a huge banner, is it not? 

"Applaud them warmly, then. Let it be seen that 
your little hearts are all aglow, that your souls of ten 
years grow enthusiastic in the presence of the sacred 
image of } T our fatherland." 

Having spoken thus, he went away, and the master 
said, with a smile, " So, Coraci, you are to be the 
deputy from Calabria." 

And then all clapped their hands and laughed ; and 
when we got into the street, we surrounded Coraci, 
seized him by the legs, lifted him on high, and set out 
to carry him in triumph, shouting, " Hurrah for the 
Deputy of Calabria ! ' by way of making a noise, of 
course ; and not in jest, but quite the contrary, for the 
sake of making a celebration for him, and with a good 
will, for he is a boy who pleases every one ; and he 
smiled. And thus we bore him as far as the corner, 
where we ran into a gentleman with a black beard, who 
began to laugh. The Calabrian said, " That is my 
father." And then the boys placed his son in his arms 
and ran away in all directions. 



■^o*- 



THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 

March 14th. 
Towards two o'clock the vast theatre was crowded, — - 
pit, gallery, boxes, stage, all were thronged ; thousands 
of faces, — boys, gentlemen, teachers, workingmen, 
women of the people, babies. There was a moving 
of heads and hands, a flutter of feathers, ribbons, and 
curls, and loud and merry murmur which inspired 
cheerfulness. The theatre was all decorated with fes- 



THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 167 

toons of white, red, and green cloth. In the pit two 
little stairways had been erected : one on the right, 
which the winners of prizes were to ascend in order to 
reach the stage ; the other, on the left, which they were 
to descend after receiving their prizes. On the front 
of the platform there was a row of red chairs; and 
from the back of the one in the centre hung two laurel 
crowns. At the back of the stage was a trophy of 
flags ; on one side stood a small green table, and upon 
it la}' all the certificates of premiums, tied with tri- 
colored ribbons. The band of music was stationed in 
the pit, under the stage ; the schoolmasters and mis- 
tresses filled all one side of the first balcony, which had 
been reserved for them ; the benches and passages of 
the pit were crammed with hundreds of boys, who were 
to sing, and who had written music in their hands. 
At the back and all about, masters and mistresses could 
be seen going to and fro, arranging the prize scholars 
in lines ; and it was full of parents who were giving a 
last touch to their hair and the last pull to their neck- 
ties. 

No soouer had I entered my box with my family 
than I perceived in the opposite box the young mis- 
tress with the red feather, who was smiling and show- 
ing all the pretty dimples in her cheeks, and w r ith her 
my brother's teacher and " the little nun," dressed 
wholly in black, and my kind mistress of the upper 
first ; but she was so pale, poor thing ! and coughed so 
hard, that she could be heard all over the theatre. In 
the pit I instantly espied Garrone's dear, big face and 
the little blond head of Nelli, who was clinging close 
to the other's shoulder. A little further on I saw 
GaroflQ, with his owl's-beak nose, who was making 
great efforts to collect the printed catalogues of the 



168 THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 

prize-winners ; and he already had a large bundle of 
them which he could put to some use in his bartering — 
we shall find out what it is to-morrow. Near the door 
wa's the wood-seller with his wife, — both dressed in fes- 
tive attire, — together with their bo}*, who has a third 
prize in the second grade. I was amazed at no longer 
beholding the catskin cap and the chocolate-colored 
tights : on this occasion he was dressed like a little 
gentleman. In one balcony I caught a momentaiy 
glimpse of Votini, with a large lace collar ; then he dis- 
appeared. In a proscenium box, filled with people, was 
the artillery captain, the father of Robetti, the boy with 
the crutches who saved the child from the omnibus. 

On the stroke of two the band struck up, and at the 
same moment the mayor, the prefect, the judge, the 
provveditore, and many other gentlemen, all dressed in 
black, mounted the stairs on the right, and seated 
themselves on the red chairs at the front of the plat- 
form. The band ceased playing. The director of 
singing in the schools advanced with a baton in his 
hand. At a signal from him all the boys in the pit 
rose to their feet ; at another sign they began to sing. 
There were seven hundred singing a very beautiful 
song, — seven hundred boys' voices singing together ; 
how beautiful ! All listened motionless : it was a slow, 
sweet, limpid song which seemed like a church chant. 
When they ceased, every one applauded ; then they all 
became very still. The distribution of the prizes was 
about to begin. My little master of the second grade, 
with his red head and his quick eyes, who was to read 
the names of the prize-winners, had already advanced 
to the front of the stage. The entrance of the twelve 
boys who were to present the certificates was what 
they were waiting for. The newspapers had already 



THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 169 

«tated that there would be boys from all the provinces 
of Italy. Every one knew it, and was watching for 
them and gazing curiously towards the spot where 
they were to enter, and the mayor and the other gen- 
tlemen gazed also, and the whole theatre was silent. 

All at once the whole twelve arrived on the stage at 
a run, and remained standing there in line, with a 
smile. The whole theatre, three thousand persons, 
sprang up simultaneously, breaking into applause which 
sounded like a clap of thunder. The boys stood for a 
moment as though disconcerted. "Behold Italv ! " 
said a voice on the stage. All at once I recognized 
Coraci, the Calabrian, dressed in black as usual. A 
gentleman belonging to the municipal government, who 
was with us and who knew them all, pointed them 
out to my mother. " That little blond is the represen- 
tative of Venice. The Roman is that tall, curly-haired 
lad, yonder." Two or three of them were dressed like 
gentlemen ; the others were sons of workingmen, but 
all were neatlv clad and clean. The Florentine, who 
was the smallest, had a blue scarf round his body. 
They all passed in front of the mayor, who kissed them, 
one after the other, on the brow, while a gentleman 
seated next to him smilingly told him the names of 
their cities: "Florence, Naples, Bologna, Palermo." 
And as each passed b}', the whole theatre clapped. 
Then they all ran to the green table, to take the certifi- 
cates. The master began to read the list, mentioning 
the schoolhouses, the classes, the names ; and the 
prize-winners began to mount the stage and to file past. 

The foremost ones had hardly reached the stage, 
when behind the scenes there became audible a very, 
very faint music of violins, which did not cease during 
the whole time that they were filing past — a soft and 



170 THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 

always even air, like the murmur of man}' subdued 
voices, the voices of all the mothers, and all the mas- 
ters and mistresses, giving counsel in concert, and be- 
seeching and administering loving reproofs. And 
meanwhile, the prize-winners passed one by one in 
front of the seated gentlemen, who handed them their 
certificates, and said a word or bestowed a caress on 
each. 

The boys in the pit and the balconies applauded 
loudly every time that there passed a very small lad. 
or one who seemed, from his garments, to be poor ; 
and also for those who had abundant curly hair, or who 
were clad in red or white. Some of those who filed 
past belonged to the upper primary, and once arrived 
there, they became confused and did not know where 
to turn, and the whole theatre laughed. One passed, 
three spans high, with a big knot of pink ribbon on his 
back, so that he could hardly walk, and he got entan- 
gled in the carpet and tumbled down ; and the prefect 
set him on his feet again, and all laughed and clapped. 
Another rolled headlong down the stairs, when descend- 
ing again to the pit : cries arose, but he had not hurt 
himself. Boys of all sorts passed, — boys with roguish 
faces, with frightened faces, with faces as red as cher- 
ries ; comical little fellows, who laughed in every one's 
face : and no sooner had they got back into the pit, 
than they were seized upon by their fathers and 
mothers, who carried them away. 

When our schoolhouse's turn came, how amused I 
was ! Man}' whom I knew passed. Coretti filed by, 
dressed in new. clothes from head to foot, with his fine, 
merry smile, which displayed all his white teeth ; but 
who knows how many myriagrammes of wood he had 
already carried that morning ! The mayor, on pre- 



THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 171 

senting him with his certificate, inquired the meaning 
of a red mark on his forehead, and as he did so, laid 
one hand on his shoulder. I looked in the pit for his 
father and mother, and saw them laughing, while they 
covered their mouths with one hand. Then Derossi 
passed, all dressed in bright blue, with shining buttons, 
with all those golden curls, slender, easj', with his head 
held high, so handsome, so sympathetic, that I could 
have blown him a kiss ; and all the gentlemen wanted 
to speak to him and to shake his hand. 

Then the master cried, ''Giulio Robetti ! " and we 
saw the captain's son come forward on his crutches. 
Hundreds of bovs knew the occurrence ; a rumor ran 
round in an instant ; a salvo of applause broke forth, 
and of shouts, which made the theatre tremble : men 
sprang to their feet, the ladies began to wave their 
handkerchiefs, and the poor boy halted in the middle 
of the stage, amazed and trembling. The mavor drew 
him to him, gave him his prize and a kiss, and remov- 
ing the two laurel crowns which were hanging from the 
back of the chair, he strung them on the cross-bars of 
his crutches. Then he accompanied him to the prosce- 
nium box, where his father, the captain, was seated ; 
and the latter lifted him bodilv and set him down inside, 
amid an indescribable tumult of bravos and hurrahs. 

Meanwhile, the soft and gentle music of - the violins 
continued, and the boys continued to file by, — those 
from the Schoolhouse della Consolata, nearly all the 
sons of petty merchants ■; those from the Vanchiglia 
School, the sons of workingmen ; those from the Bon- 
compagni School, many of whom were the sons of peas- 
ants ; those of the Rayneri, which was the last. As 
soon as it was over, the seven hundred boys in the pit 
sang another very beautiful song ; then the mayor 



172 STRIFE. 

spoke, and after him the judge, who terminated his 
discourse by saying to the bo}*s : — * 

" But do not leave this place without sending a 
salute to those who toil so hard for vou ; who have con- 
secrated to } t ou all the strength of their intelligence 
and of their hearts ; who live and die for you. There 
they are ; behold them ! " And he pointed to the bal- 
cony of teachers. Then, from the balconies, from the 
pit, from the boxes, the boys rose, and extended their 
arms towards the masters and mistresses, with a shout, 
and the latter responded by waving their hands, their 
hats, and handkerchiefs, as they all stood up, in their 
emotion. After this, the band played once more, and 
the audience sent a last noisy salute to the twelve lads 
of all the provinces of Italy, who presented themselves 
at the front of the stage, all drawn up in line, with 
their hands interlaced, beneath a shower of flowers. 



-*o»- 



STRIFE. 

Monday, 26th. 

However, it is not out of envy, because he got the 
prize and I did not, that I quarrelled with Coretti this 
morning. It was not out of envy. But I was in the 
wrong. The teacher had placed him beside me, and I 
was writing-in my copy-book for calligraphy ; he jogged 
my elbow and made me blot and soil the monthly story, 
Blood of Romagna, which I was to copy for the little 
mason, who is ill. I got angry, and said a rude word 
to him. He replied, with a smile, "I did not do it 
intentionally." I should have believed him, because I 
know him ; but it displeased me that he should smile, 
and I thought : — 

"Oh! now that he has Jjad a prize, he has grown 



STRIFE. 173 

saucy ! " and a little while afterwards, to revenge my- 
self, I gave him a jog which made him spoil his page. 
Then, all crimson with wrath, "You did that on pur- 
pose," he said to me, and raised his hand : the teacher 
saw it ; he drew it back. But he added : — 

" I shall wait for you outside ! " I felt ill at ease ; 
my wrath had simmered away ; I repented. No ; 
Coretti could not have done it intentionally. He is 
good, I thought. I recalled how I had seen him in his 
own home ; how he had worked and helped his sick 
mother ; and then how heartily he had been welcomed 
in my house ; and how he had pleased my father. 
What would I not have given not to have said that 
word to him ; not to have insulted him thus ! And I 
thought of the advice that mv father had given to me : 
" Have you done wrong? " — " Yes." — " Then beg his 
pardon." But this I did' not dare to do ; I was ashamed 
to humiliate myself. I looked at him out of the corner 
of my eye, and I saw his coat ripped on the shoulder, — 
perhaps because he had carried too much wood, — and 
I felt that I loved him ; and I said to myself, " Cour- 
age ! " But the words, "excuse me," stuck in my 
throat. He looked at me askance from time to time, 
and he seemed to me to be more grieved than angry. 
But at such times I looked malevolently at him, to 
show him that I was not afraid. 

He repeated, "We shall meet outside!" And I 
said, "We shall meet outside!" But I was thinking 
of what my father had once said to me, "If you are 
wronged, defend yourself, but do not fight." 

And I said to myself, " I will defend myself, but I 
will not fight." But I was discontented, and I no 
longer listened to the master. At last the moment 
of dismissal arrived. When I was alone in the street 



174 MY SISTER. 

I perceived that he was following me. I stopped and 
waited for him, ruler in hand. He approached ; I 
raised my ruler. 

"No, Enrico," he said, with his kindly smile, 
waving the ruler aside with his hand; "let us be 
friends again, as before." 

I stood still in amazement, and then I felt what 
seemed to be a hand dealing a push on my shoulders, 
and I found myself in his arms. He kissed me, and 
said : — 

"We'll have no more altercations between us, will 
we?" 

"Never again! never again!" I replied. And 
we parted content. But when I returned home, and 
told my father all about it, thinking to give him 
pleasure, his face clouded over, and he said : — 

" You should have been the first to offer your hand, 
since you were in the wrong." Then he added, "You 
should not raise your ruler at a comrade who is better 
than you are — at the son of a soldier ! " and snatching 
the ruler from my hand, he broke it in two, and hurled 
it against the wall. 



-*o*- 



MY SISTER. 

Friday, 24th. 

Why, Enrico, after our father has already reproved you 

for having behaved badly to Coretti, were you so unkind 

to me ? You cannot imagine the pain that you caused me. 

Do you not know that when you were a baby, I stood for 

hours and hours beside your cradle, instead of playing with 

my companions, and that when you were ill, I got out of 

bed every night to feel whether your forehead was burning? 

Do you not know, you who grieve your sister, that if a 

tremendous misfortune should overtake us, I should be a 



MY SISTER. 175 

mother to you and love you like my son ? Do you not 
know that when our father and mother are no longer here, 
I shall be your best friend, the only person with whom you 
can talk about our dead and your infancy, and that, should 
it be necessary, I shall work for you, Enrico, to earn your 
bread and to pay for your studies, and that I shall always 
love you when you are grown up, that I shall follow you 
in thought when you go far away, always because Ave grew 
up together and have the same blood? O Enrico, be sure of 
this when you are a man, that if misfortune happens to 
you, if you are alone, be very sure that you will seek me, 
that you will come to me and say : " Silvia, sister, let me 
stay with you ; let us talk of the days when we were happy 
— do you remember? Let us talk of our mother, of our 
home, of those beautiful days that are so far away." O 
Enrico, you will always find your sister with her arms wide 
open. Yes, dear Enrico; and you must forgive me for the 
reproof that I am administering to you now. I shall never 
recall any wrong of yours ; and if you should give me other 
sorrows, what matters it ? You will always be my brother, 
the same brother ; I shall never recall you otherwise than as 
having held you in my arms when a baby, of having loved 
our father and mother with you, of having watched you grow 
up, of having been for years your most faithful companion. 
But do you write me a kind word in this same copy-book, 
and I will come for it and read it before the evening. In 
the meanwhile, to show you that I am not angry with you, 
and perceiving that you are weary, I have copied for you the 
monthly story, Blood of Romagna, which you were to have 
copied for the little sick mason. Look in the left drawer 
of your table ; I have been writing all night, while you were 
asleep. Write me a kind word, Enrico, I beseech you. 

Thy Sister Silvia. 
I am not worthy to kiss your hands. — Enrico. 



176 BLOOD OF ROMAGNA. 



BLOOD OF ROMAGNA. 

(Monthly Story.) 

That evening the house of Ferruccio was more silent 
than was its wont. The father, who kept a little 
haberdasher's shop, had gone to Forli to make some 
purchases, and his wife had accompanied him, with 
Luigina, a bab}', whom she was taking to a doctor, 
that he might operate on a diseased eye ; and they 
were not to return until the following morning. It 
was almost midnight. The woman who came to do 
the work by day had gone away at nightfall. In the 
house there was only the grandmother with the para- 
lyzed legs, and Ferruccio, a lad of thirteen. It was 
a small house of but one story, situated on the high- 
wa} T , at a gunshot's distance *rom a village not far 
from Forli, a town of Romagna ; and there was near 
it only an uninhabited house, ruined two months 
previously by fire, on which the sign of an inn was 
still to be seen. Behind the tiny house was a small 
garden surrounded by a hedge, upon which a rustic 
gate opened ; the door of the shop, which also served 
as the house door, opened on the highway. AH 
around spread the solitary campagna, vast cultivated 
fields, planted with mulberry-trees. 

It was nearly midnight ; it was raining and blowing. 
Ferruccio and his grandmother, who was still up, were 
in the dining-room, between which and the garden 
there was a small, closet-like room, encumbered with 
old furniture. Ferruccio had only returned home at 
eleven o'clock, after an absence of many hours, and 
his grandmother had watched for him with eyes wide 



BLOOD OF ROMAGNA. 177 

open, filled with anxiety, nailed to the large arm-chair, 
upon which she was accustomed to pass the entire day, 
and often the whole night as well, since a difficulty of 
breathing did not allow her to lie down in bed. 

It was raining, and the wind beat the rain against 
the window-panes : the night was very dark. Fer- 
ruccio had returned weary, muddy, with his jacket 
torn, and the livid mark of a stone on his forehead. 
He had engaged in a stone fight with his comrades ; 
they had come to blows, as usual ; and in addition he 
had gambled, and lost all his soldi, and left his cap in 
a ditch. 

Although the kitchen was illuminated only by a 
small oil lamp, placed on the corner of the table, near 
the arm-chair, his poor grandmother had instantly per- 
ceived the wretched condition of her grandson, and 
had partly divined, partly brought him to confess, his 
misdeeds. 

She loved this boy with all her soul. When she had 
learned all, she began to cry. 

"Ah, no!" she said, after a long silence, "you 
have no heart for your poor grandmother. You have 
no feeling, to take advantage in this manner of the 
absence of your father and mother, to cause me sor- 
row. You have left me alone the whole day long. 
You had not the slightest compassion. Take care, Fer- 
ruccio ! You are entering on an evil path which will 
lead vou to a sad end. I have seen others begin like 
3*ou, and come to a bad end. If you begin by running 
away from home, by getting into brawls with the other 
boys, by losing soldi, then, gradually, from stone fights 
you will come to knives, from gambling to other vices, 
and from other vices to — theft." 

Feruccio stood listening three paces away, leaning 



278 BLOOD OF RO MAGNA. 

against a cupboard, with his chin on his breast and 
his brows knit, being still hot with wrath from the 
brawl. A lock of fine chestnut hair fell across his 
forehead, and his blue eyes were motionless. 

" From gambling to theft ! " repeated his grand- 
mother, continuing to weep. "Think of it, Ferruccio ! 
Think of that scourge of the country about here, of 
that Vito Mozzoni, who is now playing the vagabond in 
the town ; who, at the age of twenty-four, has been 
twice in prison, and has made that poor woman, his 
mother, die of a broken heart — I knew her; and his 
father has fled to Switzerland in despair. Think of 
that bad fellow, whose salute your father is ashamed 
to return : he is always roaming with miscreants worse 
than himself, and some day he will go to the galleys. 
Well, I knew him as a boy, and he began as you are 
doing. Reflect that you will reduce your father and 
mother to the same end as his." 

Ferruccio held his peace. He was not at all remorse- 
ful at heart ; quite the reverse : his misdemeanors arose 
rather from superabundance of life and audacity than 
from an evil mind ; and his father had managed him 
badbr in precisely this particular, that, holding him 
capable, at bottom, of the finest sentiments, and also, 
when put to the proof, of a vigorous and generous ac- 
tion, he left the bridle loose upon his neck, and waited 
for him to acquire judgment for himself. The lad 
was good rather than perverse, but stubborn ; and it 
was hard for him, even when his heart was oppressed 
with repentance, to allow those good words which win 
pardon to escape his lips, "If I have done wrong, I 
will do so no more ; I promise it ; forgive me." His 
soul was full of tenderness at times ; but pride would 
not permit it to manifest itself. 



BLOOD OF ROMAGNA. 179 

" Ah, Ferruccio," continued his grandmother, per- 
ceiving that he was thus dumb, " not a word of peni- 
tence do you utter to me ! You see to what a condition 
I am reduced, so that I am as good as actually buried. 
You ousrkt not to have the heart to make me suffer so, 
to make the mother of your mother, who is so old and 
so near her last day, weep ; the poor grandmother who 
has always loved } T ou so, who rocked you all night long, 
night after night, when you were a baby a few months 
old, and who did not eat for amusing you, — you do 
not know that ! I always said, ' This boy will be 
nry consolation ! ' And now you are killing me ! I 
would willino-lv o-ive the little life that remains to me if 
I could see you become a good bo}-, and an obedient 
one, as you were in those days when I used to lead you 
to the sanctuary — do } T ou remember, Ferruccio? You 
used to fill my pockets with pebbles and weeds, and I 
carried you home in my arms, fast asleep. You used 
to love your poor grandma then. And now I am a 
paralytic, and in need of your affection as of the air to 
breathe, since I have no one else in the world, poor, 
half-dead woman that I am : my God ! " 

Ferruccio was on the point of throwing himself on his 
grandmother, overcome with emotion, when he fancied 
that he heard a slight noise, a creaking in the small 
adjoining room, the one which opened on the garden. 
But he could not make out whether it was the window- 
shutters rattling in the wind, or something else. 

He bent his head and listened. 

The rain beat down noisily. 

The sound was repeated. His grandmother heard it 
also. 

" What is it?" asked the grandmother, in perturba- 
tion, after a momentary pause. 



180 BLOOD OF ROMAGNA. 

" The rain," murmured the boy. 

" Then, Ferruccio," said the old woman, drying 
her e} T es, "you promise me that you will be good, 
that you will not make your poor grandmother weep 
again — " 

Another faint sound interrupted her. 

"But it seems to me that it is not the rain!" she 
exclaimed, turning pale. " Go and see ! " 

But she instantly added, " No ; remain here ! " and 
seized Ferruccio bv the hand. 

Both remained as thev were, and held their breath. 
All they heard was the sound of the water. 

Then both were seized with a shivering fit. 

It seemed to both that they heard footsteps in the 
next room. 

"Who's there ?" demanded the lad, recovering his 
breath with an effort. 

No one replied. 

"Who is it?"aske.d Ferruccio again, chilled with 
terror. 

But hardly had he pronounced these words when 
both uttered a shriek of terror. Two men sprang into 
the room. One of them grasped the boy and placed 
one hand over his mouth ; the other clutched the old 
woman by the throat. The first said : — 

" Silence, unless you want to die ! " 

The second : — 

" Be quiet ! " and raised aloft a knife. 

Both had dark cloths over their faces, with two holes 
for the eves. 

For a moment nothing was audible but the gasping 
breath of all four, the patter of the rain ; the old woman 
emitted frequent rattles from her throat, and her eyes 
were starting from her head. 



BLOOD OF ROMAGNA. 181 

The man who held the boy said in his ear, " Where 
does your father keep his money ? " 

The lad replied in a thread of a voice, with chatter- 
ing teeth, k ' Yonder — in the cupboard." 

" Come with me," said the man. 

And he dragged him into the closet room, holding 
him securely by the throat. There was a dark lantern 
standing on the floor. 

••Where is the cupboard?" he demanded. 

The suffocating boy pointed to the cupboard. 

Then, in order to make sure of the boy, the man 
flung him on his knees in front of the cupboard, and, 
pressing his neck closely between his own legs, in such 
a way that he could throttle him if he shouted, and 
holding his knife in his teeth and his lantern in one 
hand, with the other he pulled from his pocket a 
pointed iron, drove it into the lock, fumbled about, 
broke it, threw the doors wide open, tumbled every- 
thing over in a perfect fury of haste, filled his pockets, 
shut the cupboard again, opened it again, made another 
search ; then he seized the boy by the windpipe again, 
and pushed him to where the other man was still grasp- 
ing the old woman, who was convulsed, with her head 
thrown back and her mouth open. 

The latter asked in a low voice, " Did you find it?" 

His companion replied, " I found it." 

And he added, " See to the door." 

The one that was holding the old woman ran to the 
door of the garden to see if there were any one there, 
and called in from the little room, in a voice that re- 
sembled a hiss, " Come ! " 

The one who remained behind, and who was still 
holding Ferruccio fast, showed his knife to the boy and 
the old woman, who had opened her eyes again, and 



182 BLOOD OF ROM AG N A. 

said, " Not a sound, or I'll come back and cut your 
throat." 

And he glared at the two for a moment. 

At this juncture, a song sung bj* many voices be- 
came audible far off on the highway. 

The robber turned his head hastily toward the door, 
and the violence of the movement caused the cloth to 
fall from his face. 

The old woman gave vent to a shriek ; " Mozzoni !" 

"Accursed woman," roared the robber, on finding 
himself recognized, " you shall die ! " 

And he hurled himself, with his knife raised, against 
the old woman, who swooned on the spot. 

The assassin dealt the blow. 

But Ferruccio, with an exceedingly rapid movement, 
and uttering a cry of desperation, had rushed to his 
grandmother, and covered her body with his own. 
The assassin fled, stumbling against the table and over- 
turning the light, which was extinguished. 

The boy slipped slowly from above his grandmother, 
fell on his knees, and remained in that attitude, with 
his arms around her body and his head upon her 
breast. 

Several moments passed ; it was very dark ; the song 
of the peasants gradually died away in the campagna. 
The old woman recovered her senses. 

" Ferruccio ! " she cried, in a voice that was barely 
intelligible, with chattering teeth. 

" Grandmamma ! " replied the lad. 

The old woman made an effort to speak ; but terror 
had paralyzed her tongue. 

She remained silent for a while, trembling violently. 

Then she succeeded in asking : — 



" They are not here now? 



!• 



BLOOD OF KOMAGNA. 183 

" No." 

" They did not kill me," murmured the old woman 
in a stifled voice. 

" No ; you are safe," said Ferruccio, in a weak voice. 
44 You are safe, dear grandmother. They carried off 
the money. But daddy had taken nearly all of it with 
him." 

His grandmother drew a deep breath. 

"Grandmother," said Ferruccio, still kneeling, and 
pressing her close to him, " dear grandmother, you love 
me, don't 3*011?" 

"O Ferruccio! m} r poor little son!" she replied, 
placing her hands on his head ; ' ' what a fright you 
must have had ! — O Lord God of mercy ! — Light the 
lamp. No ; let us still remain in the dark ! I am still 
afraid." 

" Grandmother," resumed the boy, "I have always 
caused you grief." 

"No, Ferruccio, you must not sa}- such things; I 
shall never think of that again ; I have forgotten every- 
thing, I love 3*011 so dearh* ! " 

" I have always caused 3*011 grief," pursued Ferruccio, 
with difhcuhVv, and his voice quivered; "but I have 
always loved 3 7 ou. Do you forgive me? — Forgive me, 
grandmother." 

"Yes, my son, I forgive you with all my heart. 
Think, how could I help forgiving you ! Rise from 
} T our knees, my child. I will never scold 3 7 ou again. 
You are so good, so good ! Let us light the lamp. 
Let us take courage a little. Rise, Ferruccio." 

" Thanks, grandmother," said the boy, and his voice 
was still weaker. "Now — I am content. You will 
remember me, grandmother — will you not? You 
will always remember me — your Ferruccio ? " 



18 J: THE LITTLE MASON ON HIS SICK-BED. 

" My Ferruccio ! " exclaimed his grandmother, 
amazed and alarmed, as she laid her hands on his 
shoulders and bent her head, as though to look him in 
his face. 

" Remember me," murmured the boy once more, in 
a voice that seemed like a breath. " Give a kiss to 
my mother — to my father — to Luigina. — Good by, 
grandmother." 

"In the name of Heaven, what is the matter with 
you?" shrieked the old woman, feeling the boy's head 
anxiously, as it la}- upon her knees ; and then with all 
the power of voice of which her throat was capable, 
and in desperation : " Ferruccio ! Ferruccio ! Ferruccio ! 
My child ! My love ! Angels of Paradise, come to 
my aid ! " 

But Ferruccio made no reply. The little hero, the 
saviour of the mother of his mother, stabbed by a blow 
from a knife in the back, had rendered up his beautiful 
and daring soul to God. 



THE LITTLE MASON ON HIS SICK-BED. 

Tuesday, 18th. 
The poor little mason is seriously ill ; the master told 
us to go and see him ; and Garrone, Derossi, and I 
agreed to go together. Stardi would have come also, 
but as the teacher had assigned us the description of 
TJie Monument to Cavour, he told us that he must go 
and see the monument, in order that his description 
might be more exact. So, by way of experiment, we 
invited that puffed-up fellow, Nobis, who replied " No," 
and nothing more. Votini also excused himself, perhaps 
because he was afraid of soiling his clothes with plaster 



THE LITTLE MASON ON HIS SICK-BED. 185 

We went there when we came out of school at four 
o'clock. It was raining in torrents. On the street 
Garrone halted, and said, with his mouth full of 
bread : — 

14 What shall I buy? " and he rattled a couple of soldi 
in his pocket. We each contributed two soldi, and 
purchased three huge oranges. We ascended to the 
garret. At the door Derossi removed his medal and 
put it in his pocket. I asked him wiry. 

"I don't know," he answered; "in order not to 
have the air : it strikes me as more delicate to go in 
without my medal." We knocked ; the father, that 
big man who looks like a giant, opened to us ; his face 
was distorted so that he appeared terrified. 

"•Who are you?" he demanded. Garrone re- 
plied : — 

" We are Antonio's schoolmates, and we have 
brought him three oranges." 

" Ah, poor Tonino ! " exclaimed the mason, shaking 
his head, " I fear that he will never eat vour oransres !" 
and he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. He 
made us come in. We entered an attic room, where we 
saw " the little mason" asleep in a little iron bed ; his 
mother hung dejectedly over the bed, with her face in 
her hands, and she hardly turned to look at us ; on one 
side hung brushes, a trowel, and a plaster-sieve ; over 
the feet of the sick boy was spread the mason's jacket, 
white with lime. The poor boy was emaciated ; very, 
very white ; his nose was pointed, and his breath was 
short. O dear Tonino, my little comrade ! you who 
were so kind and merry, how it pains me ! what would 
I not give to see you make the hare's face once more, 
poor little mason ! Garrone laid an orange on his pil- 
low, close to his face ; the odor waked him ; he grasped 



186 THE LITTLE MASON ON HIS SICK-BED. 

it instantly ; then let go of it, and gazed intently at 
Garrone. 

44 It is I," said the latter: 44 Garrone: do you 
know me? " He smiled almost imperceptibly, lifted his 
stubby hand with difficulty from the bed and held it out 
to Garrone, who took it between his, and laid it against 
his cheek, saying : — 

44 Courage, courage, little mason; you are going 
to get well soon and come back to school, and the 
master will put you next to me ; will that please 
you ? " 

But the little mason made no repty. His mother 
burst into sobs: 44 0h, my poor Tonino ! My poor 
Tonino ! He is so brave and good, and God is going 
to take him from us ! " 

44 Silence ! " cried the mason ; 44 silence, for the love 
of God, or I shall lose my reason ! " 

Then he said to us, with anxiety: 44 Go, go, boys, 
thanks ; go ! what do you want to do here ? Thanks ; 
go home ! " The boy had closed his eyes again, and 
appeared to be dead. 

44 Do vou need anv assistance?" asked Garrone. 

44 No, my good boy, thanks," the mason answered. 
And so saying, he pushed us out on the landing, and 
shut the door. But we were not half-way down the 
stairs, when we heard him calling, "Garrone! Gar- 
rone ! " 

We all three mounted the stairs once more in haste 

44 Garrone!" shouted the mason, with a changed 
countenance, 44 he has called you by name; it is two 
days since he spoke ; he has called you twice ; he wants 
you ; come quickly ! Ah, holy God, if this is only a 
good sign ! " 

44 Farewell for the present," said Garrone to us ; 44 1 



COUNT CAVOUR. 187 

shall remain," and he ran in with the father. Derossi's 
eyes were full of tears. I said to him : — 

"Are yon crying for the little mason? He has 
spoken ; he will recover." 

"I believe it," replied Derossi ; "but I was not 
thinking of him. I was thinking how good Garrone is, 
and what a beautiful soul he has." 



COUNT CAVOUR. 

Wednesday, 29tn. 
You are to make a description of the monument to Count 
Cavour. You can do it. But who was Count Cavour? 
You cannot understand at present. For the present this is 
all you know : he was for many years the prime minister of 
Piemont. It was he who sent the Piemontese army to the 
Crimea to raise once more, with the victory of the Cernaia, 
our military glory, which had fallen with the defeat at 
Novara; it was he who made one hundred and fifty thou- 
sand Frenchmen descend from the Alps to chase the Aus- 
trians from Lombardy ; it was he who governed Italy in the 
most solemn period of our revolution ; who gave, during 
those years, the most potent impulse to the holy enterprise 
of the unification of our country, — he with his luminous 
mind, with his invincible perseverance, with his more than 
human industry. Many generals have passed terrible hours 
on the field of battle ; but he passed more terrible ones in his 
cabinet, when his enormous work might suffer destruction at 
any moment, like a fragile edifice at the tremor of an earth- 
quake. Hours, nights of struggle and anguish did he pass, suffi- 
cient to make him issue from it with reason distorted and 
death in his heart. And it was this gigantic and stormy 
work which shortened his life by twenty years. Nevertheless, 
devoured by the fever which was to cast him into his grave, 
he yet contended desperately with the malady in order to 



188 COUNT CAVOUR. 

accomplish something for his country. " It is strange," he 
said sadly on his death-bed, " I no longer know how to read ; 
I can no longer read." 

While they were bleeding him, and the fever was increas- 
ing, he was thinking of his country, and he said imperiously : 
" Cure me ; my mind is clouding over ; I have need of all 
my faculties to manage important affairs." When he was 
already reduced to extremities, and the whole city was in a 
tumult, and the king stood at his bedside, he said anxiously, 
" I have many things to say to you, Sire, many things to 
show you ; but I am ill ; I cannot, I cannot ; " and he was in 
despair. 

And his feverish thoughts hovered ever round the State, 
round the new Italian provinces which had been united with 
us, round the many things which still remained to be done. 
When delirium seized him, " Educate the children ! " he ex- 
claimed, between his gasps for breath, — " educate the chil- 
dren and the } T oung people — govern with liberty ! " 

His delirium increased; death hovered over him, and with 
burning words he invoked General Garibaldi, with whom he 
had had disagreements, and Venice and Rome, 'which were 
not yet free : he had vast visions of the future of Italy and 
of Europe ; he dreamed of a foreign invasion ; he inquired 
where the corps of the army were, and the generals ; he still 
trembled for us, for his people. His great sorrow was not, 
you understand, that he felt that his life was going, but to 
see himself fleeing his country, which still had need of him, 
and for which he had, in a few years, worn out the measure- 
less forces of his miraculous organism. He died with the 
battle-cry in his throat, and his death was as great as his 
life. Now reflect a little, Enrico, what sort of a thing is our 
labor, which nevertheless so weighs us down ; what are our 
griefs, our death itself, in the face of the toils, the terrible 
anxieties, the tremendous agonies of these men upon whose 
hearts rests a world ! Think of this, my son, when you pass 
before that marble image, and say to it, " Glory ! " in your 

heart. 

Thy Father. 



sriuxG. 189 



APEIL. 



-*o^ 



SPRING. 

Saturday, 1st. 

The first of April ! Only three months more ! This 
has been one of the most beautiful mornings of the 
year. I was happy in school because Coretti told me 
to come day after to-morrow to see the king make his 
entrance with his father, who Jcnoivs him, and because 
my mother had promised to take me the same day to 
visit the Infant Asylum in the Corso Valdocco. I was 
pleased, too, because the little mason is better, and 
because the teacher said to my father yesterda}- even- 
ing as he was passing, " He is doing well ; he is doing 
well." 

And then it was a beautiful spring morning. From 
the school windows we could see the blue skv, the trees 
of the garden all covered with buds, and the wide-open 
windows of the houses, with their boxes and vases 
already growing green. The master did not laugh, be- 
cause he never laughs ; but he was in a good humor, 
so that that perpendicular wrinkle hardly ever appeared 
on his brow ; and he explained a problem on the black- 
board, and jested. And it was plain that he felt a 
pleasure in breathing the air of the gardens which 
entered through the open window, redolent with the 
fresh odor of earth and leaves, which suggested 
thoughts of country rambles. 



190 SPRING. 

While he was explaining, we could hear in a neigh- 
boring street a blacksmith hammering on his anvil, and 
in the house opposite, a woman singing to lull her baby 
to sleep ; far away, in the Cernaia barracks, the trum- 
pets were sounding. Every one appeared pleased, even 
Stardi. At a certain moment the blacksmith began to 
hammer more vigorously, the woman to sing more 
loudly. The master paused and lent an ear. Then 
he said, slowly, as he gazed out of the window : — 

" The smiling sky, a singing mother, an honest ma a 
at work, boys at study, — these are beautiful things." 

When we emerged from the school, we saw that 
every one else was cheerful also. All walked in a line, 
stamping loudly with their feet, and humming, as 
though on the eve of a four days' vacation ; the 
schoolmistresses were playful ; the one with the red 
feather tripped along behind the children like a school- 
girl ; the parents of the boys were chatting together 
and smiling, and Crossi's mother, the vegetable-vender, 
had so many bunches of violets in her basket, that they 
filled the whole large hall with perfume. 

I have never felt such happiness as this morning on 
catching sight of my mother, who was waiting for me 
in the street. And I said to her as I ran to meet 
her : — 

" Oh, I am happy ! what is it that makes me so happy 
this morning?" And mv mother answered me with a 
smile that it was the beautiful season and a good con- 
science. 



KING UMBERTO. 191 



KING UMBERTO. 

Monday, 3d. 

At ten o'clock precisely my father saw from the 
window Coretti, the wood-seller, and his son waiting 
for me in the square, and said to me : — 

" There they are, Enrico ; go and see your king." 

I went like a flash. Both father and son were even 
more alert than usual, and they never seemed to me 
to resemble each other so strongly as this morning. 
The father wore on his jacket the medal for valor be- 
tween two commemorative medals, and his mustaches 
were curled and as pointed as two pins. 

"We at once set out for the railway station, where 
the king was to arrive at half- past ten. Coretti, the 
father, smoked his pipe and rubbed his hands. "Do 
you know," said he, " I have not seen him since the 
war of 'sixtv-six? A trifle of fifteen years and six 
months. First, three years in France, and then at 
Mondovi, and here, where I might have seen him, I 
have never had the 2X>od mc k of beino- in the citv when 
he came. Such a combination of circumstances ! ' : 

He called the King "Umberto," like a comrade. 
Umberto commanded the 16th division ; Umberto was 
twenty-two }ears and so many days old ; Umberto 
mounted a horse thus and so. 

"Fifteen years!" he said vehemently, accelerating 
his pace. "I really have a great desire to see him 
again. I left him a prince ; I see him once more, a 
king. And I, too, have changed. From a soldier I 
have become a hawker of wood." And he laughed. 

His son asked him, "If he were to see you, would he 
remember you ? " 



192 KING UMBERTO. 

He began to laugh. 

" You are crazy ! ' he answered. " That's quite an- 
other thing. He, Umberto, was one single man ; we 
were as numerous as flies. And then, he never looked 
at us one by one." 

We turned into the Corso Vittorio Emanuele ; there 
were many people on their way to the station. A com- 
pany of Alpine soldiers passed with their trumpets. 
Two armed policemen passed by on horseback at a gal- 
lop. The day was serene and brilliant. 

"Yes!" exclaimed the elder Coretti, growing ani- 
mated, " it is a real pleasure to me to see him once 
more, the general of my division. Ah, how quickly 
I have grown old ! It seems as though it were only 
the other day that I had my knapsack on my shoul- 
ders and my gun in my hands, at that affair of the 24 th 
of June, when we were on the point of coming to 
blows. Umberto was going to and fro with his offi- 
cers, while the cannon were thundering in the distance ; 
and every one was gazing at him and saying, ' May 
there not be a bullet for him also ! ' I was a thousand 
miles from thinking that I should soon find myself so 
near him, in front of the lances of the Austrian uhlans; 
actually, only four paces from each other, boys. That 
was a fine day ; the sky was like a mirror ; but so hot ! 
Let us see if w r e can get in." 

We had arrived at the station ; there was a great 
crowd, — carriages, policemen, carabineers, societies 
with banners. A regimental band was playing. The 
elder Coretti attempted to enter the portico, but he was 
stopped. Then it occurred to him to force his way 
into the front row of the crowd which formed an open- 
ing at the entrance ; and making way with his elbow, 
he succeeded in thrusting us forward also. But the 



KING UMBERTO. 193 

undulating throng flung us hither and thither a little. 
The wood-seller got his eye upon the first pillar of the 
portico, where the police did not allow any one to stand ; 
"Come with me," he said suddenly, dragging us by 
the hand ; and he crossed the empty space in two bounds, 
and went and planted himself there, with his back against 
the wall. 

A police brigadier instantly hurried up and said to 
him, " You can't stand here." 

"I belong to the fourth battalion of forty-nine," 
replied Coretti, touching his medal. 

The brigadier glanced at it, and said, " Remain." 

" Didn't I say so ! " exclaimed Coretti triumphantly ; 
"it's a magic word, that fourth of the forty-ninth! 
Haven't I the right to see mv general with some little 
comfort, — I, who was in that squadron? I saw him 
close at hand then ; it seems right that I should see him 
close at hand now. And I sa} T general ! He was my 
battalion commander for a good half-hour ; for at such 
moments he commanded the battalion himself, while it 
was in the heart of things, and not Major Ubrich, by 
Heavens ! " 

In the meantime, in the reception-room and outside, 
a great mixture of gentlemen and officers was visible, 
and in front of the door, the carriages, with the lack- 
eys dressed in red, were drawn up in a line. 

Coretti asked his father whether Prince Umberto had 
his sword in his hand when he was with the regiment. 

"He would certainly have had his sword in his 
hand," the latter replied, " to ward off a blow from a 
lance, which might strike him as well as another. Ah ! 
those unchained demons ! They came down on us like 
the wrath of God ; they descended on us. The}' swept 
between the groups, the squadrons, the cannon, as 



194 KING UMBERTO. 

though tossed by a hurricane, crushing down every* 
thing. There was a whirl of light cavalry of Ales- 
sandria, of lancers of Foggia, of infantry, of sharp- 
shooters, a pandemonium in which nothing could any 
longer be understood. I heard the shout, ' Your High- 
ness ! vour Highness ! ' I saw the lowered lances 
approaching ; we discharged our guns ; a cloud of 
smoke hid everything. Then the smoke cleared away. 
The ground was covered with horses and uhlans, 
wounded and dead. I turned round, and beheld in 
our midst Umberto, on horseback, gazing tranquilly 
about, with the air of demanding, ' Have any of my 
lads received a scratch ? ' And we shouted to him, 
' Hurrah ! ' right in his face, like madmen. Heavens, 
what a moment that was ! Here's the train coming ! " 

The band struck up ; the officers hastened forward ; 
the crowd elevated themselves on tiptoe. 

" Eh, he won't come out in a hurry," said a police- 
man ; " the}* are presenting him with an address now." 

The elder Coretti was beside himself with impatience. 

"Ah ! when I think of it," he said, " I alwavs see him 
there. Of course, there is cholera and there are earth- 
quakes ; and in them, too, he bears himself bravely ; 
but I always have him before my mind as I saw him 
then, among us, with that tranquil face. I am sure 
that he too recalls 'the fourth of the forty-ninth, even 
now that he is King ; and that it would give him pleas- 
ure to have for once, at a table together, all those whom 
he saw about him at such moments. Now, he has gen- 
erals, and great gentlemen, and courtiers ; then, there 
was no one but us poor soldiers. If we could only ex- 
change a few words alone ! Our general of twenty- 
two ; our prince, who was intrusted to our bayonets ! 
I have not seen him for fifteen years. Our Umberto ! 



Kixu UMBEkTO. 195 

that's what he is ! Ah ! that music stirs rav blood, on 
ni} 7 word of honor." 

An outburst of shouts interrupted him ; thousands 
of hats rose in the air ; four gentlemen dressed in 
black got into the first carriage. » 

"'Tis he!" cried Coretti, and st^od as though en* 
chanted. 

Then he said softly, "Madonna mia, how gray he 
has grown ! " 

We all three uncovered our heads ; the carriage ad- 
vanced slowly through the crowd, who shouted and 
waved their hats. I looked at the elder Coretti. He 
seemed to me another man ; he seemed to have become 
taller, graver, rather pale, and fastened bolt upright 
against the pillar. 

The carriage arrived in front of us, a pace distant 
from the pillar. " Hurrah ! " shouted many voices. 

" Hurrah ! " shouted Coretti, after the others. 

The King glanced at his face, and his eye dwelt for 
a moment on his three medals. 

Then Coretti lost his head, and roared, " The fourth 
battalion of the forty-ninth ! " 

The King, who had turned away, turned towards us 
again, and looking Coretti straight in the eye, reached 
his hand out of the carriage. 

Coretti gave one leap forwards and clasped it. The 
carriage passed on ; the crowd broke in and separated 
us ; we lost sight of the elder Coretti. But it was only 
for a moment. We found him again directly, panting, 
with wet eyes, calling for his son by name, and holding 
his hand on high. His son flew towards him, and he 
said, " Here, little one, while my hand is still warm ! ' 
and he passed his hand over the boy's face, saying, 
*' This is a caress from the King." 



196 THE INFANT ASYLUM. 

And there he stood, as though in a dream, with his 
eyes fixed on the distant carriage, smiling, with his 
pipe in his hand, in the centre of a group of curious 
people, who were staring at him. "He's one of the 
fourth battalion of the forty-ninth !" they said. " He 
is a soldier that knows the Kino-." "And the Kins; 
recognized him." "And he offered him his hand." 
" He gave the King a petition," said one, more loudly. 

" No," replied Coretti, whirling round abruptly ; " I 
did not give him any petition. There is something 
else that I would give him, if he were to ask it of me." 

They all stared at him. 

And he said siruply, "My blood. 



» 



THE INFANT ASYLUM. 

Tuesday, 4th. 

After breakfast }-esterday my mother took me, as 
she had promised, to the Infant Asylum in the Corso 
Valdocco, in order to recommend to the directress a 
little sister of Precossi. I had never seen an asvlum. 
How much amused I was ! There were two hundred 
of them, boy -babies and girl-babies, and so small that 
the children in our lower primary schools are men in 
comparison. 

We arrived just as they were entering the refectory 
in two files, where there were two very long tables, 
with a great many round holes, and in each hole a 
black bowl filled with rice and beans, and a tin spoon 
beside it. On entering, some grew confused and 
remained on the floor until the mistresses ran and 
picked them up. Many halted in front of a bowl, 
thinking it was their proper place, and had already 



THE INFANT ASYLUM. 197 

swallowed a spoonful, when a mistress arrived and said, 
" Go on ! " and then they advanced three or four paces 
and got down another spoonful, and then advanced 
again, until they reached their own places, after 
having fraudulently disposed of half a portion. At last, 
by dint of pushing and crying, "Make haste! make 
haste ! " they were all got into order, and the prayer 
was begun. But all those on the inner line, who had 
to turn their backs on the bowls for the pra} T er, twisted 
their heads round so that they could keep an eye on 
them, lest some one might meddle ; and then they 
said their prayer thus, with hands clasped and their 
eves on the ceiling, but with their hearts on their food. 
Then they set to eating. Ah, what a charming sight 
it was ! One ate with two spoons, another with his 
hands ; many picked up the beans one by one, and 
thrust them into their pockets ', others wrapped them 
tightly in their little aprons, and pounded them to 
reduce them to a paste. There were even some who 
did not eat, because they were watching the flies 
flying, and others coughed and sprinkled a shower 
of rice all around them. It resembled a poultry- 
yard. But it was charming. The two rows of babies 
formed a pretty sight, with their hair all tied on the 
tops of their heads with red, green, and blue ribbons. 
One teacher asked a row of eight children, " Where 
does rice grow?" The whole eight opened their 
mouths wide, filled as they were with the pottage, 
and replied in concert, in a sing-song, "It grows in 
the water." Then the teacher gave the order, " Hands 
up ! " and it was pretty to see all those little arms fly 
up, which a few months ago were all in swaddling- 
clothes, and all those little hands flourishing, which 
looked like so many white and pink butterflies. 



198 THE INFANT ASYLUM. 

Then they all went to recreation ; but first they all 
took their little baskets, which were hano-ino; on the 

' OCT 

wall with their lunches in them. The}' went out into 
the garden and scattered, drawing forth their pro- 
visions as they did so, — bread, stewed plums, a tiny 
bit of cheese, a hard-boiled egg, little apples, a hand- 
ful of boiled vetches, or a wing of chicken. In an 
instant the whole garden was strewn with crumbs, as 
though they had been scattered from their feed bv a 
flock of birds. They ate in all the queerest ways, — 
like rabbits, like rats, like cats, nibbling, licking, suck- 
ing. There was one child who held a bit of rye 
bread hugged closely to his breast, and was rubbing 
it with a medlar, as though he were polishing a sword. 
Some of the little ones crushed in their fists small 
cheeses, which trickled between their fingers like milk, 
and ran down inside their sleeves, and thev were 
utterly unconscious of it. They ran and chased each 
other with apples and rolls in their teeth, like dogs. 
I saw three of them excavating a hard-boiled egg 
with a straw, thinking to discover treasures, and they 
spilled half of it on the ground, and then picked 
the crumbs up again one by one with great patience, 
as though they had been pearls. And those who had 
anything- extraordinary were surrounded bv eight or 
ten, who stood staring at the baskets with bent heads, 
as though they were looking at the moon in a well. 
There were twenty congregated round a mite of a 
fellow who had a paper horn of sugar, and they were 
going through all sorts of ceremonies with him for 
the privilege of dipping their bread in it, and he 
accorded it to some, while to others, after many 
prayers, he only granted his finger to suck. 
In the meantime, my mother had come into the 



THE INFANT ASYLUM. 199 

garden and was caressing now one and now another. 
Many hung about her, and even on her back, be<2,<2,in2; 
ibr a kiss, with faces upturned as though to a third 
story, and with mouths that opened and shut as 
though asking for the breast. One offered her the 
quarter of an orange which had been bitten, another 
a small crust of bread ; one little girl gave her a leaf; 
another showed her, with all seriousness, the tip of 
her forefinger, a minute examination of which re- 
vealed a microscopic swelling, which had been caused 
by touching the flame of a candle on the preceding 
day. They placed before her eyes, as great marvels, 
very tiny insects, which I cannot understand their 
being able to see and catch, the halfs of corks, shirt- 
buttons, and flowerets pulled from the vases. One 
child, with a bandaged head, who was determined 
to be heard at any cost, stammered out to her some 
story about a head-over-heels tumble, not one word 
of which was intelligible ; another insisted that my 
mother should bend down, and then whispered in her 
ear, " My father makes brushes." 

And in the meantime a thousand accidents were 
happening here and there which caused the teachers 
to hasten up. Children wept because they could not 
untie a knot in their handkerchiefs ; others disputed, 
with scratches and shrieks, the halves of an apple ; 
one child, who had fallen face downward over a little 
bench which had been overturned, wept amid the ruins, 
and could not rise. 

Before her departure my mother took three or four 
cf them in her arms, and they ran up from all quar- 
ters to be taken also, their faces smeared with yolk 
of egg and orange juice ; and one caught her hands ; 
another her finger, to look 1 at her ring ; another tugged 



200 THE INFANT ASYLUM. 

at her watch chain ; another tried to seize her by 
the hair. 

"Take care," the teacher said to her; " the}' will 
tear your clothes all to pieces." 

But my mother cared nothing for her dress, and she 
continued to kiss them, and they pressed closer and 
closer to her : those who were nearest, with their arms 
extended as though they were desirous of climbing ; 
the more distant endeavoring to make their way 
through the crowd, and all screaming : — 

" Good by ! good by ! good b}~ ! " 

At last she succeeded in escaping from the garden. 
And they all ran and thrust their faces through the 
railings to see her pass, and to thrust their arms 
through to greet her, offering her once more bits of 
bread, bites of apple, cheese-rinds, and all screaming 
in concert : — 

"Good by! good b}~ ! good by! Come back to- 
morrow ! Come again ! " 

As my mother made her escape, she passed her 
hand once more over those hundreds of tiny out- 
stretched hands as over a garland of living roses, 
and finally arrived safely in the street, covered 
with crumbs and spots, rumpled and dishevelled, 
with one hand full of flowers and her eyes swelling 
with tears, and happy as though she had come from 
a festival. And inside there was still audible a sound 
like the twittering of birds, savin 2: : — 

" Good by ! good by ! Come again, madama! 



» 



QYM2TASTICS. 201 



GYMNASTICS. 

Tuesday, 5th. 

As the weather continues extremely fine, they have 
made us pass from chamber gymnastics to gymnastics 
with apparatus in the garden. 

Garrone was in the head-master's office yesterda}- 
when Nelli's mother, that blond woman dressed in 
black, came in to get her son excused from the new 
exercises. Every word cost her ah effort ; and as she 
spoke, she held one hand on her son's head. 

" He is not able to do it," she said to the head-mas- 
ter. But Nelli showed much grief at this exclusion 
from the apparatus, at having this added humiliation 
imposed upon him. 

" You will see, mamma," he said, " that I shall do 
like the rest." 

His mother gazed at him in silence, with an air of 
pity and affection. Then she remarked, in a hesitat- 
ing way, " I fear lest his companions — " 

What she meant to say was, " lest they should make 
sport of him." But Nelli replied : — 

" Thev will not do anything to me — and then, there 
is Garrone. It is sufficient for him to be present, to 
prevent their laughing." 

And then he was allowed to come. The teacher 
with the wound on his neck, who was with Garabaldi, 
led us at once to the vertical bars, which are very high, 
and we had to climb to the very top, and stand up- 
right on the transverse plank. Derossi and Coretti 
went up like monkeys ; even little Precossi mounted 
briskly, in spite of the fact that he was embarrassed 
with that jacket which extends to his knees ; and in 



202 GYMNASTICS. 

order to make him laugh while he was climbing, all tht> 
boys repeated to him his constant expression, " Excuse 
me ! excuse me ! " Stardi puffed, turned as red as a 
turkey-cock, and set his teeth until he looked like a 
mad dog ; but lie would base reached the top at the 
expense of bursting, and he actually did get there ; and 
so did Nobis, who, when he reached the summit, as- 
sumed the attitude of an emperor ; but Votiui slipped 
back twice, notwithstanding his fine new suit with 
azure stripes, which had been made expressly for gym- 
nastics. 

In order to climb the more easily, all the boys had 
daubed their hands with resin, which they call coloph- 
ony, and as a matter of course it is that trader of a 
Garoffi who provides every one with it, in a powdered 
form, selling it at a soldo the paper hornful, and turn- 
ing a pretty penny. 

Then it was Garrone's turn, and up he went, chew- 
ing away at his bread as though it were nothing: out of 
the common ; and I believe that he would have been 
capable of carrying one of us up on his shoulders, for 
he is as muscular and strong as a young bull. 

After Garrone came Nelli. No sooner did the boys 
see him grasp the bars with those long, thin hands of 
his, than many of them began to laugh and to sing ; but 
Garrone crossed his big arms on his breast, and darted 
round a glance which was so expressive, which so 
clearly said that he did not mind dealing out half a 
dozen punches, even in the master's presence, that 
they all ceased laughing on the instant. Nelli began 
to climb. He tried hard, poor little fellow ; his face 
grew purple, he breathed with difficulty, and the per- 
spiration poured from his brow. The master said, 
"Comedown!" But he would not. He strove and 



GYMNASTICS. 203 

persisted. I expected every moment to see him fall 
headlong, half dead. Poor Nelli ! I thought, what if 
I had been like him, and my mother had seen me! 
How she would have suffered, poor mother ! And as 
I thought of that I felt so tenderly towards Nelli that 
I could have given, I know not what, to be able, for the 
sake of having him climb those bars, to give him a 
push from below without being seen. 

Meanwhile Garrone, Derossi, and Coretti were say- 
ing : " Up with you, Nelli, up with you!" "Try — 
one effort more — courage ! " And Nelli made one 
more violent effort, uttering a groan as lie did so, and 
found himself within two spans of the plank. 

"Bravo!" shouted the others. " Courage — one 
dash more ! " and behold Nelli clinging to the plank. 

All clapped their hands. " Bravo ! " said the mas- 
ter. "But that will do now. Comedown." 

But Nelli wished to ascend to the top like the rest, 
and after a little exertion he succeeded in getting his 
elbows on the plank, then his knees, then his feet ; at 
last he stood upright, panting and smiling, and gazed 
at us. 

We began to clap again, and then he looked into the 
street. I turned in that direction, and through the 
plants which cover the iron railing of the garden I 
caught sight of his mother, passing along the sidewalk 
without daring to look. Nelli descended, and we all 
made much of him. He was excited and rosy, his eyes 
sparkled, and he no longer seemed like the same boy. 

Then, at the close of school, when his mother came 
to meet him, and inquired with some anxiet}', as she 
embraced him, " Well, my poor son, how did it go? 
how did it go?" all his comrades replied, in concert, 
4 ' He did well — he climbed like the rest of us — he's 



204 MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 

strong, you know — he's active — he does exactly like 
the others." 

And then the J03' of that woman was a sight to see. 
She tried to thank us, and could not ; she shook hands 
with three or four, bestowed a caress on Garrone, and 
carried off her son ; and we watched them for a while, 
walking in haste, and talking and gesticulating, both 
perfectly happ}*, as though no one were looking at 
them. 



MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 

Tuesday, 11th. 

What a beautiful excursion I took yesterday with 
my father ! This is the way it came about. 

Day before yesterday, at dinner, as my father was 
reading the newspaper, he suddenly uttered an ex- 
clamation of astonishment. Then he said : — 

" And I thought him dead twenty years ago ! Do 
you know that my old first elementary teacher, Vin- 
cenzo Crosetti, is eighty-four years old? I see here 
that the minister has conferred on him the medal of 
merit for sixtj' years of teaching. Six-ty ye-ars, 
you understand ! And it is only two years since he 
stopped teaching school. Poor Crosetti ! He lives an 
hour's journey from here by rail, at Condove, in the 
ccuntn* of our old gardener's wife, of the town of Chi' 
eri." And he added, " Enrico, we will go and see 
him." 

And the whole evening he talked of nothing but him. 
The name of his primary teacher recalled to his mind a 
thousand things which had happened when he was a 
boy, his. early companions, his dead mother. " Cro- 
setti ! ' he exclaimed. "He was fort}- when I was 



MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 205 

with him. I seem to see him now. He was a small 

man, somewhat bent even then, with bright eyes, and 
always cleanly shaved. Severe, but in a good way ; 
for he loved us like a father, and forgave us more than 
one offence. He had risen from the condition of a 
peasant by dint of stud}' and privations. He was a 
fine man. My mother was attached to him, and my 
father treated him like a friend. How comes it that 
he has gone to end his days at Condove, near Turin? 
He certainly will not recognize me. Never mind ; I 
shall recognize him. Forty-four years have elapsed, — 
fortv-four years, Enrico ! and we will go to see him 
to-morrow." 

And yesterday morning, at nine o'clock, we were at 
the Susa railway station. I should have liked to have 
Garrone come too ; but he could not, because his 
mother is ill. 

It was a beautiful spring day. The train ran through 
green fields and hedgerows in blossom, and the air we 
breathed was perfumed. My father was delighted, 
and every little while he would put his arm round my 
neck and talk to me like a friend, as he gazed out over 
the country. 

" Poor Crosetti ! " he said ; " he was the first man, 
after my father, to love me and do me good. I have 
never forgotten certain of his good counsels, and also 
certain sharp reprimands which caused me to return 
home with a lump in my throat. His hands were large 
and stubbv. I can see him now, as he used to enter 
the schoolroom, place his cane in a corner and hang his 
coat on the peg, always with the same gesture. And 
every day he was in the same humor, — always con- 
scientious, full of good will, and attentive, as though 
each day he were teaching school for the first time. I 



206 MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 

remember him as well as though I heard him now when 
he called to me : ' Bottini ! eh, Bottini ! The fore and 
middle fingers on that pen ! ' He must have changed 
greatly in these four and forty 3 T ears." 

As soon as we reached Condove, we went in search 
of our old gardener's wife of Chieri, who keeps a stall 
in an alle}'. We found her with her boys : she made 
much of us and gave us news of her husband, who is 
soon to return from Greece, where he has been working 
these three years ; and of her eldest daughter, who is in 
the Deaf-mute Institute in Turin. Then she pointed 
out to us the street which led to the teacher's house, 
— for every one knows him. 

We left the town, and turned into a steep lane flanked 
by blossoming hedges. 

My father no longer talked, but appeared entirely 
absorbed in his reminiscences ; and every now and then 
iie smiled, and then shook his head. 

Suddenly he halted and said: "Here he is. I will 
was;er that this is he." Down the lane towards us a 
little old man with a white beard and a large hat was 
descending, leaning on a cane. He dragged his feet 
along-, and his hands trembled. 

"It is he !" repeated my father, hastening his steps. 

When we were close to him, we stopped. The old 
man stopped also and looked at my father. His face 
was still fresh colored, and his eyes were clear and 
vivacious. 

" Are you," asked my father, raising his hat, " Vin- 
cenzo Crosetti, the schoolmaster?" 

The old man raised his hat also, and replied: "I 
am," in a voice that was somewhat tremulous, but full. 

"Well, then," said my father, taking one of his 
hands, " permit one of your old scholars to shake your 



MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 207 

hand and to inquire how you are. I have come from 
Turin to see you." 

The old man stared at him in amazement. Then he 
said : "You do me too much honor. I do not know — 
When were you my scholar? Excuse me ; 3*our name, 
if you please." 

My father mentioned his name, Alberto Bottini, and 
the year in which he had attended school, and where, 
and he added: " It is natural that you should not re- 
member me. But I recollect you so perfectly ! " 

The master bent his head and gazed at the ground 
in thought, and muttered my father's name three or 
four times ; the latter, meanwhile, observed him with 
intent and smiling eyes. 

All at once the old man raised his face, with his 
eyes opened widely, and said slowly: "Alberto Bot- 
tini? the son of Bottini, the engineer? the one who 
lived in the Piazza della Consolata?" 

"The same," replied my father, extending his 
hands. 

"Then," said the old man, "permit me, my dear 
sir, permit me"; and advancing, he embraced my 
father: his white head hardly reached the latter' s 
shoulder. My father pressed his cheek to the other's 
brow. 

"Have the goodness to come with me," said the 
teacher. And without speaking further he turned 
about and took the road to his dwelling. 

In a few minutes we arrived at a garden plot in front 
of a tiny house with two doors, round one of which 
there wati d fragment of whitewashed wall. 

The teacher opened the second and ushered us into 
a room. There were four white walls : in one corner 
a cot bed with a blue and white checked coverlet ; in 



208 MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 

another, a small table with a little library ; four chairs, 
and one ancient geographical map nailed to the wall. 
A pleasant odor of apples was perceptible. 

We seated ourselves, all three. My father and his 
teacher remained silent for several minutes. 

"Bottini ! " exclaimed the master at length, fixing 
his eyes on the brick floor where the sunlight formed a 
checker-board. "Oh! I remember well ! Your mother 
was such a good woman ! For a while, during your 
first year, vou sat on a bench to the left near the win- 
dow. Let us see whether I do not recall it. I can still 
see your curly head." Then he thought for a while 
longer. "You were a lively lad, eh? Very. The 

O v * ft> 

second year vou had an attack of croup. I remember 

•/ mi !■ 

when they brought you back to school, emaciated and 
wrapped up in a shawl. Forty years have elapsed since 
then, have they not? You are very kind to remember 
your poor teacher. And do you know, others of my 
old pupils have come hither in years gone by to seek me 
out : there was a colonel, and there were some priests, 
and several gentlemen." He asked my father what 
his profession was. Then he said, " I am glad, heart- 
ily glad. I thank you. It is quite a while now since 
I have seen any one. I very much fear that you will 

■/ «. ft/ 

be the last, my dear sir." 

" Don't say that," exclaimed my father. " You are 

ft/ ' *• 

well and still vigorous. You must not say that." 

"Eh, no!" replied the master; "do you see this 
trembling?" and he showed us his hands. " This is a 
bad sign. It seized on me three years ago, while I 
was still teaching school. At first I paid no attention 
to it ; I thought it would pass off. But instead of 
that, it stayed and kept on increasing. A day came 
when I could no longer write. Ah ! that day cxx which 



MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 209 

I, for the first time, made a blot on the copy-book of 
one of my scholars was a stab in the heart for me, my 
dear sir. I did drag on for a while longer ; but I was 
at the end of my strength. After sixty years of teacii- 
ing I was forced to bid farewell to my school, to my 
scholars, to work. And it was hard, you understand, 
hard. The last time that I gave a lesson, all the schol- 
ars accompanied me home, and made much of me ; but 
I was sad ; I understood that my life was finished. I 
had lost my wife the year before, and mv only son. I 
had only two peasant grandchildren left. Now I am 
living on a pension of a few hundred lire. I no longer 
do anything ; it seems to me as though the days would 
never come to an end. My only occupation, you see, 
is to turn over my old schoolbooks, my scholastic 
journals, and a few volumes that have been given to 
me. There they are," he said, indicating his little 
library ; " there are my reminiscences, my whole past ; 
I have nothing else remaining to me in the world." 

Then in a tone that was suddenly joyous, "I want 
to give you a surprise, my dear Signor Bottini." 

He rose, and approaching his desk, he opened a long 
casket which contained numerous little parcels, all tied 
up with a slender cord, and on each was written a date 
in four figures. 

After a little search, he opened one, turned over sev- 
eral papers, drew forth a yellowed sheet, and handed it 
to my father. It was some of his school work of forty 
years before. 

At the top was written, Alberto Bottini, Dictation, 
April 3, 1838. My father instantly recognized his own 
large, schoolbo}* hand, and began to read it with a 
smile. But all at once his eyes grew moist. I rose 
and inquired the cause. 



210 MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 

He threw one arm around my body, and pressing me 
to his side, he said : " Look at this sheet of paper. Do 
you see ? These are the corrections made by my poor 
mother. She always strengthened my Vs and my t's. 
And the last lines are entirely hers. She had learned 
to imitate my characters ; and when I was tired and 
sleepy, she finished my work for me. My sainted 
mother ! " 

And he kissed the page. 

" See here," said the teacher, showing him the other 
packages; "these are my reminiscences. Each year 
I laid aside one piece of work of each of my pupils ; 
and they are all here, dated and arranged in order. 
Every time that I open them thus, and read a line here 
and there, a thousand things recur to nry mind, and I 
seem to be living once more in the days that are past. 
How many of them have passed, my dear sir ! I close 
my eyes, and I see behind me face after face, class af- 
ter class, hundreds and hundreds of boys, and who 
knows how many of them are already dead ! Many of 
them I remember well. I recall distinctly the best and 
the worst: those who gave me the greatest pleasure, 
and those who caused me to pass sorrowful moments ; 
for I have had serpents, too, among that vast number ! 
But now, you understand, it is as though I were alreacty 
in the other world, and I love them all equally. " 

He sat down again, and took one of my hands in 
his. 

"And tell me," my father said, with a smile, "do 
you not recall any roguish tricks ? " 

"Of yours, sir?" replied the old man, also with a 
smile. " No ; not just at this moment. But that does 
not in the least mean that you never played any. 
However, you had good judgment ; you were serious 



MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 21 i 

for 3*our age. I remember the great affection of your 
mother for you. But it is very kind and polite of you 
to have come to seek me out. How could you leave 
your occupations, to come and see a poor old school- 
master ? " 

" Listen, Signor Crosetti," responded my father with 
vivacity. "I recollect the first time that nry poor mother 
accompanied me to school. It was to be her first parting 
from me for two hours ; of letting me out of the house 
alone, in other hands than my father's ; in the hands 
of a stranger, in short. To this good creature my en- 
trance into school was like my entrance into the world, 
the first of a long series of necessary and painful sep- 
arations ; it was society which was tearing her son from 
her for the first time, never again to return him to her 
intact. She was much affected ; so was I. I bade her 
farewell with a trembling voice, and then, as she went 
away, I saluted her once more through the glass in the 
door, with my eyes full of tears. And just at that point 
3'ou made a gesture with one hand, laying the other on 
your breast, as though to say, ' Trust me, signora.' 
Well, the gesture, the glance, from which I perceived 
that you had comprehended all the sentiments, all the 
thoughts of my mother ; that look which seemed to say, 
' Courage ! ' that gesture which was an honest prom- 
ise of protection, of affection, of indulgence, I have 
never forgotten ; it has remained forever engraved on 
mv heart ; and it is that memory which induced me to 
set out from Turin. And here I am, after the lapse 
of four and fort} 7 years, for the purpose of saying to 
you, 'Thanks, dear teacher.'" 

The master did not reply ; he stroked my hair with 
his hand, and his hand trembled, and glided from my 
hair to my forehead, from m}* forehead to ury shoulder. 



212 MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 

Iii the meanwhile, my father was surveying those 
bare walls, that wretched bed, the morsel of bread and 
the little phial of oil which lay on the window-sill, and 
he seemed desirous of saj'ing, "Poor master! after 
sixty years of teaching, is this all thy recompense? " 

But the good old man was content, and began once 
more to talk with vivacity of our family, of the other 
teachers of that day, and of my father's schoolmates ; 
some of them he remembered, and some of them he did 
not ; and each told the other news of this one or of 
that one. When my father interrupted the conversa- 
tion, to beg the old man to come down into the town 
and lunch with us, he replied effusively, "I thank 
you, I thank you," but he seemed- undecided. My 
father took him by both hands, and besought him 
afresh. " But how shall I manage to eat," said the 
master, " with these poor hands which shake in this 
wa}? It is a penance for others also." 

" We will help you, master," said my father. And 
then he accepted, as he shook his head and smiled. 

" This is a beautiful day," he said, as he closed the 
outer door, " a beautiful day, dear Signor Bottini ! I 
assure you that I shall remember it as long as I live." 

My father gave one arm to the master, and the latter 
took me bv the hand, and we descended the lane. We 
met two little barefooted girls leading some cows, and 
a boy who passed us on a run, with a huge load of 
straw on his shoulders. The master told us that they 
were scholars of the second grade ; that in the morning 
they led the* cattle to pasture, and worked in the fields 
barefoot ; and in the afternoon they put on their shoes 
and went to school. It was nearly mid-day. We en- 
countered no one else. In a few minutes we reached 
the inn, seated ourselves at a large table, with the mas- 



MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 213 

ter between us, and began our breakfast at once. The 
inn was as silent as a convent. The master was verv 

at 

merry, and his excitement augmented his palsy : he 
could hardly eat. But my father cut up his meat, 
broke his bread, and put salt on his plate. In order 
to drink, he was obliged to hold the glass with both 
hands, and even then he struck his teeth. But he 
talked constantly, and with ardor, of the reading-books 
of his young days ; of the notaries of the present day ; 
of the commendations bestowed on him by his su- 
periors ; of the regulations of late years : and all with 
that serene countenance, a trifle redder than at first, 
and with that gay voice of his, and that laugh which 
was almost the laugh of a young man. And my father 
gazed and gazed at him, with that same expression 
with which I sometimes catch him gazing at me, at 
home, when he is thinking and smiling to himself, with 
his face turned aside. 

The teacher allowed some wine to trickle down on 
his breast ; my father rose, and wiped it off with his 
napkin. " No, sir ; I cannot permit this," the old man 
said, and smiled. He said some words in Latin. And, 
finally, he raised his glass, which wavered about in his 
hand, and said very gravely, "To your health, my 
dear engineer, to that of your children, to the memory 
of vour good mother ! " 

"To yours, my good master!'* replied my father, 
pressing his hand. And at the end of the room stood 
the innkeeper and several others, watching us, and 
smiling as though they were pleased at this attention 
which was being shown to the teacher from their parts. 

At a little after two o'clock we came out, and the 
master wanted to escort us to the station. My father 
gave him his arm once more, and he again took me by 



214 MY FATHER'S TEACHER. 

the hand : I carried his cane for him. The people 
paused to look on, for they all knew him : some saluted 
him. At one point in the street we heard, through an 
open window, man}' boys' voices, reading together, and 
spelling. The old man halted, and seemed to be sad- 
dened by it. 

"This, my dear Signor Bottini," he said, "is what 
pains me. To hear the voices of boys in school, and 
not be there any more ; to think that another man is 
there. I have heard that music for sixtv vears, and I 
have grown to love it. Now I am deprived of my fam- 
ily. I have no sens." 

"No, master,"' my father said to him, starting on 
again ; " vou still have many sons, scattered about the 
world, who remember 30U, as I have always remem- 
bered you." 

"No, no," replied the master sadlj' ; "I have no 
longer a school ; I have no longer anv sons. And 
without sons, I shall not live much longer. My hour 
will soon strike." 

" Do not say that, master ; do not think it," said my 
father. " You have done so much good in every wa}' ! 
You have put your life to such a noble use ! " 

The aged master inclined his hoary head for an in- 
stant on my father's shoulder, and pressed my hand. 

We entered the station. The train was on the point 
of starting. 

" Farewell, master ! " said my father, kissing him on 
both cheeks. 

" Farewell ! thanks ! farewell ! " replied the master, 
taking one of my father's hands in his two trembling 
hands, and pressing it to his heart. 

Then I kissed him and felt that his face was bathed 
in tears. My father pushed me into the railway car- 



CONVALESCENCE. 215 

riage, and at the moment of starting he quickly removed 
the coarse cane from the schoolmaster's band, and in 
its place he put his own handsome one, with a silver 
handle and his initials, saving, tk Keep it in memoiy of 
me." 

The old man tried to return it and to recover his 
own : but rnv father was already inside and had closed 
the door. 

" Farewell, my kind master ! " 

"Farewell, my son!" responded the master as the 
train moved off; "and mav God bless vou for the 
consolation which you have afforded to a poor old 
man ! " 

" Until we meet again ! " cried my father, in a voice 
full of emotion. 

But the master shook his head, as much as to say, 
"We shall never see each other more." 

"Yes, yes," repeated my father, "until we meet 
again ! " 

And the other replied by raising his trembling hand 
to heaven, " Up there ! " 

And thus he disappeared from our sight, with his 
hand on high. 

CONVALESCENCE. 

Thursday; 20th. 
Who could have told me, when I returned from that 
delightful excursion with my father, that for ten days 
I should not see the country or the sky again ? I have 
been very ill — in danger of my life. I have heard my 
mother sobbing; — I have seen mv father verv, verv 
pale, gazing intently at me ; and my sister Silvia and 
my brother talking in a low voice ; and the doctor, with 
his spectacles, who was there every moment, and wha 



216 CONVALESCENCE. 

said things to me that I did not understand. In truth, 
I have been on the verge of saying a final farewell to 
every one. Ah, my poor mother ! I passed three or 
four days at least, of which I recollect almost nothing, 
as though I had been in a dark and perplexing dream. 
I thought I beheld at my bedside my kind schoolmis- 
tress of the upper primary, who was trying to stifle her 
cough in her handkerchief in order not to disturb me. 
In the same manner I confusedly recall my master, 
who bent over to kiss me, and who pricked my face a 
little with his beard ; and I saw, as in a mist, the 
red head of Crossi, the golden curls of Derossi, the 
Calabrian clad in black, all pass by, and Garrone, who 
brought me a mandarin orange with its leaves, and 
ran away in haste because his mother is ill. 

Then I awoke as from a very long dream, and under- 
stood that I was better from seeing my father and 
mother smiling, and hearing Silvia singing softly. Oh, 
what a sad dream it was ! Then I began to improve 
every da}\ The little mason came and made me laugh 
once more for the first time, with his hare's face ; and 
how well he does it, now that his face is somewhat 
elongated through illness, poor fellow ! And Coretti 
came ; and Garoffi came to present me with two tickets 
in his new lottery of "a penknife with five surprises, '* 
which he purchased of a second-hand dealer in the Via 
Bertola. Then, yesterday, while I was asleep, Pre- 
cossi came and laid his cheek on my hand without wak- 
ing me ; and as he came from his father's workshop, 
with his face covered with coal dust, he left a black 
print on my sleeve, the sight of which caused me great 
pleasure when I awoke. 

How green the trees have become in these few days ! 
And how I envy the boys whom I see running to school 



FRIENDS AMONG THE WORKINGMEN. 217 

with their books when my father carries me to the 
window ! But I shall go back there soon myself. I 
am so impatient to see all the bo}'s once more, and my 
seat, the garden, the streets ; to know all that has 
taken place during the interval ; to apply myself to my 
books again, and to my copy-books, which I seem not 
to have seen for a 3'ear ! How pale and thin my poor 
mother has grown ! Poor father ! how weary he looks ! 
And my kind companions who came to see me and 
walked on tiptoe and kissed my brow ! It makes me 
sad, even now, to think that one day we must part. 
Perhaps I shall continue my studies with Derossi and 
with some others ; but how about all the rest ? When 
the fourth grade is once finished, then good by ! we 
shall never see each other again : I shall never see 
them again at my bedside when I am ill, — Glarrone, 
Precossi, Coretti, who are such fine boys and kind and 
dear comrades, — never more ! 



-»<>•- 



FRIENDS AMONG THE WORKINGMEN. 

Thursday, 20th. 

Why "nevermore," Enrico? That will depend on your- 
self. When you have finished the fourth grade, you will go 
to the Gymnasium, and they will become workingmen ; but 
you will remain in the same city for many years, perhaps. 
Why, then, will you never meet again ? When you are in the 
University or the Lyceum, you will seek them out in their shops 
or their workrooms, and it will be a great pleasure for you 
to meet the companions of your youth once more, as men at 
work. 

I should like to see you neglecting to look up Coretti or 
Precossi, wherever they may be ! And you will go to them, 
and you will pass hours in their company, and you will see, 
when you come to study life and the world, how many things 



218 FKIENDS AMONG THE WORKINGMEN. 

jou can learn from them, which no one else is capable o\ 
teaching you, both about their arts and their society and 
your own country. And have a care ; for if you do not pre- 
serve these friendships, it-will be extremely difficult for you 
to acquire other similar ones in the future, — friendships, I 
mean to say, outside of the class to which you belong ; and 
thus you will live in one class only ; and the man who asso- 
ciates with but one social class is like the student who reads 
but one book. 

Let it be your firm resolve, then, from this day forth, that 
you will keep these good friends even after you shall be sep- 
arated, and from this time forth, cultivate precisely these by 
preference because they are the sons of workingmen. You 
see, men of the upper classes are the officers, and men of the 
lower classes are the soldiers of toil ; and thus in society as 
in the army, not only is the soldier no less noble than the 
officer, since nobility consists in work and not in wages, in 
valor and not in rank; but if there is also a superiority of 
merit, it is on the side of the soldier, of the workmen, who 
draw the lesser profit from the work. Therefore love and 
respect above all others, among your companions, the sons 
of the soldiers of labor; honor in them the toil and the 
sacrifices of their parents ; disregard the differences of for- 
tune and of class, upon which the base alone regulate their 
sentiments and courtesy; reflect that from the veins of 
laborers in the shops and in the country issued nearly all 
that blessed blood which has redeemed your country ; love 
Garrone, love Coretti,- love Precossi, love your little mason, 
who, in their little workingmen's breasts, possess the hearts 
of princes ; and take an oath to yourself that no change of 
fortune shall ever eradicate these friendships of childhood 
from your soul. Swear to yourself that forty years hence, if, 
while passing through a railway station, you recognize your 
old Garrone in the garments of an engineer, with a black 
face, — ah ! I cannot think what to tell you to swear. I 
am sure that you will jump upon the engine and fling 
your arms round his neck, though you were even a senatoi 
of the kingdom. Thy Father. 



GARRONE' S MOTHER. 219 



GARRONE'S MOTHER. 

Saturday, 29th. 

On my return to school, the first thing I heard was 
some bad news. Garrone had not been there for 
several days because his mother was seriously ill. 
She died on Saturday. Yesterday morning, as soon 
as we came into school, the teacher said to us : — 

"The greatest misfortune that can happen to a 
boy has happened to poor Garrone : his mother is 
dead. He will return to school to-morrow. I beseech 
you now, boys, respect the terrible sorrow that is 
now rending his soul. When he enters, greet him 
with affection, and gravely ; let no one jest, let no one 
laugh at him, I beg of 3'ou." 

And this morning poor Garrone came in, a little 
iater than the rest ; I felt a blow at my heart at the 
sight of him. His face was haggard, his eyes were 
red, and he was unsteady on his feet ; it seemed as 
though he had been ill for a month. I hardly recog- 
nized him ; he was dressed all in black ; he aroused 
our pity. No one even breathed ; all gazed at him. 
No sooner had he entered than at the first sight of 
that schoolroom whither his mother had come to get 
him nearly every day, of that bench over which she 
had bent on so many examination days to give him 
a last bit of advice, and where he had so mauv 
times thought of her, in his impatience to run out and 
meet her, he burst into a desperate fit of weeping. 
The teacher drew him aside to his own place, and 
pressed him to his breast, and said to him : — 

"Weep, weep, my poor boy; but take courage. 
Your mother is no longer here ; but she sees you. 



220 GARRONE 'S MOTHER. 

she still loves you, she still lives by your side, and 
oue day you will behold her once again, for you have 
a good and upright soul like her own. Take courage ! " 

Haviug said this, he accompanied him to the bench 
near me. I dared not look at him. He drew out his 
copy-books and his books, which he had not opened for 
many days, and as he opeued the reading-book at a 
place where there was a cut representing a mother 
leading her son by the hand, he burst out ciying again, 
and laid his head on his arm. The master made us a 
sign to leave him thus, and began the lesson. I should 
have liked to say something to him, but I did not know 
what. I laid one hand on his arm, and whispered in 
his ear : — 

" Don't cry, Gar rone." 

He made no reply, and without raising his head 
from the bench he laid his hand on mine and kept it 
there a while. At the close of school, no one ad- 
dressed him ; all the boys hovered round him respect- 
fully, and in silence. I saw my mother waiting for 
me, and ran to embrace her ; but she repulsed me, 
and gazed at Garrone. For the moment I could not 
understand why ; but then I perceived that Garrone 
was standing apart by himself and gazing at me ; and 
he was gazing at me with a look of indescribable 
sadness, which seemed to say: "You are embracing 
your mother, and I shall never embrace mine again ! 
You have still a mother, and mine is dead ! " And 
then I understood why my mother had thrust me back, 
and I went out without taking her hand. 



GIUSEPPE MAZZINI. 221 



GIUSEPPE MAZZINI. 

Saturday, 29th. 

This morning, also, Garrone came to school with a 
pale face and his eyes swollen with weeping, and he 
hardly cast a glance at the little gifts which we had 
placed on his desk to console him. But the teacher 
had brought a page from a book to read to him in 
order to encourage him. He first informed us that 
we are to 2:0 to-morrow at one o'clock to the town- 
hall to witness the award of the medal for civic valor 
to a boy who has saved a little child from the Po, 
and that on Monday he will dictate the description 
of the festival to us instead of the monthly story. 
Then turning to Garrone, who was standing with 
drooping head, he said to him : — 

u Make an effort, Garrone, and write down what I 
dictate to you as well as the rest." 

We all took our pens, and the teacher dictated. 

" Giuseppe Mazzini, born in Genoa in 1805, died 
in Pisa in 1872, a grand, patriotic soul, the mind of 
a great writer, the first inspirer and apostle of the 
Italian Revolution ; who, out of love for his country, 
lived for forty years poor, exiled, persecuted, a 
fugitive heroically steadfast in his principles and in 
his resolutions. Giuseppe Mazzini, who adored his 
mother, and who derived from her all that there was 
noblest and purest in her strong and gentle soul, 
wrote as follows to a faithful friend of his, to console 
him in the greatest of misfortunes. These are almost 
his exact words : — 

" ' My friend, thou wilt never more behold thy 



222 GIUSEPPE MAZZINI. 

mother on this earth. That is the terrible truth. 1 
do not attempt to see thee, because thine is one ot 
those solemn and sacred sorrows which each must 
suffer and conquer for himself. Dost thou understand 
what I mean to convey by these words, It is necessary 
to conquer sorrow — to conquer the least sacred, the 
least purifying part of sorrow, that which, instead 
of rendering the soul better, weakens and debases it? 
But the other part of sorrow, the noble part — that 
which enlarges and elevates the soul — that must 
remain with thee and never leave thee more. Nothing 
here below can take the place of a good mother. In 
the griefs, in the consolations which life ma} T still 
bring to thee, thou wilt never forget her. But thou 
must recall her, love her, mourn her death, in a 
manner which is worthy of her. O my friend, 
hearken to me ! Death exists not ; it is nothing. It 
cannot even be understood. Life is life, and it fol- 
lows the law of life — progress. Yesterday thou 
hadst a mother on earth ; to-day thou hast an angel 
elsewhere. All that is good will survive the life of 
earth with increased power. Hence, also, the love of 
thy mother. She loves thee now more than ever. 
And thou art responsible for thy actions to her more, 
even, than before. It depends upon thee, upon thy 
actions, to meet her once more, to see her in another 
existence. Thou must, therefore, out of love and 
reverence for thy mother, grow better and cause her 
joy for thee. Henceforth thou must say to thyself 
at every act of thine, "Would my mother approve 
this ? " Her transformation has placed a guardian 
angel in the world for thee, to whom thou must refer 
in all thy affairs, in everything that pertains to thee. 
Be strong and brave ; fight against desperate and 



CIVIC VALOR. 223 

vulgar grief ; have the tranquillity of great suffering 
in great souls ; and that it is what she would have.' " 

" Garrone," added the teacher, " be strong and tran- 
quil, for that is what she would have. .Do you under- 
stand?" 

Garrone nodded assent, while great and fast-flow- 
ing tears streamed over his hands, his copy-book, and 
iiis desk. 



-*>+- 



CIVIC VALOR. 

{Monthly Story.) 

At one o'clock we went with our schoolmaster to 
the front of the town-hall, to see the medal for civic 
valor bestowed on the lad who saved one of his com- 
rades from the Po. 

On the front terrace waved a huge tricolored flag. 

We entered the courtyard of the palace. 

It was already full Of people. At the further end of 
it there was visible a table with a red cover, and 
papers on it, and behind it a row of gilded chairs for 
the mayor and the council ; the ushers of the munici- 
pality were there, with their nnder-waistcoats of sky- 
blue and their white stockings. To the right of the 
courtyard a detachment of policemen, who had a great 
many medals, was drawn up in line ; and beside them 
a detachment of custom-house officers ; on the other 
side were the firemen in festive array ; and numerous 
soldiers not in line, who had come to look on, — cavalry- 
men, sharpshooters, artillery-men. Then all around 
were gentlemen, country people, and some officers and 
women and bo}'s who had assembled. We crowded 
into a corner where many scholars from other build 



224 CIVIC VALOR. 

ings were already collected with their teachers ; and 
near us was a group of boys belonging to the common 
people, between ten and eighteen years of age, who 
were talking and laughing loudly ; and we made out 
that they were all from Borgo Po, comrades or acquaint- 
ances of the bo}' who was to receive the medal. 
Above, all the windows were thronged with the employ- 
ees of the cit}' government ; the balcony of the library 
was also filled with people, who pressed against the 
balustrade ; and in the one on the opposite side, which 
is over the entrance gate, stood a crowd of girls from 
the public schools, and many Daughters of military men, 
with their pretty blue veils. It looked like a theatre. 
All were talking merrily, glancing every now and then 
at the red table, to see whether any one had made his 
appearance. A band of music was playing softly at 
the extremit}- of the portico. The sun beat down on 
the lofty walls. It was beautiful. 

All at once every one began to clap their hands, 
from the courtyard, from the balconies, from the win- 
dows. 

I raised myself on tiptoe to look. 

The crowd which stood behind the red table had 
parted, and a man and woman had come forward. The 
man was leading a boy D3- the hand. 

This was the lad "who had saved his comrade. 

The man was his father, a mason, dressed in his 
best. The woman, his mother, small and blond, had 
on a black gown. The boy, also small and blond, had 
on a gray jacket. 

At the sight of all those people, and at the sound of 
that thunder of applause, all three stood still, not dar- 
ing to look nor to move. A municipal usher pushed 
\hem along to the side of the table on the right. 



CIVIC VALOR. 225 

All remained quiet for a moment, and then once 
more the applause broke out on all sides. The bo}' 
glanced up at the windows, and then at the balcony 
with the Daughters of military men; he held his cap in 
his hand, and did not seem to understand very thor- 
oughly where he was. It struck me that he looked a 
little like Coretti, in the face; but he was redder. His 
father and mother kept their eyes fixed on the table. 

In the meantime, all the boys from Borgo Po who 
were near us were making motions to their comrade, 
to attract his attention, and hailing him in a low tone : 
Pin ! Pin I Pinot ! By dint of calling thev made them- 
selves heard. The boy glanced at them, and hid his 
smile behind his cap. 

At a certain moment the guards put themselves in 
the attitude of atteyition. 

The mayor entered, accompanied by numerous gen- 
tlemen. 

The mayor, all white, with a big tricolored scarf, 
placed himself beside the table, standing ; all the others 
took their places behind and beside him. 

The band ceased playing ; the mayor made a sign, 
and every one kept quiet. 

He began to speak. I did not understand the first 
words perfectly ; but I gathered that he was telling the 
stoiy of the boy's feat. Then he raised his voice, and 
it rang out so clear and sonorous through the whole 
court, that I did not lose another word : " When he 
saw, from the shore, his comrade struggling in the 
river, already overcome with the fear of death, he tore 
the clothes from his back, and hastened to his assist- 
ance, without hesitating an instant. They shouted to 
him, ' You will be drowned ! ' — he made no reply ; they 
caught hold of him — he freed himself; they called him 



226 CIVIC VALOR. 

by name — he was already in the water. The rivei 
was swollen ; the risk terrible, even for a man. But he 
fluno; himself to meet death with all the strength of his 
little body and of his great heart ; he reached the un- 
fortunate fellow and seized him just in time, when he 
was alreacty under water, and dragged him to the sur- 
face ; he fought furiously with the waves, which strove 
to overwhelm him, with his companion who tried to 
cling to him ; and several times he disappeared beneath 
the water, and rose again with a desperate effort ; ob- 
stinate, invincible in his purpose, not like a boy who 
was trying to save another boy, but like a man, like a 
father who is struggling to save his son, who is his 
hope and his life. In short, God did not permit so 
generous a prowess to be displayed in vain. The 
child swimmer tore the victim from the gigantic river, 
and brought him to land, and with the assistance of 
others, rendered him his first succor ; after which he 
returned home quietly and alone, and ingenuously nar- 
rated his deed. 

"Gentlemen, beautiful, and worthy of veneration is 
heroism in a man ! But in a child, in whom there can 
be no prompting of ambition or of profit whatever ; in a 
child, who must have all the more ardor in proportion 
as he has less strength ; in a child, from whom we re- 
quire nothing, who is bound to nothing, who already 
appears to us so noble and lovable, not when he acts, 
but when he merely understands, and is grateful for the 
sacrifices of others ; — in a child, heroism is divine ! I 
will say nothing more, gentlemen. I do not care to 
deck, with superfluous praises, such simple grandeur. 
Here before }'OU stands the noble and valorous rescuer. 
Soldier, greet him as a brother ; mothers, bless him like 
a son ; children, remember his name, engrave on your 



CIVIC VALOR. 227 

minds his visage, that it may nevermore be erased from 
your memories and from your hearts. Approach, my 
boy. In the name of the king of Italy, I give you the 
medal for civic valor.'' 

An extremely lend hurrah, uttered at the same mo- 
ment by many voices, made the palace ring. 

The mayor took the medal from the table, and fas« 
tened it on the bov's breast. Then he embraced and 
kissed him. The mother placed one hand over her 
eves ; the father held his chin on his breast. 

The mayor shook hands with both ; and taking the 
decree of decoration, which was bound with a ribbon, 
he handed it to the woman. 

Then he turned to the boy again, and said: "May 
the memory of this day, which is such a glorious one 
for you, such a happy one for your father and mother, 
keep you all your life in the path of virtue and honor ! 
Farewell ! " 

The mayor withdrew, the band struck up, and every- 
thing: seemed to be at an end, when the detachment of 
firemen opened, and a lad of eight or nine years, 
pushed forwards by a woman who instantly concealed 
herself, rushed towards the boy with the decoration, 
and flung himself in his arms. 

Another outburst of hurrahs and applause made the 
courtyard echo ; every one had instantly understood 
that this was the bov who had been saved from the Po, 
and who had come to thank his rescuer. After kissing 
him, he clung to one arm, in order to accompany him 
out. These two, with the father and mother following 
behind, took their way towards the door, making a 
path with difficulty among the people who formed in 
line to let them pass, — policemen, bo}*s, soldiers, 
women, all mingled together in confusion. All pressed 



228 CIVIC YALOh. 

forwards and raised on tiptoe to see the boy. Those 
who stood near him as he passed, touched his hand. 
When he passed before the schoolboys, they all waved 
their caps in the air. Those from Borgo Po made a 
great uproar, pulling him by the arms and by his jacket 
and shouting, "Pin! hurrah for Pin! bravo, Pinot!" 
I saw him pass very close to me. His face was all 
aflame and happy ; his medal had a red, white, and 
green ribbon. His mother was crying and smiling ; 
his father was twirling his mustache with one hand, 
which trembled violent!}', as though he had a fever. 
And from the windows and the balconies the people 
continued to lean out and applaud. All at once, when 
the}' were on the point of entering the portico, there 
descended from the balcony of the Daughters of mili- 
tary men a veritable shower of pansies, of bunches of 
violets and daisies, which fell upon the head of the boy, 
and of his father and mother, and scattered over the 
ground. Many people stooped to pick them up and 
hand them to the mother. And the band at the further 
end of the courtyard played, very, very softly, a most 
entrancing air, which seemed like a song by a great 
many silvery voices fading slowly into the distance od 
the banks of a river. 



QUI/J^RKJ? WITH TUE RICKETS. 229 



MAT. 



-*o+- 



CHILDREN WITH THE RICKETS. 

Friday, 5th. 
To-day I took a vacation, because I was not well, 
and ni}' mother took me to the Institution for Chil- 
dren with the Rickets, whither she went to recommend 
a child belonging to our porter ; but she did not allow 
me to go into the school. 

You did not understand, Enrico, why I did not permit you 
to enter ? In order not to place before the eyes of those unfor- 
tunates, there in the midst of the school, as though on exhibi- 
tion, a healthy, robust boy : they have already but too many 
opportunities for making melancholy comparisons. What 
a sad thing ! Tears rushed from my heart when I entered. 
There were sixty of them, boys and girls. Poor tortured 
bones! Poor hands, poor little shrivelled and distorted feet ! 
Poor little deformed bodies ! I instantly perceived many 
charming faces, with eyes full of intelligence and affection. 
There was one little child's face with a pointed nose and a 
sharp chin, which seemed to belong to an old woman ; but 
it wore a smile of celestial sweetness. Some, viewed from 
the front, are handsome, and appear to be without defects : 
but when they turn round — they cast a weight upon your 
soul. The doctor was there, visiting them. He set them 
upright on their benches and pulled up their little garments, 
to feel their little swollen stomachs and enlarged joints ; but 
they felt not the least shame, poor creatures! it was evident 



230 CHILDREN WITH THE RICKETS. 

that they were children who were used to being undressed, 
examined, turned round on all sides. And to think that 
they are now in the best stage of their malady, when they 
hardly suffer at all any more ! But who can say what they 
suffered during the first stage, while their bodies were under- 
going the process of deformation, when with the increase of 
their infirmity, they saw affection decrease around them, 
poor children ! saw themselves left alone for hour after hour 
in a corner of the room or the courtyard, badly nourished, 
and at times scoffed at, or tormented for months by ban- 
dages and by useless orthopedic apparatus ! Now, however, 
thanks to care and good food and gymnastic exercises, many 
are improving. Their schoolmistress makes them practise 
gymnastics. It was a pitiful sight to see them, at a certain 
command, extend all those bandaged legs under the benches, 
squeezed as they were between splints, knotty and deformed ; 
legs which should have been covered with kisses! Some 
could not rise from the bench, and remained there, with 
their heads resting on their arms, caressing their crutches 
with their hands; others, on making the thrust with their 
arms, felt their breath fail them, and fell back on their 
seats, all pale ; but they smiled to conceal their panting. 
Ah, Enrico ! you other children do not prize your good 
health, and it seems to you so small a thing to be well! 
I thought of the strong and thriving lads, whom theii 
mothers carry about in triumph, proud of their beauty; and 
I could have clasped all those poor little heads, I could have 
pressed them to my heart, in despair; I could have said, 
had I been alone, " I will never stir from here again ; I wish 
to consecrate my life to you, to serve you, to be a mother to 
you all, to my last day." And in the meantime, they 
sang ; sang in peculiar, thin, sweet, sad voices, which pene- 
trated the soul ; and when their teacher praised them, they 
looked happy ; and as she passed among the benches, they 
kissed her hands and wrists ; for they are very grateful for 
what is done for them, and very affectionate. And these 
little angels have good minds, and study well, the teacher 
told me. The teacher is young and gentle, with a face full 



SACRIFICE. 231 

of kindness, a certain expression of sadness, like a reflection 

of the misfortunes which she caresses and comforts. The 

dear girl ! Among all the human creatures who earn their 

livelihood by toil, there is not one who earns it more holily 

than thou, my daughter ! 

Thy Mother. 

•o* • 



SACRIFICE. 

Tuesday, 9th. 

My mother is good, and my sister Silvia is like hei, 
and has a large and noble heart. Yesterda} T evening 
I was copying a part of the monthly story, From the 
Apennines to the Andes, — which the teacher has 
distributed among us all in small portions to copy, 
because it is so long, — when Silvia entered on tiptoe, 
and said to me hastily, and in a low voice : "Come 
to mamma with me. I heard them talking together this 
morning : some affair has gone wrong with papa, and 
he was sad ; mamma was encouraging him : we are in 
difficulties — do you understand? We have no more 
money. Papa said that it would be necessary to make 
some sacrifices in order to recover himself. Now we 
must make sacrifices, too, must we not? Are 3'ou 
read} r to do it? Well, I will speak to mamma, and do 
you nod assent, and promise her on your honor that 
you will do everything that I shall say." 

Having said this, she took me by the hand and led 
me to our mother, who was sewing, absorbed in 
thought. I sat down on one end of the sofa, Silvia 
on the other, and she immediately said : — 

" Listen, mamma, I have something to say to you. 
Both of us have something to say to you." Mamma 
stared at us in surprise, and Silvia began : — 

" Papa has no money, has he ? " 



232 SACRIFICE. 

" What are you saying ? " replied mamma, turning 
crimson. "Has he not indeed! What do you know 
about it? Who has told vou? " 

"I know it," said Silvia, resolutely. "Well, then, 
listen, mamma ; we must make some sacrifices, too. 
You promised me a fan at the end of May, and Enrico 
expected his box of paints ; we don't want anything 
now ; we don't want to waste a soldo ; we shall be 
just as well pleased — you understand ? " 

Mamma tried to speak; but Silvia said: "No; it 
must be thus. We have decided. And until papa has 
money again, we don't want any fruit or anj'thing else ; 
broth will be enough for us, and we will eat bread in 
the morning for breakfast : thus we shall spend less 
on the table, for we already spend too much ; and we 
promise you that you will always find us perfectly 
contented. Is it not so, Enrico? " 

I replied that it was. " Always perfectly con- 
tented," repeated Silvia, closing mamma's mouth with 
one hand. " And if there are any other sacrifices to 
be made, either in the matter of clothing or anything 
else, we will make them gladly ; and we will even sell 
our presents ; I will give up all nry things, I will serve 
you as your maid, we will not have anything done out 
of the house any more, I will work all da}- long with 
you, I will do everything you wish, I am read}' for 
anything ! For anything ! " she exclaimed, throwing 
her arms around my mother's neck, "if papa and 
mamma can only be saved further troubles, if I can 
only behold you both once more at ease, and in good 
spirits, as in former days, between your Silvia and 
your Enrico, who love you so dearly, who would give 
their lives for you ! " 

Ah ! T have never seen my mother so happy as she 



THE FIRE. 233 

was on hearing these words ; she never before kissed 
us on the brow in that way, weeping and laughing, and 
incapable of speech, And then she assured Silvia that 
she had not understood rightly ; that we were not in 
the least reduced in circumstances, as she imagined ; 
and she thanked us a hundred times, and was cheerful 
all the evening, until my father came in, when she told 
him all about it. He did not open his mouth, poor 
father ! But this morning, as we sat at the table, 
I felt at once both a great pleasure and a great sad- 
ness : under my napkin I found my box of colors, and 
under hers, Silvia found her fan. 



THE FIRE. 

Thursday, 11th. 

This morning I had finished copying my share of tht 
story, From the Apennines to the Andes, and was seek 
ing for a theme for the independent composition which 
the teacher had assigned us to write, when I heard an 
unusual talking on the stairs, and shortly after two 
firemen entered the house, and asked permission of my 
father to inspect the stoves and chimneys, because a 
smoke-pipe was on fire on the roof, and they could not 
tell to whom it belonged. 

My father said, "Pray do so." And although we 
had no fire burning anywhere, they began to make the 
round of our apartments, and to lay their ears to the 
walls, to hear if the fire was roaring in the flues which 
run up to the other floors of the house. 

And while they were going through the rooms, my 
father saicl to me, " Here is a theme for your compo- 
sition, Enrico, — the firemen. Try to write down what 
I am about to tell vou. 



234 THE FIRE. 

"I saw them at work two years ago, one evening, 
when I was coming out of the Balbo Theatre late at 
night. On entering the Via Roma, I saw an unusual 
light, and a crowd of people collecting. A house was 
on fire. Tongues of flame and clouds of smoke were 
bursting from the windows and the roof ; men and 
women appeared at the windows and then disappeared, 
uttering shrieks of despair. There was a dense throng 
in front of the door : the crowd was shouting : ' The}" 
will be burned alive ! Help ! The firemen ! ' At that 
moment a carriage arrived, four firemen sprang out 
of it — the first who had reached the town-hall — and 
rushed into the house. They had hardly gone in when 
a horrible thing happened : a woman ran to a window 
of the third story, with a veil, clutched the balcouv, 
climbed down it, and remained suspended, thus cling- 
ing, almost suspended in space, with her back out- 
wards, bending beneath the flames, which flashed out 
from the room and almost licked her head. The crowd 
uttered a cry of horror. The firemen, who had been 
stopped on the second floor by mistake by the terrified 
lodgers, had already broken through a wall and pre- 
cipitated themselves into a room, when a hundred 
shouts gave them warning : — 

'"On the third floor ! On the third floor ! ' 
''They flew to the third floor. There there was an 
infernal uproar, — beams from the roof crashing in, cor- 
ridors filled with a suffocating smoke. In order to reach 
the rooms where the lodgers were imprisoned, there was 
no other way left but to pass over the roof. They in- 
stantly sprang upon it, and a moment later something 
which resembled a black phantom appeared on the tiles, 
in the midst of the smoke. It was the corporal, who 
had been the first to arrive. But in order to get from 



THE FIRE. 235 

the roof to the small set of rooms cut off by the fire, he 
was forced to pass over an extremely narrow space 
comprised between a dormer window and the eaves - 
trough : all the rest was in flames, and that tiny space 
was covered with snow and ice, and there was no place 
to hold on to. 

" 'It is impossible for him to pass ! ' shouted the 
crowd below. 

" The corporal advanced along the edge of the roof. 
All shuddered, and began to observe him with bated 
breath. He passed. A tremendous hurrah rose towards 
heaven. The corporal resumed his way, and on ar- 
riving at the point which was threatened, he began to 
break away, with furious blows of his axe, beams, tiles., 
and rafters, in order to open a hole through which he 
might descend within. 

"In the meanwhile, the woman was still suspended 
outside the window. The fire raged with increased 
violence over her head ; another moment, and she 
would have fallen into the street. 

"The hole was opened. We saw the corporal pull 
off his shoulder-belt and lower himself inside : the 
other firemen, who had arrived, followed, 

" At that instant a very lofty Porta ladder, which 
had just arrived, was placed against the entablature of 
the house, m front of the windows whence issued flames, 
and howls, as of maniacs. But it seemed as though 
they were too late. 

" ' No one can be saved now ! ' they shouted. 'The 
firemen are burning ! The end has come ! They are 
dead ! ' 

"All at once the black form of the corporal made 
its appearance at the window with the balcony, lighted 
up by the flames overhead. The woman clasped him 



236 THE FIRE. 

round the neck ; he caught her round the body with both 
arms, drew her up, and laid her down inside the room. 

" The crowd set up a shout a thousand voices strong, 
which rose above the roar of the conflagration. 

" But the others? And how were they to get down? 
The ladder which leaned against the roof on the front 
of another window was at a good distance from them. 
How could they get hold of it ? 

" While the people were saying this to themselves, one 
of the firemen stepped out of the window, set his right 
foot on the window-sill and his left on the ladder, and 
standing thus upright in the air, he grasped the lodgers, 
one after the other, as the other men handed them to 
him from within, passed them on to a comrade, who 
had climbed up from the street, and who, after securing 
a firm grasp for them on the rungs, sent them down, 
one after the other, with the assistance of more fire- 
men. 

"First came the woman of the balcony, then a baby, 
then another woman, then an old man. All were saved. 
After the old man, the fireman who had remained 
inside descended. The last to come down was the cor- 
poral who had been the first to hasten up. The crowd 
received them all with a burst of applause ; but when 
the last made his appearance, the vanguard of the 
rescuers, the one who had faced the ab} T ss iu advance 
of the rest, the one who would have perished had it 
been fated that one should perish, the crowd saluted 
him like a conqueror, shouting and stretching out their 
arras, with an affectionate impulse of admiration and of 
gratitude, and in a few minutes his obscure name — 
Giuseppe Robbino — rang from a thousand throats. 

"Have you understood? That is courage — the 
courage of the heart, which does not reason, which 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES 237 

does not waver, which dashes blindly on, like a light- 
ning flash, wherever it hears the cry of a dying man. 
One of these davs I will take vou to the exercises of 
the firemen, and I will point ont to yon Corporal Rob- 
bino ; for you would be very glad to know him, would 
you not? " 

I replied that I should. 

" Here he is," said my father. 

I turned round with a start. The two firemen, hav- 
ing completed their inspection, were traversing the 
room in order to reach the door. 

My father pointed to the smaller of the men, who 
had straps of gold braid, and said, " Shake hands with 
Corporal Robbino." 

The corporal halted, and offered me his hand ; I 
pressed it ; he made a salute and withdrew. 

" And bear this well in mind," said my father ; " for 
out of the thousands of hands which you will shake in 
the course of your life there will probably not be ten 
which possess the worth of his." 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

(Monthly Story.') 

Many years ago a Genoese lad of thirteen, the son 
of a workingman, went from Genoa to America all 
alone to seek his mother. 

His mother had gone two vears before to Buenos 
Ayres, a city, the capital of the Argentine Republic, 
to take service in a wealthy family, and to thus earn 
in a short time enough to place her family once more 
in easy circumstances, they having fallen, through 



238 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

various misfortunes, into poverty and debt. There are 
courageous women — not a few — who take this long 
V03*age with this object in view, and who, thanks to 
the large wages which people in service receive there, 
return home at the end of a> few years with several 
thousand lire. The poor mother had wept tears of 
blood at parting from her children, — the one aged 
eighteen, the other, eleven ; but she had set out cour- 
ageously and filled with hope. 

The voyage was prosperous : she had no sooner 
arrived at Buenos Ayres than she found, through a 
Genoese shopkeeper, a cousin of her husband, who 
had been established there for a very long time, a good 
Argentine famil} 7 , which gave high wages and treated 
her well. And for a short time she kept up a regular 
correspondence with her family. As it had been set- 
tled between them, her husband addressed his letters 
to his cousin, who transmitted them to the woman, 
and the latter handed her replies to him, and he de- 
spatched them to Genoa, adding a few lines of his 
own. As she was earning eighty lire a month and 
spending nothing for herself, she sent home a hand- 
some sum every three months, with which her husband, 
who was a man of honor, gradually paid off their most 
urgent debts, and Jhus regained his good reputation. 
And in the meantime, he worked away and was satis- 
fied with the state of his affairs, since he also cherished 
the hope that his wife would shortly return ; for the 
house seemed empty without her, and the younger son 
in particular, who was extremely attached to his 
mother, was very much depressed, and could not resign 
himself to having her so far away. 

But a year had elapsed since they had parted ; after 
a brief letter, in which she said that her health was not 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 239 

very good, they heard nothing more. They wrote twice 
to the cousin ; the cousin did not reply. They wrote 
to the Argentine family where the woman was at ser- 
vice ; but it is possible that the letter never reached 
them, for they had distorted the name in addressing it : 
they received no answer. Fearing a misfortune, they 
wrote to the Italian Consulate at Buenos A}Tes to have 
inquiries made, and after a lapse of three months they 
received a response from the consul, that in spite of 
advertisements in the newspapers no one had pre- 
sented herself nor sent any word. And it could not 
have happened otherwise, for this reason if for no 
other : that with the idea of sparing the good name of 
her family, which she fancied she was discrediting b} r 
becoming a servant, the good woman had not given 
her real name to the Argentine family. 

Several months more passed by ; no news. The 
, father and sons were in consternation ; the youngest 
was oppressed by a melancholy which he could not con- 
quer. What was to be done ? To whom should thev 
have recourse ? The father's first thought had been to 
set out, to go to America in search of his wife. But 
his work ? Who would support his sons ? And neither 
could the eldest son go, for he had just then begun to 
earn something, and he was necessary to the family. 
And in this anxiety they lived, repeating each clay the 
same sad speeches, or gazing at each other in silence ; 
when, one evening, Marco, the youngest, declared with 
decision, "I am going to America to look for my 
mother." 

His father shook his head sadly and made no reply. 
It was an affectionate thought, but an impossible thing. 
To make a journey to America, which required a month, 
alone, at the age of thirteen ! But the boy patiently 



240 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

insisted. He persisted that day, the day after, every 
day, with great calmness, reasoning with the good 
sense of a man. "Others have gone thither," he 
said ; "and smaller boys than I, too. Once on board 
the ship, I shall get there like anybody else. Once 
arrived there, I only have to hunt up our cousin's shop. 
There are plenty of Italians there who will show me 
the street. After finding our cousin, my mother is 
found ; and if I do not find him, I will go to the con- 
sul : I will search out that Argentine family. What- 
ever happens, there is work for all there ; I shall find 
work also ; sufficient, at least, to earn enough to get 
home." And thus little bv little he almost succeeded 
in persuading his father. His father esteemed him ; he 
knew that he had good judgment and courage ; that he 
was inured to privations and to sacrifices ; and that all 
these good qualities had acquired double force in his 
heart in consequence of the sacred project of finding 
his mother, whom he adored. In addition to this, the 
captain of a steamer, the friend of an acquaintance of 
his, having heard the plan mentioned, undertook to 
procure a free third-class passage for the Argentine 
Republic. 

And then, after a little hesitation, the father gave 
his consent. The voyage was decided on. They filled 
a sack with clothes for him, put a few crowns in his 
pocket, and gave him the address of the cousin ; and 
one fine evening in April they saw him on .board. 

" Marco, my son," his father said to him, as he gave 
him his last kiss, with tears in his eyes, on the steps of 
the steamer, which was on the point of starting, "take 
courage. Thou hast set out on a holy undertaking, 
and God will aid thee." 

Poor Marco ! His heart was strong and prepared 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 241 

for the hardest trials of this vo}-age ; but when he be- 
held his beautiful Genoa disappear on the horizon, and 
found himself on the open sea on that huge steamer 
thronged with emigrating peasants, alone, unacquainted 
with any one, with that little bag which held his entire 
fortune, a sudden discouragement assailed him. For 
two days he remained crouching like a dog on the 
bows, hardly eating, and oppressed with a great desire 
to weep. Every description of sad thoughts passed 
through his mind, and the saddest, the most terrible, 
was the one which was the most persistent in its re- 
turn, — the thought that his mother was dead. In his 
broken and painful slumbers he constantly beheld a 
strange face, which surveyed him with an air of com- 
passion, and whispered in his ear, "Your mother is 
dead ! " And then he awoke, stifling a shriek. 

Nevertheless, after passing the Straits of Gibraltar, 
at the first sight of the Atlantic Ocean he recovered 
his spirits a little, and his hope. But it was only a brief 
respite. That vast but always smooth sea, the increas- 
ing heat, the misery of all those poor people who sur- 
rounded him, the consciousness of his own solitude, 
overwhelmed him once more. The empty and monoto- 
nous days which succeeded each other became con- 
founded in his memory, as is the case with sick people. 
It seemed to him that he had been at sea a year. And 
every morning, on waking, he felt surprised afresh at 
finding himself there alone on that vast watery expanse, 
on his way to America. The beautiful flying fish which 
fell on deck every now and then, the marvellous sun- 
sets of the tropics, with their enormous clouds colored 
like flame and blood, and those nocturnal phospho- 
rescences which make the ocean seem all on fire like a 
sea of lava, did not produce on him the effect of real 



242 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

things, but of marvels beheld in a dream. There were 
days of bad weather, during which he remained con- 
stantly in the dormitory, where everything was rolling 
and crashing, in the midst of a terrible chorus of lamen- 
tations and imprecations, and he thought that his last 
hour had come. There were other days, when the sea 
was calm and yellowish, of insupportable heat, of infinite 
tediousness ; interminable and wretched hours, during 
which the enervated passengers, stretched motionless 
on the planks, seemed all dead. And the voyage was 
endless : sea and sky, sky and sea ; to-day the same 
as yesterday, to-morrow like to-day, and so on, always, 

eternally. 

And for long hours he stood leaning on the bulwarks, 
gazing at that interminable sea in amazement, thinking 
vaguely of his mother, until his eyes closed and his 
head was drooping with sleep ; and then again he 
beheld that unknown face which gazed upon him with 
an air of compassion, and repeated in his ear, " Your 
mother is dead ! " and at the sound of that voice he 
awoke with a start, to resume his dreaming with wide- 
open eyes, and to gaze at the unchanging horizon. 

The voyage lasted twenty-seven days. But the last 
days were the best. The weather was fine, and the 
air cool. He had made the acquaintance of a good old 
man, a Lombard, who was going to America to find his 
son, an agriculturist in the vicinity of the town of 
Rosario ; he had told him his whole story, and the old 
man kept repeating every little while, as he tapped him 
on the nape of the neck with his hand, " Courage, my 
lad ; you will find your mother well and happ} T ." 

This companionship comforted him ; his sad present- 
iments were turned into joyous ones. Seated on the 
bow, beside the aged peasant, who was smoking his 



FROM THE APEX SINKS TO THE ANDES. 243 

pipe, beneath the beautiful starry heaven, in the 
midst of a group of singing peasants, he imagined to 
himself in his own mind a hundred times his arrival 
at Buenos Avres ; he saw himself in a certain street : 
he found the shop, he flew to his cousin. " How is mv 
mother? Come, let us go at once! Let us go at 
once ! " They hurried on together ; they ascended a 
staircase ; a door opened. And here his mute solil- 
oquy came to an end ; his imagination was swallowed 
up in a feeling of inexpressible tenderness, which 
made him secretly pull forth a little medal that he 
wore on his neck, and murmur his prayers as he 
kissed it. 

On the twenty -seventh day after their departure 
they arrived. It was a beautiful, rosy May morning, 
when the steamer cast anchor in the immense river of 
the Plata, near the shore along which stretches the vast 
city of Buenos Ayres, the capital of the Argentine Re- 
public. This splendid weather seemed to him to be a 
good augury. He was beside himself with jo} T and im- 
patience. His mother was only a few miles from him ! 
In a few hours more he would have seen her ! He was 
in America, in the new world, and he had had the dar- 
ing to come alone ! The whole of that extremely long 
voyage now seemed to him to have passed in an in- 
stant. It seemed to him that he had flown hither in a 
dream, and that he had that moment waked. And he 
was so happy, that he hardly experienced any surprise 
or distress when he felt in his pockets and found only 
one of the two little heaps into which he had divided 
his little treasure, in order to be the more sure of not 
losing the whole of it. He had been robbed ; he had 
only a few lire left ; but what mattered that to him, 
when he was near his mother? With his bag in his 



244 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

hand, he descended, in company with many other Ital* 
ians, to the tug-boat which carried him within a short 
distance of the shore ; clambered down from the tug 
into a boat which bore the name of Andrea Doria; was 
landed on the wharf ; saluted his old Lombard friend, 
and directed his course, in long strides, towards the 
city. 

On arriving at the entrance of the first street, he 
stopped a man who was passing by, and begged him to 
show him in what direction he should go in order to 
reach the street of los Artes. He chanced to have 
stopped an Italian workingman. The latter surveyed 
him with curiosit}', and inquired if he knew how to 
read. The lad nodded, "Yes." 

" Well, then," said the laborer, pointing to the street 
from which he had just emerged, "keep straight on 
through there, reading the names of all the streets on 
the corners ; you will end by finding the one you 
want." 

The boy thanked him, and turned into the street 
which opened before him. 

It was a straight and endless but narrow street, bor- 
dered by low white houses, which looked like so many 
little villas, filled with people, with carriages, with 
carts which made a deafening noise ; here and there 
floated enormous banners of various hues, with an- 
nouncements as to the departure of steamers for strange 
cities inscribed upon them in large letters. At every 
little distance along the street, on the right and left, he 
perceived two other streets which ran straight away as 
far as he could see, also bordered by low white houses, 
filled with people and vehicles, and bounded at their 
extremity by the level line of the measureless plains of 
America, like the horizon at sea. The city seemed in* 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 245 

finite to hiin ; it seemed to him that he might wander 
for days or weeks, seeing other streets like these, on 
one hand and on the other, and that all America must 
be covered with them. He looked attentively at the 
names of the streets : strange names which cost him an 
effort to read. At every fresh street, he felt his heart 
beat, at the thought that it was the one he was in search 
of. He stared at all the women, with the thought that 
he might meet his mother. He caught sight of one in 
trout of him who made his blood leap ; he overtook 
aer : she was a negro. And accelerating his pace, he 
\valked on and on. On arriving at the cross-street, he 
read, and stood as though rooted to the sidewalk. It 
was the street del los Artes. He turned into it, and saw 
the number 117 ; his cousin's shop was No. 175. He 
quickened his pace still more, and almost ran ; at No. 
171 he had to pause to regain his breath. And he 
said to himself, "O my mother! my mother! It is 
really true that I shall see you in another moment ! " 
He ran on ; he arrived at a little haberdasher's shop. 
This was it. He stepped up close to it. He saw a 
woman with gray hair and spectacles. 

" What do you want, boy?" she asked him in Span- 
ish. 

" Is not this," said the boy, making an effort to 
utter a sound, " the shop of Francesco Merelli?" 

"Francesco Merelli is dead," replied the woman in 
Italian. 

The boy felt as though he had received a blow on his 
breast. 

"When did he die?" ^ 

"Eh? quite a while ago," replied the woman. 
"Mouths ago. His affairs were in a bad state, and he 
ran away. They say he went to Bahia Blanca< very 



246 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

far from here. And he died just after he reached 
there. The shop is mine." 

The boy turned pale. 

Then he said quickly, " Merelli knew my mother; 
my mother who was at service with Signor Mequinez. 
He alone could tell me where she is. I have come to 
America to find my mother. Merelli sent her our let- 
ters. I must find my mother." 

" Poor bov ! " said the woman ; " I don't know. I 
can ask the boy in the courtyard. He knew the young 
man who did Merelli's errands. He may be able to 
tell us something." 

She went to the end of the shop and called the lad, 
who came instantly. "Tell me," asked the shop- 
woman, " do you remember whether Merelli's young 
man went occasionally to carry letters to a woman in 
service, in the house of the son of the country?" 

"To Signor Mequinez," replied the lad; "yes, sig- 
nora, sometimes he did. At the end of the street del 
tos Artes." 

"Ah! thanks, signora ! " cried Marco. "Tell me 
the number; don't vou know it? Send some one with 
me ; come with me instantly, my boy ; I have still a 
few soldi." 

And he said this with so much warmth, that without 
waiting for the woman to request him, the boy replied, 
" Come," and at once set out at a rapid pace. 

The}* proceeded almost at a run, without uttering a 
word, to the end of the extremely long street, made 
their way into the entrance of a little white house, and 
halted in front of a handsome iron gate, through which 
they could see a small yard, filled with vases- of flowers. 
Marco gave a tug at the bell. 

A young lady made her appearance. 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 247 

"The Mequiuez family lives here, does it not?" 
demanded the lad anxiously. 

"They did live here," replied the young lad}', pro- 
nouncing her Italian in Spanish fashion. " Now we, 
the Zeballos, live here." 

"And where have the Mequinez gone?" asked 
Marco, his heart palpitating. 

" They have gone to Cordova." 

"Cordova!" exclaimed Marco. "Where is Cor- 
dova? And the person whom the} T had in their ser- 
vice? The woman, my mother! Their servant was 
my mother ! Have they taken my mother awa} T , too? " 

The young lady looked at him and said: "I do not 
know. Perhaps my father may know, for he knew 
them when they went away. Wait a moment." 

She ran away, and soon returned with her father, 
a tall gentleman, with a gray beard. He looked 
intently for a minute at this sympathetic type of a 
little Genoese sailor, with his golden hair and his 
aquiline nose, and asked him in broken Italian, "Is 
your mother a Genoese ? " 

Marco replied that she was. 

"Well then, the Genoese maid went with them; 
that I know for certain." 

" And where have they gone? " 

" To Cordova, a city." 

The boy gave vent to a sigh ; then he said with 
resignation, " Then I will go to Cordova." 

"Ah, poor child!" exclaimed the gentleman in 
Spanish; "poor boy! Cordova is hundreds of miles 
from here." 

Marco turned as white as a corpse, and cluug with 
one hand to the railings. 

"Let us see, let us see," said the gentleman, moved 



248 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

to pit}', and opening the door; "come inside a 
moment; let us see if air^thing can be done." He 
sat down, gave the boy a seat, and made him tell his 
story, listened to it very attentively, meditated a little, 
then said resolutely, "You have no money, have 
you?" 

" I still have some, a little," answered Marco. 

The gentleman reflected for five minutes more ; then 
seated himself at a desk, wrote a letter, sealed it, and 
handing it to the boy, he said to him : — 

" Listen to me, little Italian. Take this letter to 
Boca. That is a little city which is half Genoese, and 
lies two hours' journe}* from here. Any one will be 
able to show you the road. Go there and find the 
gentleman to whom this letter is addressed, and whom 
every one knows. Carry the letter to him. He will 
send you off to the town of Rosario to-morrow, and 
will recommend vou to some one there, who will think 
out a way of enabling 3-ou to pursue your journe\~ to 
Cordova, where you will find the Mequinez family and 
your mother. In the meanwhile, take this." And he 
placed in his hand a few lire. " Go, and keep up your 
courage ; you will find fellow-countrymen of yours in 
every direction, and you will not be deserted. Adios!" 

The boy said, " Thanks," without finding an}' other 
words to express himself, went out with his bag, and 
having taken leave of his little guide, he set out slowly 
in the direction of Boca, filled with sorrow and amaze- 
ment, across that great and noisv town. 

Everything that happened to him from that moment 
until the evening of that day ever afterwards lingered 
in his memory in a confused and uncertain form, like 
the wild vagaries of a person in a fever, so weary was 
he, so troubled, so despondent. And at nightfall on 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 249 

the following day, after having slept over night in a 
poor little chamber in a house in Boca, beside a harbor 
porter, after having passed nearly the whole of that 
day seated on a pile of beams, and, as in delirium, in 
sight of thousands of ships and boats and tugs, lie 
found himself on the poop of a large sailing vessel, 
loaded with fruit, which was setting out for the town 
of Rosario, managed by three robust Genoese, who 
were bronzed by the sun ; and their voices and the 
dialect which they spoke put a little comfort into his 
heart once more. 

They set out, and the voyage lasted three clays and 
four nights, and it was a continual amazement to the 
little traveller. Three days and four nights on that 
wonderful river Parana, in comparison with which 
our great Po is but a rivulet ; and the length of Italy 
quadrupled does not equal that of its course. The 
barge advanced slowly against this immeasurable mass 
of water. It threaded its way among long islands, 
once the haunts of serpents and tigers, covered with 
orange-trees and willows, like floating coppices ; now 
they passed through narrow canals, from which it 
seemed as though the} T could never issue forth ; now 
they sailed out on vast expanses of water, having the 
aspect of great tranquil lakes ; then among islands 
again, through the intricate channels of an archipelago, 
amid enormous masses of vegetation. A profound 
silence reigned. For long stretches the shores and 
very vast and solitary waters produced the impression 
of an unknown stream, upon which this poor little sail 
was the first in all the world to venture itself. The 
further they advanced, the more this monstrous rivev 
dismayed him. He imaoined that his mother was at 
its source, and that their navigation must last for 



250 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

years. Twice a day he ate a little bread and salted 
meat with the boatmen, who, perceiving that he was 
sad, never addressed a word to him. At night he 
slept on deck and woke every little while with a start, 
astounded by the limpid light of the moon, which sil- 
vered the immense expanse of water and the distant 
shores ; and then his heart sank within him. " Cor- 
dova ! " He repeated that name, "Cordova!" like 
the name of one of those mysterious cities of which 
he had heard in fables. But then he thought, "My 
mother passed this spot ; she saw these islands, these 
shores ; " and then these places upon which the glance 
of his mother had fallen no longer seemed strange 
and solitary to him. At night one of the boatmen 
sang. That voice reminded him of his mother's songs, 
when she had lulled him to sleep as a little child. 
On the last night, when he heard that song, he sobbed. 
The boatman interrupted his song. Then he cried, 
"Courage, courage, nry son! What the deuce! A 
Genoese crying because he is far from home ! The 
Genoese make the circuit of the world, glorious and 
triumphant ! " 

And at these words he shook himself, he heard the 
voice of the Genoese blood, and he raised his head 
aloft with pride, dashing his fist down on the rudder. 
"Well, yes," he said to himself; "and if I am also 
obliged to travel for years and }'ears to come, all over 
the world, and to traverse hundreds of miles on foot, 
I will go on until I find my mother, were I to arrive in 
a dying condition, and fall dead at her feet ! If only 
I can see her once again ! Courage ! " And with this 
frame of mind he arrived at daybreak, on a cool and 
rosy morning, in front of the city of Rosario, situated 
on the high bank of the Parana, where the beflagged 



M'KOM THE AFEJV MUXES TO THE ANDES. 251 

yards of a hundred vessels of every land were mirrored 
in the waves. 

Shortly after landing, he went to the town, bag in 
hand, to seek an Argentine gentleman for whom his 
protector in Boca had intrusted him with a visiting- 
card, with a few words of recommendation. On 
entering Rosario, it seemed to him that he was coming 
into a citv with which he was alreadv familiar. There 
were the straight, interminable streets, bordered with 
low white houses, traversed in all directions above the 
roofs by great bundles of telegraph and telephone 
wires, which looked like enormous spiders' webs ; and 
a great confusion of people, of horses, and of vehicles. 
His head grew confused ; he almost thought that he 
had got back to Buenos Ayres, and must hunt up his 
cousin once more. He wandered about for nearlv an 
hour, making one turn after another, and seeming 
alwa}*s to come back to the same street ; and b} 7 dint 
of inquiring, he found the house of his new protector. 
He pulled the bell. There came to the door a big, 
light-haired, gruff man, who had the air of a steward, 
and who demanded awkwardly, with a foreign ac- 
cent : — 

' ' What do you want ? " 

The boy mentioned the name of his patron. 

" The master has gone away," replied the steward; 
" he set out yesterday afternoon for Buenos Ayres, with 
his whole family." 

The boy was left speechless. Then he stammered, 
" But I — I have no one here ! I am alone ! " and he 
offered the card. 

The steward took it, read it, and said surlily : u T don't 
know what to do for you. I'll give it to him when he 
returns a month hence." 



252 FROM THE APEXXIXES TO THE ANDES. 

" But I, I am alone ; I am in need ! " exclaimed the 
lad, in a supplicating voice. 

" Eh? come now," said the other ; " just as though 
there were not a plenty of your sort from your country, 
in Rosario ! Be off, and do your begging in Italy ! " 
And he slammed the door in his face. 

The boy stood there as though he had been turned 
to stone. 

Then he picked up his bag again slowly, and went 
out, his heart torn with anguish, with his mind in a 
whirl, assailed all at once bv a thousand anxious 
thoughts. What was to be done? Where was he to 
go? From Rosario to Cordova was a day's journey, by 
rail. He had only a few lire left. After deducting what 
he should be obliged to spend that day, he would have 
next to nothing left. Where was he to find the money 
to pay lite fare ? He could work — but how ? To whom 
should he apply for work? Ask alms? Ah, no! To 
be repulsed, insulted, humiliated, as he had been a little 
while ago ? No ; never, never more — rather would he 
die ! And at this idea, and at the sight of the very 
long street which was lost in the distance of the bound- 
less plain, he felt his courage desert him once more, 
flung his bag on the sidewalk, sat down with his back 
against the wall, and bent his head between his hands, 
in an attitude of despair. 

People jostled him with their feet as they passed ; 
the vehicles filled the road with noise ; several boys 
stopped to look at him. He remained thus for a while. 
Then he was startled by a voice saying to him in a 
mixture of Italian and Lombard dialect, " What is the 
matter, little bov?" 

He raised his face at these words, and instantly 
sprang to his feet, uttering an exclamation of wonder : 
4 'You here!" 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 253 

It was the old Lombard peasant with whom he had 
struck up a friendship during the voyage. 

The amazement of the peasant was no less than his 
own ; but the boy did not leave him time to question 
him, and he rapidly recounted the state of his affairs. 

" Now I am without a soldo. I must go to work. 
Find me work, that I may get together a few lire. I 
will do anything ; I will carry rubbish, I will sweep 
the streets ; I can run on errands, or even work in the 
country ; I am content to live on black bread ; but 
only let it be so that I may set out quickly, that I may 
find my mother once more. Do me this charity, and 
find me work, find me work, for the love of God, for I 
can do no more ! " 

"The deuce ! the deuce ! " said the peasant, looking 
about him, and scratching his chin. " What a story 
is this ! To work, to work ! — that is soon said. Let 
us look about a little. Is there no way of finding thirty 
lire among so many fellow-countrymen ? " 

The boy looked at him, consoled by a ray of hope. 

" Come with me," said the peasant. 

"Where?" asked the lad, gathering up his bag 
ao'ain. 

" Come with me." 

The peasant started on • Marco followed him. The} T 
traversed a lono- stretch of street together without 
speaking. The peasant halted at the door of an inn 
which had for its sign a star, and an inscription be- 
neath, The Star of Italy. He thrust his face in, and 
turning to the boy, he said cheerfully, " We have 
arrived at just the right moment." 

They entered a large room, where there were numer- 
ous tables, and mam 7 men seated, drinking and talking 
loudly. The old Lombard approached the first table, 



254 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

and from the manner in which he sainted the six guests 
who were gathered around it, it was evident that he 
had been in their company until a short time previously. 
They were red in the face, and were clinking their 
glasses, and vociferating and laughing. 

" Comrades," said the Lombard, without any pref- 
ace, remaining on his feet, and presenting Marco, 
" here is a poor lad, our fellow-countryman, who has 
come alone from Genoa to Buenos Ayres to seek his 
mother. At Buenos Ayres they told him, ' She ia 
not here ; she is in Cordova.' He came in a bark tc 
Rosario, three days and three nights on Cue way, with 
a couple of lines of recommendation. Eta presents tht 
card ; they make an ugly face at him : he hasn't i 
centesimo to bless himself with. He is here alone ant 
in despair. He is a lad full of heart. Let us see t». 
bit. Can't we find enough to pay for his ticket to gc^ 
to Cordova in search of his mother ? Are we to leav* 
him here like a dog?" 

" Never in the world, by Heavens ! That shall never 
be said ! " they all shouted at once, hammering on the 
table with their fists. " A fellow-countryman of ours ! 
Come hither, little fellow ! We are emigrants ! See 
what a handsome young rogue ! Out with your cop- 
pers, comrades ! .Bravo ! Come alone ! He has dar- 
ing ! Drink a sup, patriotta! We'll send you to your 
mother ; never fear ! " And one pinched his cheek, 
another slapped him on the shoulder, a oiiird relieved 
him of his bag ; other emigrants rose from the neigh- 
boring tables, and gathered about ; the boy's story 
made the round of the inn ; three Argentine guests hur- 
ried in from the adjoining room ; and in less than ten 
minutes the Lombard peasant, who was passing round 
the hat, had collected forty -two lire. 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 255 

" Do you see," he then said, turning to the boy, 
14 how fast things are done in America?" 

" Drink ! " cried another to him, offering him a glass 
of wine ; " to the health of your mother ! " 

All raised their glasses, and Marco repeated, "To 
the health of my — " But a sob of joy choked him, 
and, setting the glass on the table, he flung himself on 
the old man's neck. 

At daj'break on the following morning he set out for 
Cordova, ardent and smiling, filled with presentiments 
of happiness. But there is no cheerfulness that rules 
for long in the face of certain sinister aspects of 
nature. The weather was close and dull ; the train, 
which was nearly empty, ran through an immense 
plain, destitute of every sign of habitation. He found 
himself alone in a very long car, which resembled 
those on trains for the wounded. He gazed to the 
right, he gazed to the left, and he saw nothing but 
an endless solitude, strewn with tiny, deformed trees, 
with contorted trunks and branches, in attitudes such 
as were never seen before, almost of wrath and 
anguish, and a sparse and melancholy vegetation, 
which gave to the plain the aspect of a ruined cem- 
etery. 

He dozed for half an hour ; then resumed his survey : 
the spectacle was still the same. The railway stations 
were deserted, like the dwellings of hermits ; and 
when the train stopped, not a sound was heard ; it 
seemed to him that he was alone in a lost train, 
abandoned in the middle of a desert. It seemed to 
him as though each statiou must be the last, and that 
he should then enter the mvsterious regions of the 
savages. An icy T breeze nipped his face. On em- 
barking at Genoa, towards the end of April, it had 



256 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

not occurred to him that he should find winter ir. 
America, and he was dressed for summer. 

After several hours of this he began to suffer from 
cold, and in connection with the cold, from the fatigue 
of the days he had recently passed through, filled as 
they had been with violent emotions, and from sleep* 
less and harassing nights. He fell asleep, slept a 
long time, and awoke benumbed ; he felt ill. Then 
a vague terror of falling ill, of dying on the journey, 
seized upon him ; a fear of being thrown out there, 
in the middle of that desolate prairie, where his body 
would be torn in pieces by dogs and birds of prey, 
like the corpses of horses and cows which he had 
caught sight of every now and then beside the track, 
and from which he had turned aside his eyes in dis- 
gust. In this state of anxious illness, in the midst of 
that dark silence of nature, his imagination grew 
excited, and looked on the dark side of things. 

Was he quite sure, after all, that he should find his 
mother at Cordova? And what if she had not gone 
there ? What if that gentleman in the Via del los Artes 
had made a mistake ? And what if she were dead ? Thus 
meditating, he fell asleep again, and dreamed that he was 
in Cordova, and it was night, and that he heard cries 
from all the doors and all the windows : " She is not 
here ! She is not here ! She is not here ! " This 
roused him with a start, in terror, and he saw at the 
other end of the car three bearded men enveloped ir 
shawls of various colors who were staring at him and 
talking together in a low tone ; and the suspicion 
flashed across him that thev were assassins, and that 
the} T wanted to kill him for the sake of stealing his 
bag. Fear was added to his consciousness of illness 
and to the cold ; his fancy, already perturbed, became 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 257 

distorted: the three men kept on staring at him; 
one of them moved towards him ; then his reason wan- 
dered, and rushing towards him with arms wide open, 
he shrieked, "I have nothing; I am a poor boy; I 
have come from Italy ; I am in quest of my mother ; I 
am alone : do not do me an}' harm ! " 

Thev instantly understood the situation : thev took 
compassion on him, caressed and soothed him, speak- 
ing to him many words which he did not hear nor com- 
prehend ; and perceiving that his teeth were chatter- 
ing with cold, they wrapped one of their shawls around 
him, and made him sit down again, so that he might 
go to sleep. And he did fall asleep once more, when 
the twilight was descending. When they aroused him, 
he was at Cordova. 

Ah, what a deep breath he drew, and with what 
impetuosit}' he flew from the car ! He inquired of 
one of the station emplo3'ees where the house of the 
engineer Mequinez was situated ; the latter mentioned 
the name of a church ; it stood beside the church : the 
boy hastened away. 

It was night. He entered the city, and it seemed to 
him that he was entering Rosario once more ; that he 
again beheld those straight streets, flanked with little 
w r hite houses, and intersected by other very lonsf and 
straight streets. But there were very few people, and 
under the light of the rare street lanterns, he en- 
countered strange faces of a hue unknown to him, 
between black and greenish ; and raising his head from 
time to time, he beheld churches of bizarre architecture 
which were outlined black and vast against the sky. 
The city was dark and silent, but after having trav- 
ersed that immense desert, it appeared lively to him. 
He inquired his way of a priest, speedily found the 



258 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

church and the house, pulled the bell with one trem« 
bling hand, and pressed the other on his breast to re- 
press the beating of his heart, which was leaping into 
his throat. 

An old woman, with a light in her hand, opened the 
door. 

The boy could not speak at once. 

"Whom do you want?" demanded the dame in 
Spanish. 

"The engineer Mequinez," replied Marco. 

The old woman made a motion to cross her arms on 
her breast, and replied, with a shake of the head : "So 
you, too, have dealings with the engineer Mequinez ! 
It strikes me that it is time to stop this. We have 
been worried for the last three months. It is not 
enough that the newspapers have said it. We shall 
have to have it printed on the corner of the street, that 
Signor Mequinez has gone to live at Tucuman ! " 

The boy gave way to a gesture of despair. Then he 
gave way to an outburst of passion. 

" So there is a curse upon me ! I am doomed to die 
on the road, without having found my mother ! I shall 
go mad ! I shall kill myself ! My God ! what is the 
name of that country? Where is it? At what dis- 
tance is it situated ? " 

" Eh, poor boy," replied the old woman, moved to 
pity; "a mere trifle! We are four or five hundred 
miles from there, at least." 

The boy covered his face with his hands ; then he 
asked with a sob, " And now what am I to do ! " 

"What am I to say to you, my poor child?" re- 
sponded the dame : " I don't know." 

But suddenly an idea struck her, and she added has« 
tily » " Listen, now that I think of it. There is one 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 250 

thins- that vou can do. Go down this street, to the 
right, and at the third house you will find a courtyard ; 
there there is a capataz, a trader, who is setting out to- 
morrow for Tucuman, with his wagons and his oxen. 
Go and see if he will take you, aud offer him your ser- 
vices ; perhaps he will give you a place on his wagons : 
go at once." 

The lad grasped his bag, thanked her as he ran, and 
two minutes later found himself in a vast courtyard, 
lighted bv lanterns, where a number of men were 
engaged in loading sacks of grain on certain enormous 
carts which resembled the movable houses of mounte- 
banks, with rounded tops, and very tall wheels ; and a 
tall man with mustaches, enveloped in a sort of mantle 
of black and white check, and with big boots, was direct- 
ing the work. 

The lad approached this man, and timidly proffered 
his request, saying that he had come from Italy, and 
that he was in search of his mother. 

The capataz, which signifies the head (the head 
conductor of this convoy of wagons), surveyed him 
from head to foot with a keen glance, and replied drily, 
" I have no place." 

" I have fifteen lire," answered the boy in a suppli- 
cating tone; " I will give you my fifteen lire. I will 
work on the journey ; I will fetch the water and fodder 
for the animals ; I will perform all sorts of services. 
A little bread will suffice for me. Make a little place 
for me, signor." 

The capataz looked him over again, and replied with 
a better grace, " There is no room ; and then, we are 
not going to Tucuman ; we are going to another town, 
Santiago dell' Estero. We shall have to leave you at 



260 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

a certain point, and you will still have a long way ta 
go on foot." 

"Ah, I will make twice as long a journey!" ex- 
claimed Marco ; " I can walk ; do not worry about that ; 
I shall get there by some means or other : make a little 
room for me, signor, out of charity ; for pity's sake, 
do not leave me here alone ! " 

" Beware ; it is a journey of twenty days." 

" It matters nothing to me." 

" It is a hard journey." 

" I will endure everything." 

" You will have to travel alone." 

"I fear nothing, if I can only find my mother. 
Have compassion ! " 

The ccqKitaz drew his face close to a lantern, and 
scrutinized him. Then he said, " Very well." 

The lad kissed his hand. 

" You shall sleep in one of the wagons to-night," 
added the capataz, as he quitted him ; " to-morrow 
morning, at four o'clock, I will wake you. Good 
night." 

At four o'clock in the morning, by the light of the 
stars, the long string of wagons was set in motion 
with a great noise ; each cart was drawn by six oxen, 
and all were followed by a great number of spare ani- 
mals for a change. 

The boy, who had been awakened and placed in one 
of the carts, on the sacks, instantly fell again into a 
deep sleep. When he awoke, the convoj* had halted 
in a solitary spot, full in the sun, and all the men — the 
peones — were seated round a quarter of calf, which 
was roasting in the open air, beside a large fire, which 
was flickering in the wind. They all ate together, took 
a nap, and then set out again ; and thus the journey 



FROM THE APEX XIX ES TO THE AXDES. 2G1 

continued, regulated like a mai*ch of soldiers. Every 
morning they set out on the road at five o'clock, halt- 
ed at nine, set out again at five o'clock in the evening, 
and halted again at ten. The j^ones rode on horse- 
back, and stimulated the oxen with long goads. The 
boy lighted the fire for the roasting, gave the beasts 
their fodder, polished up the lanterns, and brought 
water for drinking. 

The landscape passed before him like an indistinct 
vision : vast groves of little brown trees ; villages con- 
sisting of a few scattered houses, with red and battle- 
mented facades ; very vast tracts, possibly the ancient 
beds of great salt lakes, which gleamed white with salt 
as far as the eye could reach ; and on every hand, and 
always, the prairie, solitude, silence. On very rare 
occasions they encountered two or three travellers on 
horseback, followed by a herd of picked horses, who 
passed them at a gallop, like a whirlwind. The days 
were all alike, as at sea, wearisome and interminable ; 
but the weather was fine. But the peones became more 
and more exacting every day, as though the lad were 
their bond slave ; some of them treated him brutally, 
with threats ; all forced him to serve them without 
mercy : thev made him carrv enormous bundles of for- 
age ; they sent him to get water at great distances ; 
and he, broken with fatigue, could not even sleep at 
night, continually tossed about as he was by the violent 
jolts of the wagon, and the deafening groaning of the 
wheels and wooden axles. And in addition to this, the 
wind having risen, a fine, reddish, greasy dust, which 
enveloped everything, penetrated the wagon, made its 
wav under the covers, filled his eves and mouth, robbed 
him of sight and breath, constantly, oppressively, in- 
supportably. Worn out with toil and lack of sleep, 



262 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

reduced to rags and dirt, reproached and ill treated 
from morning till night, the poor boy grew every day 
more dejected, and would have lost heart entirely if the 
capataz had not addressed a kind word to him now and 
then. He often wept, unseen, in a corner of the wagon, 
with his face against his bag, which no longer contained 
anything but rags. Every morning he rose weaker and 
more discouraged, and as he looked out over the coun- 
try, and beheld always the same boundless and impla- 
cable plain, like a terrestrial ocean, he said to himself: 
"Ah, I shall not hold out until to-night! I shall not 
hold out until to-night ! To-day I shall die on the 
road ! " And his toil increased, his ill treatment was 
redoubled. One morning, in the absence of the capa- 
taz, one of the men struck him, because he had delayed 
in fetching the water. And then they all began to take 
turns at it, when they gave him an order, dealing him 
a kick, saying: "Take that, you vagabond! Carry 
that to your mother ! " 

His heart was breaking. He fell ill ; for three days 
he remained in the wagon, with a coverlet over him, 
fighting a fever, and seeing no one except the capataz, 
who came to give him his drink and feel his pulse. 
And then he believed that he was lost, and invoked his 
mother in despair, calling her a hundred times by name : 
i4 my mother! my mother! Help me! Come to 
me, for I am dying ! Oh, my poor mother, I shall 
never see }'Ou again ! ]\Iy poor mother, who will find 
me dead beside the way ! " And he folded his hands 
over his bosom and prayed. Then he grew better, 
thanks to the care of the capataz, and recovered ; but 
with his recover}- arrived the most terrible day of his 
journey, the day on which he was to be left to his own 
devices, They had been on the way for more than two 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 2G3 

weeks ; when they arrived at the point where the rond 
to Tucumari parted from that which leads to Santiago 
dell' Estero, the capataz announced to him that they 
must separate. He gave him some instructions with 
regard to the road, tied his bag on his shoulders in a 
manner which would not annoy him as he walked, and, 
breaking off short, as though he feared that he should 
be affected, he bade him farewell. The boy had barely 
time to kiss him on one arm. The other men, too, who 
had treated him so harshly, seemed to feel a little pity 
at the sight of him left thus alone, and the}' made signs 
of farewell to him as they moved away. And he re- 
turned the salute with his hand, stood watching the 
convo}' until it was lost to sight in the red dust of the 
plain, and then set out sadly on his road. 

One thing, on the other hand, comforted him a little 
from the first. After all those days of travel across 
that endless plain, which was forever the same, he saw 
before him a chain of mountains verv high and blue, 
with white summits, which reminded him of the Alps, 
and gave him the feeling of having drawn near to his 
own country once more. They were the Andes, the 
dorsal spine of the American continent, that immense 
chain which extends from Tierra del Fuego to the 
glacial sea of the Arctic pole, through a hundred and 
ten degrees of latitude. And he was also comforted 
by the fact that the air seemed to him to grow con- 
stantly warmer ; and this happened, because, in ascend- 
ing towards the north, he was slowly approaching the 
tropics. At great distances apart there were tiny 
groups of houses with a petty shop ; and he bought 
something to eat. He encountered men on horseback ; 
every now and then he saw women and children seated 
on the ground, motionless and grave, with faces en« 



264 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

tirely new to him, of an earthen hue, with oblique eyee> 
and prominent cheek-bones, who looked at him intently, 
and accompanied him with their gaze, turning their 
heads slowly like automatons. The}' were Indians. 

The first day he walked as long as his strength 
would permit, and slept under a tree. On the second 
day he made considerably less progress, and with less 
spirit. His shoes were dilapidated, his feet wounded, 
his stomach weakened by bad food. Towards evening 
he began to be alarmed. He had heard, in Italy, that 
in this land there were serpents ; he fancied that he 
heard them crawling ; he halted, then set out on a run, 
and with cold chills in all his bones. At times he was 
seized with a profound pity for himself, and he wept 
silently as he walked. Then he thought, "Oh, how 
much my mother would suffer if she knew that I am 
afraid ! " and this thought restored his courage. Then, 
in order to distract his thoughts from fear, he medi- 
tated much of her ; he recalled to mind her words when 
she had set out from Genoa, and the movement with 
which she had arranged the coverlet beneath his chin 
when he was in bed, and when he was a baby ; for 
every time that she took him in her arms, she said to 
him, "Stay here a little while with me"; and thus 
she remained for- a long time, with her head resting 
on his, thinking, thinking. 

And he said to himself: "Shall I see thee again, 
dear mother? Shall I arrive at the end of my jour- 
ney, mv mother?" And he walked on and on, among 
strange trees, vast plantations of sugar-cane, and fields 
without end, always with those blue mountains in front 
of him, which cut the sky with their exceedingly lofty 
crests. Four days, five days — a week, passed. His 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 265 

strength was rapidly declining, his feet were bleeding. 
Finally, one evening at sunset, they said to him: — 

" Tnenman is fifty miles from here." 

He uttered a cry of joy, and hastened his steps, as 
though he had, in that moment, regained all his lost 
vio'or. But it was a brief illusion. His forces sud- 
denly abandoned him, and he fell upon the brink of a 
ditch, exhausted. But his heart was beating with con- 
tent. The heaven, thickly sown with the most bril- 
liant stars, had never seemed so beautiful to him. He 
contemplated it, as he lay stretched out on the grass 
to sleep, and thought that, perhaps, at that very 
moment, his mother was gazing at him. And he 
said : — 

"O my mother, where art thou? What art thou 
doing at this moment? Dost thou think of thy son? 
Dost thou think of thy Marco, who is so near to thee?" 

Poor Marco ! If he could have seen in what a case 
his mother was at that moment, he would have made a 
superhuman effort to proceed on his way, and to reach 
her a few hours earlier. She was ill in bed, in a 
ground-floor room of a lordly mansion, where dwelt 
the entire Mequinez family. The latter had become 
very fond of her, and had helped her a great deal. 
The poor woman had already been ailing when the engi- 
neer Mequinez had been obliged unexpectedly to set 
out far from Buenos Ayres, and she had not benefited 
at all by the fine air of Cordova. But then, the fact 
that she had received no response to her letters from 
her husband, nor from her cousin, the presentiment, 
always lively, of some great misfortune, the continual 
anxiety in which she had lived, between the parting 
and staying, expecting every day some bad news, 
had caused her to grow worse out of all proportion. 



266 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

Finally, a ven T serious malady had declared itself, — a 
strangled internal rupture. She had not risen from 
her bed for a fortnight. A surgical operation was 
necessary to save her life. And at precisely the mo- 
ment when Marco was apostrophizing her, the master 
and mistress of the house were standing beside her 
bed, arguing with her, with great gentleness, to per- 
suade her to allow herself to be operated on, and 
she was persisting in her refusal, and weeping. A 
good physician of Tucuman had come in vain a week 
before. 

"No, my dear master," she said; "do not count 
upon it ; I have not the strength to resist ; I should 
die under the surgeon's knife. It is better to allow me 
to die thus. I no longer cling; to life. All is at an 
end for me. It is better to die before learning what 
has happened to my family." 

And her master and mistress opposed, and said that 
she must take courage, that she would receive a reply 
to the last letters, which had been sent directl}' to 
Genoa ; that she must allow the operation to be per- 
formed ; that it must be done for the sake of her fam- 
ily. But this suggestion of her children only aggravated 

*>' Cj Cj %y < J CD 

her profound discouragement, which had for a long 
time prostrated her, with increasing anguish. At these 
words she burst into tears. 

"O ncry sons! my sons!" she exclaimed, wringing 
her hands ; ' ' perhaps they are no longer alive ! It is 
better that I should die also. I thank you, my good 
master and mistress ; I thank you from my heart. But 
it is better that I should die. At all events, I am cer- 
tain that I shall not be cured b} T this operation. Thanks 
for all your care, my good master and mistress. It is 
useless for the doctor to come again after to-morrow. 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 267 

I wish to die. It is my fate to die here. I have 
decided." 

And they began again to console her, and to re- 
peat, " Don't say that," and to take her hand and 
beseech her. 

But she closed her eyes then in exhaustion, and fell 
into a doze, so that she appeared to be dead. And 
her master and mistress remained there a little while, 
by the faint light of a taper, watching with great com- 
passion that admirable mother, who, for the sake of 
savins; her family, had come to die six thousand miles 
from her countiy, to die after having toiled so hard, 
poor woman ! and she was so honest, so good, so un- 
fortunate. 

Early on the morning of the following day, Marco, 
bent and limping, with his bag on his back, entered 
the city of Tucuman, one of the youngest and most 
flourishing towns of the Argentine Republic. It seemed 
to him that he beheld again Cordova, Rosario, Buenos 
Ayres : there were the same straight and extremely 
long streets, the same low white houses, but on every 
hand there was a new and magnificent vegetation, a 
perfumed air, a marvellous light, a sky limpid and 
profound, such as he had never seen even in Italy. As 
he advanced through the streets, he experienced once 
more the feverish agitation which had seized on him at 
Buenos Ayres ; he stared at the windows and doors of 
all the houses ; he stared at all the women who passed 
him, with an anxious hope that he might meet his 
mother ; he would have liked to question every one, 
but did not dare to stop any one. All the people who 
were standing at their doors turned to gaze after the 
poor, tattered, dusty lad, who showed that he had come 
from afar. And he was seeking, among all these peo- 



•2(38 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

pie, a countenance which should inspire him with con- 
fidence, in order to direct to its owner that tremendous 
query, when his eyes fell upon the sign of an inn upon 
which was inscribed an Italian name. Inside were a 
man with spectacles, and two women. He approached 
the door slowly, and summoning up a resolute spirit, 
he inquired : — 

" Can you tell me, signor, where the family Mequi- 
nez is ? " 

"The engineer Mequinez?' : asked the innkeeper in 
his turn. 

" The engineer Mequinez," replied the lad in a 
thread of a voice. 

u The Mequinez family is not in Tucuman," replied 
the innkeeper. 

A cry of desperate pain, like that of one who has 
been stabbed, formed an echo to these words. 

The innkeeper and the women rose, and some neigh- 
bors ran up. 

"What's the matter? what ails you, my boy?" said 
the innkeeper, drawing him into the shop and making 
him sit down. "The deuce! there's no reason for 
despairing ! The Mequinez family is not here, but at 
a little distance off, a few hours from Tucuman." 

"Where? where?" shrieked Marco, springing up 
like one restored to life. 

" Fifteen miles from here," continued the man, " on 
the river, at Saladillo, in a place where a big sugar 
factory is being built, and a cluster of houses ; Signor 
Mequinez' s house is there ; every one knows it : you 
can reach it in a few hours." 

" I was there a month ago," said a youth, who had 
hastened up at the cry. 

Marco stared at him with wide-open eyes, and asked 



FROM TIIJ'J APENNINES TO THE AX PES. 269 

him hastily, turning pule as he did so, tk Did you see 
the servant of Signor Mequinez — the Italian ? ' : 

"The Genoese? Yes; I saw her." 

Marco burst into a convulsive sob, which was half a 
laugh and half a sob. Then, with a burst of violent 
resolution : " AVhich way am I to go? quick, the road ! 
I shall set out instantly ; show me the way ! " 

" But it is a day's march," they all told him, in one 
breath. "You are weary; you should rest ; you can 
set out to-morrow." 

" Impossible ! impossible ! " replied the lad. " Tell 
me the way ; I will not wait another instant ; I shall 
set out at once, were I to die on the road ! " 

On perceiving him so inflexible, they no longer op- 
posed him. " May God accompany you ! " they said to 
him. "Look out for the path through the forest. A 
fair journey to you, little Italian ! " A man accompa- 
nied him outside of the town, pointed out to him the 
road, gave him some counsel, and stood still to watch 
him start. At the expiration of a few minutes, the lad 
disappeared, limping, with his bag on his shoulders, be- 
hind the thick trees which lined the road. 

That night was a dreadful one for the poor sick 
woman. She suffered atrocious pain, which wrung 
from her shrieks that were enough to burst her veins, 
and rendered her delirious at times. The women 
waited on her. She lost her head. Her mistress ran 
in, from time to time, in affright. All began to fear 
that, even if she had decided to allow herself to be 
operated on, the doctor, who was not to come until the 
next day, would have arrived too late. During the 
moments when she was not raving, however, it was 
evident that her most terrible torture arose not from 
her bodily pains, but from the thought of her distant 



270 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

family. Emaciated, wasted away, with changed visage, 
she thrust her hands through her hair, with a gesture 
of desperation, and shrieked : — 

" My God ! My God ! To die so far away, to die 
without seeing them again ! My poor children, who 
will be left without a mother, my poor little creatures, 
my poor darlings ! My Marco, who is still so small ! 
only as tall as this, and so good and affectionate ! You 
do not know what a boy he was ! If you only knew, 
signora ! I could not detach him from my neck when I 
set out ; he sobbed in a way to move your pity ; he 
sobbed ; it seemed as though he knew that he would 
never behold his poor mother again. Poor Marco, my 
poor baby ! I thought that my heart would break ! 
Ah, if I had onlv died then, died while thev were bid- 
ding me farewell ! If I had but dropped dead ! With- 
out a mother, my poor child, he who loved me so dearly, 
who needed me so much ! without a mother, in misery, 
he will be forced to beg ! He, Marco, my Marco, will 
stretch out his hand, famishing ! O eternal God ! 
No ! I will not die ! The doctor ! Call him at once ! 
let him come, let him cut me, let him cleave nry breast, 
let him drive me mad ; but let him save my life ! I 
want to recover ; I want to live, to depart, to flee, to- 
morrow, at once ! The doctor ! Help ! help ! " 

And the women seized her hands and soothed her, 
and made her calm herself little by little, and spoke to 
her of God and of hope. And then she fell back again 
into a mortal dejection, wept with her hands clutched 
in her gray hair, moaned like an infant, uttering a pro- 
longed lament, and murmuring from time to time : — 

" O mv Genoa! Mv house! All that sea! — O 
my Marco, my poor Marco ! Where is he now, my 
poor darling?" 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 271 

It was midnight ; and her poor Marco, after having 
passed many hours on the brink of a ditch, his strength 
exhausted, was then walking through a forest of gigan- 
tic trees, monsters of vegetation, huge boles like the 
pillars of a cathedral, which interlaced their enormous 
crests, silvered by the moon, at a wonderful height. 
Vaguely, amid the half gloom, he caught glimpses of 
myriads of trunks of all forms, upright, inclined, con- 
torted, crossed in strange postures of menace and of 
conflict ; some overthrown on the earth, like towers 
which had fallen bodily, and covered with a dense and 
confused mass of vegetation, which seemed like a furi- 
ous throng, disputing the ground span by span ; others 
collected in great groups, vertical and serrated, like 
trophies of titanic lances, whose tips touched the 
clouds ; a superb grandeur, a prodigious disorder of 
colossal forms, the most majestically terrible spectacle 
which vegetable nature ever presented. 

At times he was overwhelmed by a great stupor. 
But his mind instantly took flight again towards his 
mother. He was worn out, with bleeding feet, alone 
in the middle of this formidable forest, where it was 
only at long intervals that he saw tiny human habita- 
tions, which at the foot of these trees seemed like the 
ant-hills, or some buffalo asleep beside the road ; he 
was exhausted, but he was not conscious of his ex- 
haustion ; he was alone, and he felt no fear. The 
grandeur of the forest rendered his soul grand ; his 
nearness to his mother gave him the strength and the 
hardihood of a man ; the memory of the ocean, of the 
alarms and the sufferings which he had undergone and 
vanquished, of the toil which he had endured, of the 
iron constancy which he had displayed, caused him to 
uplift his brow. All his strong and noble Genoese 



272 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

blood flowed back to his heart in an ardent tide of jo\ 
and audacity. And a new thing took place within him .; 
while he had, up to this time, borne in his mind an im 
age of his mother, dimmed and paled somewhat by the 
two } T ears of absence, at that moment the image grew 
clear ; he again beheld her face, perfect and distinct, 
as he had not beheld it for a long time ; he beheld it 
close to him, illuminated, speaking ; he again beheld 
the most fleeting motions of her eyes, and of her lips, 
all her attitudes, all the shades of her thoughts ; and 
urged on by these pursuing recollections, he hastened 
his steps ; and a new affection, an unspeakable tender- 
ness, grew in him, grew in his heart, making sweet and 
quiet tears to flow down his face ; and as he advanced 
through the gloom, he spoke to her, he said to her the 
words which he would murmur in her ear in a little 
while more : — 

"I am here, my mother; behold me here. I will 
never leave you again ; we will return home together, 
and I will remain always beside you on board the ship, 
close beside you, and no one shall ever part me from 
you again, no one, never more, so long as I have life !" 

And in the meantime he did not observe how the 
silvery liffht of the moon was dying- away on the sum- 
mits of the gigantic trees in the delicate whiteness of 
the dawn. 

At eight o'clock on that morning, the doctor from 
Tucuman, a young Argentine, was already by the bed- 
side of the sick woman, in compan}- with an assist- 
ant, endeavoring, for the last time, to persuade her to 
permit herself to be operated on ; and the engineer 
Mequinez aud his wife added their warmest persua- 
sions to those of the former. But all was in vain. 
The woman, feeling her strength exhausted, had no 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 273 

longer any faith in the operation ; she was perfectly 
certain that she should die under it, or that she should 
only survive it a few hours, after having suffered in 
vain pains that were more atrocious than those of which 
she should die in any case. The doctor lingered to 
tell her once more : — 

"But the operation is a safe one; your safety in 
certain, provided you exercise a little courage ! And 
your death is equally certain if you refuse ! " It was 
a sheer waste of words. 

"No," she replied in a faint voice, "I still rave 
courage to die ; but I no longer have any to suffer 
uselessly. Leave me to die in peace." 

The doctor desisted in discouragement. No one said 
anything more. Then the woman turned her face 
towards her mistress, and addressed to her her last 
prayers in a dying voice. 

"Dear, good signora," she said with a great effort, 
sobbing, " you will send this little monej- and my poor 
effects to my family — through the consul. I hope 
that they may all be alive. My heart presages well 
in these, my last moments. You will do me the favor 
to write — that I have always thought of them, that 
I have always toiled for them — for my children — 
that my sole grief was not to see them once more — 
but that I died courageously — with resignation — 
blessing them ; and that I recommend to my husband 
— and to my elder son — the youngest, my poor 
Marco — that I bore him in my heart until the last 
moment — " And suddenly she became excited, and 
shrieked, as she clasped her hands: "My Marco, my 
baby, my baby ! My life ! — " But on casting her tear- 
ful eyes round her, she perceived that her mistress was 
no longer there ; she had been secretly called away 



274 FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 

She sought her master ; he had disappeared. No one 
remained with her. except the two nurses and the assist- 
ant. She heard in the adjoining room the sound of 
hurried footsteps, a murmur of hasty and subdued 
voices, and repressed exclamations. The sick woman 
fixed her glazing eves on the door, in expectation. 
At the end of a few minutes she saw the doctor appear 
with an unusual expression on his face ; then her mis- 
tress and master, with their countenances also altered. 
All three gazed at her with a singular expression, and 
exchanged a few words in a low tone. She fancied 
that the doctor said to her mistress, " Better let it be 
at once." She did not understand. 

" Josefa," said her mistress to the sick woman, in 
a trembling voice, " I have some good news for you. 
Prepare your heart for good news." 

The woman observed her intently. 

"News," pursued the lady, with increasing agita- 
tion, " which will give you great joy." 

The sick woman's eyes dilated. 

" Prepare yourself," continued her mistress, " to see 
a person — of whom }~ou are very fond." 

The woman raised her head with a vigorous move- 
ment, and began to gaze in rapid succession, first at 
the lady and then at the door, with flashing eyes. 

"A person," added the lady, turning pale, "who 
has just arrived — unexpectedly." 

"Who is it?" shrieked the woman, with a strange 
and choked voice, like that of a person in terror. An 
instant later she gave vent to a shrill scream, sprang 
into a sitting posture in her bed, and remained motion- 
less, with starting eyes, and her hands pressed to her 
temples, as in the presence of a supernatural appa- 
rition. 



FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES. 275 

Marco, tattered ami dusty, stood there on the thresh- 
old, held back by the doctor's hand on one arm. 

The woman uttered three shrieks: "God! God! 
My God ! " 

Marco rushed forward ; she stretched out to him her 
fleshless arms, and straining him to her heart with the 
strength of a tiger, she burst into a violent laugh^ 
broken by deep, tearless sobs, which caused her to fall 
back suffocating on her pillow. 

But she speedily recovered herself, and mad with 
joy, she shrieked as she covered his head with kisses : 
" How do you come here? Why? Is it you? How 
vou have grown ! Who brought you ? Are you alone ? 
You are not ill? It is you, Marco ! It is not a dream ! 
My God ! Speak to me ! " 

Then she suddenly changed her tone: "No! Be 
silent ! Wait ! " And turning to the doctor, she said 
with precipitation: "Quick, doctor! this instant! I 
want to get well. I am ready. Do not lose a moment. 
Take Marco away, so that he may not hear. — Marco, 
my love, it is nothing. I will tell you about it. One 
more kiss. Go ! — Here I am, doctor.'' 

Marco was taken away. The master, mistress, and 
women retired in haste ; the surgeon and his assistant 
remained behind, and closed the door. 

Signor Mequinez attempted to lead Marco to a dis- 
tant room, but it was impossible ; he seemed rooted to 
the pavement. 

"What is it?" he asked. "What is the matter 
with my mother ? What are thev doing to her ? " 

And then Mequinez said softly, still trying to draw 
him away: "Here! Listen to me. I will tell you 
now. Your mother is ill ; she must undergo a little 
operation ; I will explain it all to you : come with me/ 



276 SUMMER. 

" No," replied the lad, resisting; "I want to stay 
here. Explain it to ine here." 

The engineer heaped words on words, as he drew 
him away ; the boy began to grow terrified and to 
tremble. 

Suddenly an acute crv, like that of one wounded to 
the death, rang through the whole house. 

The boy responded with another desperate shriek, 
"My mother is dead!" 

The doctor appeared on the threshold and said, 
" Your mother is saved." 

The boy gazed at him for a moment, and then flung 
himself at his feet, sobbing, " Thanks, doctor ! " 

But the doctor raised him with a gesture, saying : 
"Rise! It is 3-011, you heroic child, who have saved 
your mother ! " 

K>» — 

SUMMER. 

Wednesday, 24th. 
Marco, the Genoese, is the last little hero but one 
whose acquaintance we shall make this year ; only one 
remains for the month of June. There are only two 
more monthly examinations, twenty-six da} T s of les- 
sons, six Thursdays, and five Sundays. The air of 
the end of the year is already perceptible. The trees 
of the garden, leafy and in blossom, cast a fine shade 
on the gymnastic apparatus. The scholars are already 
dressed in summer clothes. And it is beautiful, at the 
close of school and the exit of the classes, to see how 
different everything is from what it was in the months 
that are past. The long locks which touched the shoul- 
ders have disappeared ; all heads are closely shorn ; 
bare legs and throats are to be seen ; little straw hats 
of every shape, with ribbons that descend even on the 



SUMMER. 277 

6acks of the wearers ; shirts and neckties of every 
hue ; all the little children with something red or blue 
about them, a facing, a border, a tassel, a scrap of 
some vivid color tacked on somewhere by the mother, 
so that even the poorest may make a good figure ; and 
many come to school without any hats, as though they 
had run away from home. Some wear the white gym- 
nasium suit. There is one of Schoolmistress Delcati's 
boj's who is red from head to foot, like a boiled crab. 
Several are dressed like sailors. 

But the finest of all is the little mason, who has 
donned a big straw hat, which gives him the appear- 
ance of a half-candle with a shade over it ; and it is 
ridiculous to see him make his hare's face beneath 
it. Coretti, too, has abandoned his catskin cap, and 
wears an old travelling-cap of gray silk. Votini has a 
sort of Scotch dress, all decorated ; Crossi displays his 
bare breast ; Precossi is lost inside of a blue blouse be- 
longing to the blacksmith-ironmonger. 

And Garoffi ? Now that he has been obliged to dis- 
card the cloak beneath which he concealed his wares, 
all his pockets are visible, bulging with all sorts of 
huckster's trifles, and the lists of his lotteries force 
themselves out. Now all his pockets allow their con- 
tents to be seen, — fans made of half a newspaper, knobs 
of canes, darts to fire at birds, herbs, and maybugs 
which creep out of his pockets and crawl gradually 
over the jackets. 

Many of the little fellows carry bunches of flowers 
to the mistresses. The mistresses are dressed in sum- 
mer garments also, of cheerful tints ; all except the 
" little nun," who is always in black ; and the mistress 
with the red feather still has her red feather, and a 
knot of red ribbon at her neck, all tumbled with the 



278 POETRY. 

little paws of her scholars, who alwaj'S make her laugh 
and flee. 

It is the season, too, of cherry-trees, of butterflies, 
of music in the streets, and of rambles in the country ; 
many of the fourth grade run away to bathe in the Po ; 
all have their hearts already set on the vacation ; each 
day the} 7 issue forth from school more impatient and 
content than the day before. Only it pains me to see 
Garrone in mourning, and my poor mistress of the 
primary, who is thinner and whiter than ever, and who 
coughs with ever-increasing violence. She walks all 
bent over now, and salutes me so sadly ! 



POETRY. 

Friday, 26th. 

You are now beginning to comprehend the poetry of 
school, Enrico ; but at present you only survey the 
school from within. It will seem much more beautiful 
and more poetic to you twent}' years from now, when 
you go thither to escort your own boys ; and you will 
then survey it from the outside, as I do. While wait- 
ing for school to close, I wander about the silent street, 
in the vicinity of the edifice, and lay my ear to the 
windows of the ground floor, which are screened by 
Venetian blinds. At one window I hear the voice of a 
schoolmistress saying : — 

" Ah, what a shape for a t ! It won't do, my dear 
boy ! 'SYhat would your father say to it ? " 

At the next window there resounds the heavy voice 
of a master, which is saying : — 

" I will buy fifty metres of stuff — at four lire and a 
half the metre — and sell it again — " 



POETRY. 279 

Further on there is the mistress with the red feather, 
who is reading aloud : — 

"Then Pietro Micca, with the lighted train of pow- 
der— " 

From the adjoining class-room comes the chirping of 
a thousand birds, which signifies that the master has 
stepped out for a moment. I proceed onward, and as 
I turn the corner, I hear a scholar weeping, and the 
voice of the mistress reproving and comforting him. 
From the lofty windows issue verses, names of great 
and good men, fragments of sentences which inculcate 
virtue, the love of country, and courage. Then ensue 
moments of silence, in which one would declare that 
the edifice is empty, and it does not seem possible that 
there should be seven hundred bovs within ; noisv out- 
bursts of hilarity become audible, provoked b}* the jest 
of a master in a good humor. And the people who are 
passing halt, and all direct a glance of sympathy 
towards that pleasing building, which contains so 
much youth and so many hopes. Then a sudden dull 
sound is heard, a clapping to of books and portfolios, a 
shuffling of feet, a buzz which spreads from room to 
room, and from the lower to the higher, as at the sud- 
den diffusion of a bit of good news : it is the beadle, 
who is making his rounds, announcing the dismissal of 
school. And at that sound a throng of women, men, 
girls, and youths press closer from this side and that 
of the door, waiting for their sons, brothers, or grand- 
children ; while from the doors of the class-rooms little 
boys shoot forth into the big hall, as from a spout, 
seize their little capes and hats, creating a great con- 
fusion with them on the floor, and dancing all about, 
until the beadle chases them forth one after the other. 
And at length they come forth, in long files, stamping 



280 THE DEAF-MUTE. 

their feet. And then from all the relatives there de- 
scends a shower of questions: "Did you know youi 
lesson? — How much work did they give you? — What 
have you to do for to-morrow ! — When does the monthly 
examination come ? " 

And then even the poor mothers who do not know 
how to read, open the copy-books, gaze at the prob- 
lems, and ask particulars: "Only eight? — Ten with 
commendation? — Nine for the lesson?'' 

And they grow uneasy, and rejoice, and interrogate 
the masters, and talk of prospectuses and examina- 
tions. How beautiful all this is, and how great and 
how immense is its promise for the world ! 



THE DEAF-MUTE. 

Sunday, 28th. 

The month of May could not have had a better end- 
ing than my visit of this morning. We heard a jin- 
gling of the bell, and all ran to see what it meant. I 
heard my father say in a tone of astonishment : — 

" You here, Giorgio? " 

Giorgio was our gardener in Chieri, who now has his 
family at Condove, and who had just arrived from 
Genoa, where he had disembarked on the preceding 
day, on his return from Greece, where he has been 
working on the railway for the last three years. He 
had a big bundle in his arms. He has grown a little 
older, but his face is still red and jolly. 

My father wished to have him enter ; but he refused, 
and suddenly inquired, assuming a serious expression : 
" How is my family? How is Gigia?" 

" She was well a few days ago," replied my mother. 

Giorgio uttered a deep sigh. 



THE DEAF-MUTE. 281 

" Oh, God be praised ! I had not the courage to 
present myself at the Deaf-mute Institution until I had 
heard about her. I will leave my bundle here, and run 
to get her. It is three years since I have seen my poor 
little daughter ! Three years since I have seen any of 
my people ! " 

My father said to me, " Accompany him." 

"Excuse me; one word more," said the gardener, 
from the landing. 

My father interrupted him, " And your affairs?" 

" All right," the other replied. " Thanks to God, I 
have brought back a few soldi. But I wanted to in- 
quire. Tell me how the education of the little dumb 
girl is getting on. When I left her, she was a poor 
little animal, poor thing ! I don't put much faith in 
those colleges. Has she learned how to make signs? 
My wife did write to me, to be sure, ' She is learning to 
speak ; she is making progress.' But I said to myself, 
What is the use of her learning to talk if I don't know 
how to make the signs myself ? How shall we manage 
to understand each other, poor little thing? That is 
well enough to enable them to understand each other, 
one unfortunate to comprehend another unfortunate. 
How is she getting on, then? How is she? " 

My father smiled, and replied : — 

' ' I shall not tell you anything about it ; you will 
see ; go, go ; don't waste another minute ! " 

We took our departure ; the institute is close by. 
As we went along with huge strides, the gardener 
talked to me, and grew sad. 

"Ah, my poor Gigia ! To be born with such an in- 
firmity ! To think that I have never heard her call me 
father; that she has never heard me call her my daugh- 
ter; that she has never either heard or uttered a single 



282 THE DEAF-MUTE. 

word since she has been in the world ! And it is lucky 
that a charitable gentleman was found to pay the ex- 
penses of the institution. But that is all — she could 
not enter there until she was eight years old. She has 
not been at home for three years. She is now going 
on eleven. And she has grown? Tell me, she has 
grown? She is in good spirits?" 

"You will see in a moment, you will see in a mo- 
ment," I replied, hastening my pace. 

"But where is this institution?" he demanded. 
" My wife went with her after I was gone. It seems 
to me that it ought to be near here." 

We had just reached it. We at once entered the 
parlor. An attendant came to meet us. 

"I am the father of Gigia Voggi," said the gar- 
dener ; " give me my daughter instantly." 

" They are at play," replied the attendant ; "I will 
go and inform the matron." And he hastened away. 

The gardener could no longer speak nor stand still; 
he stared at all four walls, without seeing anything. 

The door opened ; a teacher entered, dressed in 
black, holding a little girl b} T the hand. 

Father and daughter gazed at one another for an 
instant ; then flew into each other's arms, uttering a 
cry. 

The girl was dressed in a white and reddish striped 
material, with a gray apron. She is a little taller than 
I. She cried, and clung to her father's neck with both 
arms. 

Her father disengaged himself, and began to survey 
her from head to foot, panting as though he had run a 
long way; and he exclaimed: "Ah, how she has 
grown ! How pretty she has become ! Oh, my dear, 
poor Gigia ! My poor mute child ! — Are you her 



THE DEAF-MUTE. 283 

teacher, signora? Tell her to make some of her signs 
to me ; for I shall be able to understand something, 
and then I will learn little by little. Tell her to make 
me understand something with her gestures." 

The teacher smiled, and said in a low voice to the 
girl, " Who is this man who has come to see you?" 

And the girl replied with a smile, in a coarse, 
strange, dissonant voice, like that of a savage who 
was speaking for the first time in our language, but 
with a distinct pronunciation, " He is my fa-ther." 

The gardener fell back a pace, and shrieked like a 
madman : " She speaks ! Is it possible ! Is it possi- 
ble ! She speaks ? Can you speak, my child ? can 
you speak ? Say something to me : you can speak ? " 
and he embraced her afresh, and kissed her thrice on 
the brow. "But it is not with signs that she talks, 
signora ; it is not with her fingers ? What does this 
mean ? " 

"No, Signor Voggi," rejoined the teacher, "it is 
not with signs. That was the old way. Here we 
teach the new method, the oral method. How is it 
that you did not know it?" 

"I knew rothing about it!" replied the gardener, 
lost in amazement. "I have been abroad for the last 
three years. Oh, they wrote to me, and I did not 
understand. I am a blockhead. Oh, my daughter, 
you understand me, then? Do you hear my voice? 
Answer me : do you hear me ? Do you hear what I 
say?" 

" Why, no, my good man," said the teacher ; " she 
does not hear your voice, because she is deaf. She 
understands from the movements of your lips what the 
words are that you utter ; this is the way the thing is 
managed ; but she does not hear your voice any more 



284 THE DEAF-MUTE. 

than she does the words which she speaks to you ; she 
pronounces them, because we have taught her, letter 
by letter, how she must place her lips and move her 
tougue, and what effort she must make with her chest 
and throat, in order to emit a sound." 

The gardener did not understand, and stood with his 
mouth wide open. He did not yet believe it. 

"Tell me, Gigia," he asked his daughter, whisper- 
ing in her ear, " are you glad that your father has 
come back?" and he raised his face again, and stood 
awaiting her reply. 

The girl looked at him thoughtfully, and said noth- 



ing. 



Her father was perturbed. 

The teacher laughed. Then she said : " My good 
man, she does not answer you, because she did not see 
the movements of your lips : you spoke in her ear ! 
Repeat your question, keeping your face well before 
hers." 

The father, gazing straight in her face, repeated, 
' ' Are you glad that your father has come back ? that 
he is not going away again ? " 

The girl, who had observed his lips attentively, seek- 
ing even to see inside his mouth, replied frankly : — 

"Yes, I am de-light-ed that you have re-turned, 
that you are not go-ing a-way a-gain — nev-er a-gain." 

Her father embraced her impetuously, and then in 
great haste, in order to make quite sure, he over- 
whelmed her with questions. 

u What is mamma's name?" 

" An-to-nia." 

" What is the name of your little sister?" 

" Ad-e-laide." 



" What is the name of this college?" 



THE DEAF-MUTE. 285 

»'The Deaf-mute Insti-tution." 

4 ' How many are two times ten ? " 

"Twen-ty." 

While we thought that he was laughing for joy, he 
suddenly burst out crying. But this was the result of 
joy also. 

"Take courage," said the teacher to him; "you 
have reason to rejoice, not to weep. You see that you 
are making your daughter ciy also. You are pleased, 
then ? " 

The gardener grasped the teacher's hand and kissed it 
two or three times, saying : " Thanks, thanks, thanks ! 
a hundred thanks, a thousand thanks, dear Signora 
Teacher ! and forgive me for not knowing how to say 
anything else ! " 

" But she not only speaks," said the teacher ; " your 
daughter also knows how to write. She knows how to 
reckon. She knows the names of all common objects. 
She knows a little history and geography. She is now 
in the regular class. When she has passed through 
the two remaining classes, she will know much more. 
When she leaves here, she will be in a condition to 
adopt a profession. We already have deaf-mutes who 
stand in the shops to serve customers, and they per- 
form their duties like anv one else." 

Again the gardener was astounded. It seemed as 
though his ideas were becoming confused again. He 
stared at his daughter and scratched his head. His 
face demanded another explanation. 

Then the teacher turned to the attendant and said to 
him : — 

" Call a child of the preparatory class for me." 

The attendant returned, in a short time, with a deaf- 



286 THE DEAF-MUTE. 

mute of eight or nine years, who had entered the insti- 
tution a few days before. 

"This girl," said the mistress, "is one of those 
whom we are instructing in the first elements. This is 
the way it is done. I want to make her sa} 7 a. Pa} r 
attention." 

The teacher opened her mouth, as one opens it to 
pronounce the vowel a, and motioned to the child to 
open her mouth in the same manner. Then the mis- 
tress made her a sign to emit her voice. She did so ; 
but instead of a, she pronounced o. 

" No," said the mistress, "that is not right." And 
taking the child's two hands, she placed one of them 
on her own throat and the other on her chest, and re- 
peated, "a." 

The child felt with her hands the movements of the 
mistress's throat and chest, opened her mouth again as 
before, and pronounced extremely well, "a." 

In the same manner, the mistress made her pronounce 
c and d, still keeping the two little hands on her own 
throat and chest. 

" Now do you understand?" she inquired. 

The father understood ; but he seemed more aston- 
ished than when he had not understood. 

" And they are laugh t to speak in the same way?" 
he askeil, after a moment of reflection, gazing at the 
teacher. "You have the patience to teach them to 
speak in that manner, little by little, and so many of 
them? one by one — through years and years? But 
you are saints ; that's what you are ! You are angels 
of paradise ! There is not in the world a reward that 
is worthy of you ! What is there that I can say ? Ah ! 
leave me alone with my daughter a little while now. 
Let me have her to myself for five minutes." 



THE DEAF-MUTE. 287 

And drawing \\zv to a seat apart he began to interro- 
gate her, and she to reply, and he laughed with beam- 
ing eyes, slapping his fists down on his knees ; and he 
took his daughter's hands, and stared at her, beside 
himself with delight at hearing her, as though her voice 
had been one which came from heaven ; then he asked 
the teacher, " Would the Signor Director permit me to 
thank him ? " 

"The director is not here," replied the mistress; 
" but there is another person whom you should thank. 
Every little girl here is given into the charge of an 
older companion, who acts the part of sister or mother 
to her. Your little girl has been intrusted to the care 
of a deaf-mute of seventeen, the daughter of a baker, 
who is kind and very fond of her ; she has been assist- 
ing her for two years to dress herself every morning ; 
she combs her hair, she teaches her to sew, she mends 
her clothes, she is good company for her. — Luigia, 
what is the name of your mamma in the institute ? " 

The girl smiled, and said, " Ca-te-rina Gior-dano." 
Then she said to her father, " She is ve-ry, ve-ry 
good." 

The attendant, who had withdrawn at a signal from 
the mistress, returned almost at once with a lio;ht- 
haired deaf-mute, a robust girl, with a cheerful coun- 
tenance, and also dressed in the red and white striped 
stuff, with a gray apron ; she paused at the door and 
blushed ; then siie bent her head with a smile. She 
had the figure of a woman, but seemed like a child. 

Giorgio's daughter instantly ran to her, took her by 
the arm, like a child, and drew her to her father, say- 
ing, in her heavy voice, " Ca-te-rina Gior-dano." 

" Ah, what a splendid girl ! " exclaimed her father ; 
and he stretched out one hand to caress her, but drew 



288 THE DEAF-MUTE. 

it back again, and repeated, "Ah, what a good girl! 
May God bless her, may He grant her all good fortune, 
all consolations ; may He make her and hers always 
happy, so good a girl is she, my poor Gigia ! It is an 
honest workingman, the poor father of a family, who 
wishes you this with all his heart." 

The big girl caressed the little one, still keeping her 
face bent, and smiling, and the gardener continued to 
gaze at her, as at a madonna. 

"You can take 3'our daughter with you for the day," 
said the mistress. 

" Won't I take her, though ! " rejoined the gardener. 
"Til take her to Condove, and fetch her back to-morrow 
morning. Think for a bit whether I won't take he\' ! " 

The girl ran off to dress. 

"It is three years since I have seen her ! " repeated 
the gardener. " Now she speaks ! I will take her to 
Condove with me on the instant. But first I shall take 
a ramble about Turin, with my deaf-mute on my arm, 
so that all may see her, and take her to see some of my 
friends ! Ah, what a beautiful day ! This is consola- 
tion indeed ! — Here's your father's arm, my Gigia." 

The girl, who had returned with a little mantle and 
cap on, took his arm. 

" And thanks to all ! " said the father, as he reached 
the threshold. "Thanks to all, with my whole soul! 
I shall come back another time to thank you all again." 

He stood for a moment in thought, then disengaged 
himself abruptly from the girl, turned back, fumbling 
in his waistcoat with his hand, and shouted like a man 
in a fury : — 

"Come now, I am not a poor devil! So here, I 
leave twenty lire for the institution, — a fine new gold 
piece." 



THE DEAF-MUTE. 289 

And with a tremendous bang, he deposited his gold 
piece on the table. 

"No, no, my good man," said the mistress, with 
emotion. "Take back your money. I cannot accept 
it. Take it back. It is not my place. You shall see 
about that when the director is here. But he will not 
accept anything either ; be sure of that. You have 
toiled too hard to earn it, poor man. We shall be 
greatl} 7 obliged to you, all the same." 

" No ; I shall leave it," replied the gardener, obsti- 
nately ; " and then — we will see." 

But the mistress put his money back in his pocket, 
without leaving him time to reject it. And then he 
resigned himself with a shake of the head ; and then, 
wafting a kiss to the mistress and to the large girl, he 
quickly took his daughter's arm again, and hurried with 
her out of the door, saying : — 

"Come, come, my daughter, my poor dumb child, 
my treasure ! " 

And the girl exclaimed, in her harsh voice : — 

" Oh, how beau-ti-ful the sun is ! 



>> 



£90 GARIBALDI. 



JUNE. 



-♦o*- 



GARIBALDI. 

June 3d. 

To-morrow is the National Festival Day. 

To-day is a day of national mourning. Garibaldi died 
last night. .Do you know who he is ? He is the man who 
liberated ten millions of Italians from the tyranny of the 
Bourbons. He died at the age of seventy-five. He was 
born at Nice, the son of a ship captain. At eight years of 
age, he saved a woman's life ; at thirteen, he dragged into 
safety a boat-load of his companions who were shipwrecked ; 
at twenty-seven, he rescued from the water at Marseilles a 
drowning youth ; at forty-one, he saved a ship from burning 
on the ocean. He fought for ten years in America for 
the liberty of a strange people; he fought in. three wars 
against the Austrians, for the liberation of Lombardy and 
Trentino; he defended Rome from the French in 1849; he 
delivered Xaples and Palermo in 1860 ; he fought again for 
Rome in 1867 ; he combated with the Germans in defence 
of France in 1870. He was possessed of the flame of hero- 
ism and the genius of war. He was engaged in forty bat- 
tles, and won thirty-seven of them. 

When he was not fighting, he was laboring for his living, 
or he shut himself up in a solitary island, and tilled the soil. 
He was teacher, sailor, workman, trader, soldier, general, 
dictator. He was simple, great, and good. He hated all 
oppressors, he loved all peoples, he protected all the weak; 
he had no other aspiration than good, he refused honors, he 
scorned death, he adored Italy. When he uttered his war- 
*ry, legions of valorous men hastened to him from all quar- 



THE ARMY. 291 

ters; gentlemen left their palaces, workmen their ships, 
youths their schools, to go and fight in the sunshine of his 
glory. In time of war he wore a red shirt. He was strong, 
blond, and handsome. On the field of battle he was a 
thunder-bolt, in his affections he was a child, in affliction a 
saint. Thousands of Italians have died for their country, 
happy, if, when dying, they saw him pass victorious in the 
distance; thousands would have allowed themselves to be 
killed for him; millions have blessed and will bless him. 

He is dead. The whole world mourns him. You do not 
understand him now. But you will read of his deeds, you 
will constantly. hear him spoken of in the course of your 
life; and gradually, as you grow up, his image will grow 
before you ; when you become a man, you will behold him 
as a giant ; and when you are no longer in the world, when 
your sons' sons and those who shall be born from them 
are no longer among the living, the generations will still 
behold on high his luminous head as a redeemer of the peo- 
ples, crowned by the names of his victories as with a circlet 
of stars; and the brow and the soul of every Italian will 
beam when he utters his name. 



THE ARMY. 

Sunday, 11th. 

The National Festival Day. Postponed for a week on 
account of the death of Garibaldi. 

"We have been to the Piazza Castello, to see the 
review of soldiers, who defiled before the commandant 
of the army corps, between two vast lines of people. 
As they marched past to the sound of flourishes from 
trumpets and bands, my father pointed out to me the 
Corps and the glories of the banners. First, the pu- 
pils of the Academy, those who will become officers in 
the Engineers and the Artillery, about three hundred in 
number, dressed in black, passed with the bold and easy 



292 THE ARMY. 

elegance of students and soldiers. After them denied 
the infantry, the brigade of Aosta, which fought at 
Goito and at San Martino, and the Bergamo brigade, 
which fought at Castelfidardo, four regiments of them, 
company after company, thousands of red aiguillettes, 
which seemed like so many double and very long 
garlands of blood-colored flowers, extended and agi- 
tated from the two ends, and borne athwart the 
crowd. After the infantry, the soldiers of the Mining 
Corps advanced, — the workingmen of war, with their 
plumes of black horse-tails, and their crimson bands ; 
and while these were passing, we beheld advancing 
behind them hundreds of long, straight plumes, which 
rose above the heads of the spectators ; they were the 
mountaineers, the defenders of the portals of Italy, 
all tall, rosy, and stalwart, with hats of Calabrian 
fashion, and revers of a beautiful, bright green, the 
color of the grass on their native mountains. The 
mountaineers were still inarching past, when a quiver 
ran through the crowd, and the bersaglieri, the old 
'twelfth battalion, the first who entered Rome through 
the breach at the Porta Pia, bronzed, alert, brisk, with 
fluttering plumes, passed like a wave in a sea of black, 
making the piazza ring with the shrill blasts of their 
trumpets, which seemed shouts of joy. But their 
trumpeting was drowned by a broken and hollow rum- 
ble, which anounced the field artillery ; and then the 
latter passed in triumph, seated on their lofty caissons, 
drawn by three hundred pairs of fiery horses, — those 
fine soldiers with yellow lacings, and their long cannons 
of brass and steel gleaming on the light carriages, as 
they jolted and resounded, and made the earth tremble. 
And then came the mountain artillen', slowly, 
gravely, beautiful in its laborious and rude semblance, 



ITALY. 293 

with its large soldiers, with its powerful mules — that 
mountain artillery which carries dismay and death 
wherever man can set his foot. And last of all, the 
fine regiment of the Genoese cavalry, which had 
wheeled down like a whirlwind on ten fields of battle, 
from Santa Lucia to Villafranca, passed at a gallop, 
with their helmets glittering in the sun, their lances 
erect, their pennons floating in the air, sparkling 
with gold and silver, filling the air with jingling and 
neiojiinor 

k *How beautiful it is!" I exclaimed. My father 
almost reproved me for these words, and said to me : — • 

" You are not to regard the army as a fine spectacle. 
All these young men, so full of strength and hope, 
may be called upon any day to defend our country, 
and fall in a few hours, crushed to fragments by bul- 
lets and grape-shot. Every time that you hear the cry, 
at a feast, ' Hurrah for the army ! hurrah for Italy ! ' 
picture to yourself, behind the regiments which are 
passing, a plain covered with corpses, and inundated 
with blood, and then the greeting to the army will 
proceed from the very depths of 3-our heart, and the 
image of Italy will appear to you more severe and 
grand." 



ITALY. 

Tuesday, 14th. 

Salute your country thus, on days of festival : " Italy, my 

country, dear and noble land, where my father and my 

mother were born, and where they will be buried, where I 

hope to live and die, where my children will grow up and 

die ; beautiful Italy, great and glorious for many centuries, 

united and free for a few years ; thou who didst disseminate 

so great a light of intellect divine over the world, and for 



294 ITALY. 

whom so many valiant men have died on the battle-field, 
and so many heroes on the gallows ; august mother of three 
hundred cities, and thirty millions of sons ; I, a child, who 
do not understand thee as yet, and who do not know thee in 
thy entirety, I venerate and love thee with all my soul, and 
I am proud of having been born of thee, and of calling 
myself thy son. I love thy splendid seas and thy sublime 
mountains ; I love thy solemn monuments and thy immortal 
memories ; I love thy glory and thy beauty ; I love and ven- 
erate the whole of thee as that beloved portion of thee where 
I, for the first time, beheld the light and heard thy name. 
I love the whole of thee, with a single affection and with 
equal gratitude, — Turin the valiant, Genoa the superb, 
Bologna the learned, Venice the enchanting, Milan the 
mighty; I love you with the uniform reverence of a son, 
gentle Florence and terrible Palermo, immense and beauti- 
ful Naples, marvellous and eternal Rome. I love thee, my 
sacred country ! And 1 swear that I will love all thy sons 
like brothers ; that I will always honor in my heart thy 
great men, living and dead ; that I will be an industrious 
and honest citizen, constantly intent on ennobling myself, in 
order to render myself worthy of thee, to assist with my 
small powers in causing misery, ignorance, injustice, crime, 
to disappear one day from thy face, so that thou mayest live 
and expand tranquilly in the majesty of thy right and of 
thy strength. I swear that I will serve thee, as it may be 
granted to me, with my mind, with my arm, with my heart, 
humbly, ardently; and that, if the day should dawn in 
which I should be called on to give my blood for thee and 
my life, I will give my blood, and I will die, crying thy holy 
name to heaven, and wafting my last kiss to thy blessed 
banner." 



THIRTY-TWO DEGREES. 205 



THIRTY-TWO DEGREES. 

Friday, lGth. 

During the five days which have passed since the 
National Festival, the heat has increased by three de* 
grees. We are in full summer now, and begin to feel 
weary ; all have lost their fine rosy color of springtime ; 
necks and legs are growing thin, heads droop and eyes 
close. Poor Nelli, who suffers much from the heat, has 
turned the color of wax in the face ; he sometimes 
falls into a heavy sleep, with his head on his copy- 
book ; but Garrone is always watchful, and places an 
open book upright in front of him, so that the master 
may not see him. Crossi rests his red head against 
the bench in a certain way, so that it looks as though 
it had been detached from his body and placed there 
separately. Nobis complains that there are too many 
of us, and that we corrupt the air. Ah, what an 
effort it costs now to study ! I gaze through the win- 
dows at those beautiful trees which cast so deep a 
shade, where I should be so glad to run, and sadness 
and wrath overwhelm me at being obliged to go and 
shut myself up among the benches. But then I take 
courage at the sight of my kind mother, who is always 
watching me, scrutinizing me, when I return from 
school, to see whether I am not pale ; and at every 
page of my work she sa}'s to me : — 

"Do you still feel well?" and every morning at 
six, when she wakes me for my lesson, "Courage! 
there are only so many days more : then you will be 
free, and will get rested, — you will go to the shade of 
country lanes." 

Yes, she is perfectly right to remind me of the boys 
who are working in the fields in the full heat of the 



296 THIRTY-TWO DEGREES. 

sun, or among the white sands of the river, which 
blind and scorch them, and of those in the glass-facto- 
ries, who stand all day long motionless, with head bent 
over a flame of gas ; and all of them rise earlier than 
we do, and have no vacations. Courage, then ! And 
even in this respect, Derossi is at the head of all, for 
he suffers neither from heat nor drowsiness ; he is al- 
ways wide awake, and cheeiy, with his golden curls, 
as he was in the winter, and he studies without effort, 
and keeps all about him alert, as though he freshened 
the air with his voice. 

And there are two others, also, who are alwa}*s 
awake and attentive : stubborn Stardi, who pricks his 
face, to prevent himself from going to sleep ; and the 
more wearv and heated he is, the more he sets his 
teeth, and he opens his eyes so wide that it seems as 
though he wanted to eat the teacher ; and that bar- 
terer of a Garoffi, who is wholly absorbed in manufac- 
turing fans out of red paper, decorated with little 
figures from match-boxes, which he sells at two cen- 
tesimi apiece. 

But the bravest of all is Coretti ; poor Coretti, 
who gets up at five o'clock, to help his father cany 
wood ! At eleven, in school, he can no longer keep 
his e}*es open, and. his head droops on his breast. And 
nevertheless, he shakes himself, punches himself on 
the back of the neck, asks permission to go out and 
wash his face, and makes his neighbors shake and 
pinch him. But this morning he could not resist, and 
he fell into a leaden sleep. The master called him 
loudly; "Coretti!" He did not hear. The mas- 
ter, irritated, repeated, "Coretti!" Then the son of 
the charcoal-man, who lives next to him at home, rose 
and said : — 



MY FATHER. 297 

" He worked from five until seven carrying faggots." 
The teacher allowed him to sleep on, and continued 
with the lesson for half an hour. Then he went to 
Coretti's seat, and wakened him very, very gently, by 
blowing in his face. On beholding the master in front 
of him, he started back in alarm. But the master took 
his head in his hands, and said, as he kissed him on 
the hair : — 

"I am not reproving you, my son. Your sleep is 
not at all that of laziness ; it is the sleep of fatigue." 



s 



MY FATHER. 

Saturday, 17th. 

Surely, neither your comrade Coretti nor Garrone would 
ever have answered their fathers as you answered yours this 
afternoon. Enrico ! How is it possible ? You must prom- 
ise me solemnly that this shall never happen again so long 
as I live. Every time that an impertinent reply flies to your 
lips at a reproof from your father, think of that day which 
will infallibly come when he will call you to his bedside to 
tell you, " Enrico, I am about to leave you." Oh, my son, 
when you hear his voice for the last time, and for a long while 
afterwards, when you weep alone in his deserted room, in the 
midst of those books which he will never open again, then, 
on recalling that you have at times been wanting in respect 
to him, you, too, will ask yourself, "How is it possible?" 
Then you will understand that he has always been your best 
friend, that when he was constrained to punish you, it caused 
him more suffering than it did you, and that he never made 
you weep except for the sake of doing you good ; and then 
you will repent, and you will kiss with tears that desk at 
which he worked so much, at which he wore out his life for 
his children. You do not understand now ; he hides from 
you all of himself except his kindness and his love. You do 
not know that he is sometimes so broken down with toil 



298 IN THE COUNTRY. 

that he thinks he has only a few more days to live, and that 
at such moments he talks only of you; he has in his heart 
no other trouble than that of leaving you poor and without 
protection. 

And how often, when meditating on this, does he enter 
your chamber while you are asleep, and stand there, lamp 
in hand, gazing at you ; and then he makes an effort, and 
weary and sad as he is, he returns to his labor ; and neither 
do you know that he often seeks you and remains with you 
because he has a bitterness in his heart, sorrows which 
attack all men in the world, and he seeks you as a friend, 
to obtain consolation himself and forgetfulness, and he feels 
the need of taking refuge in your affection, to recover his 
serenity and his courage : think, then, what must be his sor- 
row, when instead of finding in you affection, he finds cold- 
ness and disrespect ! Never again stain yourself with this 
horrible ingratitude ! Reflect, that were you as good as a 
saint, you could never repay him sufficiently for what he has 
done and for what he is constantly doing for you. And 
reflect, also, we cannot count on life ; a misfortune might 
remove your father while you are still a boy, — in two years, 
in three months, to-morrow. 

Ah, my poor Enrico, when you see all about you changing, 
how empty, how desolate the house will appear, with your 
poor mother clothed in black ! Go, my son, go to your father ; 
he is in his room at work ; go on tiptoe, so that he may not 
hear you enter ; go and lay your forehead on his knees, and 
beseech him to pardon and to bless you. 



m THE COUNTRY. 

Monday, 19th. 

My good father forgave me, even on this occasion, 
and allowed me to go on an expedition to the country, 
which had been arranged on Wednesday, with the 
father of Coretti, the wood-peddler. 

We were all in need of a mouthful of hill air. It 



IN THE COUNTRY. 299 

was a festival da v. We met yesterday at two o'clock 
iu the place of the Statute, Derossi, Garrone, Garofli, 
Precossi, Coretti, father and son, and I, with our pro- 
visions of fruit, sausages, and hard-boiled eggs ; we 
had also leather bottles and tin cups. Garrone carried 
a gourd filled with white wine ; Coretti, his father's 
soldier-canteen, full of red wine ; and little Precossi, 
in the blacksmith's blouse, held under his arm a two- 
kilogramme loaf. 

We went in the omnibus as far as Gran Madre di 
Dio, and then off, as briskly as possible, to the hills. 
How green, how shad\', how fresh it was ! We rolled 
over and over in the grass, we dipped our faces in the 
rivulets, we leaped the hedges. The elder Coretti 
followed us at a distance, with his jacket thrown over 
his shoulders, smoking his clay pipe, and from time to 
time threatening us with his hand, to prevent our tear- 
ing holes in our trousers. 

Precossi whistled ; I had never heard him whistle 
before. The vouno-er Coretti did the same, as he went 
along. That little fellow knows how to make every- 
thing with his jack-knife a finger's length long, — mill- 
wheels, forks, squirts ; and he insisted on carrying the 
other boys' things, and he was loaded down until he 
was dripping with perspiration, but he was still as 
nimble as a goat. Derossi halted every moment to tell 
us the names of the plants and insects. I don't under- 
stand how he manages to know so many things. 
And Garrone nibbled at his bread in silence ; but he no 
longer attacks it with the cheery bites of old, poor 
Garrone ! now that he has lost his mother. But he is 
always as good as bread himself. When one of us ran 
back to obtain the momentum for leaping a ditch, he 
ran to the other side, and held out his hands to us ; 



300 -flV THE COUNTRY. 

and as Precossi was afraid of cows, having been tossed 
by one when a child, Garrone placed himself in front 
of him ever}* time that we passed any. We mounted 
up to Santa Margherita, and then went down the de- 
cline by leaps, rolls, and slides. Precossi tumbled into 
a thorn-bush, and tore a hole in his blouse, and stood 
there overwhelmed with shame, with the strip dangling ; 
but Garoffl, who always has pins in his jacket, fixed it 
so that it was not perceptible, while the other kept say- 
ing, " Excuse me, excuse me," and then he set out to 
run once more. 

Garoffl did not waste his time on the way ; he picked 
salad herbs and snails, and put every stone that glis- 
tened in the least into his pocket, supposing that there 
was gold and silver in it. And on we went, running, 
rolling, and climbing through the shade and in the sun, 
up and down, through all the lanes and cross-roads, 
until we arrived dishevelled and breathless at the crest 
of a hill, where we seated ourselves to take our lunch 
on the grass. 

We could see an immense plain, and all the blue Alps 
with their white summits. We were dying of hunger ; 
the bread seemed to be melting. The elder Coretti 
handed us our portions of sausage on gourd leaves. 
And then we all began to talk at once about the teachers, 
the comrades who had not been able to come, and the 
examinations. Precossi was rather ashamed to eat, and 
Garrone thrust the best bits of his share into his mouth 
by force. Coretti was seated next his father, with his 
legs crossed ; the}' seem more like two brothers than 
father and son, when seen thus together, both rosy and 
smiling, with those white teeth of theirs. The father 
drank with zest, emptying the bottles and the cups 
which we left half finished, an(J said : — 




C5 

Z 

(5 
Z 
c/) 

Q 
Z 
< 

cs 

z 

z 
z 

DC 

Q 
UJ 
Q 

Z 

Ul 

o 

co 

UJ 

Q 

UJ 



IN THE COUNTRY. 301 

" Wine hurts you boys who are studying ; it is the 
wood-sellers who need it." Then he grasped his son by 
the nose, and shook him, saying to us, "Boys, you 
must love this fellow, for he is a flower of a man of 
honor ; I tell vou so myself ! " And then we all laughed, 
except Garrone. And he went on, as he drank, " It's 
a shame, eh ! now you are all good friends together, 
and in a few years, who knows, Enrico and Derossi will 
be lawyers or professors or I don't know what, and 
the other four of 3*011 will be in shops or at a trade, 
and the deuce knows where, and then — good night 
comrades ! " 

'• Nonsense ! " rejoined Derossi ; " for me, Garrone 
will always be Garrone, Precossi will always be 
Precossi, and the same with all the others, were I to 
become the emperor of Russia : where they are, there 
I shall go also." 

" Bless 3*011 ! " exclaimed the elder Coretti, raising 
his flask ; " that's the way to talk, by Heavens ! Touch 
vour glass here ! Hurrah for brave comrades, and hur- 
rah for school, which makes one family of vou, of those 
who have and those who have not ! " 

We all clinked his flask with the skins and the cups, 
and drank for the last time. 

" Hurrah for the fourth of the 49th ! " he cried, as 
he rose to his feet, and swallowed the last drop ; " and 
if you have to do with squadrons too, see that you 
stand firm, like us old ones, my lads ! " 

It was already late. We descended, running and 
singing, and walking long distances all arm in arm, 
and we arrived at the Po as twilight fell, and thousands 
of fireflies were flitting about. And we only parted in 
the Piazza dello Statuto after having agreed to meet 
there on the following Sunday, and go to the Vittorio 



302 THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 

Emanuele to see the distribution of prizes to the grad« 
uates of the evening schools. 

What a beautiful day ! How happy I should have 
been on my return home, had I not encountered my poor 
schoolmistress ! I met her coming down the staircase 
of our house, almost in the dark, and, as soon as she 
recognized me, she took both my hands, and whispered 
in my ear, " Good by, Enrico ; remember me ! " I per- 
ceived that she was weeping. I went up and told my 
mother about it. 

"I have just met my schoolmistress." — " She was 
just goiug to bed," replied my mother, whose eyes were 
red. And then she added very sadly, gazing intently 
at me, " Your poor teacher — is very ill." 



THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES TO THE 

WORKINGMEN. 

Sunday, 25th. 

As we had agreed, we all went together to the The- 
atre Vittorio Emanuele, to view the distribution of 
prizes to the workingmen. The theatre was adorned as 
on the 14th of March, and thronged, but almost wholly 
with the families of workmen ; and the pit was occupied 
with the male and female pupils of the school of choral 
singing.. These sang a hvran to the soldiers who had 
died in the Crimea ; which was so beautiful that, when 
it was finished, all rose and clapped and shouted, so 
that the song had to be repeated from the beginning. 
And then the prize-winners began immediately to march 
past the mayor, the prefect, and many others, who pre- 
sented them with books, savings-bank books, diplomas, 
and medals. In one corner of the pit I espied the little 



THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 303 

i 

mason, sitting beside his mother ; and in another place 
there was the head-master ; and behind him, the red 
head of my master of the second grade. 

The first to defile were the pupils of the evening draw- 
ing classes — the goldsmiths, engravers, lithographers, 
and also the carpenters and masons ; then those of 
the commercial school ; then those of the Musical Ly- 
ceum, among them several girls, working women, all 
dressed in festal attire, who were saluted with great 
applause, and who laughed. Last came the pupils of 
the elementary evening schools, and then it began to 
be a beautiful sight. Thev were of all ages, of all 
trades, and dressed in all sorts of ways, — men with 
gray hair, factory boys, artisans with big black beards. 
The little ones were at their ease ; the men, a little em- 
barrassed. The people clapped the oldest and the 
youngest, but none of the spectators laughed, as they 
did at our festival : all faces were attentive and seri- 
ous. 

Man}* of the prize-winners had wives and children in 
the pit, and there were little children who, when they 
saw their father pass across the stage, called him by 
name at the tops of their voices, and signalled to him 
with their hands, laughing violently. Peasants passed, 
and porters ; they were from the Buoncompagni School. 
From the Cittadella School there was a bootblack 
whom my father knew, and the prefect gave him a 
diploma. After him I saw approaching a man as big 
as a giant, whom I fancied that I had seen several 
times before. It was the father of the little mason, 
who had won the second prize. I remembered when I 
had seen him in the garret, at the bedside of his sick 
son, and I immediately sought out his son in the pit. 
Poor little mason ! he was staring at his father with 



804 T HE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 

beaming eyes, and, in order to conceal his emotion, he 
made his hare's face. At that moment I heard a burst 
of applause, and I glanced at the stage : a little chim- 
ney-sweep stood there, with a clean face, but in his 
working-clothes, and the mayor was holding him by 
the hand and talking to him. 

After the chimney-sweep came a cook ; then came 
one of the city sweepers, from the Raineri School, to 
get a prize. I felt I know not what in my heart, — 
something like a great affection and a great respect, at 
the thought of how much those prizes had cost all those 
workingmen, fathers of families, full of care ; how 
much toil added to their labors, how man}* hours 
snatched from their sleep, of which they stand in 
such great need, and what efforts of intelligences not 
habituated to study, and of huge hands rendered 
clumsy with work ! 

A factory boy passed, and it was evident that his 
father had lent him his jacket for the occasion, for his 
sleeves hung down so that he was forced to turn them 
back on the stage, in order to receive his prize: and 
many laughed ; but the laugh was speedily stifled by the 
applause. Next came an old man with a bald head and 
a white beard. Several artillery soldiers passed, from 
amono- those who attended evening school in our school- 
house; then came custom-house guards and policemen, 
from among those who guard our schools. 

At the conclusion, the pupils of the evening schools 
again sang the hymn to the dead in the Crimea, but this 
time with so much dash, with a strength of affection 
which came so directly from the heart, that the audience 
hardly applauded at all, and all retired in deep emotion, 
slowly and noiselessly. 

In a few moments the whole street was thronged. 



MY DEAD SCHOOLMISTRESS. 305 

In front of the entrance to the theatre was the chimney- 
sweep, with his prize book bound in red, and all around 
were gentlemen talking to him. Man}* exchanged salu- 
tations from the opposite side of the street, — workmen, 
boys, policemen, teachers. My master of the second 
grade came out in the midst of the crowd, between two 
artillery men. And there were workmen's wives with 
babies in their arms, who held in their tiny hands their 
father's diploma, and exhibited it to the crowd in their 
pride. 



MY DEAD SCHOOLMISTRESS. 

Tuesday, 27th. 

While we were at the Theatre Vittorio Emanuele, 
my poor schoolmistress died. She died at two o'clock, 
a week after she had come to see my mother. The head- 
master came to the school yesterday morning to an- 
nounce it to us ; and he said : — 

" Those of you who were her pupils know how good 
she was, how she loved her boys : she was a mother to 
them. Now, she is no more. For a long time a terrible 
malady has been sapping her life. If she had not been 
obliged to work to earn her bread, she could have taken 
care of herself, and perhaps recovered. At all events, 
she could have prolonged her life for several months, if 
she had procured a leave of absence. But she wished 
to remain among her boys to the very last da}*. On the 
evening of Saturday, the seventeenth, she took leave of 
them, with the certainty that she should never see them 
again. She gave them good advice, kissed them all, 
and went away sobbing. No one will ever behold het 
again. Remember her, my boys!" 



806 MY DEAD SCHOOL3IISTRESS. 

Little Precossi, who had been one of her pupils in 
the upper primary, dropped his head on his desk and 
began to cry. 

Yesterday afternoon, after school, we all went to- 
gether to the house of the dead woman, to accompany 
her to church. There was a hearse in the street, with 
two horses, and many people were waiting, and convers- 
ing in a low voice. There was the head-master, all the 
masters and mistresses from our school, and from the 
other schoolhouses where she had taught in bygone 
years. There were nearly all the little children in her 
classes, led by the hand b} T their mothers, who carried 
tapers ; and there were a veiy great many from the 
other classes, and fifty scholars from the Baretti School, 
some with wreaths in their hands, some with bunches 
of roses. A great many bouquets of flowers had already 
been placed on the hearse, upon which was fastened a 
large wreath of acacia, with an inscription in black let- 
ters : The old pupils of the fourth grade to their mis- 
tress. And under the large wreath a little one was 
suspended, which the babies had brought. Among the 
crowd were visible mam* servant- women, who had been 
sent by their mistresses with candles ; and there were 
also two serving-men in lively, with lighted torches ; 
and a wealthy gentleman, the father of one of the mis- 
tress's scholars, had sent his carriage, lined with blue 
satin. All were crowded together near the door. Sev- 
eral girls were wiping away their tears. 

We waited for a while in silence. At length the cas- 
ket was brought out. Some of the little ones began to 
cry loudly when they saw the coffin slid into the hearse, 
and one began to shriek, as though he had only then 
comprehended that his mistress was dead, and he was 



MY LEAL SCHOOLMISTRESS. 307 

seized with such a convulsive fit of sobbing, that they 
were obliged to carry him away. 

The procession got slowly into line and set out. 
First came the daughters of the Ritiro della Concezi- 
one, dressed in green ; then the daughters of Maria, 
all in white, with a blue ribbon ; then the priests ; and 
behind the hearse, the masters and mistresses, the tiny 
scholars of the upper primary, and all the others ; and, 
at the end of all, the crowd. People came to the 
windows and to the doors, and on seeing all those 
boys, and the wreath, they said, "It is a schoolmis- 
tress." Even some of the ladies who accompanied the 
smallest children wept. 

When the church was reached, the casket was re- 
moved from the hearse, and carried to the middle of 
the nave, in front of the great altar : the mistresses 
laid their wreaths on it, the children covered it with 
flowers, and the people all about, with lighted candles 
in their hands, began to chant the prayers in the vast 
and gloomy church. Then, all of a sudden, when the 
priest had said the last amen, the candles were extin- 
guished, and all went away in haste, and the mistress 
was left alone. Poor mistress, who was so kind to 
me, who had so much patience, who had toiled for so 
many years ! She has left her little books to her 
scholars, and everything which she possessed, — to one 
an inkstand, to another a little picture ; and two days 
before her death, she said to the head-master that he 
was not to allow the smallest of them to go to her 
funeral, because she did not wish them to cry. 

She has done good, she has suffered, she is dead ! 
Poor mistress, left alone in that dark church ! Fare- 
well ! Farewell forever, my kind friend, sad and 
sweet memory of my infancy ! 



308 THANKS. 



THANKS. 

Wednesday, 28th. 

My poor schoolmistress wanted to finish her year of 
school : she departed only three days before the end 
of the lessons. Day after to-morrow we go once more 
to the schoolroom to hear the reading of the monthly 
story, Shipwreck, and then — it is over. On Saturday, 
the first of Juh", the examinations begin. And then 
another year, the fourth, is past ! And if my mistress 
had not died, it would have passed well. 

I thought over all that I had known on the preced- 
ing October, and it seems to me that I know a good 
deal more : I have so many new things in my mind ; 
I can say and write what I think better than I could 
then ; 1 can also do the sums of man}' grown-up men who 
know nothing about it, and help them in their affairs ; 
and I understand much more : I understand nearly 
everything that I read. I am satisfied. But how 
many people have urged me on and helped me to learn, 
one in one way, and another in another, at home, at 
school, in the street, — everywhere where I have been 
and where 1 have seen anything ! And now, I thank 
you all. 1 thank you first, my good teacher, for hav- 
ing been so indulgent and affectionate with me ; for 
you every new acquisition of mine was a labor, for 
which I now rejoice and of which I am proud. I thank 
you, Derossi, my admirable companion, for your prompt 
and kind explanations, for you have made me under- 
stand many of the most difficult things, and overcome 
stumbling-blocks at examinations ; and vou, too, Star- 
di, you brave and strong boy, who have showed me 
how a will of iron succeeds in everything ; and you, 
kind, generous Garrone, who make all those who know 



SHIPWRECK. 309 

you kind and generous too ; and you too, Precossi and 
Coretti, who have given me an example of courage in 
suffering, and of serenity in toil, I render thanks to 
vou : I render thanks to all the rest. But above all, 
I thank thee, my father, thee, my first teacher, nry first 
friend, who hast given me so many wise counsels, and 
hast taught me so many things, whilst thou wert work- 
ing for me, alwa}-s concealing thy sadness from me, 
and seeking in all ways to render study easy, and life 
beautiful to me; and thee, sweet mother, my beloved 
and blessed guardian angel, who hast tasted all my 
joys, and suffered all my bitternesses, who hast stud- 
ied, worked, and wept with me, with one hand caress- 
ing my brow, and with the other pointing me to 
heaven. I kneel before }'ou, as when I was a little 
child ; I thank you for all the tenderness which you 
have instilled into my mind through twelve years of 
sacrifices and of love. 



SHIPWRECK. 

(Last Monthly Story.') 

One morning in the month of December, several 
years ago, there sailed from the port of Liverpool a 
huge steamer, which had on board two hundred per- 
sons, including a crew of sixty. The captain and 
nearly all the sailors were English. Among the pas- 
sengers there were several Italians, — three gentlemen, 
a priest, and a company of musicians. The steamer 
was bound for the island of Malta. The weather was 
threatening. 

Among the third-class passengers forward, was an 
Italian lad of a dozen years, small for his age, but 



310 SHIPWRECK. 

robust ; a bold, handsome, austere face, of Sicilian 
t}'pe. He was alone near the fore-mast, seated on a 
coil of cordage, beside a well-worn valise, which con- 
tained his effects, and upon which he kept a hand. 
His face was brown, and his black and wavy hair 
descended to his shoulders. He was meanly clad, and 
had a tattered mantle thrown over his shoulders, and 
an old leather pouch on a cross-belt. He gazed thought- 
fully about him at the passengers, the ship, the sailors 
who were running past, and at the restless sea. He 
had the appearance of a boy who has recently issued 
from a great family sorrow, — the face of a child, the 
expression of a man. 

A little after their departure, one of the steamer's 
crew, an Italian with gray hair, made his appearance 
on the bow, holding by the hand a little girl ; and 
coming to a halt in front of the little Sicilian, he said 
to him : — 

"Here's a travelling companion for } t ou, Mario." 
Then he went away. 

The girl seated herself on the pile of cordage beside 
the boy. 

They surveyed each other. 

" Where are you going?" asked the Sicilian. 

The girl replied : " To Malta on the way of Naples." 
Then she added: "I am going to see my father and 
mother, who are expecting me. My name is Giulietta 
Fagcnani." 

The bov said nothing . 

After the lapse of a few minutes, he drew some 
bread from his pouch, and some dried fruit ; the girl 
had some biscuits : thev began to eat. 

" Look sharp there ! " shouted the Italian sailor, as 
he passed rapidly ; " a lively time is at hand ! " 



SHIPWRECK. 311 

The wind continued to increase, the steamer pitched 
heavily ; but the two children, who did not suffer 
from seasickness, paid no heed to it. The little girl 
smiled. She was about the same age as her compan- 
ion, but was considerably taller, brown of complexion, 
slender, somewhat sickly, and dressed more than mod- 
estly. Her hair was short and curling, she wore a red 
kerchief over her head, and two hoops of silver in her 
ears. 

As they ate, they talked about themselves and their 
affairs. The boy had no longer either father or mother. 
The father, an artisan, had died a few days previously 
in Liverpool, leaving him alone ; and the Italian consul 
had sent him back to his country, to Palermo, where 
he had still some distant relatives left. The little girl 
had been taken to London, the year before, by a wid- 
owed aunt, who was very fond of her, and to whom 
her parents — poor people — had given her for a time, 
trusting in a promise of an inheritance ; but the aunt 
had died a few months later, run over by an omnibus, 
without leaving a centesimo ; and then she too had had 
recourse to the consul, who had shipped her to Italy. 
Both had been recommended to the care of the Italian 
sailor. — " So," concluded the little maid, " my father 
and mother thought that I would return rich, and in- 
stead I am returning poor. But they will love me all 
the same. And so will my brothers. I have four, all 
small. I am the oldest at home. I dress them. They 

•/ 

will be greatly delighted to see me. They will come in 
on tiptoe — The sea is ugly ! " 

Then she asked the boy: "And are you going to 
stay with your relatives?" 

kt Yes — if they want me." 

" Do not they love you?" 



312 SHIPWRECK. 

"I don't know." 

" I shall be thirteen at Christmas," said the girl. 

Then they began to talk about the sea, and the 
people on board around them. They remained near 
each other all day, exchanging a few words now and 
then. The passengers thought them brother and sister. 
The girl knitted at a stocking, the boy meditated, the 
sea continued to grow rougher. At night, as they 
parted to go to bed, the girl said to Mario, " Sleep 
well." 

"No one will sleep well, nry poor children!" ex- 
claimed the Italian sailor as he ran past, in answer to 
a call from the captain. The boy was on the point of 
replying with a " good night " to his little friend, when 
an unexpected dash of water dealt him a violent blow, 
and flung him against a seat. 

" My dear, you are bleeding ! " cried the girl, fling- 
ing herself upon him. The passengers who were mak- 
ing their escape below, paid no heed to them. The 
child knelt down beside Mario, who had been stunned 
by the blow, wiped the blood from his brow, and pull- 
ing the red kerchief from her hair, she bound it about 
his head, then pressed his head to her breast in order 
to knot the ends, and thus received a spot of blood on 
her yellow bodice just above the girdle. Mario shook 
himself and rose : 

" Are you better? " asked the girl. 

"Ido longer feel it," he replied. 

" Sleep well," said Giulietta. 

" Good night," responded Mario. And they de- 
scended two neighboring sets of steps to their dormito- 
ries. 

The sailor's prediction proved correct. Before they 
could get to sleep, a frightful tempest had broken 



SHIPWRECK. 313 

loose. It was like the sudden onslaught of furious 
great horses, which in the course of a few minutes split 
one mast, and carried away three boats which were 
suspended to the falls, and four cows on the bow, like 
leaves. On board the steamer there arose a confusion, 
a terror, an uproar, a tempest of shrieks, wails, and 
prayers, sufficient to make the hair stand on end. The 
tempest continued to increase in fury all night. At 
daybreak it was still increasing. The formidable 
waves dashing the craft transversely, broke over the 
deck, and smashed, split, and hurled everything into 
the sea. The platform which screened the engine was 
destroyed, and the water dashed in with a terrible roar ; 
the fires were extinguished ; the engineers fled ; huge 
and impetuous streams forced their way everywhere. 
A voice of thunder shouted : 

" To the pumps ! " It was the captain's voice. The 
sailors rushed to the pumps. But a sudden burst of 
the sea, striking the vessel on the stern, demolished 
bulwarks and hatchways, and sent a flood within. 

All the passengers, more dead than alive, had taken 
refuge in the grand saloon. At last the captain made 
his appearance. 

" Captain ! Captain ! " they all shrieked in concert. 
" What is taking place? Where are we? Is there any 
hope ! Save us ! " 

The captain waited until they were silent, then said 
coolly ; " Let us be resigned." 

One woman uttered a cry of ' ' Mercy ! " No one 
else could give vent to a sound. Terror had frozen 
them all. A long time passed thus, in a silence like 
that of the grave. All gazed at each other with blanched 
faces. The sea continued to rage and roar. The ves- 
sel pitched heavily. At one moment the captain 



314 SHIPWRECK. 

attempted to lauDcli one life-boat ; five sailors entered 
it ; the boat sank ; the waves turned it over, and two 
of the sailors were drowned, among them the Italian : 
the others contrived with difficulty to catch hold of the 
ropes and draw themselves up again. 

After this, the sailors themselves lost all courage. 
Two hours later, the vessel was sunk in the water to 
the height of the port-holes. 

A terrible spectacle was presented meanwhile on the 
deck. Mothers pressed their children to their breasts 
in despair ; friends exchanged embraces and bade each 
other farewell ; some went down into the cabins that 
they might die without seeing the sea. One passenger 
shot himself in the head with a pistol, and fell head- 
long down the stairs to the cabin, where he expired. 
Many clung f rantically to each other ; women writhed 
in horrible convulsions. There was audible a chorus 
of sobs, of infantile laments, of strange and piercing 
voices ; and here and there persons were visible motion- 
less as statues, in stupor, with eyes dilated and sight- 
less, — faces of corpses and madmen. The two chil- 
dren, Giulietta and Mario, clung to a mast and gazed 
at the sea with staring eyes, as though senseless. 

The sea had subsided a little ; but the vessel contin- 
ued to sink slowly. Only a few minutes remained to 
them. 

" Launch the long-boat ! " shouted the captain. 

A boat, the last that remained, was thrown into the 
water, and fourteen sailors and three passengers de- 
scended into it. 

The captain remained on board. 

" Come down with us ! " they shouted to him from 
below. 

" I must die at my post," replied the captain. 



SHIPWRECK. 315 

" We shall meet a vessel," the sailors cried to him ; 
" we shall be saved ! Come clown ! you are lost ! " 

" I shall remain." 

u There is room for one more ! " shouted the sailors, 
turning to the other passengers. " A woman ! " 

A woman advanced, aided by the captain ; but on 
seeing the distance at which the boat la}', she did not 
feel sufficient courage to leap down, and fell back upon 
the deck. The other women had nearly all fainted, 
and were as dead. 

" A boy ! " shouted the sailors. 

At that shout, the Sicilian lad and his companion, 
who had remained up to that moment petrified as by 
a supernatural stupor, were suddenly aroused again by 
a violent instinct to save their lives. They detached 
themselves simultaneously from the mast, and rushed 
to the side of the vessel, shrieking in concert : " Take 
me ! " and endeavoring in turn, to drive the other back, 
like furious beasts. 

"The smallest !" shouted the sailors. "The boat 
is overloaded ! The smallest ! " 

On hearing these words, the girl dropped her arms, 
as though struck by lightning, and stood motionless, 
staring at Mario with lustreless eyes. 

Mario looked at her for a moment, — saw the spot 
of blood on her bodice, — remembered — The gleam 
of a divine thought flashed across his face. 

" The smallest ! " shouted the sailors in chorus, with 
imperious impatience. " We are going ! " 

And then Mario, with a voice which no longer 
seemed his own, cried : " She is the lighter ! It is for 
you, Giulietta ! You have a father and mother ! I 
am alone ! I give you my place ! Go down ! " 

" Throw her into the sea ! " shouted the sailors. 



316 SHIPWRECK. 

Mario seized Giulietta by the bod}', and threw her 
into the sea. 

The girl uttered a cry and made a splash ; a sailor 
seized her b}- the arm, and dragged her into the boat. 

The boy remained at the vessel's side, with his hea(? 
held high, his hair streaming in the wind, — motionless, 
tranquil, sublime. 

The boat moved off just in time to escape the whirl- 
pool which the vessel produced as it sank, and which 
threatened to overturn it. 

Then the girl, who had remained senseless until that 
moment, raised her eyes to the boy, and burst into a 
storm of tears. 

" Good by, Mario ! " she cried, amid her sobs, with 
her arms outstretched towards him. " Good by! 
Good by! Good by ! " 

"Good by!" replied the boy, raising his hand on 
high. 

The boat went swiftly awav across the troubled sea, 
beneath the dark sky. No one on board the vessel 
shouted any longer. The water was already lapping 
the edge of the deck. 

Suddenly the boy fell on his knees, with his hands 
folded and his eves raised to heaven. 

The girl covered her face. 

When she raised her head again, she cast a glance 
over the sea : the vessel was no longer there. 



TUE LAST 1'AUE FROM MX MOTHER. Z11 



JULY. 



-*o^ 



THE LAST PAGE FROM MY MOTHER. 

Saturday, 1st. 

So the year has come to an end, Enrico, and it is well that 
vou should be left on the last day with the image of the 
sublime child, who gave his life for his friend. You are now 
about to part from your teachers and companions, and I 
must impart to you some sad news. The separation will last 
not three months, but forever. Your father, for reasons 
connected with his profession, is obliged to leave Turin, and 
we are all to go with him. 

We shall go next autumn. You will have to enter a new 
school. You are sorry for this, are you not ? For I am sure 
that you love your old school, where twice a day, for the space 
of four years, you have experienced the pleasure of working ; 
where for so long a time, you have seen, at stated hours, the 
same boys, the same teachers, the same parents, and your 
own father or mother awaiting you with a smile ; your old 
school, where your mind first unclosed, where you have 
found so many kind companions, where every word that you 
have heard has had your good for its object, and where you 
have not suffered a single displeasure which has not been 
useful to you ! Then bear this affection with you, and bid 
these boys a hearty farewell. Some of them will expedience 
misfortunes, they will soon lose their fathers and mothers ; 
others will die young ; others, perhaps, will nobly shed their 
blood in battle ; many will become brave and honest workmen, 
the fathers of honest and industrious workmen like them- 
selves ; and who knows whether there may not also be among 



:48 THE EXAMINATIONS. 

them one who will render great services to his country, and 
make his name glorious. Then part from them with affec- 
tion ; leave a portion of your soul here, in this great family 
into which you entered as a baby, and from which you 
emerge a young lad, and which your father and mother loved 
so dearly, because you were so much beloved by it. 

School is a mother, my Enrico. It took you from my 
arms when you could hardly speak, and now it returns you 
to me, strong, good, studious ; blessings on it, and may you 
never forget it more, my son. Oh, it is impossible that 
you should forget it ! You will become a man, you will 
make the tour of the world, you will see immense cities and 
wonderful monuments, and you will remember many among 
them; but that modest white edifice, with those closed 
shutters and that little garden, where the first flower of 
your intelligence budded, you will perceive until the last 
day of your Hfe, as I shall always behold the house in which 
I heard your voice for the first time. 



THE EXAMINATIONS. 

Tuesday, 4th. 

Here are the examinations at last ! Nothing else is 
to be heard under discussion, in the streets in the 
vicinity of the school, from boj's, fathers, mothers, and 
even tutors ; examinations, points, themes, averages, 
dismissals, promotions : all utter the same words. 
Yesterday morning there was composition ; this morn- 
ing there is arithmetic. It was touching to see all the 
parents, as they conducted their sons to school, giving 
them their last advice in the street, and man} 7 mothers 
accompanied their sons to their seats, to see whether 
the inkstand was filled, and to try their pens, and 
they still continued to hover round the entrance, and 
to say : 

u Courage ! Attention ! I entreat you." 



THE EXAMINATIONS. 319 

Our assistant-master was Coatti, the one with the 
black beard, who mimics the voice of a lion, and never 
punishes any one. There were boys who were white 
with fear. When the master broke the seal of the 
letter from the town-hall, and drew out the problem, 
not a breath was audible. He announced the problem 
loudly, staring now at one, now at another, with 
terrible eves ; but we understood that had he been able 
to announce the answer also, so that we might all get 
promoted, he would have been delighted. 

After an hour of work many began to grow weary, 
for the problem was difficult. One cried. Crossi dealt 
himself blows on the head. And many of them are not 
to blame, poor boys, for not knowing, for they have not 
had much time to study, and have been neglected by 
their parents. But Providence was at hand. You 
should have seen Derossi, and what trouble he took to 
help them ; how ingenious he was in getting a figure 
passed on, and in suggesting an operation, without 
allowing himself to be caught ; so anxious for all that he 
appeared to be our teacher himself. Garrone, too, who 
is strong in arithmetic, helped all he could ; and he 
even assisted Nobis, who, finding himself in a quandary, 
was quite gentle. 

Stardi remained motionless for more than an hour, 
with his eyes on the problem, and his fists on his tem- 
ples, and then he finished the whole thing in five min- 
utes. The master made his round among the benches, 
saying : — 

" Be calm ! Be calm ! I advise you to be calm ! " 

And when he saw that any one was discouraged, he 
opened his mouth, as though about to devour him, in 
imitation of a lion, in order to make him laugh and 
inspire him with courage. Toward eleven o'clock, peep- 



320 TRB EXAMINATIONS. 

ing down through the blinds, I perceived many parents 
pacing the street in their impatience. There was Pre- 
cossi's father, in his blue blouse, who had deserted his 
shop, with his face still quite black. There was Cros- 
si's mother, the vegetable-vender ; and Nelli's mother, 
dressed in black, who could not stand still. 

A little before mid-day, my father arrived and raised 
his eyes to m}' window ; my dear father ! At noon we had 
all finished. And it was a sight at the close of school ! 
Every one ran to meet the boys, to ask questions, to 
turn over the leaves of the copy-books to compare them 
with the work of their comrades. 

" How many operations ? What is the total? And 
subtraction? And the answer? And the punctuation 
of decimals?" 

All the masters were running about hither and thither, 
summoned in a hundred directions. 

My father instantly took from my hand the rough 
copy, looked at it, and said, " That's well." 

Beside us was the blacksmith, Precossi, who was also 
inspecting his son's work, but rather uneasily, and not 
comprehending it. He turned to my father : — 

" Will you do me the favor to ^ell me the total?" 

My father read the number. The other gazed and 
reckoned. " Brave little one ! " he exclaimed, in per- 
fect content. And my father and he gazed at each 
other for a moment with a kindlv smile, like two 
friends. My father offered his hand, and the other 
shook it ; and they parted, saying, " Farewell until the 
oral examination." 

" Until the oral examination." 

After proceeding a few paces, we heard a falsetto 
voice which made us turn our heads. It was the black- 
smith-ironmonger singing. 



THE LAST EXAMINATION. 321 

THE LAST EXAMINATION. 

Friday, 7th. 

This morning we had our oral examinations. At 
eight o'clock we were all in the schoolroom, and at a 
quarter past the}* began to call us, four at a time, into 
the big hall, where there was a large table covered with 
a green cloth ; round it were seated the head-master and 
four other masters, among them our own. I was one 
of the first called out. Poor master ! how plainly I 
perceived this morning that you are really fond of us ! 
While they were interrogating the others, he had no 
eyes for any one but us. He was troubled when we 
were uncertain in our replies ; he grew serene when we 
gave a fine answer ; he heard everything, and made us 
a thousand signs with his hand and head, to say to us, 
-' Good ! — no ! — pay attention ! — slower ! — .. cour- 
age ! " 

He would have suggested everything to us, had he 
been able to talk. If the fathers of all these pupils had 
been in his place, one after the other, they could not 
have done more. They would have cried " Thanks ! " 
ten times, in the face of them all. And when the other 
masters said to me, " That is well; you may go," his 
eyes beamed with pleasure. 

I returned at once to the schoolroom to wait for my 
father. Nearlv all were still there. I sat down beside 
Garrone. I was not at all cheerful ; I was thinking that 
it was the last time that we should be near each other 
for an hour. I had not yet told Garrone that I should 
not go through the fourth grade with him, that I was to 
leave Turin with my father. He knew nothing. And 
he sat there, doubled up together, with his big head re- 
clining on the desk, making ornaments round the photo< 



322 THE LAST EXAMINATION. 

graph of his father, who was dressed like a machinist, 
and who is a tall, large man, with a bull neck and a 
serious, honest look, like himself. And as he sat thus 
bent together, with his blouse a little open in front, I 
saw on his bare and robust breast the gold cross which 
Nelli's mother had presented to him, when she learned 
that he protected her son. But it was necessary to 
tell him sometime that I was oroiiio- a way. I said to 
him : — 

" Garrone, my father is going away from Turin this 
autumn, for good. He asked me if I were going, also. 
I replied that I was." 

" You will not go through the fourth grade with us ? " 
he said to me. I answered " No." 

Then he did not speak to me for a while, but went 
on with his drawing. Then, without raising his head, 
he inquired : 

"And shall you remember your comrades of the 
third grade?" 

"Yes," I told him, "all of them; but you more 
than all the rest. AYho can forget you? " 

He looked at me fixedly and seriously, with a gaze 
that said a thousand things, bat he said nothing ; he 
only offered me his left hand, pretending to continue 
his drawing with the other ; and I pressed it between 
mine, that strong and loyal hand. At that moment the 
master entered hastily, with a red face, and said, in a 
low, quick voice, with a joyful intonation : — 

" Good, all is going well now, let the rest come for- 
wards ; bravi, boys ! Courage ! I am extremely well 
satisfied." And, in order to show us his contentment, 
and to exhilarate us, as he went out in haste, he made 
a motion of stumbling and of catching at the wall, to 
prevent a fall ; he whom we had never seen laugh ! 



FAREWELL. 323 

The thing appeared so strange, that, instead of laugh- 
ing, all remained stupefied ; all smiled, no one laughed. 

Well, I do not know, — that aet of childish joy caused 
both pain and tenderness. All his reward was that 
moment of cheerfulness, — it was the compensation 
for nine months of kindness, patience, and even sor- 
row ! For that he had toiled so long ; for that he had so 
often gone to give lessons to a sick boy, poor teacher ! 
That and nothing more was what he demanded of us. 
in exchange for so much affection and so much care ! 

And, now, it seems to me that I shall always see 
him in the performance of that act, when I recall him 
through many years ; and when I have beeome a man. 
he will still be alive, and we shall meet, and I will tell 
him about that deed whieh touched my heart ; and I 
will give him a kiss on his white head. 



-*o*- 



FAREWELL. 

Monday, 10th. 

At one o'clock we all assembled once more for the 
last time at the school, to hear the results of the exam- 
inations, and to take our little promotion books. The 
street was thronged with parents, who had even in- 
vaded the big hall, and man}* had made their way into 
the class-rooms, thrusting themselves even to the mas- 
ter's desk : in our room they filled the entire space 
between the wall and the front benches. There were 
Garrone's father, Derossi's mother, the blacksmith 
Precossi, Coretti, Signora Nelli, the vegetable-vender, 
the father of the little mason, Stardi's father, and 
many others whom I had never seen ; and on all sides 
a whispering and a hum were audible, that seemed to 
proeeed from the square outside. 



324 FAREWELL. 

The master entered, and a profound silence ensued 
He had the list in his hand, and began to read at once. 

" Abatucci, promoted, sixty seventieths. Archiui, 
promoted, fifty-five seventieths." — The little mason 
promoted ; Crossi promoted. Then he read loudly : — 

"Ernesto Derossi, promoted, seventy seventieths, 
and the first prize." 

All the parents who were there — and they all knew 
him — said : — 

" Bravo, bravo, Derossi ! " And he shook his golden 
curls, with his easy and beautiful smile, and looked at 
his mother, who made him a salute with her hand. 

Garoffi, Garrone, the Calabrian promoted. Then 
three or four sent back ; and one of them began to cry 
because his father, who was at the entrance, made a 
menacing gesture at him. But the master said to the 
father : — 

"No, sir, excuse me; it is not always the boy's 
fault ; it is often his misfortune. And that is the case 
here." Then he read : — 

" Nelli, promoted, sixty-two seventieths. " His 
mother sent him a kiss from her fan. Stardi, pro- 
moted, with sixty-seven seventieths ! but, at hearing 
this fine fate, he did not even smile, or remove his fists 
from his temples. The last was Votini, who had come 
very finely dressed and brushed, — promoted. After 
reading the last name, the master rose and said : — 

" Boys, this is the last time that we shall find our- 
selves assembled together in this room. We have been 
together a year, and now we part good friends, do we 
not? I am sorry to part from you, my dear boys." 
He interrupted himself, then he resumed: " If I have 
sometimes failed in patience, if sometimes, without 
intending it, I have been unjust, or too severe, for- 
give me." 



FAREWELL. 325 

44 No, do ! " cried the parents and many of the 
scholars, — 4< no, master, never ! " 

"Forgive me," repeated the master, " and think 
■well of me. Next year you will not be with me ; but 
I shall see you again, and vou will always abide in my 
heart. Farewell until we meet again, boys ! " 

So saying, he stepped forward among us, and we all 
offered him our hands, as we stood up on the seats, 
and grasped him by the arms, and by the skirts of his 
coat : many kissed him ; fifty voices cried in concert : 

44 Farewell until we meet again, teacher! — Thanks, 
teacher! — May your health be good! — Remember 
us!" 

When I went out, I felt oppressed by the commo- 
tion. We all ran out confusedly. Boys were emerg- 
ing from all the other class-rooms also. There was a 
great mixing and tumult of boys and parents, bidding 
the masters and the mistresses good by, and exchang- 
ing greetings among themselves. The mistress with 
the red feather had four or five children on top of her, 
and twenty around her, depriving her of breath ; and 
they had half torn off the little nun's bonnet, and 
thrust a dozen bunches of flowers in the button-holes 
of her black dress, and in her pockets. Many were 
making much of Robetti, who had that day, for the first 
time, abandoned his crutches. On all sides the words 
were audible : — 

44 Good by until next year ! — Until the twentieth of 
October!" We greeted each other, too. Ah! now 
all disagreements were forgotten at that moment! 
Votini, who had always been so jealous of Derossi, 
was the first to throw himself on him with open arms. 
I saluted the little mason, and kissed him, just at the 
moment when he was making me his last hare's face, 



S26 FAREWELL. 

dear boy ! I saluted Precossi. I saluted G-aroffi, who 
announced to me the approach of his last lottery, and 
gave me a little paper weight of majolica, with a 
broken corner ; I said fareweil to all the others. It 
was beautiful to see poor Nelli clinging to Garrone, so 
that he could not be taken from him. All thronged 
around Garrone, and it was, ""Farewell, Garrone! — 
Good by until we meet !" And they touched him, and 
pressed his hands, and made much of him, that brave, 
sainted boy ; and his father was perfectly amazed, as 
he looked on and smiled. 

Garrone was the last one whom I embraced in the 
street, and I stifled a sob against his breast: he kissed 
my brow. Then I ran to my father and mother. My 
father asked me: "Have you spoken to all of your 
comrades ? " 

I replied that I had. " If there is am' one of them 
whom you have wronged, go and ask his pardon, and 
beg him to forget it. Is there no one ? " 

" No one," I answered. 

" Farewell, then," said my father with a voice full 
of emotion, bestowing a last glance on the schoolhouse- 
And my mother repeated : ' ' Farewell I 

And I could not say anything. 



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