The year has begun with an accident. On my 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 inquired 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was bearing down upon it, had hastened boldly forward, caught up the child, and placed it in safety; but, as he had not withdrawn his own foot quickly enough, the wheel of the omnibus had passed over it.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 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 baby who had been saved. Both flew into 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 carry it for you.” And in the meantime, the mother of the wounded boy 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.
Chapter 3 (Summarized)
Friday, the 21st.
The year began with an accident.
Robetti was a student of the second year class. On his way to school one morning, he saw a little child of the younger class who ran away from his mother and fell down in front of a omnibus. The child was just one step from the carriage. Immediately Robetti bravely rushed to save the boy. When he picked up the child, he noticed that the wheel of the carriage had passed over his foot crushing it. Robetti was brought into the principal’s office where the principal, a policeman and a doctor were present.
Robetti’s mother and the mother of the little child who had been saved flew into the room with sobbing. At that moment an ambulance stopped in front of the school and the principal carried Robetti out of the building in his arms. Robetti with his pale face and closed eyes leaned his head on the principal’s shoulder. Everyone stood very still and they could hear the heavy sobs of Robetti’s mother.
The principal paused a moment and raised Robetti up a little in his arms to show him to everyone. All the teachers, parents and students said loudly together, “Bravo, Robetti! Bravo, poor child!” and they threw kisses to him. Those students and faculty that were close to him kissed his arms and hands to show their love and support.
Robetti opened his eyes and asked where his notebook was. The mother of the little boy who had been saved showed it to him and she carried it for him. She called Robetti a little angel. In the meantime Robetti’s mother smiled when she heard the voice of her son. They went out and placed the injured boy carefully in the ambulance.
The ambulance drove away. We all went to class in silence.
Đặng Hoàng Lan Summarized Chapter 3.