The boy who sent the postage-stamp to the Calabrian 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 years 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 many of my comrades. Another one pleases me, too, by the name of Coretti, 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 hunchback, 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 boys who are sympathetic to me,—the son of a blacksmith-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,—my 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 wrinkles, and his teeth clenched; and if he is questioned 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 say that his father beats him; he is very timid, and every 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.
Chapter 5 (Summary)
By now I already know many of my classmates.
I find a fellow, the one who gave the stamp to the Calabrian boy, is very pleasant. His name is Garrone. He is the oldest boy in the class at almost fourteen. He has a large head and the smile of a good man. He seems to think like a man. It seems that he has always thought like a man.
One is named Coretti. He is always happy.
Nelli is a hunchback with a pale, gaunt face.
There is another one who is very well dressed named Votini. He is always removing the fringe from his clothes.
There is another boy who sits in the desk in front of mine who everyone calls the “Mason Boy” because he is the son of a mason. He can imitate a very funny rabbit’s face and everyone wants to see him do it.
Garoffi sits next to the mason’s son. He has the nose of a parrot. He always sells prints of stamps and drawings. He writes the lessons on his fingernails, so that he can cheat.
There is a young gentleman called Carlo Nobis who is very arrogant. He sits between two kids who I like and one of them is Crossi. He has a paralyzed arm which he wears in a sling. His father is in America and his mother sells cooking herbs on the street.
Stardi sits next to me. He does not speak to anyone and he is always very attentive to everything the teacher says.
Another one is Franti. He is a naughty boy with a strong and cunning face. He has already been expelled from another school.
There are also two brothers who look like twins because they dress exactly alike.
But the most intelligent, talented and handsome student is Derossi. The professor seems to already know this because he always asks Derossi all the questions…
I like Precossi more than the others. He is the son of the blacksmith and he has a very sad face. He is always very timid, and they say that his father beats him. He always asks forgiveness for everything.
But, I like Garrone best of all because he is a noble soul.
Đặng Hoàng Lan Summarized Chapter 5.