Edmondo De Acimis
MY SCHOOLMISTRESS OF THE UPPER FIRST
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, carelessly dressed, and with untidy hair, because she has not time to keep herself nice; but with a little less color than last year, with some white hairs, and a constant cough. My 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 exert 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 remembers their names for years; on the days of the monthly examination, she runs to ask the director what marks they have won; she waits for them at the entrance, and makes them show her their compositions, in order that she may 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 everything to them. The poor mistress has grown still thinner 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 saddler, who is ill with the measles; and she had besides 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, “are you still fond of your schoolmistress, now that you solve difficult problems and write long compositions?” She kissed me, and called up once more from the foot of the stairs: “You are not to forget me, you know, Enrico!” Oh, my kind teacher, never, never will I forget thee! Even when I grow up I will remember thee and will go to seek thee among thy boys; and every time that I pass near a school and hear the voice of a schoolmistress, I shall think that I hear thy voice, and 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, always indulgent, in despair when any one acquired a bad trick in the writing-fingers, trembling when the examiners interrogated us, happy when we made a good appearance, always kind and loving as a mother. Never, never shall I forget thee, my teacher!v
My First Grade Teacher
Today my first grade teacher came to visit my house. She arrived while I was going out with my mother to take some clothes to a poor woman in need. We found out about the woman because her situation was published in the newspaper.
The teacher had not been to my house for a year. We were very happy to see her. She had not changed a bit since I first met her. She dressed in her simple clothes with a green hat, but a few grey hairs began to appear on her head, and she coughed all the time.
My mother said to her, “You do not take care of yourself, my dear teacher.”
“It does not matter,” she answered with a smile that was happy and melancholy at the same time.
She was always speaking in a loud voice to keep her students from being distracted. She did not spend a moment sitting at her chair. She remembered all her students and asked the principal about their marks on every monthly examination. She asked her students for their notebooks to see what progress they had made. This was the reason that her old students always wanted to see her.
When she left my house, she looked at me tenderly and said, “Do you still love your old teacher even though now you can solve a difficult math problem or write a complicated essay?”
She gave me a kiss and added, “Do not forget me, Enrico.”
How am I going to forget the two years that I spent in her class where I learned so many things. Every time I walked by the school and heard the voice of a female teacher, I would think of her. She was like a mother to me.
Đặng Hoàng Lan Summarized Chapter 7.