Edmondo De Acimis
IN AN ATTIC
Yesterday afternoon I went with my mother and my sister Sylvia, to carry the linen to the poor woman recommended 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 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 you 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 appeared 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. I 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 embarrassed; 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 by the hand.
“Here I am,” his mother was saying in the meantime 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 vegetables, 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 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!”
Cuore ( Summary)
In An Attic
Yesterday afternoon I went with my mother and my sister, Sylvia, to visit the woman who was mentioned in the newspaper. I took some clothes to her. My sister, Sylvia, took the paper with the woman’s initials and address.
The woman lived in an attic. After climbing many steps my mother knocked at the last door in the hallway. A young, blond, and thin woman opened the door.
My mother asked, “Are you the one in the newspaper?”
She said that she was and invited us to come in. As the woman overflowed with gratitude, I saw a boy in one corner of the dark room. He was slumped over and kneeling on the floor while he wrote on the chair. I thought to myself how difficult it must be for a boy to write in such an uncomfortable position. Then I recognized him. It was Crossi, the boy with red hair who had a paralyzed arm.
I whispered to my mother and she told me to hush because Crossi would feel ashamed to see us give help to his mother. At that moment Crossi turned around and when he saw me, he came to me and embraced me affectionately.
Then his mother said, “My husband has been in America for six years. I used to make a living selling vegetables, but now I am sick and I cannot go to the market anymore. My poor son has to do his school work without light and I don’t even have a table for him. My poor son! He has to study in such a difficult situation. I can’t afford to give him what he needs.”
My mother gave Crossi’s mother all she had in her purse. When we left, she started to cry and said to me, “Dear Enrico, you have every comfort, but studying seems to be hard for you! Look at how Crossi does his studying. There is more merit in one day of Crossi’s work than in the work you do all year.”
When my father heard my mother’s words, he left a letter on my desk.
Đặng Hoàng Lan Summarized Chapter 8.