Cuore (Chapter 58)
Edmondo De Acimis
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 July, 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 preceding 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; I can also do the sums of many 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 I have seen anything! And now, I thank you all. I thank you first, my good teacher, for having 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 understand many of the most difficult things, and overcome stumbling-blocks at examinations; and you, too, Stardi, 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 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 you: I render thanks to all the rest. But above all, I thank thee, my father, thee, my first teacher, my first friend, who hast given me so many wise counsels, and hast taught me so many things, whilst thou wert working for me, always 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 studied, worked, and wept with me, with one hand caressing my brow, and with the other pointing me to heaven. I kneel before you, 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.