Mollie thinks that the parents

А) are not aware of their children’s gifts.

B) overestimate their children’s talents.

C) sometimes don’t understand what their children say.

D) don’t spend much time with their children.

I had first become acquainted with my Italian friend by meeting him at certain great houses where he taught his own language and I taught drawing. All I then knew of the history of his life was that he had left Italy for political reasons; and that he had been for many years respectably established in London as a teacher.

Without being actually a dwarf – for he was perfectly well-proportioned from head to foot – Pesca was, I think, the smallest human being I ever saw. Remarkable anywhere, by his personal appearance, he was still further distinguished among the mankind by the eccentricity of his character. The ruling idea of Peska's life now was to show his gratitude to the country that had given him a shelter by doing his utmost to turn himself into an Englishman. The Professor aspired to become an Englishman in his habits and amusements, as well as in his personal appearance. Finding us distinguished, as a nation, by our love of athletic exercises, the little man, devoted himself to all our English sports and pastimes, firmly persuaded that he could adopt our national amusements by an effort of will the same way as he had adopted our national gaiters and our national white hat.

I had seen him risk his limbs blindlyunlike othersat a fox-hunt and in a cricket field; and soon afterwards I saw him risk his life, just as blindly, in the sea at Brighton.

We had met there accidentally, and were bathing together. If we had been engaged in any exercise peculiar to my own nation I should, of course, have looked after Pesca carefully; but as foreigners are generally quite as well able to take care of themselves in the water as Englishmen, it never occurred to me that the art of swimming might merely add one more to the list of manly exercises which the Professor believed that he could learn on the spot. Soon after we had both struck out from shore, I stopped, finding my friend did not
follow me, and turned round to look for him. To my horror and amazement,
I saw nothing between me and the beach but two little white arms which struggled for an instant above the surface of the water, and then disappeared from view. When I dived for him, the poor little man was lying quietly at the bottom, looking smaller than I had ever seen him look before.

When he had thoroughly recovered himself, his warm Southern nature broke through all artificial English restraints in a moment. He overwhelmed me with the wildest expressions of affection and in his exaggerated Italian way declared that he should never be happy again until he rendered me some service which I might remember to the end of my days.

Little did I think then – little did I think afterwards – that the opportunity of serving me was soon to come; that he was eagerly to seize it on the instant; and that by so doing he was to turn the whole current of my existence into a new channel. Yet so it was. If I had not dived for Professor Pesca when he lay under water, I should never, perhaps, have heard even the name of the woman, who now directs the purpose of my life.


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