20 September

Ok, that's finished. I wanted to copy today's page from the calendar here into my diary. It's the day Italian troops entered Rome [in 1870], and is also the day I was born. I added a note to this effect on the calendar so that friends coming to our house would remember to give me a present.

Here's a list of the presents I've had so far:

  1. A lovely pistol for shooting at targets, from my father.
  2. A checkered suit from sister Ada. I'm not interested in this, because it isn't a toy.
  3. A superb fishing-rod with a line and everything else you need, and which comes apart and turns into a walking-stick, from my sister Virginia, and this is just what I wanted because I love fishing.
  4. A box containing everything I need to write, and a splendid red and blue pencil, from my sister Luisa.
  5. This diary, which my mother gave me, and is the best present of all.
Oh yes! It is lovely of mama to give me this diary so I can write what I think and what happens to me. What a beautiful book it is, bound with so many white page I've no idea how to fill! And I've been wanting a diary for ages, so I could write my memoirs, like my sisters Ada, Luisa and Virginia do. Every evening, before they go to bed, they sit there half undressed, with their hair unbound, writing for hours and hours.

I really don't know where they find so many things to write about, those girls!

I, on the other hand, don't know what else to say. So how will I fill all your white pages, my dear diary? I will make use of my artistic ability, and put here a portrait of myself as I am now, at the age of exactly nine years.

However, in a diary as beautiful as this there should be thoughts, reflections...

I've had an idea! What if I copied some stuff from Ada's diary? She's out visiting people with mama at the moment.

Here it is. I went into Ada's room, opened her desk drawer, took her diary, and now I can copy in peace.

Oh, if only that horrible old man Capitani never came back! Instead, he was here again this evening. It's impossible! I don't like him! I don't like him, and I never, never, never will!.. Mama says he is very rich, and that if he asked me to marry him, I should accept. Isn't that cruel? My poor heart! Why do they torture you so?! He has huge red hands, and with papa he only ever talks about wine and oil, fields, peasants and animals; if I'd seen him dressed fashionably at least once... Oh, if only this would stop! If only he never came back! My soul would find peace... Instead, whilst I accompanied him to the door, and we were alone in the hall, he wanted to kiss my hand; but I was ready to run, and he was thwarted.... Oh no! I love my dearest Alberto De Renzis. What a pity that Alberto is poor. He keeps making a scene, and I can't stand it any more! What a let-down! Life is such a disappointment... I am truly unhappy!!! Right, that's enough. I've filled two pages.


I'm opening you again before going to bed, diary, because something serious happened this evening.

At about eight o'clock, as usual, Mr Adolfo Capitani came to the house. He is an old, ugly, huge red thing... My sisters are quite right to make fun of him!

Anyway, I was in the living-room with my diary in my hand, when suddenly he said to me, in that awful skinned-cat voice of his "And what is our Giannino reading, then?" Obviously, I gave him my book of memoirs at once, and he started to read it aloud to everyone.

At first, mama and my sisters laughed like drains. But as soon as he started to read the bit I'd copied from Ada's diary, she started yelling and tried desperately to tear the book from his hands, but he wanted to get to the end, and then in a very serious voice he said:

"Why did you write all this nonsense?"

I said that it couldn't be nonsense, since Ada had written it in her diary, and she is my biggest sister which means she has better judgement than I do and knows what she is talking about.

As soon as I said this, Capitani got up with a grim expression, took his hat, and left without saying goodbye.

The manners of some people!

Then mama, instead of getting angry with him, got angry with me, shouting and threatening, and that stupid Ada started crying like a fountain!

That shows you where doing your elder sisters a favor gets you!

Enough. I'd better go to bed, but I'm happy because I've managed to fill three pages of my diary.

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