Everyone knew that Biagio understood them, because he would nod or shake his head, but he refused to speak. At school, the boys teased him without mercy, but this made no difference. When they hit him, he would not even cry out. If his schoolmaster insisted, it was no use, because Biagio would say nothing. He would answer with a note, because he could write, but his lips were sealed. If there is anything noble in stubborn refusal, Biagio was exceptionally noble. Eventually, however, he outgrew it and began to behave like a normal young man.