A YOUNG GIRL'S DIARY
Prefaced with a Letter by Sigmund Freud
Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul
FIRST YEAR Age 11 to 12 SECOND YEAR Age 12 to 13 THIRD YEAR Age 13 to 14 LAST HALF-YEAR Age 14 to 14 1/2 CONCLUSION
THE best preface to this journal written by a young girl belonging to the upper middle class is a letter by Sigmund Freud dated April 27, 1915, a letter wherein the distinguished Viennese psychologist testifies to the permanent value of the document:
"This diary is a gem. Never before, I believe, has anything been written enabling us to see so clearly into the soul of a young girl, belonging to our social and cultural stratum, during the years of puberal development. We are shown how the sentiments pass from the simple egoism of childhood to attain maturity; how the relationships to parents and other members of the family first shape themselves, and how they gradually become more serious and more intimate; how friendships are formed and broken. We are shown the dawn of love, feeling out towards its first objects. Above all, we are shown how the mystery of the sexual life first presses itself vaguely on the attention, and then takes entire possession of the growing intelligence, so that the child suffers under the load of secret knowledge but gradually becomes enabled to shoulder the burden. Of all these things we have a description at once so charming, so serious, and so artless, that it cannot fail to be of supreme interest to educationists and psychologists.
"It is certainly incumbent on you to publish the diary. All students of my own writings will be grateful to you."
In preparing these pages for the press, the editor has toned down nothing, has added nothing, and has suppressed nothing. The only alterations she has made have been such as were essential to conceal the identity of the writer and of other persons mentioned in the document. Consequently, surnames, Christian names, and names of places, have been changed. These modifications have enabled the original author of the diary to allow me to place it at the free disposal of serious readers.
No attempt has been made to correct trifling faults in grammar and other inelegancies of style. For the most part, these must not be regarded as the expression of a child's incapacity for the control of language. Rather must they be looked upon as manifestations of affective trends, as errors in functioning brought about by the influence of the Unconscious.
THE EDITOR. VIENNA, Autumn, 1919.
FIRST YEAR, AGE ELEVEN TO TWELVE
July 12, 19 . . . Hella and I are writing a diary. We both agreed that when we went to the high school we would write a diary every day. Dora keeps a diary too, but she gets furious if I look at it. I call Helene "Hella," and she calls me "Rita;" Helene and Grete are so vulgar. Dora has taken to calling herself "Thea," but I go on calling her "Dora." She says that little children (she means me and Hella) ought not to keep a diary. She says they will write such a lot of nonsense. No more than in hers and Lizzi's.
July 13th. Really we were not to begin writing until after the holidays, but since we are both going away, we are beginning now. Then we shall know what we have been doing in the holidays.
The day before yesterday we had an entrance examination, it was very easy, in dictation I made only 1 mistake—writing ihn without h. The mistress said that didn't matter, I had only made a slip. That is quite true, for I know well enough that ihn has an h in it. We were both dressed in white with rose-coloured ribbons, and everyone believed we were sisters or at least cousins. It would be very nice to have a cousin. But it's still nicer to have a friend, for we can tell one another everything.
July 14th. The mistress was very kind. Because of her Hella and I are really sorry that we are not going to a middle school. Then every day before lessons began we could have had a talk with her in the class-room. But we're awfully pleased because of the other girls. One is more important when one goes to the high school instead of only to the middle school. That is why the girls are in such a rage. "They are bursting with pride" (that's what my sister says of me and Hella, but it is not true). "Our two students" said the mistress when we came away. She told us to write to her from the country. I shall.
July 15th. Lizzi, Hella's sister, is not so horrid as Dora, she is always so nice! To-day she gave each of us at least ten chocolate-creams. It's true Hella often says to me: "You don't know her, what a beast she can be. Your sister is generally very nice to me." Certainly it is very funny the way in which she always speaks of us as "the little ones" or "the children," as if she had never been a child herself, and indeed a much littler one than we are. Besides we're just the same as she is now. She is in the fourth class and we are in the first.
To-morrow we are going to Kaltenbach in Tyrol. I'm frightfully excited. Hella went away to-day to Hungary to her uncle and aunt with her mother and Lizzi. Her father is at manoeuvres.
July 19th. It's awfully hard to write every day in the holidays. Everything is so new and one has no time to write. We are living in a big house in the forest. Dora bagged the front veranda straight off for her own writing. At the back of the house there are such swarms of horrid little flies; everything is black with flies. I do hate flies and such things. I'm not going to put up with being driven out of the front veranda. I won't have it. Besides, Father said: "Don't quarrel, children!" (Children to her too!!) He's quite right. She puts on such airs because she'll be fourteen in October. "The verandas are common property," said Father. Father's always so just. He never lets Dora lord it over me, but Mother often makes a favourite of Dora. I'm writing to Hella to-day. She's not written to me yet.
July 21st. Hella has written to me, 4 pages, and such a jolly letter. I don't know what I should do without her! Perhaps she will come here in August or perhaps I shall go to stay with her. I think I would rather go to stay with her. I like paying long visits. Father said: "We'll see," and that means he'll let me go. When Father and Mother say We'll see it really means Yes; but they won't say "yes" so that if it does not come off one can't say that they haven't kept their word. Father really lets me do anything I like, but not Mother. Still, if I practice my piano regularly perhaps she'll let me go. I must go for a walk.
July 22nd. Hella wrote that I positively must write every day, for one must keep a promise and we swore to write every day. I. . . .
July 23rd. It's awful. One has no time. Yesterday when I wanted to write the room had to be cleaned and D. was in the arbour. Before that I had not written a single word and in the front veranda all my pages blew away. We write on loose pages. Hella thinks it's better because then one does not have to tear anything out. But we have promised one another to throw nothing away and not to tear anything up. Why should we? One can tell a friend everything. A pretty friend if one couldn't. Yesterday when I wanted to go into the arbour Dora glared at me savagely, saying What do you want? As if the arbour belonged to her, just as she wanted to bag the front veranda all for herself. She's too sickening.
Yesterday afternoon we were on the Kolber-Kogel. It was lovely. Father was awfully jolly and we pelted one another with pine-cones. It was jolly. I threw one at Dora and it hit her on her padded bust. She let out such a yell and I said out loud You couldn't feel it there. As she went by she said Pig! It doesn't matter, for I know she understood me and that what I said was true. I should like to know what she writes about every day to Erika and what she writes in her diary. Mother was out of sorts and stayed at home.
July 24th. To-day is Sunday. I do love Sundays. Father says: You children have Sundays every day. That's quite true in the holidays, but not at other times. The peasants and their wives and children are all very gay, wearing Tyrolese dresses, just like those I have seen in the theatre. We are wearing our white dresses to-day, and I have made a great cherrystain upon mine, not on purpose, but because I sat down upon some fallen cherries. So this afternoon when we go out walking I must wear my pink dress. All the better, for I don't care to be dressed exactly the same as Dora. I don't see why everyone should know that we are sisters. Let people think we are cousins. She does not like it either; I wish I knew why.
Oswald is coming in a week, and I am awfully pleased. He is older than Dora, but I can always get on with him. Hella writes that she finds it dull without me; so do I.
July 25th. I wrote to Fraulein Pruckl to-day. She is staying at Achensee. I should like to see her. Every afternoon we bathe and then go for a walk. But to-day it has been raining all day. Such a bore. I forgot to bring my paint-box and I'm not allowed to read all day. Mother says, if you gobble all your books up now you'll have nothing left to read. That's quite true, but I can't even go and swing.
Afternoon. I must write some more. I've had a frightful row with Dora. She says I've been fiddling with her things. It's all because she's so untidy. As if her things could interest me. Yesterday she left her letter to Erika lying about on the table, and all I read was: He's as handsome as a Greek god. I don't know who "he" was for she came in at that moment. It's probably Krail Rudi, with whom she is everlastingly playing tennis and carries on like anything. As for handsome—well, there's no accounting for tastes.
July 26th. It's a good thing I brought my dolls' portmanteau. Mother said: You'll be glad to have it on rainy days. Of course I'm much too old to play with dolls, but even though I'm 11 I can make dolls' clothes still. One learns something while one is doing it, and when I've finished something I do enjoy it so. Mother cut me out some things and I was tacking them together. Then Dora came into the room and said Hullo, the child is sewing things for her dolls. What cheek, as if she had never played with dolls. Besides, I don't really play with dolls any longer. When she sat down beside me I sewed so vigorously that I made a great scratch on her hand, and said: Oh, I'm so sorry, but you came too close. I hope she'll know why I really did it. Of course she'll go and sneak to Mother. Let her. What right has she to call me child. She's got a fine red scratch anyhow, and on her right hand where everyone can see.
July 27th. There's such a lot of fruit here. I eat raspberries and gooseberries all day and Mother says that is why I have no appetite for dinner. But Dr. Klein always says Fruit is so wholesome. But why should it be unwholesome all at once? Hella always says that when one likes anything awfully much one is always scolded about it until one gets perfectly sick of it. Hella often gets in such a temper with her mother, and then her mother says: We make such sacrifices for our children and they reward us with ingratitude. I should like to know what sacrifices they make. I think it's the children who make the sacrifices. When I want to eat gooseberries and am not allowed to, the sacrifice is mine not Mother's. I've written all this to Hella. Fraulein Pruckl has written to me. The address on her letter to me was splendid, "Fraulein Grete Lainer, Lyzealschulerin." Of course Dora had to know better than anyone else, and said that in the higher classes from the fourth upwards (because she is in the fourth) they write "Lyzeistin." She said: "Anyhow, in the holidays, before a girl has attended the first class she's not a Lyzealschulerin at all." Then Father chipped in, saying that we (I didn't begin it) really must stop this eternal wrangling; he really could not stand it. He's quite right, but what he said won't do any good, for Dora will go on just the same. Fraulein Pruckl wrote that she was delighted that I had written. As soon as I have time she wants me to write to her again. Great Scott, I've always time for her. I shall write to her again this evening after supper, so as not to keep her waiting.
July 29th. I simply could not write yesterday. The Warths have arrived, and I had to spend the whole day with Erna and Liesel, although it rained all day. We had a ripping time. They know a lot of round games and we played for sweets. I won 47, and I gave five of them to Dora. Robert is already more than a head taller than we are, I mean than Liesel and me; I think he is fifteen. He says Fraulein Grete and carried my cloak which Mother sent me because of the rain and he saw me home after supper.
To-morrow is my birthday and everyone has been invited and Mother has made strawberry cream and waffles. How spiffing.
July 30th. To-day is my birthday. Father gave me a splendid parasol with a flowered border and painting materials and Mother gave me a huge postcard album for 800 cards and stories for school girls, and Dora gave me a beautiful box of notepaper and Mother had made a chocolate-cream cake for dinner to-day as well as the strawberry cream. The first thing in the morning the Warths sent me three birthday cards. And Robert had written on his: With deepest respect your faithful R. It is glorious to have a birthday, everyone is so kind, even Dora. Oswald sent me a wooden paper-knife, the handle is a dragon and the blade shoots out of its mouth instead of flame; or perhaps the blade is its tongue, one can't be quite sure. It has not rained yet on my birthday. Father says I was born under a lucky star. That suits me all right, tip top.
July 31st. Yesterday was heavenly. We laughed till our sides ached over Consequences. I was always being coupled with Robert and oh the things we did together, not really of course but only in writing: kissed, hugged, lost in the forest, bathed together; but I say, I wouldn't do that! quarrelled. That won't happen, it's quite impossible! Then we drank my health clinking glasses five times and Robert wanted to drink it in wine but Dora said that would never do! The real trouble was this. She always gets furious if she has to play second fiddle to me and yesterday I was certainly first fiddle.
Now I must write a word about to-day. We've had a splendid time. We were in Tiefengraben with the Warths where there are such a lot of wild strawberries. Robert picked all the best of them for me, to the great annoyance of Dora who had to pick them for herself. Really I would rather pick them for myself, but when some one else picks them for one for love (that's what Robert said) then one is quite glad to have them picked for one. Besides, I did pick some myself and gave most of them to Father and some to Mother. At afternoon tea which we had in Flischberg I had to sit beside Erna instead of Robert. Erna is rather dull. Mother says she is anemic; that sounds frightfully interesting, but I don't quite know what it means. Dora is always saying that she is anemic, but of course that is not true. And Father always says "Don't talk such stuff, you're as fit as a fiddle." That puts her in such a wax. Last year Lizzi was really anemic, so the doctor said, she was always having palpitation and had to take iron and drink Burgundy. I think that's where Dora got the idea.
August 1st. Hella is rather cross with me because I wrote and told her that I had spent the whole day with the W's. Still, she is really my only friend or I should not have written and told her. Every year in the country she has another friend too, but that doesn't put me out. I can't understand why she doesn't like Robert; she doesn't know anything about him except what I have written and certainly that was nothing but good. Of course she does know him for he is a cousin of the Sernigs and she met him once there. But one does not get to know a person from seeing them once. Anyhow she does not know him the way I do. Yesterday I was with the Warths all day. We played Place for the King and Robert caught me and I had to give him a kiss. And Erna said, that doesn't count, for I had let myself be caught. But Robert got savage and said: Erna is a perfect nuisance, she spoils everyone's pleasure. He's quite right, but there's some one else just as bad. But I do hope Erna has not told Dora about the kiss. If she has everyone will know and I shouldn't like that. I lay in wait for Erna with the sweets which Aunt Dora sent us. Robert and Liesel and I ate the rest. They were so good and nearly all large ones. At first Robert wanted to take quite a little one, but I said he must only have a big one. After that he always picked out the big ones. When I came home in the evening with the empty box Father laughed and said: There's nothing mean about our Gretel. Besides, Mother still has a great box full; I have no idea whether Dora still has a lot, but I expect so.
August 2nd. Oswald arrived this afternoon at 5. He's a great swell now; he's begun to grow a moustache. In the evening Father took him to the hotel to introduce him to some friends. He said it would be an awful bore, but he will certainly make a good impression especially in his new tourist getup and leather breeches. Grandmama and Grandpapa sent love to all. I've never seen them. They have sent a lot of cakes and sweets and Oswald grumbled no end because he had to bring them. Oswald is always smoking cigarettes and Father said to him: Come along old chap, we'll go to the inn and have a drink on the strength of your good report. It seems to me rather funny; no one wants to drink anything when Dora and I have a good report, at most they give us a present. Oswald has only Twos and Threes and very few Ones and in Greek nothing but Satisfactory, but I have nothing but Ones. He said something to Father in Latin and Father laughed heartily and said something I could not understand. I don't think it was Latin, but it may have been Magyar or English. Father knows nearly all languages, even Czech, but thank goodness he doesn't talk them unless he wants to tease us. Like that time at the station when Dora and I were so ashamed. Czech is horrid, Mother says so too. When Robert pretends to speak Czech it's screamingly funny.
August 3rd. I got a chill bathing the other day so now I am not allowed to bathe for a few days. Robert keeps me company. We are quite alone and he tells me all sorts of tales. He swings me so high that I positively yell. To-day he made me really angry, for he said: Oswald is a regular noodle. I said, that's not true, boys can never stand one another. Besides, it is not true that he lisps. Anyhow I like Oswald much better than Dora who always says "the children" when she is talking of me and of Hella and even of Robert. Then he said: Dora is just as big a goose as Erna. He's quite right there. Robert says he is never going to smoke, that it is so vulgar, that real gentlemen never smoke. But what about Father, I should like to know? He says, too, that he will never grow a beard but will shave every day and his wife will have to put everything straight to him. But a beard suits Father and I can't imagine him without a beard. I know I won't marry a man without a beard.
August 5th. We go to the tennis ground every day. When we set off yesterday, Robert and I and Liesel and Erna and Rene, Dora called after us: The bridal pair in spee. She had picked up the phrase from Oswald. I think it means in a hundred years. She can wait a hundred years if she likes, we shan't. Mother scolded her like anything and said she mustn't say such stupid things. A good job too; in spee, in spee. Now we always talk of her as Inspee, but no one knows who we mean.
August 6th. Hella can't come here, for she is going to Klausenburg with her mother to stay with her other uncle who is district judge there or whatever they call a district judge in Hungary. Whenever I think of a district judge I think of District Judge T., such a hideous man. What a nose and his wife is so lovely; but her parents forced her into the marriage. I would not let anyone force me into such a marriage, I would much sooner not marry at all, besides she's awfully unhappy.
August 7th. There has been such a fearful row about Dora. Oswald told Father that she flirted so at the tennis court and he could not stand it. Father was in a towering rage and now we mayn't play tennis any more. What upset her more than anything was that Father said in front of me: This little chit of 14 is already encouraging people to make love to her. Her eyes were quite red and swollen and she couldn't eat anything at supper because she had such a headache!! We know all about her headaches. But I really can't see why I shouldn't go and play tennis.
August 8th. Oswald says that it wasn't the student's fault at all but only Dora's. I can quite believe that when I think of that time on the Southern Railway. Still, they won't let me play tennis any more, though I begged and begged Mother to ask Father to let me. She said it would do no good for Father was very angry and I mustn't spend whole days with the Warths any more. Whole days! I should like to know when I was a whole day there. When I went there naturally I had to stay to dinner at least. What have I got to do with Dora's love affairs? It's really too absurd. But grown-ups are always like that. When one person has done anything the others have to pay for it too.
August 9th. Thank goodness, I can play tennis once more; I begged and begged until Father let me go. Dora declares that nothing will induce her to ask! That's the old story of the fox and the grapes. She has been playing the invalid lately, won't bathe, and stays at home when she can instead of going for walks. I should like to know what's the matter with her. What I can't make out is why Father lets her do it. As for Mother, she always spoils Dora; Dora is Mother's favourite, especially when Oswald is not on hand. I can understand her making a favourite of Oswald, but not of Dora. Father always says that parents have no favourites, but treat all their children alike. That's true enough as far as Father is concerned, although Dora declares that Father makes a favourite of me; but that's only her fancy. At Christmas and other times we always get the same sort of presents, and that's the real test. Rosa Plank always gets at least three times as much as the rest of the family, that's what it is to be a favourite.
August 12th. I can't write every day for I spend most of my time with the Warths. Oswald can't stand Robert, he says he is a cad and a greenhorn. What vulgar phrases. For three days I haven't spoken to Oswald except when I really had to. When I told Erna and Liesel about it, they said that brothers were always rude to their sisters. I said, I should like to know why. Besides, Robert is generally very nice to his sisters. They said, Yes before you, because he's on his best behaviour with you. Yesterday we laughed like anything when he told us what fun the boys make of their masters. That story about the cigarette ends was screamingly funny. They have a society called T. Au. M., that is in Latin Be Silent or Die in initial letters. No one may betray the society's secrets, and when they make a new member he has to strip off all his clothes and lie down naked and every one spits on his chest and rubs it and says: Be One of Us, but all in Latin. Then he has to go to the eldest and biggest who gives him two or three cuts with a cane and he has to swear that he will never betray anyone. Then everyone smokes a cigar and touches him with the lighted end on the arm or somewhere and says: Every act of treachery will burn you like that. And then the eldest, who has a special name which I can't remember, tattoos on him the word Taum, that is Be Silent or Die, and a heart with the name of a girl. Robert says that if he had known me sooner he would have chosen "Gretchen." I asked him what name he had tattooed on him, but he said he was not allowed to tell. I shall tell Oswald to look when they are bathing and to tell me. In this society they abuse the masters frightfully and the one who thinks of the best tricks to play on them is elected to the Rohon; to be a Rohon is a great distinction and the others must always carry out his orders. He said there was a lot more which he couldn't tell me because it's too tremendous. Then I had to swear that I would never tell anyone about the society and he wanted me to take the oath upon my knees, but I wouldn't do that and he nearly forced me to my knees. In the end I had to give him my hand on it and a kiss. I didn't mind giving him that, for a kiss is nothing, but nothing would induce me to kneel down. Still, I was in an awful fright, for we were quite alone in the garden and he took me by the throat and tried to force me to my knees. All that about the society he told me when we were quite alone for he said: I can't have your name tattooed on me because it's against our laws to have two names but now that you have sworn I can let you know what I really am and think in secret.
I couldn't sleep all night for I kept on dreaming of the society, wondering whether there are such societies in the high school and whether Dora is in a society and has a name tattooed on her. But it would be horrible to have to strip naked before all one's schoolfellows. Perhaps in the societies of the high-school girls that part is left out. But I shouldn't like to say for sure whether I'd have Robert's name tattooed on me.
August 15th. Yesterday Robert told me that there are some schoolboy societies where they do very improper things, but that never happened in their society. But he didn't say what. I said, the stripping naked seems to me awful; but he said, Oh, that's nothing, that must happen if we're to trust one another, it's all right as long as there's nothing improper. I wish I knew what. I wish I knew whether Oswald knows about it, and whether he is in such a society or in a proper one and whether Father was in one. If I could only find out. But I can't ask, for if I did I should betray Robert. When he sees me he always presses my left wrist without letting anyone see. He said that is the warning to me to be silent. But he needn't do that really, for I never would betray him whatever happened. He said: The pain is to bind you to me. When he says that his eyes grow dark, quite black, although his eyes are really grey and they get very large. Especially in the evening when we say goodbye, it frightens me. I'm always dreaming of him.
August 18th. Yesterday evening we had illuminations in honour of the emperor's birthday. We didn't get home until half past twelve. At first we went to a concert in the park and to the illuminations. They fired salutes from the hills and there were beacons flaring on the hill-tops; it was rather creepy although it was wonderful. My teeth chattered once or twice, I don't know whether I was afraid something would happen or why it was. Then R. came and talked such a lot. He is set on going into the army. For that he needn't learn so much, and what he's learning now is of no use to him. He says that doesn't matter, that knowledge will give him a great pull. I don't think he looks stupid, though Oswald says so to make me angry. All at once we found ourselves quite away from the others and so we sat on a bench to wait for them. Then I asked R. once more about the other societies, the ones in which they do such improper things. But he wouldn't tell me for he said he would not rob me of my innocence. I thought that very stupid, and I said that perhaps he didn't know himself and it was all put on. All that happened, he said, was that anyone who joined the society was tickled until he couldn't stand it any longer. And once one of them got St. Vitus's dance, that is frightful convulsions and they were afraid that everything would come out. And since then in their society no more tickling had been allowed. Shall I tickle you a little? I don't understand you, I said, and anyhow you daren't.
He gave a great laugh and suddenly he seized me and tickled me under the arm. It made me want to laugh frightfully, but I stifled it for there were still lots of people going by. So he gave that up and tickled my hand. I liked it at first, but then I got angry and dragged my hand away. Just then Inspee went by with two other girls and directly they had passed us we followed close behind as if we had been walking like that all the time. It saved me a wigging from Mother, for she always wants us all to keep together. As we went along R. said: Look out, Gretel, I'm going to tickle you some day until you scream.—How absurd, I won't have it, it takes two to do that.
By the way, in the raffle I won a vase with 2 turtledoves and a bag of sweets and R. won a knife, fork and spoon. That annoyed him frightfully. Inspee won a fountain pen, just what I want, and a mirror which makes one look a perfect fright. A good job too, for she fancies herself such a lot.
August 29th. O dear, such an awful thing has happened. I have lost pages 30 to 34 from my diary. I must have left them in the garden, or else on the Louisenhohe. It's positively fiendish. If anyone was to find them. And I don't know exactly what there was on those pages. I was born to ill luck. If I hadn't promised Hella to write my diary every day I should like to give up the whole thing. Fancy if Mother were to get hold of it, or even Father. And it's raining so fearfully to-day that I can't even go into the garden and still less on the Louisenhohe above all not alone. I must have lost it the day before yesterday, for I didn't write anything yesterday or the day before. It would be dreadful if anyone were to find it. I am so much upset that I couldn't eat anything at dinner, although we had my favourite chocolate cream cake. And I'm so unhappy for Father was quite anxious and Mother too and they both asked what was the matter with me and I nearly burst out crying before everyone. We had dinner in the hotel to-day because Resi had gone away for 2 days. But I couldn't cry in the room before Father and Mother for that would have given the show away. My only hope is that no one will recognise my writing, for Hella and I use upright writing for our diary, first of all so that no one may recognise our writing and secondly because upright writing doesn't use up so much paper as ordinary writing. I do hope it will be fine to-morrow so that I can hunt in the garden very early. I have been utterly in the dumps all day so that I didn't even get cross when Inspee said: "Have you been quarrelling with your future husband?"
August 30th. It's not in the garden. I begged Mother to let us go to Louisenhutte this afternoon. Mother was awfully nice and asked what I was so worried about, and whether anything had happened. Then I couldn't keep it in any longer and burst out crying. Mother said I must have lost something, and this gave me an awful fright. Mother thought it was Hella's letter, the one which came on Tuesday, so I said: No, much worse than that, my diary. Mother said: Oh well, that's not such a terrible loss, and will be of no interest to anyone. Oh yes, I said, for there are all sorts of things written in it about R. and his society. Look here, Gretel, said Mother, I don't like this way you talk about R.; I really don't like you to spend all your time with the Warths; they're really not our sort and R. is not a fit companion for you; now that you are going to the high school you are not a little girl any longer. Promise me that you'll not be eternally with the Warths.—All right, Mother, I will break it off gradually so that nobody will notice. She burst out laughing and kissed me on both cheeks and promised me to say nothing to Inspee about the diary for she needn't know everything. Mother is such a dear. Still 3 hours and perhaps the pages are still there.
Evening. Thank goodness! In front of the shelter I found 2 pages all pulped by the rain and the writing all run and one page was in the footpath quite torn. Someone must have trodden on it with the heel of his boot and 2 pages had been rolled into a spill and partly burned. So no one had read anything. I am so happy. And at supper Father said: I say, why are your eyes shining with delight? Have you won the big prize in the lottery? and I pressed Mother's foot with mine to remind her not to give me away and Father laughed like anything and said: Seems to me there's a conspiracy against me in my own house. And I said in a great hurry: Luckily we're not in our own house but in a hotel, and everyone laughed and now thank goodness it's all over. Live and learn. I won't let that happen again.
August 31st. Really I'm not so much with the W's and with R. I think he's offended. This afternoon, when I went there to tea, he seized me by the wrist and said: Your father is right, you're a witch. "You need a castigation." How rude of him. Besides, I didn't know what castigation meant. I asked Father and he told me and asked where I had picked up the word. I said I had passed 2 gentlemen and had heard one of them use it. What I really thought was that castigation meant tickling. But it is really horrid to have no one to talk to. Most of the people have gone already and we have only a week longer. About that castigation business. I don't like fibbing to Father, but I really had to. I couldn't say that R. wanted to give me a castigation when I didn't know what it meant. Dora tells a lot more lies than I do and I always love catching her in a lie for her lies are so obvious. I'm never caught. It only happened once when Frau Oberst von Stary was there. Father noticed that time, for he said: You little rogue, you tarradiddler!
September 3rd. Such a horrid thing has happened. I shall never speak to R. again. Oswald is quite right in calling him a cad. If I had really fallen out of the swing I might have broken my leg 4 days before we have to start from home. I can't make out how it all happened. It was frightful cheek of him to tickle me as he did, and I gave him such a kick. I think it was on his nose or his mouth. Then he actually dared to say: After all I'm well paid out, for what can one expect when one keeps company with such young monkeys, with such babies. Fine talk from him when he's not 14 himself yet. It was all humbug about his being 15 and he seems to be one of the idlest boys in the school, never anything but Satisfactory in his reports, and he's not in the fifth yet, but only in the fourth. Anyhow, we've settled our accounts. Cheeky devil. I shall never tell anyone about it, it will be my first and I hope my last secret from Hella.
September 6th. We are going home to-morrow. The last few days have been awfully dull. I saw R. once or twice but I always looked the other way. Father asked what was wrong between me and the Warths and R., so that our great friendship had been broken off. Of course I had to fib, for it was absolutely impossible to tell the truth. I said that R. found fault with everything I did, my writing, my reading aloud. (That's quite true, he did that once) and Father said: Well, well, you'll make it up when you say goodbye to-morrow. Father makes a great mistake. I'll never speak a word to him again.
For her birthday, although it's not come yet, Dora is to have a navy blue silk dustcloak. I don't think the colour suits her, and anyhow she's much too thin to wear a dustcloak.
September 14th. Hella came back the day before yesterday. She looks splendid and she says I do too. I'm so glad that she's back. After all I told her about R. She was very angry and said I ought to have given him 2 more; one for the tickling and one for the "baby" and one for the "young monkey." If we should happen to meet him, shan't we just glare at him.
September 17th. Inspee has really got the silk dustcloak but I think the tartan hood looks rather silly. Still, I didn't say so, but only that the cloak fitted beautifully. She has tried it on at least five times already. I don't know whether Father really wants to treat her as a grown-up lady or whether he is making fun of her. I believe he's only making fun. She doesn't really look like a grown-up lady. How could she when she's not 14 yet? Yesterday afternoon such a lot of girls were invited, and of course Hella was invited on my account and we had a grand talk. But most of them bragged frightfully about the country where they said they had been. We were 9 girls. But Hella is the only one I care about.
September 21st. School begins to-morrow. By the way, we have agreed to call it Liz [Lyzeum = High School] and not School. I'm frightfully curious.
September 22nd, 19—. School began to-day. Hella came to fetch me and we went along together. Inspee peached on us to Mother, saying we ran on in front of her. We don't want her as governess. There are 34 of us in the class. Our teachers are a Frau Doktor, 2 mistresses, one professor, and I think a drawing mistress as well. The Frau Doktor teaches German and writing. She put us together on the 3rd bench. Then she made a speech, then she told us what books to get, but we are not to buy them till Monday. We have 3 intervals, one long and 2 short. The long one is for games, the short ones to go out. I usen't to go out at the elementary school and now I don't need to. Mother always says that it's only a bad habit. Most of the girls went out, and even asked to leave the room during lesson time. To-day we hadn't any proper lessons. They are to begin to-morrow, but we don't know what. Then we came home.
September 23rd. To-day we had the mistress who teaches geography and history, she has no degree. Inspee says that she had her last year, but she could not stand her, she's so ugly. Father was angry and said to Inspee: You silly goose, don't fill her head with such stuff. Show what you are worth as elder sister. One can learn something from every mistress and every master if one likes. But I can't say, we're really fond of Fraulein Vischer and I don't much care for geography and history. Besides I'm not learning for her but for myself. Frau Dr. Mallburg is awfully nice and pretty. We shall always write Frau Dr. M. for short. When she laughs she has two dimples and a gold stopping. She is new at the school. I don't know if we are to have singing too. In French we have Madame Arnau, she is beautifully dressed, black lace. Hella has a lovely pen and pencil case; it's quite soft, we must have it soft so that it shan't make a row when it falls down during lesson time. I think it cost 7 crowns or 1.70 crowns, I don't know exactly. To-day lessons went on until 12, first German, then arithmetic, then religion for Catholics, and then we came away. Hella waited for me, for the Herr Pastor did not come.
September 24th. We thought the book shops would be open to-day but we were wrong. Hella's mother said, that's what happens when the chicks think themselves wiser than the hens. In the afternoon Hella came to our house and Inspee had been invited by the Fs. I don't go there, for it's so dull, they play the piano all day. I have enough piano at my lessons. My music lessons will begin when the school time-table has been fixed up. Perhaps on October 1st, then I must write to Frau B., she told me to write myself. She tells all her pupils to do that. I would rather have had Hella's music mistress. But she has no time to spare and I think she charges more. At least she wouldn't always be holding me up "Fraulein Dora" as a model. We are not all so musical as Fraulein Dora. In the evening Inspee was reading a great fat book until 10 or 12 o clock and she simply howled over it. She said she had not, but I heard her and she could hardly speak. She says she had a cold, liar.
September 25th. To-day they gave us the professors' time-table, but it won't work until the professors from the Gymnasium know exactly when they can come. Our Frau Doktor might be teaching in a Gymnasium, but since there is only one here she teaches in our school. To-morrow we are going to have a viva voce composition: Our Holidays. We may write 8 or 10 sentences at home before we come, but we must not look at what we have written in class. I've written mine already. But I've not said anything about Robert. He's not worth thinking about anyhow. I did not even tell Hella everything.
September 25th. We had the viva voce composition and Frau Doktor said, very good, what is your name? Grete Lainer I said and she said: And is that your chum next you? Now she must tell us how she spent her holidays. Hella did hers very well too and Frau Doktor said again, very good. Then the bell rang. In the long interval Frau Doktor played dodge with us. It was great fun. I was it six times. In the little intervals we were quite alone for the staff has such a lot to do drawing up the time-table. A pupil-teacher from the F. high school is in our class. She sits on the last bench for she is very tall. As tall as Frau Doktor.
September 26th. To-day we had Professor Riegel for the first time in natural history. He wears eye-glasses and never looks any of us in the face. And in French Madame A. said that my accent was the best. We've got an awful lot on and I don't know whether I shall be able to write every day. The younger girls say Professor Igel instead of Riegel and the Weinmann girl said Nikel.
September 30th. I've had simply no time to write. Hella hasn't written anything since the 24th. But I must write to-day for I met Robert in Schottengasse. Good morning, Miss, you needn't be so stuck up, he said as he went by. And when I turned round he had already passed, or I would have given him a piece of my mind. I must go to supper.
October 1st. I can't write, Oswald has come from S., he has sprained his ankle, but I'm not so sure because he can get about. He is awfully pale and doesn't say a word about the pain.
October 4th. To-day is a holiday, the emperor's birthday. Yesterday Resi told me something horrid. Oswald can't go back to S. He has been up to something, I wish I knew what, perhaps something in the closet. He always stays there such a long time, I noticed that when I was in the country. Or perhaps it may have been something in his society. Inspee pretends she knows what it is but of course it isn't true, for she doesn't know any more than I do. Father is furious and Mother's eyes are all red with crying. At dinner nobody says a word. If I could only find out what he's done. Father was shouting at him yesterday and both Dora and I heard what he said: You young scamp (then there was something we couldn't understand) and then he said, you attend to your school books and leave the girls and the married women alone you pitiful scoundrel. And Dora said. Ah, now I understand and I said: Please tell me, he is my brother as well as yours. But she said: "You wouldn't understand. It's not suitable for such young ears." Fancy that, it's suitable for her ears, but not mine though she's not quite three years older than I am, but because she no longer wears a short skirt she gives herself the airs of a grown-up lady. Such airs, and then she sneaks a great spoonful of jam so that her mouth is stuffed with it and she can't speak. Whenever I see her do this, I make a point of speaking to her so that she has to answer. She does get in such a wax.
October 9th. I know all about it now. . . That's how babies come. And that is what Robert really meant. Not for me, thank you, I simply won't marry. For if one marries one has to do it; it hurts frightfully and yet one has to. What a good thing that I know it in time. But I wish I knew exactly how, Hella says she doesn't know exactly herself. But perhaps her cousin who knows everything about it will tell her. It lasts nine months till the baby comes and then a lot of women die. It's horrible. Hella has known it for a long time but she didn't like to tell me. A girl told her last summer in the country. She wanted to talk about it to Lizzi her sister, really she only wanted to ask if it was all true and Lizzi ran off to her mother to tell her what Hella had said And her mother said; "These children are awful, a corrupt generation, don't you dare to repeat it to any other girl, to Grete Lainer, for instance," and she gave her a box on the ear. As if she could help it! That is why she didn't write to me for such a long time. Poor thing, poor thing, but now she can tell me all about it and we won't betray one another. And that deceitful cat Inspee has known all about it for ages and has never told me. But I don't understand why that time at the swing Robert said: You little fool, you wont get a baby simply from that. Perhaps Hella knows. When I go to the gymnastic lesson to-morrow I shall talk to her first and ask her about it. My goodness how curious I am to know.
October 10th. I'm in a great funk, I missed my gymnastic lesson yesterday. I was upstairs at Hella's and without meaning it I was so late I did not dare to go. And Hella said I had better stay with her that we would say that our sum was so difficult that we had not got it finished in time. Luckily we really had a sum to do. But I said nothing about it at home, for to-morrow Oswald is going to G. to Herr S's. I thought that I knew all about it but only now has Hella really told me everything. It's a horrible business this . . . I really can't write it. She says that of course Inspee has it already, had it when I wrote that Inspee wouldn't bathe, did not want to bathe; really she had it. Whatever happens one must always be anxious about it. Streams of blood says Hella. But then everything gets all bl . . . That's why in the country Inspee always switched off the light before she was quite undressed, so that I couldn't see. Ugh! Catch me looking! It begins at 14 and goes on for 20 years or more. Hella says that Berta Franke in our class knows all about it. In the arithmetic lesson she wrote a note: Do you know what being un . . . is? Hella wrote back, of course I've known it for a long time. Berta waited for her after class when the Catholics were having their religion lesson and they went home together. I remember quite well that I was very angry, for they're not chums. On Tuesday Berta came with us, for Hella had sent her a note in class saying that I knew everything and she needn't bother about me. Inspee suspects something, she's always spying about and sneering, perhaps she thinks that she's the only person who ought to know anything.
October 16th. To-morrow is Father's and Dora's birthday. Every year it annoys me that Dora should have her birthday on the same day as Father; What annoys me most of all is that she is so cocky about it, for, as Father always says, it's a mere chance. Besides, I don't think he really likes it. Everyone wants to have their own birthday on their own day, not to share it with someone else. And it's always nasty to be stuck up about a thing like that. Besides, it's not going to be a real birthday because of the row about Oswald. Father is still furious and had to stay away from the office for 2 days because he had to go to G. to see about Oswald going there.
October 17th. It was much jollier to-day than I had expected. All the Bruckners came, so of course there was not much said about Oswald only that he has sprained his ankle, (I know quite well now that that's not true) and that he is probably going to G. Colonel B. said: The best thing for a boy is to send him to a military academy, that keeps him in order. In the evening Oswald said: That was awful rot what Hella's father said, for you can be expelled from a military academy just as easily as from the Gymnasium. That's what happened to Edgar Groller. Oswald gave himself away and Dora promptly said: Ah, so you have been expelled, and we believed you had sprained your ankle. Then he got in an awful wax and said: O you wretched flappers, I've gone and blabbed it all now, and he went away slamming the door, for Mother wasn't there.
October 19th. If we could only find out what Oswald really did. It must have been something with a girl. But we can't think what Father meant about a married woman. Perhaps a married woman complained of him to the head master or to the school committee and that's how it all came out. I feel awfully sorry for him, for I think how I should have felt myself if everything had come out about Robert and me. Of course I don't care now. But in the summer it would have been awful. Oswald hardly says a word, except that he has talks with Mother sometimes. He always pretends that he wants to read, but it's absurd, for with such a love trouble one can't really read. I have not told Berta Franke all about it, but only that my brother has had an unhappy love affair and that is why he is back in Vienna. Then she told us that this summer a cousin of hers shot himself because of her. They said in the newspapers that it was because of an actress, but really it was because of her. She is 14 already.
October 20th. We spend most of our time now with Berta Franke. She says she has had a tremendous lot of experience, but she can't tell us yet because we are not intimate enough. By and by she says. Perhaps she is afraid we shall give her away. She wants to marry when she is 16 at latest. That's in 2 years. Of course she won't have finished school by then, but she will have left the third class. She has three admirers, but she has not yet made up her mind which to choose. Hella says I mustn't believe all this, that the story about the three admirers at once is certainly a cram.
October 21st. Berta Franke says that when one is dark under the eyes one has it and that when one gets a baby then one doesn't have it any more until one gets another. She told us too how one gets it, but I didn't really believe what she said, for I thought she did not know herself exactly. Then she got very cross and said: "All right, I won't tell you any more. If I don't know myself." But I can't believe what she said about husband and wife. She said it must happen every night, for if not they don't have a baby; if they miss a single night they don't have a baby. That's why they have their beds so close together. People call them marriage beds!!! And it hurts so frightfully that one can hardly bear it. But one has to for a husband can make his wife do it. I should like to know how he can make her. But I didn't dare to ask for I was afraid she would think I was making fun of her. Men have it too, but very seldom. We see a lot of Berta Franke now, she is an awfully nice girl, perhaps Mother will let me invite her here next Sunday.
October 23rd. Father took Oswald away to-day. Mother cried such a lot. When Oswald was leaving I whispered to him: I know what's the matter with you. But he did not understand me for he said: Silly duffer. Perhaps he only said that because of Father who was looking on with a fearful scowl.
October 27th. Everything seems to have gone wrong. Yesterday I got unsatisfactory in history, and in arithmetic to-day I couldn't get a single sum right. I'm frightfully worried about missing that gymnastic lesson. It will be all right if Mother gives me the money to-morrow, for if she goes herself she will certainly find out about it.
October 28th. To-day the head mistress was present at our French lesson and said awfully nice things about me. She said I was good enough in French to be in the Third and then she asked me whether I was as good in the other subjects. I didn't want to say either Yes or No, and all the other girls said Yes, she's good at everything. The head patted me on the shoulder and said: I'm glad to hear that. When she had gone I cried like anything and Madame Arnau asked: Why, what's the matter? and the other girls said: In arithmetic she had Unsatisfactory but she can really do her sums awfully well. Then Madame said: "You'll soon wipe off that Unsatisfactory."
October 30th. To-day I had a frightful bother with Fraulein Vischer in the history lesson. Yesterday when I got into the tram with Mother there was Fraulein V. I looked the other way so that Mother shouldn't see her and so that she should not tell Mother about me. When she came in to-day she said: Lainer, do you know the rules? I knew directly what she meant and said "I did bow to you in the tram but you didn't see me." "That's a fine thing to do, first you do wrong and then try to excuse yourself by telling a lie. Sit down!" I felt awful for all the girls looked at me. In the 11 interval Berta Franke said to me: Don't worry, she's got her knife into you and will always find something to complain of. She must have spoken to Frau Doktor M., for in the German lesson the subject for viva voce composition was Good Manners. And all the girls looked at me again. She didn't say anything more. She's a perfect angel, my darling E. M., her name is Elisabeth; but she does not keep her name-day because she's a Protestant; that's an awful shame because November 19th is coming soon.
October 31st. I've been so lucky. Nothing's come out about the gymnastic lesson though Mother was there herself. And in mental arithmetic to-day I got a One. Fraulein Steiner is awfully nice too and she said: Why, L. what was the matter with you in your sums the other day, for you're so good at arithmetic? I didn't know what to do so I said: Oh I had such a headache the other day. Then Berta Franke nearly burst out laughing, it was horrid of her; I don't think she's quite to be trusted; I think she's rather a sneak. When the lesson was over she said she had laughed because "headache" means something quite different.
November 1st. To-day we began to work at the tablecloth for Father's Christmas present. Of course Inspee bagged the right side because that's easier to work at and I had to take the left side and then one has the whole caboodle on one's hand. For Mother I'm making an embroidered leather book cover, embroidered with silk and with a painted design; I can do the painting part at school in Fraulein H.'s lesson, she's awfully nice too. But I like Frau Doktor M. best of all. I'm not going to invite Berta Franke because of the way she laughed yesterday, and besides Mother doesn't like having strange girls to the house. November 2nd. I don't know all about things yet. Hella knows a lot more. We said we were going to go over our natural history lesson together and we went in to the drawing-room, and there she told me a lot more. Then Mali, our new servant, came in, and she told us something horrid. Resi is in a hospital because she's ill. Mali told us that all the Jews when they are quite little have to go through a very dangerous operation; it hurts frightfully and that's why they are so cruel. It's done so that they can have more children; but only little boys, not little girls. It's horrid, and I should not like to marry a Jew. Then we asked Mali whether it is true that it hurts so frightfully and she laughed and said: It can't be so bad as all that, for if it were you wouldn't find everyone doing it. Then Hella asked her: But have you done it already, you haven't got a husband? She said: Go on, Miss! One mustn't ask such questions it's not ladylike. We were in an awful funk, and begged her not to tell Mother. She promised not to.
November 5th. Everything has come out through that stupid waist band. Yesterday when I was tidying my drawers Mali came in to make the beds and saw my fringed waistband. "I say, she said, that is pretty!" You can have it if you like, I said, for I've given up wearing it. At dinner yesterday I noticed that Mother was looking at Mali and I blushed all over. After dinner Mother said, Gretel, did you give Mali that waistband? Yes, I said, she asked me for it. She came in at that moment to clear away and said: "No, I never asked for it, Fraulein Grete gave it to me herself." I don't know what happened after that, I'd gone back to my room when Mother came in and said: A fine lot of satisfaction one gets out of one's children. Mali has told me the sort of things you and Hella talk about. I ran straight off to the kitchen and said to Mali: How could you tell such tales of us? It was you who chipped in when we were talking. It was frightfully mean of you. In the evening she must needs go and complain of me to Father and he scolded me like anything and said: You're a fine lot, you children, I must say. You are not to see so much of Hella now, do you understand?
November 6th. A fine thing this, that I'm a silly fool now. When I gave Hella a nudge so that she should not go on talking before Mali, she laughed and said: What does it matter, Mali knows all about it, probably a great deal more than we do. It was only after that that Mali told us about the Jews. Now, if you please, I am a silly fool. All right, now that I know what I am, a silly fool. And that's what one's best friend calls one!
November 7th. Hella and I are very stand-offish. We walk together, but we only talk of everyday things, school and lessons, nothing else. We went skating to-day for the first time and we shall go whenever we have time, which is not very often. Mother is working at the table cloth. It's very hard work but she has not got as much to do as we have.
November 8th. There was such a lovely young lady skating to-day, and she skates so beautifully, inside and outside edge and figures of 8. I skated along behind her. When she went to the cloak room there was such a lovely scent. I wonder if she is going to be married soon and whether she knows all about everything. She is so lovely and she pushes back the hair from her forehead so prettily. I wish I were as pretty as she is. But I am dark and she is fair. I wish I could find out her name and where she lives. I must go skating again to-morrow; do my lessons in the evening.
November 9th. I'm so upset; she didn't come to skate. I'm afraid she may be ill.
November 10th. She didn't come to-day either. I waited two hours, but it was no good.
November 11th. She came to-day, at last! Oh how pretty she is.
November 12th. She has spoken to me. I was standing near the entrance gate and suddenly I heard some one laughing behind me and I knew directly: That is she! So it was. She came up and said: Shall we skate together? Please, if I may, said I, and we went off together crossing arms. My heart was beating furiously, and I wanted to say something, but couldn't think of anything sensible to say. When we came back to the entrance a gentleman stood there and took off his hat and she bowed, and she said to me: Till next time. I said quickly: When? Tomorrow? Perhaps, she called back. . . . Only perhaps, perhaps, oh I wish it were to-morrow already.
November 13th. Inspee declares that her name is Anastasia Klastoschek. I'm sure it can't be true that she has such a name, she might be called Eugenie or Seraphine or Laura, but Anastasia, impossible. Why are there such horrid names? Fancy if she is really called that. Klastoschek, too, a Czech name, and she is supposed to come from Moravia and to be 26 already; 26, absurd, she's 18 at most. I'm sure she's not so much as 18. Dora says she lives in Phorusgasse, and that she doesn't think her particularly pretty. Of course that's rank jealousy; Dora thinks no one pretty except herself.
November 14th. I asked the woman at the pay box, her name really is Anastasia Klastoschek and she lives in the Phorusgasse; but the woman didn't know how old she is. She would not tell me at first but asked why I wanted to know and who had sent me to enquire. She wouldn't look into the book until I told her that it was only for myself that I wanted to know. Then she looked, for I knew the number of the cloak room locker: 36, a lovely number, I like it so much. I don't really know why, but when I hear anyone say that number it sounds to me like a squirrel jumping about in the wood.
November 20th. It's really impossible to write every day. Mother is ill in bed and the doctor comes every day, but I don't really know what's the matter with her. I'm not sure whether the doctor knows exactly. When Mother is ill everything at home is so uncomfortable and she always says: Whatever you do don't get ill, for it's such a nuisance. But I don't mind being ill; indeed I rather like being ill, for then everyone's so nice, when Father comes home he comes and sits by my bed and even Dora is rather nice and does things for me; that is she has to. Besides, when she had diptheria two years ago I did everything I could for her, she nearly died, her temperature went up to 107 and Mother was sick with crying. Father never cries. It must look funny when a man cries. When there was all that row about Oswald he cried, I think Father had given him a box on the ear. He said he hadn't but I think he had; certainly he cried, though he said he didn't. After all, why shouldn't he for he's not really grown up yet. I cry myself when I get frightfully annoyed. Still I shouldn't cry for a box on the ear.
November 21st. In the religion lesson to-day Lisel Schrotter who is the Herr Catechist's favourite, no we've got to call him Herr Professor, as she is the Herr Professor's favourite, well she went to him with the Bible and asked him what with child meant. That's what they say of Mary in the Bible. The Schrotter girl does not know anything yet and the other girls egged her on till she went and asked. The Herr Professor got quite red and said: If you don't know yet it does not matter. We shall come to that later, we're still in the Old Testament. I was so glad that Hella does not sit next me in the religion lesson, because she's a Protestant; we should certainly have both burst out laughing. Some of the girls giggled frightfully and the Herr Professor said to Lisel: You're a good girl, don't bother about the others. But Lisel positively howled. I would not have asked, even if I hadn't really known. With child is a stupid word anyhow, it doesn't mean anything really; only if one knows.
November 22nd. When I was coming away from the religion lesson with Berta Franke the other day, of course we began talking about it. She says that's why people marry, only because of it. I said I could not believe that people marry only for that. Lots of people marry and then have no children. That's all right said Berta, but it's quite true what I tell you. Then she told me a lot more but I really can't write it all down. It is too horrid, but I shan't forget. When I was sitting on Mother's bed to-day I suddenly realised that Father's bed is really quite close to Mother's. I had never thought about it before. But it's not really necessary now for we are all quite big. Still I suppose they've just left things as they were. Well dear, said Mother, what are you looking round so for? Of course I didn't let on, but said: I was only looking round and thinking that if your bed was where the washstand is you could see to read better when you are lying in bed. That would not do because the wall's all wrong said Mother. I said nothing more and she didn't either. I like much better to sleep on a sofa than in a bed, because I like to snuggle up against the back. I'm so glad Mother didn't notice anything. One has to be so frightfully careful not to give oneself away when one knows everything.
November 25th. I have just been reading a lovely story; it is called A True Heart and is about a girl whose betrothed has had to leave her because he has shot a man who was spying on him. But Rosa remains true to him till he comes back after 10 years and then they marry. It's simply splendid and frightfully sad at first. I do love these library books, but when we were at the elementary school I knew all the books they had and the mistress never knew what to give me and Hella. In the high school we get only one book a month, for the Frau Doktor says we have plenty of work to do, and that when we are not at work we ought to be out in the fresh air. I can't manage to go skating every day. I do love the Gold Fairy, that is my name for her, for I hate her real name. Inspee declares that they call her Stasi for short, but I don't believe that; most likely they call her Anna, but that's so common. Thank goodness Hella always calls me Rita, so at school I'm known as Rita. It's only at home that they will call me Gretl. The other day I said to Inspee: If you want me to call you Thea you must call me Rita; and anyhow I won't let you call me Gretl, that's what they call a little girl or a peasant girl. She said: I don't care tuppence what you call me. All right, then, she shall be Dora till the end of time.
November 27th. Father has been made Appeal Court Judge. He is awfully glad and so is Mother. The news came yesterday evening. Now he can become President of the Supreme Court, not directly, but in a few years. We shall probably move to a larger house in May. Inspee said to Mother that she hoped she would have her own room where she would not be disturbed. How absurd, who disturbs her, I suppose I do? Much more like she disturbs me, always watching while I'm writing my diary. Hella always says: "There really ought not to be any elder sisters;" she's jolly well right. It's a pity we can't alter things. Mother says we are really too big to keep St. Nicholas, but I don't see why one should ever be too big for that. Last year Inspee got something from St. Nicholas when she was 13 and I'm not 12 yet. All we get are chocolates and sweets and dates and that sort of thing, not proper presents. The girls want to give the Frau Doktor a great Krampus * to leave it on her desk. I think that's silly. It's not a proper present for a teacher one is really fond of, one doesn't want to waste sweets on a teacher one doesn't like, and to give an empty Krampus would be rude. Mother is really right and a Krampus is only suitable for children.
* Krampus=Ruprechtsknecht, i.e. a little Demon, who serves St. Nicholas, and is a bogey man to carry off naughty children An image of this Demon filled with sweets, is given as a present on the feast of St. Nicholas which inaugurates the Christmas season.—Translators' Note.
December 1st. We are giving everyone of the staff a Krampus, each of us is to subscribe a crown, I hope Father will give me the crown extra. Perhaps he'll give us more pocket money now, at least another crown, that would be splendid. We are going to give big Krampuses to the ones we like best, and: small ones to those we are not so fond of. We're afraid to give one to Professor J. But if he doesn't get one perhaps he'll be offended.
December 2nd. To-day we went to buy Krampuses for the staff. The one for Frau Doktor M. is the finest. When you open it the first thing you see is little books with Schiller, Goethe, and Fairy Tales written on the backs, and then underneath these are the sweets. That's exactly suited for her, for the Frau Doktor teaches German and in the Fourth in German they are reading these poets. Last month in the Fourth they had a Schiller festival and Frau Doktor made a splendid speech and some of the girls gave recitations. Besides Hella has shown me an awful poem by Schiller. There you can read: if only I could catch her in the bath, she would cry for mercy, for I would soon show the girl that I am a man. And then in another place: "To my mate in God's likeness I can show that which is the source of life." But you can only find that in the large editions of Schiller. I believe we've got some books of that sort in our bookcase, for when Inspee was rummaging there the other day Mother called from the next room: "Dora, what are you hunting for in the bookcase? I can tell you where it is." And she said: Oh, it's nothing, I was just looking for something, and shut the door quickly.
December 4th. The girls are so tiresome and have made such a muddle about the Krampuses for the staff. The money didn't come out right and Keller said that Markus had taken some but Markus said not taken only kept. Of course Markus complained to Frau Doktor and her father went to the head and complained too. Frau Doktor said we know quite well that collections are not allowed and that we must not give any one a Krampus. Now Keller has the five Krampuses and we don't know what to do about it. Mother says that sort of thing never turns out well but always ends in a quarrel.
December 5th. We are in such a funk: Hella and I and Edith Bergler have taken the Krampus which we bought for Frau Doktor M. and put it on her doorstep. Edith Bergler knew where she lived for she comes by there every day on her way to school. I wonder if she'll guess where the Krampus comes from. I did not know that Edith Bergler was such a nice girl, I always thought she must be deceitful because she wears spectacles. But now I'm quite certain she is not deceitful, so one sees how easy it is to make a mistake. To-morrow's our German lesson.
December 6th. Frau Doktor did not say anything at first. Then she gave out the subject for the essay: "Why once I could not go to sleep at night." The girls were all taken aback, and then Frau Doktor said: Now girls that's not so very difficult. One person cannot go to sleep because he's just going to be ill, another because he is excited by joy or fear. Another has an uneasy conscience because he has done something which he has been forbidden to do; have not all of you experienced something of the kind? Then she looked frightfully hard at Edith Bergler and us two. She did not say anything more, so we don't really know if she suspects. I couldn't go to the ice carnival yesterday because I had such a bad cough, and Dora couldn't go either because she had a headache; I don't know whether it was a real headache or that kind of headache; but I expect it was that kind.
December 17th. I haven't managed to write anything for a whole week. The day before yesterday we had our Christmas reports: In history I had satisfactory, in Natural History good, in everything else very good. In diligence because of that stupid Vischer I had only a 2. Father was very angry; he says everyone can get a 1 in diligence. That's true enough, but if one has satisfactory in anything then one can't get a 1 for diligence. Inspee of course had only 1's, except a 2 in English. But then she's a frightful swot. Verbenowitsch is the best in our class, but we can't any of us bear her, she's so frantically conceited and Berta Franke says she's not to be trusted. Berta walks to school with her cousin who's in the seventh; she's nearly 14, and is awfully pretty. She didn't say what sort of a report she had, but I believe it was a very bad one.
December 18th. To-day at supper Dora fainted because she found a little chicken in her egg, not really a chicken yet, but one could make out the wings and the head, just a sketch of a chicken Father said. Still, I really can't see what there was to faint about. Afterwards she said it had made her feel quite creepy. And she'll never be able to eat another egg. At first Father was quite frightened and so was Mother, but then he laughed and said: What a fuss about nothing! She had to go and lie down at once and I stayed downstairs for a long time. When I came up to our room she was reading, that is I saw the light through the crack in the door; but when I opened the door it was all dark and when I asked: Ah so you're still reading she didn't answer and she pretended to wake up when I switched on the light and said: What's the matter? I can't stand such humbug so I said: Shut up, you know quite well it's 9 o-clock. That's all. On our way to school to-day we didn't Speak a word to one another. Luckily after awhile we met a girl belonging to her class.
December 19th. I'm frightfully excited to know what I'm going to get for Christmas. What I've wished for is: A set of white furs, boa, muff, and velvet cap trimmed with the same fur, acme skates because mine are always working loose, German sagas, not Greek; no thank you, hair ribbons, openwork stockings, and if possible a gold pin like the one Hella got for a birthday present. But Father says that our Christ Child would find that rather too expensive. Inspee wants a corset. But I don't think she'll get one because it's unhealthy. The tablecloth for Father is finished and is being trimmed, but Mother's book cover is not quite ready yet. I'm giving Dora a little manicure case. Oh, and I'd nearly forgotten what I want more than anything else, a lock-up box in which to keep my diary. Dora wants some openwork stockings too and three books. A frightful thing happened to me the other day. I left one of the pages of my diary lying about or lost one somehow or other. When I came home Inspee said: "you've lost this, haven't you? School notes I suppose?" I didn't notice what it was for a moment, but then I saw by the look of it and said: Yes, those are school notes. Hm-m-m, said Inspee, not exactly that are they? You can thank your stars that I've not shown them to Mother. Besides people who can't spell yet really ought not to keep diaries. It's not suitable for children. I was in a wax. In the closet I took a squint to see what mistakes I had made. There was only wenn with one n instead of double n and dass with short ss's, that's all. I was jolly glad that there was nothing about her on the page. She'd underlined the n and the short ss's with red, just as if she was a schoolmistress, infernal cheek! The best would be to have a book with a lock to it, which one could alway keep locked, then no one could read any of it and underline one's mistakes in red. I often write so fast that it's easy to make a slip now and again. As if she never made a mistake. The whole thing made me furious. But I can't say anything about it because of Mother, at least on the way to school; but no, if I say nothing at all then she always gets more waxy than ever. If I were to say much about it Mother might remember those 5 pages I lost in the country and I'd rather not thank you.
December 22nd. Aunt Dora came to-day. She's going to stay with us for a time till Mother is quite well again. I didn't remember her at all, for I was only four or five when she went away from Vienna. You dear little black beetle she said to me and gave me a kiss. I didn't like the black much, but Hella says that suits me, that it's piquant. Piquant is what the officers always say of her cousin in Krems, Father says she is a beauty, and she's dark like me. But I'd rather be fair, fair with brown eyes or better still with violet eyes. Shall I grow up a beauty? Oh I do hope I shall!
December 23rd. I am frightfully excited about to-morrow. I wonder what I shall get? Now I must go and decorate the Christmas tree. Inspee said: Hullo, is Gretl going to help decorate this year? She's never done it before! I should like to know why not. But Aunt Dora took my side. "Of course she'll help decorate too; but please don't stuff yourselves with sweets." "If Dora doesn't eat anything I shan't either," said I promptly.
Evening. Yesterday was our last day at school. The holidays are from the 23rd to January 2nd. It's glorious. I shall be able to go skating every day. Of course I had no time to-day and shan't have to—morrow. I wonder whether I should send the Gold Fairy a Christmas card. I wish she had a prettier name. Anastasia Klastoschek; it is so ugly. All Czech names are so ugly. Father knows a Count Wilczek, but a still worse name is Schafgotsch. Nothing would induce me to marry anyone called Schafgotsch or Wilczek even if he were a count and a millionaire. Yesterday we paid our respects to the staff, Verbenowitsch and I went to Frau Doktor because she is fondest of us, or is said to be. Nobody wanted to go to Professor Rigl, Igel, we always say Nikel, for when he has respects paid to him he always says: "Aw ri'." But it would have been rude to leave him out and so the monitors had to go. When Christmas was drawing near Frau Doktor told us that we were none of us to give presents to the staff. "I beg you, girls, to bear in mind what I am saying, for if you do not there will only be trouble. You remember what happened on St. Nicholas' day. And you must not send anything to the homes of the staff, nor must the Christ Child leave anything on any one's doorstep." As she said this she looked hard at me and Edith Bergler, so she knows who left the Krampus. I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open. Hurrah, to-morrow is Christmas Eve!!!
December 24th. Christmas Eve afternoon is horrid. One does not know what to be at. I'm not allowed to go skating so the best thing is to write. Oswald came home yesterday. Everyone says he's looking splendid; I think he's awfully pale and he snorted when everyone said he had such a fine colour; of course, how can he look well when he has such a heartache. I wish I could tell him that I understand what he feels, but he's too proud to accept sympathy from me. He has wished for an army revolver for Christmas, but I don't think he'll get one for boys at the middle school are not allowed to have any firearms. Not long ago at a Gymnasium in Galicia one of the boys shot a master out of revenge; they said it was because the boy was getting on badly with his work, but really it was about a girl, although the master was 36 years old. This morg. I was in town with Oswald shopping; we met the Warths, Elli and . . . Robert. Oswald said that Elli was quite nice-looking but that Robert was an ugly beast. Besides, he can't stand him he said, because he glared at me so. If only he knew what happened in the summer! I was awfully condescending to Robert and that made him furious. If one could only save you girls from all the troubles which the world calls "Love," said Oswald on the way home. I was just going to say "I know that you're unhappy in love and I can feel for you," when Inspee came round the corner of the Bognergasse with her chum and 2 officers were following them, so none of them saw us. "Great Scott, Frieda's full-fledged now," said Oswald, "she's a little tart." I can't stand that sort of vulgarity so I did not say another word all the way home. He noticed and said to Mother: "Gretl's mouth has been frozen up from envy." That's all. But it was really disgusting of him and now I know what line to take.
Just a moment for a word or two. The whole Christmas Eve has gone to pot. A commissionaire came with a bouquet for Dora and Father is fuming. I wish I knew who sent it. I wonder if it was one of those 2 officers? Of course Inspee says she has not the ghost of an idea. What surprises me is that Oswald has not given her away. All he said was: I say, what a lark! But Father was down on him like anything, "You hold your jaw and think of your own beastly conduct." I didn't envy him; I don't think much of Dora's looks myself, but apparently she pleases someone. In the bouquet there was a poem and Dora got hold of it quickly before Father had seen it. It was awfully pretty, and it was signed: One for whom you have made Christmas beautiful! The heading is: "The Magic Season." I think Dora's splendid not to give herself away; even to me she declares she does not know who sent it; but of course that may be all humbug. I think it really comes from young Perathoner, with whom she's always skating.
December 28th. I've had absolutely no time to write. I got everything I wanted. Aunt Dora gave both of us an opera glass in mother-of-pearl in a plush case. We are going to all the school performances, Father's arranged it; he has subscribed to all the performances during the school year 19— to 19—. I am so delighted for Frau Doktor M. will come too. I do hope I shall sit next to her.
December 31st. To-day I wanted to read through all I have written, but I could not manage it but in the new year I really must write every day.
January 1st, 19—. I must write a few sentences at least. For the afternoon we had been invited to the Rydberg's the Warths were there and Edle von Wernhoff!! I was just the same as usual with Lisel but I would not say a word to R. They left before us, and then Heddy asked me what was wrong between me and R. He had said of me: Any one can have the black goose for me. Then he said that any one could take me in. I was so stupid that I would believe anything. I can't think what he meant, for he never took me in about anything. Anyhow I would not let him spoil new year's day for me. But Hella is quite right for if the first person one meets on January 1st is a common person that's a bad beginning. The first thing this morning when I went out I met our old postman who's always so grumpy if he's kept waiting at the door. I looked the other way directly and across the street a fine young gentleman was passing, but it was no good for the common postman had really been the first.
January 12th. I am so angry. We mayn't go skating any more because Inspee has begun to complain again of her silly old ears and Mother imagines that she got her earache last year skating. It's all right to keep her at home; but why shouldn't I go? How can I help it when she gets a chill so easily? In most things Father is justice itself, but I really can't understand him this time. It's simply absurd, only it's too miserable to call it absurd. I'm in a perfect fury. Still, I don't say anything.
February 12th. I have not written for a whole month, I've been working so hard. To-day we got our reports. Although I've been working so frightfully hard, again I only got a 2 in Diligence. Frau Doktor M. made a splendid speech and said: As you sow, so you shall reap. But that's not always true. In Natural History I did not know my lesson twice but I got a 1, and in History I only did not know my lesson once and I got Satisfactory. Anyhow Fraulein V. does not like me because of that time when I did not bow to her in the tram. That is why in January, when Mother asked about me, she said: "She does not really put her back into her work." I overheard Father say: After all she's only a kid, but to-day he made a frightful row about the 2 in Diligence. He might have known why she gave me that. Dora, so she says, has only ones, but she has not shown me the report. I don't believe what I don't see. And Mother never gives her away to me.
February 15th. Father is furious because Oswald has an Unsatisfactory in Greek. Greek is really no use; for no one uses Greek, except the people who live in Greece and Oswald will never go there, if he is going to be a judge like Father. Of course Dora learns Latin; but not for me thank you. Hella's report is not particularly good and her father was in a perfect fury!!! He says she ought to have a better report than any one else. She does not bother much and says: One can't have everything. But if she doesn't get nothing but ones in the summer term she is not to stay at the high school and will have to go to the middle school. That'll make her sit up. Father's awfully funny too: What have you got history books for, if you don't read them? Yesterday when I was reading my album of stories, Father came in and said: You like a story book better than a history book, and shut the book up and took it away from me. I was in such a temper that I went to bed at 7 o'clock without any supper.
February 20th. I met the Gold Fairy to-day. She spoke to me and asked why I did not come skating any more. The fancy dress Ice Carnival on the 24th was splendid she said. I said: Would you believe it, a year ago my sister had an earache, and for that reason they won't allow either of us to skate this year. She laughed like anything and said so exquisitely: Oh, what a wicked sister. She looked perfectly ravishing: A red-brown coat and skirt trimmed with fur, sable I believe, and a huge brown beaver hat with crepe-de-chine ribbons, lovely. And her eyes and mouth. I believe she will marry the man who is always going about with her. Next autumn, when we get new winter clothes, I shall have a fur trimmed red-brown. We must not always be dressed alike. Hella and Lizzi are never dressed alike.
March 8th. I shall never say another word to Berta Franker she's utterly false. I've such a frightful headache because I cried all through the lesson. She wrote to Hella and me in the arithmetic lesson: A Verhaltnis ** means something quite different. Just at that moment the mistress looked across and said: To whom were you nodding? She said: To Lainer. Because she laughed at the word "Verhaltnis." It was not true. I had not thought about the word at all. It wasn't till I had read the note that it occurred to Hella and me what Verhaltnis means. After the lesson Fraulein St. called us down into the teachers' room and told Frau Doktor M. that Franke and I had laughed at the use of the word "Verhaltnis." Frau Doktor said: What was there to laugh at? Why did you not just do your sums? Fraulein St. said: You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, young girls in the first class shouldn't know anything about such things. I shall have to speak to your mothers. In the German lesson Frau Doktor M. told us to write an essay on the proverb: Pure the heart and true the word, clear the brow and free the eye, these are our safeguards, or something of that sort; I must get Hella to write it for me, for I was crying all through the lesson.
** The German word Verhaltnis as used in the arithmetic lesson means ratio, proportion. The word is in common use in Germany for a love intimacy or liaison.—Translators' Note.
March 10th. To-day Berta Franke wanted to talk things out with us; but Hella and I told her we would not speak to her again. We told her to remember what sort of things she had said to us. She denied it all already. We shouldn't be such humbugs. It was mean of her. Really we didn't know anything and she told us all about it. Hella has told me again and again she wished we didn't know anything. She says she's always afraid of giving herself away and that she often thinks about that sort of thing when she ought to be learning her lessons. So do I. And one often dreams about such things at night when one has been talking about them in the afternoon. Still, it's better to know all about it.
March 22nd. I so seldom manage to write anything, first of all our lessons take such a lot of time, and second because I don't care about it any more since what Father said the other day. The last time I wrote was on Saturday afternoon, and Father came in and said: Come along children, we'll go to Schonbrunn. That will do you more good than scribbling diaries which you only go and lose when you've written them. So Mother told Father all about it in the holidays. I couldn't have believed it of Mother for I begged her to promise not to tell anyone. And she said: One doesn't promise about a thing like that; but I won't tell anyone. And now she must have told about it, although she said she wouldn't. Even Franke's deceitfulness was nothing to that for after all we've only known her since last autumn, but I could never have believed that Mother would do such a thing. I told Hella when we were having tea at the Tivoli and she said she would not altogether trust her mother, she'd rather trust her father. But if that had happened to her, her father would have boxed her ears with the diary. I did not want to show anything, but in the evening I only gave Mother quite a little kiss. And she said, what's the matter, dear? has anything happened? Then I could not keep it in and I cried like anything and said: You've betrayed me. And Mother said: "I?" Yes, you; you told Father about the diary though you promised me you wouldn't. At first Mother didn't remember anything about it, but soon she remembered and said: "But, little one, I tell Father everything. All you meant was that Dora was not to know." That's quite true, it's all right that Dora wasn't told; but still Father need not have been told either. And Mother was awfully sweet and nice and I didn't go to bed till 10 o'clock. But whatever happens I shan't tell her anything again and I don't care about the old diary any more. Hella says: Don't be stupid; I ought just to go on writing; but another time I should be careful not to lose anything, and besides I should not blab everything to Mother and Father. She says she no longer tells her mother anything since that time in the summer when her mother gave her a box on the ear because that other girl had told her all about everything. It's quite true, Hella is right, I'm just a child still in the way I run to Mother and tell her everything. And it's not nice of Father to tease me about my diary; I suppose he never kept one himself.