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This is the story of a girl on the cusp of womanhood, with all the indignations of being submissive to parent's control, the focus of maintaining an intimate friendship, and the writing of a new narrative about a special other. Written in 1915, the concerns, curiosities, and calamities are universal.Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist, now known as the father of psychoanalysis. Freud qualified as a doctor of medicine at the University of Vienna in 1881, and then carried out research into cerebral palsy, aphasia and microscopic neuroanatomy at the Vienna General Hospital. Upon completing his habilitation in 1885, he was appointed a docent in neuropathology in the same year and became an affiliated professor (professor extraordinarius) in 1902.In creating psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud's redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory. His analysis of dreams as wish-fulfillments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the mechanisms of repression as well as for elaboration of his theory of the unconscious as an agency disruptive of conscious states of mind. Freud postulated the existence of libido, an energy with which mental processes and structures are invested and which generates erotic attachments, and a death drive, the source of repetition, hate, aggression and neurotic guilt. In his later work Freud developed a wide-ranging interpretation and critique of religion and culture.Psychoanalysis remains influential within psychotherapy, within some areas of psychiatry, and across the humanities. As such, it continues to generate extensive and highly contested debate with regard to its therapeutic efficacy, its scientific status, and whether it advances or is detrimental to the feminist cause. Nonetheless, Freud's work has suffused contemporary Western thought and popular culture. In the words of W. H. Auden's poetic tribute, by the time of Freud's death in 1939, he had become "a whole climate of opinion / under whom we conduct our different lives".
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FIRST YEAR, AGE ELEVEN TO TWELVE
SECOND YEAR, AGE TWELVE TO THIRTEEN
THIRD YEAR, AGE THIRTEEN TO FOURTEEN
LAST HALF-YEAR, AGE FOURTEEN AND A HALF
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.
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 delightedthat 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 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.
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