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- A Young Girl's Diary - 20/50 -


not even tell Hella. Mad. is secretly engaged to a man to whom she has given "the utmost gifts of love," that is to say she has . . . . She is madly in love with him, and they would marry directly but he is a lieutenant too, and they have not enough money for the security. She says that when one really loves a man one can bear everything for his sake. She has often been to his rooms, but she has to be frightfully careful for her father would kill her if he found out. Dora has seen the lieutenant and says he is very handsome, but that V. is much handsomer. Mad. says that you can't trust men as a rule, but that her lover is quite different, that he is true as steel. I am sure V. is too.

May 21st. When Mad. came to-day I simply could not look at her while Mother was there and Dora says I made an awful fool of myself. For I went out walking with them to-day, and when we met a smart-looking officer I hemmed and looked at Dora. But she didn't know why. Mad. is the daughter of a high official in the French military service and she only took her teacher's degree in order to get free from her Mother's "_tyranny_;" she nagged at her frightfully and until she began to give lessons she was never allowed to go out alone. Dora says she is very refined in her speech, especially when she is talking about _these_ things. Of course about _them_ she always speaks German, for it's much more difficult to say it in French, and probably Dora would not understand it and then Mad. would only have to translate it. She is called Sylvia and he calls her Sylvette. Mad. says that if one is madly in love with a man one does whatever he asks. But I don't see that one need do that, for he might ask the most idiotic things; he might ask you to get the moon out of the skies, or to pull out a tooth for his sake. Dora says she can understand it quite well; that I still lack _the true inwardness of thought and feeling_. It looks like utter nonsense. But since it sounds fine I've written it down, and perhaps I shall find a use for it some day when I'm talking to Walter. Mad. is always frightfully anxious lest she should get a baby. If she did she's sure her father would kill her. The lieutenant is in the flying corps. He hopes he's going to invent a new aeroplane, and that he will make a lot of money out of it. Then he will be able to marry Mad. But it would be awful if _something happened_ and she got a baby already.

May 22nd. Dora asked me to-day how it was I knew all about these things, whether Hella had told me. I did not want to give Hella away, so I said quite casually: "Oh, one can read all about that in the encyclopedia." But Dora laughed and said: "You are quite on the wrong scent; you can't find a tenth of all those things in the encyclopedia, and what you do find is no good. In _these_ matters it is _absolutely no good_ depending on books." First of all she would not tell me any more, but after a time she told me a good deal, especially the names of certain parts, and about _fertilisation_, and about the microscopic baby which really comes from the husband, and not as Hella and I had thought, from the wife. And how one knows whether a woman is _fruitful_. That is really an awful word. In fact almost every word has a second meaning of _that_ sort, and what Dora says is quite true, one must be fearfully careful when one is talking. Dora thinks it would be best to make a list of all such words, but there are such a frightful lot of them that one never could. The only thing one can do is to be awfully careful; but one soon gets used to it. Still it happened to Dora the other day that she said to V.: I don't want any _intercourse_. And that really means "the utmost gifts of love," so Mad. told her. But V. was so well-mannered that he did not show that he noticed anything; and it did not occur to Dora until afterwards what she had said. It's really awfully stupid that every ordinary word should have such a meaning. I shall be so frightfully careful what I say now, so that I shan't use any word with two meanings. Mad. says it's just the same in French. We don't know whether it is the same in English and we could never dream of asking that awful fright, Miss Lundy. Very likely she does not know the first thing about it anyhow. I know a great deal more than Hella now, but I can't tell her because of betraying Dora and Mad. Perhaps I can give her a hint to be more careful in what she says, so as not to use any word with two meanings. That is really my duty as a friend.

May 23rd. I quite forgot. Last week Oswald had his written matriculation exam, he wrote a postcard every day and Mother was frightfully annoyed because he made such silly jokes all the time that we could not really tell how he got on. Dora and I are awfully excited because next Monday we are going to the aerodome with Frau Richter and her niece who is at the conservatoire. Lieutenant Streinz is going to fly too. Of course we'll motor out because the railway is not convenient. Of course Viktor will be there, but he is motoring over with some other officers. It's a great pity, for it would have been lovely if he'd been in our car. By the way, I saved the class to-day, the school inspector has been this week and examined our class first in History and then in German, and I was the only one who knew all that Frau Doktor M. had told us about the Origin of Fable. The insp. was very complimentary and afterwards Frau Doktor M. said: its quite true one can always depend upon Lainer; she's got a trustworthy memory. When we were walking home she was awfully nice: "Do you know, Lainer, I feel that I really must ask your pardon." I was quite puzzled and Hella asked: But why? She said: "It seemed to me this year that you were not taking quite so much interest in your German lessons as you did last year; but now you've _reinstated_ yourself in my good opinion." Afterwards Hella said: I say you know, Frau Doktor M. is not so far wrong when I think of all that we used to read last year so that we might know everything when the lesson came, and when I think of what we do this year!!! You know very well-- -- -- --. Hella is quite right, but still one can learn in spite of _those things_, one can't be _always_ talking about them. And then it's quite easy to learn for such an angel as Frau Doktor M. Hella says that I got as red as a turkey cock from pride because I could say it all in the very words of Frau Doktor M., but it was not so, for first of all I was not a bit puffed up about it, and secondly I really don't know myself how I managed to say it all. I only felt that Frau Doktor M. is so annoyed when no one offers to answer a question, and so I took it on.

May 25th. Confound it, I could slap myself a hundred times. How could I be so stupid! Now we're not allowed to go to the aerodome. Father only let us go because Viktor is in Linz and Father believed he was going to stay there another fortnight. And at dinner to-day I made a slip and said: "It is a pity there's no room for five in our car. If Fraulein Else were not coming Lieutenant Richter could come with us." Dora kicked me under the table and I tried to brazen it out, but Father was so angry and said. "Hullo, is the flying man coming? No, no, children, nothing doing. I shall make your excuses to Frau Richter directly. I'm not having any, did not I tell you you weren't to see the fellow any more?" Of course this last was to Dora. Dora did not say anything but she did not eat any pudding or fruit, and as soon as we were back in our room she gave it me hot, saying: You did that on purpose, you little beast, but really you are only a child whom I never ought to have trusted, and so on. It's really too bad to say I did it _on purpose_, as if I envied her. Besides it's bad for me as well as for her, for I like him very much too, for he makes no difference between us and treats me exactly like Dora. Of course we are not on speaking terms now, and what infuriated me more than anything was that she said she grudged every word she had said to me in _this_ connection: "Pearls before Swine." What a rude thing to say. So I am an S. But I should like to know who told most. I forsooth? Anyhow I'm quite sure that I shall never talk to her again about _anything of that sort_. Thank goodness I have a friend in Hella. She would never say or think anything of the kind of me.

May 26th. Neither of us could sleep a wink all night; Dora cried frightfully, I heard her though she tried to stifle it, and I cried too, for I was thinking all the time what I could do to prevent Viktor from thinking unkindly of me. That would be awful. Then I thought of something, and chance or I ought to say luck helped me. Viktor does not walk to school with us any longer, because the girls of the Fifth have seen us several times, but he comes to meet Dora when she comes away at 1 o'clock. So quite early I telephoned to him at a public telephone call office, for I did not dare to do it at home. Dora was so bad that she could not go to school so I was going alone with Hella. I telephoned saying a friend was ringing him up, that was when the maid answered the telephone, and then she called him. I told him: that whatever happened he was not to think unkindly of me and I must see him at 1 o'clock because Dora was ill. He must wait at the corner of ---- Street. All through lessons I was so upset that I don't in the least know what we did. And at 1 o'clock he was there all right, and I told him all about it and he was so awfully kind and he consoled me; _he_ consoled _me_. That's quite different from the way Dora behaved. I was so much upset that I nearly cried, and then he drew me into a doorway and _put his arm round me_ and with his _own_ handkerchief wiped away my tears. I shall never tell Dora about that. Then he asked me to be awfully kind to Dora because she


A Young Girl's Diary - 20/50

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