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- A Young Girl's Diary - 3/50 -


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 Satis- factory, 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


A Young Girl's Diary - 3/50

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