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- A Young Girl's Diary - 40/50 -


them before we left Vienna, 3 pairs of openwork stockings, Aunt Dora gave them to me, exquisitely fine, and my feet look so elegant in them. But I must take frightful care of them and not wear them too often. Aunt says: "Perhaps now you will learn to give up pulling at your stockings when you are doing your lessons." As if I would do any lessons in the holidays.

LAST HALF-YEAR

AGE FOURTEEN AND A HALF

LAST HALF-YEAR

July 30th. Thank goodness this is my 14th!!! birthday; Olga thought that I was 16 or at least 15; but I said: No thank you; to _look_ like 16 is _quite_ agreeable to me, but I should not like to _be_ 16, for after all how long is one young, only 2 or 3 years at most. But as to feeling different, as Hella said she did, I really can't notice anything of the kind; I am merely delighted that no one, not even Dora, can now call me a _child_. I do detest the word "child," except when Mother used to say: "My darling child," but then it meant something quite different. I like Mother's ring best of all my birthday presents; I shall wear it for always and always. When I was going to cry, Father said so sweetly: "Don't cry, Gretel, you must not cry on your 14th!! birthday, that would be a fine beginning of _grown-upness!_ Besides the ring, Father gave me a lovely black pearl necklace which suits me perfectly, and is at the same time so cool; then Theodor Storm's _Immensee_, from Aunt Dora the black openwork stockings and long black silk gloves, and from Dora a dark grey leather wristband for my watch. But I shan't wear that until we are back in Vienna and I am going to school again. Grandfather and Grandmother sent fruit as usual, but nothing has come from Oswald. He can't possibly have forgotten. I suppose his present will come later. Father also gave me a box of delicious sweets. At dinner Aunt Dora had ordered my favourite chocolate cream cake, and every one said: Hullo, why have we got a Sunday dish on a weekday? And then it came out that it was my birthday, and the Weiner girls, who knew it already, told most of the other guests and nearly everyone came to wish me many happy returns. Olga and Nelly had done so in the morning, and had given me a huge nosegay of wild flowers and another of cut flowers. This afternoon we are all going to Flagg; it is lovely there.

Evening: I must write some more. We could not have the expedition, because there was a frightful thunderstorm from 2 to 4 o'clock. But we enjoyed ourselves immensely. And I had another adventure: As I was leaving the dining-room in order to go to the . . . ., I heard a voice say: May I wish you a happy birthday, Fraulein? I turned round, and there behind me stood the enormously tall fair-haired student, whom I have been noticing for the last three days. "Thank you very much, it's awfully kind of you," said I, and wanted to pass on, for I really had to go. But he began speaking again, and said: "I suppose that's only a joke about your being 14. Surely you are 16 to-day?" "I am both glad and sorry to say that I am not, said I, but after all everyone is as old as he seems. Please excuse me, I really must go to my room," said I hurriedly, and bolted, for otherwise -- -- -- --!! I hope he did not suspect the truth. I must write about it to Hella, it will make her laugh. She sent me a lovely little jewel box with a view of Berchtesgaden packed with my favourite sweets, filled with brandy. In her letter she complains of the "shortness of my last letter." I must write her a long letter to-morrow. At supper I noticed for the first time where "Balder" sits; that's what I call him because of his lovely golden hair, and because I don't know his real name. He is with an old gentleman and an old lady and a younger lady whose hair is like his, but she can't possibly be his sister for she is much too old.

July 31st. The family is called Scharrer von Arneck, and the father is a retired member of the Board of Mines. The young lady is really his sister, and she is a teacher at the middle school in Brunn. I found all this out from the housemaid. But I went about it in a very cunning way, I did not want to ask straight out, and so I said: Can you tell me who that white- haired old gentleman is, he is so awfully like my Grandfather. (I have never see my Grandfather, for Father's Father has been dead 12 or 15 years, and Mother's Father does not live in Vienna but in Berlin.) Then Luise answered: "Ah, Fraulein, I expect you mean Herr Oberbergrat Sch., von Sch. But I expect Fraulein's Grandfather is not quite so grumpy." I said: "Is he so frightfully grumpy then?" And she answered: "I should think so; we must all jump at the word go or it's all up with us!" And then one word led to another, and she told me all she knew; the daughter is 32 already, her name is Hulda and her father won't let her marry, and the _young gentleman_ has left home because his father pestered him so. He is a student in Prague, and only comes home for the holidays. It all sounds very melancholy, and yet they look perfectly happy except the daughter. By the way, it's horrid for the Weiners; Olga is 13 and Nelly actually 15, and their mother is once more -- -- -- -- I mean their mother is in an i-- c--. They are both in a frightful rage, and Nelly said to me to-day: "It's a perfect scandal;" they find it so awkward going about with their mother. I can't say I'd noticed anything myself; but they say it has really been obvious for a long time; "_the happy event!!_ will take place in October," said Olga. It really must be very disagreeable, and I took a dislike to Frau W. from the first. I simply can't understand how such a thing can happen when people are so old. I'm awfully sorry for the two Weiner girls. Something of the same sort must have happened in the case of the Schs., for Luise has told me that the young gentleman is 21 and his sister not 32 but 35, she had made a mistake; so she is 14 years older, appalling. I'm awfully sorry for her because her father won't let her marry, or rather would not let her marry. I'm sure Father would never refuse if either of us wanted to marry. I have written all this to Hella; I miss her dreadfully, for after all the Weiner girls are only strangers, and I could _never_ tell my secrets to Dora, though we are quite on good terms now. Oswald is coming to-morrow.

August 1st. A young man has a fine time of it. He comes and goes when he likes and where he likes. A telegram arrived from Oswald to-day, saying he was not coming till the middle of August: Konigsee, Watzmann, glorious tramp. Letter follows. Father did not say much, but I fancy he's very much annoyed. Especially just now, after poor Mother's death, Oswald might just as well come home. Last year he was so long away after matriculation, quite alone, and now it's the same this year. One pleasure after another like that is really not the thing when one's Mother has been dead only three months. The day after we came here and before we had got to know anyone, I went out quite early, at half past 8, and went alone to the cemetery. It is on the slope of the mountain and some of the tombstones are frightfully old, in many cases one can't decipher the inscriptions; there was one of 1798 in Roman figures. I sat on a little bank thinking about poor Mother and all the unhappi- ness, and I cried so terribly that I had to bathe my eyes lest anyone should notice it. I was horribly annoyed to-day. A letter came from Aunt Alma, she wants to come here, we are to look for rooms for her, to see if we can find anything suitable, Aunt Alma always means by that very cheap, but above all it must be in a private house; of course, for a boarding house would be far too dear for them. I do hope we shan't find _anything_ suitable, we really did not find anything to-day, for a storm was threatening and we did not go far. I do so hope we shall have no better success to-morrow; for I really could not stand having Marina here, she is such a spy. Thank goodness Aunt Dora and Dora are both very much against their coming. But Father said: That won't do girls, she's your aunt, and you must look for rooms for her. All right, we can _look for them_; but seeking and finding are two very different things.

August 2nd. This morning we went out early to look for the rooms, and since Dora always makes a point of finding what's wanted, she managed to hunt up 2 rooms and a kitchen, though they are only in a farm. The summer visitors who were staying there had to go back suddenly to Vienna because their grandmother died, and so the rooms are to let very cheap. Dora wrote to Aunt directly, and she said that we shall all be delighted to see them, which is a downright lie. However, I wrote a P.S. in which I sent love to them all, and said that the journey was scandalously expensive; perhaps that may choke them off a bit. Owing to this silly running about looking for rooms I saw nothing of the Weiners yesterday afternoon or this morning, and of course nothing of God Balder either. And at dinner we can't see the Scharrers' table because they have a table in the bay window, for they have come here every year for the last 9 years. I'm absolutely tired out, but there's something I must write. This afternoon the Weiners and we went up to Kreindl's, and Siegfried Sch. came with us, for he knows the Weiners, who have been here every year for the last 3 years. He talked chiefly to Dora, and that annoyed me frightfully. So I said not a word,


A Young Girl's Diary - 40/50

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