This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
Writer:
Language:
Published:
  • 1919
Collection:
Buy it on Amazon Listen via Audible FREE Audible 30 days

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, but walked well behind the others. On the way home he came up to me and said: “I say, Fraulein Grete, are you always so reserved? Your eyes seem to contradict the idea.” I said: “It all depends on my mood, and above all I hate forcing myself on any one.” “Could you not change places at table with your mother?” “In the first place, she is not my Mother, who died on April 24th, but my Aunt, and in the second place, why do you say that to _me_, you had better say it to my sister!” “Don’t be jealous! There’s no reason for _that_. I can’t help talking to your sister when we’re in company; but I can assure you that you have no occasion whatever to be jealous.” I wish I knew how I could manage that change of places, but I always sit next Father; anyhow I would not do it directly; next week at soonest. Farewell, my Hero Siegfried, sleep sweetly and dream of — –.

August 3rd, Anneliese wrote to me: You heart of gold, so you are able to forgive my sins of youth? The world shines with a new light since I received your letter.” I don’t know that my letter was so forgiving as all that, for all I said was that I was very sorry she was so lonely in Gratsch, and that we could not alter the past, so we had better bury it. She sends me a belated birthday greeting (last winter we told one another when our birthdays were), and she sends me a great pressed forget-me-not. She waited to answer until it had been pressed. I don’t know quite what I had better do. Big Siegfried could no doubt give me very good advice, but I can’t very well tell him the whole story, for then I should have to tell him why we quarrelled, and that would be awful. I had better write to Hella before I answer. I must write to-day, for it will be quite three days before I can get an answer, and then 1 or two days more before Anneliese gets the letter, so that will be 5 days at least. It is raining in torrents, so it is very dull, for Father won’t let us sit in the hall alone; I can’t think why. Generally speaking Father’s awfully kind, quite different from other fathers, but this is really disgusting of him. I shall lie down on the sofa after dinner and read _Immensee_, for I’ve not had a chance before.

August 6th. Well, the whole tribe arrived to-day; Marina in a dust-grey coat and skirt that fits her abominably, and Erwin and Ferdinand; Ferdinand is going through the artillery course in Vienna, at the Neustadt military academy; he’s the most presentable of the lot. Uncle was in a frightful temper, growling about the journey and about the handbaggage, I think they must have had 8 or 10 packages, at least I had to carry a heavy travelling rug and Dora a handbag of which she said that it contained the accumulated rubbish of 10 years. Aunt Alma’s appearance was enough to give one fits, a tweed dress kilted up so high that one saw her brown stockings as she walked, and a hat like a scarecrow’s. When I think how awfully well dressed _Mother_ always was, and how nice she always looked; of course Mother was at least 20 years younger than Aunt Alma, but even if Mother had lived to be 80 she would never have looked like _that_. Thank goodness, on the way from the station we did not meet any one, and above all we did not meet _him_. For once in a way they all came to dinner at our boarding house. We had two tables put together, and I seized the opportunity to change my place, for I offered Aunt Alma the place next Father and seated myself beside the lovely Marina, exactly opposite — — –! Anyway, Marina looked quite nice at dinner, for her white blouse suits her very well, and she has a lovely complexion, so white, with just a touch of pink in the cheeks. But that is her only beauty. The way she does her hair is hideous, parted and brushed quite smooth, with two pigtails. I’ve given them up long ago, though everyone said they suited me very well. But “snails” suit me a great deal better. _He_ looked across at me the whole time, and Aunt Alma said: “Grete is blossoming out, I hope there’s not a man in the case already.” “Oh no,” said Father, “country air does her such a lot of good, and when I take the children away for a change I don’t forbid any innocent pleasures.” My darling Father, I had to keep a tight hand on myself so as not to kiss him then and there. They were all so prim, with their eyes glued to their plates as if they had never eaten rum pudding before. It is true that Ferdinand winked at Marina, but of course she noticed nothing. They soon put away their first helps, and they all took a second, and then they went on talking. When we went to our rooms I knocked at Father’s door and gave him the promised kiss and said: “You really are a jewel of a Father.” “Well, will you, if you please, be a jewel of a daughter, and keep the peace with Marina and the others?” I said: “Oh dear, I simply can’t stand her, she’s such a humbug!” “Oh well,” said Father, “it may be a pity, but you know one can’t choose one’s parents and one’s relations.” “I would not have chosen any different parents, for we could not have found another Father and another Mother like you.” Then Father lifted me right up into the air as if I had still been a little girl, saying: “You are a little treasure,” and we kissed one another heartily. I really do like Father better than anyone in the world; for the way I like Hella is quite different, she is my friend, and Dora is my sister; and I like Aunt Dora too, and Oswald _if_ I ever see him again.

August 8th. Oh, I am so furious! To-day I got a postcard from Hella, with nothing on it but “Follow your own bent, with best wishes, your M.” When we write postcards we always use a cipher which no one else can understand, so that M. means H. It’s a good thing no one can understand it. Of course I wrote to Anneliese directly, and was most affectionate, and I sent a postcard to Hella, in our cipher, with nothing more than: Have done so, with best wishes, W. Not even _your_ W. I do wonder what she will do. Hero Siegfried was lying with us to-day in the hayfield, and what he said was lovely. But I can’t agree that all fathers _without exception_ are tyrants. I said: “_My_ Father isn’t!” He rejoined: “Not _yet_, but you will find out in time. However, anyone with a character of his own won’t allow himself to be suppressed. I simply broke with my Old Man and left home; there are other technical schools besides the one in Brunn. And since you say not _all_ fathers; well just look at Hulda; whenever anyone fell in love with her the Old Man marred her chance, for no one can stand such tutelage.” “Tutelage, what do you mean,” said I, but just at that moment everyone got up to go away. To-morrow perhaps, poor persecuted man.

August 9th. Oh dear, it’s horrible if it’s all really true what Hella writes about being infected; an erup- tion all over the body, that is the most horrible thing in the world. I must tear up her letter directly, and since she could not write 8 whole pages in our cipher, I must _absolutely destroy_ it, so that no one can get hold of a fragment of it. Above all now that Marina is here, for you never can tell — — –. But I know what I’ll do; I’ll copy the letter here, even if it takes 2 or 3 days. She writes:

Darling Rita, what did you say when you got yesterday’s postcard. If you were angry, you must make it up with me. Consort with whom you please and write to whom you please; but all the _consequences_ be on your own head. Father always says: Beware of red hair! And I insist that the “innocent child” has _foxy red_ hair. But you can think what you like.

Now I’ve got something much more important to tell you. But you must promise me dirst that you will tear up my letter directly you have read it. Otherwise please send it back to me _un_read.

Just fancy. Here in B. there is a young married woman living with her mother and her cousin, a girl who is studying medicine; they are Poles and I have always had an enthusiastic admiration for the Poles. The young wife has got a divorce from her husband, for she was _infected_ by him on the _wedding night_. Of course you remember what being _infected_ is. But really it is something quite different from what we imagined. Because of _that_ she got a frightful eruption all over her body and her face, and most likely all her hair will fall out; is it not frightful? Her cousin, the medical student, who is apparently very poor, is there to _nurse_ her. Our servant Rosa told me about it, she heard of it from the housemaid where they have rooms. As you know, one can’t talk to Lizzi about anything of that kind, and so I did not learn any more; but the other day, when I went to buy some picture postcards, I met the three ladies. The young wife was wearing a very thick veil, so that one could see nothing. They were sitting on a bench in the garden in front of their house, and I bowed in passing, on the way back. They bowed, and smiled in a friendly way. In the afternoon I had to lie down, for I was feeling very bad because of . . . .!! Then I suddenly heard some people talking on the veranda just outside my window–the veranda runs all round the house. At first I saw shadows passing, and then they sat down outside. I recognised the soft voice of the Polish student directly, and I heard her say to the wife of the mayor of J.: “Yes, my unfortunate cousin’s experience has been a terrible one; that is because people sell girls like merchandise, without asking them, and without their having the least idea what they are in for.” I got up at once and sat down close to the window behind the curtain so that I could hear everything. The mayor’s wife said: “Yes, it’s horrible what one has to go through when one is married. _My_ husband is not one of that sort but — — — And then I could not understand what she went on to say I overheard this conversation on Thursday. But that’s not all I have to tell you. Of course my first thought was, if only I could have a talk with her; for she spoke about _enlightenment_ and although we are both of us already _very much enlightened_, still, as a medical student, she must know a great deal more than we do, so that we can learn from her. And since she said that girls ought not to be allowed to _run blindly into marriage_, I thought she would probably tell me a little if I went cautiously to work. There was a word which she and the mayor’s wife used more than once, _segsual_ and I don’t know what it means, and I’m sure you don’t know either, darling Rita. She said something about _segsual intimacies_; of course when people talk about _intimacies_, one knows it has a meaning, but what on earth does segsual mean? It must mean something, since it is used with _intimacy_. Well, let me get on. On Saturday there was a party, and the medical student came, and I left my Alpine Songs lying on the piano, and somebody picked it up and turned over the pages, and the word went round that the person to whom it belonged must sing something. At first I did not let on, but went out for a moment, and then came back saying: I’m looking for my music book, I left it lying about somewhere. There was a general shout, and everyone said: We’ve agreed that the person to whom that book belongs has got to sing. Now I knew that Fraulein Karwinska had accompanied the singing on such evenings before. So I said: I shall be delighted to sing, provided Fraulein K. will accompany me, For you gentlemen play too loud for my voice. Great laughter, but I had got what I wanted. We were introduced, and I thought to myself: You will soon improve the acquaintance. On Sunday for once in a way I got up quite early, at half past 6, for Fraulein K. can only go out walking early in the morning since she spends the whole day with her cousin. She sits near the Luisenquelle, so I went there with a book, and as soon as she came I jumped up, said good-morning, and went on: I’m afraid I’ve taken possession of _your_ bench. “Not at all,” she said, “Do you study on Sundays?” “Oh no, this is only light reading,” I answered, and I made haste to sit on the book, for in my hurry I had not noticed what it was. But luck was with me. She sat down beside me and said: “What is it you are reading that you hide so anxiously? I suppose it’s something that your mother must not know about.” “Oh no,” said I, “we have not brought any such books to the country with us.” “I take it that means that you do manage to get them when you are in town?” “Goodness me, one must try and learn a little about _life_; and since no one will ever tell one anything, one looks about for oneself to see if one can find anything in a book.” “In the encyclopedia, I suppose?” “No, that’s no good, for one can’t always find the truth there.” She burst out laughing and said: “What sort of truth do you want?” “I think you can imagine very well what sort of things I want to know.” Of course one can speak more plainly to a medical student than one can to other girls, and she was not in the least disgusted or angry but said: Yes, it’s the same struggle everywhere. Then I made use of your favourite phrase and said: “Struggle, what do you mean? What I really want to know about is being infected.” Then she flushed up and said: “Who’s been talking to you about that? It seems to me that the whole town is chattering about my unhappy cousin. You must see that _I_ can’t tell you that.” But I answered: “If you don’t, who will? _You_ study medicine, and are seeing and talking about such things all day.” “No, no, my dear _child_ (you can imagine how furious that made me), you are still much too young for _that sort of thing_.” What do you think of that, we are too young at 14 1/2, it’s utterly absurd. I expect that really her studies have not gone very far, and she would not admit it. Anyhow, I stood up, and said: “I must not disturb you any longer,” and bowed and went away; but I thought to myself: “A fig for her and her _studies_; fine sort of a doctor _she_’ll make!” “What do you think about it all? We shall still have to trust to the encyclopedia, and after all a lot of what we can learn there is all right, and luckily we know most things except the word segsual. Next winter I expect we shall find it easier than we used to to get to the bookcase in your house. I don’t bow to the silly idiot any more.

But darling Rita, with regard to the “innocent child,” I don’t want to influence you in any way, and I shan’t be angry with you for preferring an _unworthy_ person to me!!! Faithless though you are, I send you half a million kisses, your ever faithful friend, H. P.S. I have been 4 days writing this letter; tear it up, _whatever_ you do!!!

Now that I have copied the letter, I really can’t see why Hella wants me to tear it up. There’s nothing so very dreadful in it. But there is one thing I shan’t be able to do for Hella, to help her in looking up things in the encyclopedia. I think I should always feel that Mother would suddenly come in and stand behind us. No, I simply can’t do it.

August 13th. Through that stupid copying I have been prevented writing about _my own_ affairs, although they are far more important. Last Wednesday the Society for the Preservation of Natural Beauties had arranged a great excursion to Inner-Lahn in breaks. Dora did not want to go at first, but Father said that if it would give _us_ pleasure, he would very much like to go with us, and Mother would be only too delighted to see that we were enjoying something once more. And two days before the excursion Dora finally decided that she would like to go; I knew why at once; she thought that by that time all the places would have been taken, and that we should have been told: Very sorry, no more room. But luckily she had made a _great_ mistake. For the secretary said: With pleasure; how many places shall I reserve? and so we said: 7; namely, Father, Dora, and I, Aunt Alma (unfortunately), Marina (very unfortunately), and the two boys (no less unfortunately). “That will need an extra conveyance,” replied the secretary, and we thought we should make a family party. But it was not so: Next Dora sat a gentleman whom I had seen once or twice before, and he paid her a tremendous amount of attention. Besides that there were 2 strange gentlemen, Frau Bang and her 2 daughters and her son, who is not quite all there; opposite was Hero Siegfried, a young lady who is I believe going on the stage, the two Weiner girls and their Mother (notwithstanding!!!), then I, and afterwards Marina, Father, Aunt Alma, and the two boys opposite. I don’t know who made up the other break-loads. At 6 in the morning we all met outside the school, for the schoolmaster acted as our guide. I did not know before that he has two daughters and a son who has matriculated this year. First of all they held a great review, and the gentlemen fortified themselves with a nip and so did some of the ladies; I did not, for I hate the way in which a liqueur burns one’s throat so that every one, at any rate girls and ladies, make such faces when they are drinking, that is why I never drink liqueur. I did not care much about the drive out, for it was very cold and windy, most of us had red noses and blue lips; I kept on biting my lips to keep them red, for one looks simply hideous when one’s lips are white or blue, I noticed that in Dora when we were skating last winter. Father went only on our account, and Aunt Dora stayed at home so that Aunt Alma could go. Marina wears “snails” now, the sight of her is enough to give one fits. Dora gets on with her quite well, which is more than I can say for myself. Only when we got out aid I notice that Siegfried’s sister, Fraulein Hulda, had been sitting next the aspiring actress. She is awfully nice, and many, many years ago she must have been very pretty; she has such soft brown eyes, and her hair is the same colour as her brother’s; but he has glorious blue eyes, which get quite black when he is angry, as he was when he was talking about his father. I should tremble before him in his wrath. He is so tall that I only come up to his shoulder. Father calls him the red tapeworm; but that’s really not fair. He is very broad but so thin. In Unter-Toifen we stopped for breakfast, eating the food we had brought with us; about half an hour; then the schoolmaster hurried us all away, for we had quite 10 miles to walk. The two boys made a party with other boys, and we five girls, we 2, the 2 Weiners, and Marina, led the way. Aunt Alma walked with a clergyman’s wife from Hildesheim, or whatever it was called, and with the schoolmaster’s wife. It was _awfully_ dull at first, so that I began to be sorry that I had begged Father to let us go. But after we had gone a few miles the schoolmaster’s son and three bright young fellows came along and walked with us. Then we had such fun that we could hardly walk for laughing, and the elders had continually to drive us on. Marina was quite unrestrained, I could never have believed that she could be so jolly. One of the schoolmaster’s daughters fell down, and some one pulled her out of the brook into which she had slid because she was laughing so much. I really don’t know what time we got to Inner-Lahn, for we were enjoying ourselves so much. Dinner had been ordered ready for us, and we were all frantically hungry. We laughed without stopping, for we had all sat down just as we had come in, although Aunt Alma did not want us to at first. But she was outvoted. I was _especially pleased_ to show Hero Siegfried that I could amuse myself very well without him, for he had frozen on to the aspiring actress, or she had frozen on to him–I don’t know which, or at least I did not know _then!_ Since we were sitting all mixed up everyone had to pay for himself, and Father said next day we had spent a perfect fortune; but that was not in the hotel, it happened later, when we were buying mementoes. And I think Dora gave Marina 3 crowns, so that she could buy some things too. But Dora never lets on about anything of that sort. I must say I like her character better and better; in those ways she is very like Mother. Well, our purchases were all packed into two or three rucksacks, and were kept for a raffle in Unter-Toifen on the way back. I must have spent at least 7 crowns, for Father had given each of us 5 crowns before we started, and I still had a lot of my August pocket money left, and now I’ve got only 40 hellers. After we had had dinner and bought the things we lay about in the forest or walked about in couples. I had curled myself up for a nap when some one came up behind me, and when I sat up this _someone_ put his hands over my eyes and said: “The Mountain Spirit.” And I recognised _his_ hands _instantly_, and said: “Hero Siegfried!” Then he laughed like anything and sat down beside me and said: “You were enjoying yourself so much this morning that you had not even a glance to spare for me.” “Contrariwise (I’ve got that from Dora), I never foist myself on anyone, and never _hang around anyone’s neck_.” Then he wanted to put his arm round my waist (and probably, most probably, he would have kissed me), but I sprang to my feet and called Dora or rather Thea, for before the gentlemen we pretend that we never call one another anything but Thea and Rita. Father says that that is awfully silly, and no longer suitable for Dora (but of course it was alright for me!), but we keep to our arrangement. Then he raised my hand to his lips and said: “Don’t call!” But Dora came up, and with her the gentleman with the pincenez, who is a doctor of law belonging to the District Court of Innsbruck, and Marina and one of the young men, and I asked, “I say, when _are_ we going to have tea?” “Just fancy, she is hungry again already,” they all said, and laughed like anything. And Dora looked _frightfully_ happy. She was wearing an edelweiss buttonhole which she had not been wearing before; in the evening she told me that Dr. P. had given it her. If possible he is even taller than Hero Siegfried, for Dora is taller than I am and her head only comes up to his ear. At 3 o’clock the last party came up to the belvedere, we had got there earlier. The view was lovely. But I must say I can enjoy a fine view much better when I am alone, that is with Father or quite a few persons; it is no good when there’s such a crowd; each additional person seems to take something more away. In a lovely place and at the cemetery one must be alone. For a beautiful view usually makes one feel frightfully sad, and one ought not to have been laughing so much just before, or laugh directly afterwards. If I were alone in Inner-Lahn I’m sure I should become melancholy, for it is so gloriously beautiful there.

At 4 o’clock, after tea, we started back, for the schoolmaster thought the descent would not take more than two hours and a half, but we needed more than three. For we were all very tired, and a great many of them had sore feet, especially Aunt Alma! We had said before, that it would be too much for Aunt; but she had to come with us to take care of Marina, though Marina enjoyed herself _extremely_ with a Herr Furtner, who is studying mining like Oswald, not in Leoben but in Germany. One does not really find out what a girl is like until one sees how she behaves with a man, or what she is like when one talks to her about _certain things_; as for the last, of course that’s impossible with Marina _since the experience_ we had. But anyhow she is nicer than one would have thought at first sight. It was lovely on the way home. Driving back from Unter-Toifen we sat quite differently.

In our break, instead of the Weiners, there were three students from Munich, they were awfully nice, and we sang all the songs we knew; especially “Hoch vom Dachstein, wo der Aar nur haust,” and “Forelle ” and “Wo mein Schatz ist,” were lovely, and the people in two different breaks sang together. And then some of them sang some Alpine songs and yodelled till the hills echoed. Two or three of the men in the third break were rather tipsy and _Hero Siegfried!!_ was one of them. Aunt Alma had a frightful headache; it was utterly idiotic for her to come, and we did not know yet what was still to happen. At every house from which a girl had come there was a serenade. And next evening there was to be a great raffle of the mementoes we had bought, but Father would not let us go to that.

August 14th. It is desperately dull. I don’t know what on earth to do, so I am writing my diary. Besides, I have not written about the row yet. The next afternoon Aunt Alma came just as we were going out and said to Father: Ernst, please let me have a word with you. Now we all know Aunt Alma’s _let me have a word with you_. In plain language it means: I’m going to make a scene. She began : Ernst, you know I never like these big parties with a lot of strangers, for no good can come of them. Still, I made up my mind to go for the sake of the children, and chiefly for the sake of _your motherless_ children. (Nobody asked her to; and Aunt Dora had to stay at home on her account.) Do you know what sort of people were in our company? That impudent young student whom Gretel is always running after (did you ever hear anything like it! I should like to know when I ran after him; I suppose in the wood I put _my_ arm round _his_ waist, and I suppose that it was _I_ who began the acquaintance on my birthday) and that girl who’s training for the stage did not come home after the excursion till the night was half over. God knows where they were! They were certainly no _cleaner_ when they got home. (Naturally, for where could they have had a wash.) His father gave the young blackguard a fine talking to, but of course the girl’s mother takes her side. It would positively kill me to think of _my Marina doing anything of the kind_.” Father was able to get a word in at last: “But my dear Alma, what has all this to do with my girls? As far as I know these two people weren’t in our break, isn’t that so girls?” I was glad that Father turned to _us_, and I said: Siegfried Sch. and the girl drove in the fourth break, I saw them getting in. And it was toute meme chause where he drove and with whom he was driving.” (Of course that’s not true, but I said it was because of Aunt.) “Such language and such a tone to your own Father!” Directly she said that Father was in such a passion as I have never seen him in before. “My dear Alma, I really must beg you not to interfere with _my_ educational methods, any more than I ever attempt to interfere in _your_ affairs.” Father said this quite quietly, but he was simply white with rage, and Dora told me afterwards that I was quite white too, also from rage of course. Aunt Alma said: “I don’t want to prophesy evil, but the future will show who is right Goodbye.” As soon as she had gone Dora and I rushed to Father and said: “Please Father, don’t be so frightfully angry; there’s no reason why you should.” And Father was awfully sweet and said: “I know quite well that I can trust you; you are my Berta’s children.” And then I simply could not contain myself, and I said: “No, Father, I really did flirt with Siegfried, and in the wood he put his arm round my waist; but I did not let him kiss me, I give you my word I did not. And if you want me to I’ll promise never to speak to him again.” And then Father said: “Really, Gretel, you have plenty of time yet for such affairs, and even if that _red-haired rascal_ plays the gallant with you, he is only making himself a laughingstock. And you don’t want that, do you, little witch?” Then I threw my arms round Father and promised him _on my word of honour_ that I would never speak to Siegfried again. For it really distresses me very much that he should make himself ridiculous; and that he should go out walking half the night with that girl; such shamelessness!

We were so much upset that we did not go for a walk, and of course did not go to the raffle. But I’m frightfully sorry about those things I paid 7 crowns for. I do hope he did not win any of them.

August 15th. Just a few words more. Early this morning, as I was going to breakfast, in the corridor I met S. (it’s a good thing that is the initial both of his name and of Strick [rascal] as Father called him) and he said: “Good morning, Fraulein Gretchen. Why weren’t you at the raffle? Hadn’t you any share?–“Oh yes, I had bought 7 crowns worth for it, but I had no fancy for the company I should meet.”– — Why, what has taken you all of a sudden? They were the same people as at the excursion! — — — “Precisely for that reason,” said I, and passed on. I think I gave him what for, for he simply must have understood. Father is really quite right, and it is not at all nice to abuse one’s parents to strangers as he is always doing. I could not say a word against my parents to anyone, although I’m often frightfully angry with them; of course not about Mother, for she is dead. But not even about Father; I would rather choke down the greatest injustice. For when we had that trouble with Aunt Alma about Marina, I was really not in the least to blame, but he scolded me so, even while Aunt Alma was there, so that I can never forget it. But still, to a stranger, to some one whom I had only just got to know, I would never say a word against anyone in our family; though I used to get on so badly with Dora, I never said much against her even to Hella; at most that she was deceitful, and that really used to be so, though she seldom is now.

August 19th. It is so filthyly dull here; I can’t bear the word filthy, but it’s the only one that’s strong enough. Oswald is coming this evening, at last. Thank goodness. S. has made several _advances_, but I have _ignored_ them. Let him stick to his actress who can go out walking with him half the night. I really _should_ like to know where they went. In the night, I never heard of such a thing! Dora says she took a dislike to S. from the first because he — — — — — it’s an absolute lie! — — — has clammy! hands. It’s simply not true, on the contrary he has such entrancingly cool hands, I’m sure I must know that better than Dora. But I’ve known for a long time that whenever anyone pays _me_ attention Dora is _unsympathetic_, naturally enough. By the way, on Sunday I got a charming letter from Anneliese. I must answer it to-day.

August 22nd. Oswald is awfully nice. He did not forget my birthday, but he says that at that time he was stoney, in student’s slang that means that he hadn’t any money, and then he could not find anything suitable, but that he will repair the omission as soon as we get back to Vienna. But I don’t know what I should like. Oswald is going to stay until we all go back to Vienna, and we are making a few excursions _by ourselves_. That is really the best way after all. I am not much with the Weiners now, for we had a little tiff on the big excursion. But Nelly is rather taken with Oswald, so she came twice to our table to-day, once about a book we had lent her, and once to arrange for a walk.

August 24th. It is really absurd that one’s own brother can think such a lot of one; but if he does, I suppose he knows. Oswald said to me to-day: Gretl, you are so smart I could bite you. How you are developing.” I said: “I don’t want anyone to bite me, and he said: “Nor do I,” but I was awfully delighted, though he is only my brother. He can’t stand Marina, and as a man he finds Dora too stupid; I think he’s right, really. And I simply can’t understand Dr. P., that he can always find something to talk about to Dora. He has hardly said 10 words to me yet. Still, I don’t care.

August 27th. We went up the Matscherkogel yesterday, and we had a lovely view. The two boys
came, for they had begged their father to let them; but of course Aunt Alma and Marina did not come. Oswald calls Aunt Alma _Angular Pincushion_, but only when Father isn’t there, for after all she is Father’s sister. The Weiners wanted to come too, but I said that my brother was staying only a few days more, and that this was a farewell excursion _en famille_.” They were rather hurt, but they have made me very angry by the way in which they will go on talking about S. in front of me, on purpose, saying that he is engaged or is going to be engaged to the actress girl against his father’s will. What does it matter to _me_? They keep on exchanging glances when they say that, especially Olga, who is really rather stupid. I am so sad now at times that I simply can’t understand how I could have enjoyed myself so much on the big excursion. I’m always thinking of dear Mother, and I often wear my black frock. It suits my mood better.

August 30th. I believe the Schs. are leaving to- morrow. At least the old gentleman said to Father the day before yesterday: “Thank the Lord, we shall soon be able to enjoy the comforts of home once more.” That is what Hella’s grandmother used to say before they came back from the country. And to-day I saw two great trunks standing in the passage just outside Herr Scharrer’s room. Oswald thinks the old gentleman charming; well, there’s no accounting for tastes. I don’t believe he’s ever spoken to S., though he is a German Nationalist too, but of a different section; Oswald belongs to the Sudmark, and S. abused that section frightfully when I told him that Oswald belonged to the Sudmark.

August 31st. He has really gone to-day, that is, the whole family has gone. They came to bid us goodbye yesterday after supper, and they left this morning by the 9 o’clock train to Innsbruck. And his hands are not clammy, I paid particular attention to the point; it is pure imagination on Dora’s part. He and Oswald greeted one another with Hail! That’s a splendid salutation, and I shall introduce it between Hella and me.

September 2nd. The Weiners left to-day too, because people are really beginning to stare at their mother too much. When Olga said goodbye to me she told me she hated having to travel with her mother and whenever possible she would lag behind a little so that people should not know they belonged together.

September 4th. I never heard of such a thing!! S. has come back, alone of course. Everyone is indignant, for he has only come back because of Fraulein A., the actress girl. But Oswald defends him like anything. This afternoon Frau Lunda said to Aunt Dora: “It’s simply scandalous, and his parents certainly ought not to have allowed him to come, even if the girl’s mother does not know any better.” Then Oswald said: “Excuse me, Frau Lunda, Scharrer is no longer a schoolboy who must cling to his mother’s apron-string; such tutelage would really be unworthy of a full-grown German.” I was so pleased that he gave a piece of his mind to Frau L., for she is always glaring at one and is so frantically inquisitive. And _tutelage_ is such an impressive word, S. used it once when he was speaking of his sister and why she had never married. Frau L. was furious. She turned to Aunt Dora and said: “Young men naturally take one another’s part, until they are fathers themselves and then they hold other views.”

September 8th. Thank goodness we are going home the day after to-morrow. It really has been rather dull here, certainly I can’t join in the paean Hella sang about the place last year; of course they were not staying in the Edelweiss boarding house but in the Hotel Kaiser von Oesterreich. It makes a lot of difference _where_ one is staying. By the way, it has just occurred to me. The young wife who had the eruption after _infection_ can’t have been divorced, as Hella wrote me the week before last; for her husband has been there on a visit, he is an actor at the Theatre Royal in Munich. So it would seem that actors really are all _infected_; and Hella always says it is only officers! She takes rather an exaggerated view.

September 14th. We have been back in Vienna since the 11th, but I have been absolutely unable to write, though there was plenty to write about. For the first person I met when I went out on the 11th to fetch some cocoa which Resi had forgotten, was Lieutenant R. Viktor, _the Conqueror!!_ Of course he recognised me immediately, and was awfully friendly, and _walked with me a little way_. He asked casually after Dora, but it is obvious that he is not in love with her any more. And it was so funny that he should not know that Dora had matriculated this year and so would not be going to the High School any more. I did not tell him that she intends to go on with her studies, for it is not absolutely settled yet.

September 16th. Hella came home yesterday; I am so glad; I greeted her with: _Hail!_ but she said; “don’t be silly,” besides, it’s unsuitable for an Austrian officer’s daughter!!! Still, we won’t quarrel about it after 2 months’ separation, and _Servus_ is very smart too though not so distinguished. She told me a tremendous lot more about that young married woman; some of the ladies in B. said that her cousin was _in love_ with the husband. That would be awful, for then she would get infected too; but Hella says she did not notice anything, though she watched very closely during the fortnight he was there. He sang at two of the musical evenings, but she did not see any sign of it. Lizzi is _engaged_, but Hella could not write anything about it, for the engagement is only being officially announced now that they are back in Vienna; her fiance is Baron G. He is an attache in London, and she met him there. He is madly in love with her. In August he was on leave, and he came to B. to make an offer of marriage; that is why they stayed the whole summer in B. instead of going to Hungary. Those were the _special circumstances_, about which Hella said she could not write to me. I don t see why she could not have told me _that_, I should have kept it to myself; and after all, Lizzi is 19 1/2 now, and no one would have been surprised that she is engaged at last. They can’t have a great betrothal party, for Baron G.’s father died in July. Hella is very much put out. Lizzi says it does not matter a bit.

September 18th. Lizzi’s betrothal cards arrived to-day. It must be glorious to send out betrothal cards. Dora got quite red with annoyance, though she said when I asked her: “Why do you flush up so, surely there’s no reason to be ashamed when anyone is _engaged!_” “Really, why should you think I am ashamed, I am merely _extremely surprised_.” But one does not get so red as _that_ from surprise.

September 19th. School began to-day; unfortunately, for _she_ has gone. And what was the Third is now the Fourth, and that is detestable, to sit in the classroom without _her_. Luckily we have Frau Doktor St. as class mistress, and she is to teach us mathematics and physics once more; Frau Doktor F., whom we used to call Nutling and the Fifth used to call Waterfall has gone, for she has been appointed to the German High School in Lemberg. For the time being we are sitting in our old place, but Hella says we must ask Frau Doktor S. to let us have another seat, for the memory of the three years when we had Frau Doktor M. might make us inattentive. That is a splendid idea. In German we have a master, in French I am sorry to say it’s still Frau Doktor Dunker, whose complexion has not improved, and in English the head mistress. I am very pleased with that, for first of all I like her very much, and secondly I shall be in her good books from the start because Dora was her favourite. Of course I’m not learning Latin, for it would not interest me now that Frau Doktor M. has gone. Oh, and we have a new Religion teacher, for Herr Professor K. has retired, since he was 60 already.

September 21st. We have managed it. In the long interval, Hella said to Frau Doktor St., who was in charge. “Frau Doktor, may we venture to ask for something?” So she said: “What, in the very first week; well, what is it?” We said we should like to move from the third bench towards the window, for we found it very painful to go on sitting where we had sat when Frau Doktor M., was there. At first she refused, but after a while she said: I’ll see what I can do, if you are really not happy where you are.” From 11 to 12 was the mathematic lesson, and as soon as Frau Doktor Steiner had taken her place she said: “This arrangement of your seats was only provisional. You had better sit more according to height.” Then she rearranged us all, and Hella and I were moved to the 5th bench on the window side; the two twins, the Ehrenfelds got our places; in front of us is Lohr and a new girl called Friederike Hammer whose father is a confectioner in Mariahilferstrasse. We are awfully glad that we have got
away from that hateful third bench where _she_ used so often to stand near us and lay her hand on the desk.

September 29th. Professor Fritsch, the German professor, came to-day for the first time. He is always clearing his throat and he wears gold spectacles. Hella thinks him _tolerably_ nice, but I don’t. I’m quite sure that I shall never get an Excellent in German again. Yesterday the new Religion master came for the first time, and I sat alone, for Hella being a Protestant did not attend. He looks frightfully ill and his eyes are always lowered though he has burning black eyes. Next time I shall sit beside Hammer which will be company for us both.

October 2nd. We had confession and communion to-day, and since the staff will not allow us to choose our confessors, I had to go to Professor Ruppy. I did hate it. I whispered so low that he had to tell me to speak louder three times over. When I began about the sixth commandment he covered his eyes with his hand. But thank goodness he did not ask any questions about that. The only one of the staff who used to allow us to choose our confessors was Frau Doktor M. Really, she did not allow it directly but when one ran quickly to another confessional box, she pretended not to notice. The Herr Rel. Prof gives frightfully long penances; all the girls who went to him took a tremendous time to get through. I do hope he won’t be so strict over his examinations or I shall get an Unsatisfactory; that would be awful. October 3rd. Father was so splendid to-day! Aunt Dora must have told him that I asked her not long ago whether Father was likely to marry Frau Riedl, whose husband died almost exactly the same time as Mother, for Father is guardian to her three children. She was here to-day with Willi, because he has just begun going to school. Dora and I talked it over, and she said that if Father married Frau R., she would leave home. In the evening when we were at supper, I said: If only Frau v. R. was not so ugly. Father, don’t you think she’s perfectly hideous? And Father laughed so lovingly and said: You need not be anxious, little witch, I’m not going to inflict a stepmother on you.” I was so glad, and so was Dora and we kissed Father such a lot, and Dora said: “I felt sure that you would never break your oath to Mother,” and she burst out crying. And Father said: “No, girls, I did not give any promise to your Mother, she would never have asked anything of the kind. But with grown girls like you it would never do to bring a stepmother into the house.” And then I told Father that Dora would have gone away from home, and as for me, I should certainly have been frightfully upset. For _if_ Father really wanted _to marry_ again _I_ should have to put up with it; and so would Dora. But Father said once more: Don’t worry, I certainly shan’t marry again.” And I said: “Not even Aunt Dora?” And he said: “Oh, as for her — –” And then he pulled himself up and said: “No, no, not even Aunt Dora.” Dora has just told me that I am a perfect idiot, for surely I must know that Father is not particularly charmed by Aunt. And then she blamed me for having told Father that she would leave home if he were to marry again. _I am a child_ to whom it is impossible to entrust any secrets!! Now we have been quarrelling for at least three quarters of an hour, so it is already half past 11. Luckily to-morrow is a holiday, because of the Emperor’s birthday. But I am so glad to know for certain that Father is not going to marry Frau v. R I could never get on with a stepmother.

October 9th. It’s horribly difficult in German this year. In composition we are not allowed to make any rough notes, we have to write it straight off and then _hand it in_. I simply can’t. Professor Fritsch is very handsome, but the girls are terribly afraid of him for he is so strict. His wife is in an asylum and his children live with his mother. He has got a divorce from his wife, and since he has the luck to be a Protestant he can marry again if he wants to. Hella is perfectly fascinated by him, but I’m not in the least. For I always think of Prof. W. in the Second, and that’s enough for me. I’m not going to fall in love with any more professors. In the Training College, where Marina is now, in her fourth year one of the professors last year married a former pupil. I would not do that at any price, marry a former professor,: who knows all one’s faults. Besides, he must be at least 12 or 20 years older than the girl; and that’s perfectly horrible, one might as well marry one’s father; he would be at least fond of her, and she would at least know the way he likes to have everything done; but to marry one’s former professor, what an extraordinary thing to do!

October 15th. I’m frightfully anxious that Hella may have a relapse; she says that nothing would induce her to have a second operation, especially now that — — –; she says she would rather die. That would be awful! I did my best to persuade her to tell her mother that she has such pain; but she won’t.

October 19th. In November, Hella’s father will be made a general and will be stationed in Cracow. Thank goodness she is going to stay here with her grandmother until she leaves the Lyz. She will only go to Cracow at Christmas and Easter and in the summer holidays. She is frantically delighted. The good news has made her quite well again. Everyone at school is very proud that there will be a general’s daughter in our class. It’s true that there is a field- marshal’s daughter in the Third, but he is retired. Father always says: Nobody makes any fuss over a retired officer.

October 22nd. We are so much excited that we’ve hardly any time to learn our lessons. At Christmas last year some one gave Hella’s mother several of Geierstamm’s novels. The other day one of them was lying on the table, and when her mother was out Hella had a hurried look at it and read the title _The Power of Woman!!!_ When her mother had finished it, she watched to see where it was put in the bookcase, and now we are reading it. It’s simply wonderful! It keeps me awake all night; Signe whom he is so passionately fond of and who deceives him. We cried so much that we could not go on reading. And Gretchen, the girl, to whom her father is everything; I can understand so well that she is always anxious lest her father should marry that horrid Frau Elise, although she has a husband already. And when she dies, oh, it’s so horrible and so beautiful that we read it over three times in succession. The other day my eyes were quite red from crying, and Aunt said I must be working too hard; for she thinks that Hella and I are studying literature together. Oh dear, lessons are an awful nuisance when one has _such_ books to read.

October 24th. When I look at Father I always think of the novel _The Power of Woman_; of course leaving Signe out of account. Hella hopes she’ll be able to get hold of some other book, but it’s not so easy to do without her mother finding it out, for she often lends books to her friends. Then there would be an awful row. We certainly don’t want to read _The Little Brother’s Book_, the title does not attract us; but there’s a novel called _The Comedy of Marriage_, it must be splendid; we _must_ get that whatever happens.

October 26th. The Bruckners are going to keep on their flat, and Hella’s grandmother will come and live there; only the Herr _General!!!_ is going to C., and of course Hella’s mother too. Lizzi will stay, for she is taking cooking lessons, since she is to be _married_ in Mid-Lent.

October 31st. Hella’s parents left to-day, she cried frightfully, for she did so want to go with them. Lizzi was quite unconcerned, for she is engaged already, and the Baron, her fiance, is coming at Christmas, either to Vienna or Cracow; he does not care which.

November 4th. Some of the girls in our class were furious in the German lesson to-day. One or two of the girls did not know the proper places for commas, and Prof. Fritsch hinted that we had learned nothing at all in previous years. We understood perfectly well that he was aiming at Frau Doktor M., whose German lessons were 10 times or rather 100 times better than Professor F.’s. And on this very matter of punctuation Frau Doktor M. took a tremendous lot of trouble and gave us lots of examples. Besides, whether one has a good style or not does not depend upon whether one puts a _comma_ in the right place. The two Ehrenfelds, who towards the end were awfully fond of Frau Doktor M., say that we, who were Frau Doktor M.’s favourites, ought to write a composition without a single comma, just to show him. That’s a splendid idea, and Hella and I will do it like a shot if only the others can be trusted to do it too.

November 6th. This year all the classes _must_ have at least two outings every month, even in winter. If that had been decided in the last school year, when Frau Doktor M. was still there, I should certainly have gone every time. But this year, when she has left, we can’t enjoy it. Frau Doktor St. is awfully nice, but not like Frau Doktor M. Besides, we go somewhere with Father every Sunday, Hella comes with us, and Lizzi if she likes. As soon as the snow comes we are going to have tobogganing parties at Hainfeld or Lilienfeld.

December 3rd. Nearly a whole month has passed without my writing, but I must write to-day! There’s been such a row in the German lesson!! We got back the compositions in which Hella and I, the 2 Ehrenfelds, Brauner, Edith Bergler, and Kuhnelt, had not put a single comma. Nothing would have been found out had not that idiot Brauner put in commas first and then scratched them out. We had agreed that if the Prof. noticed anything we would say we had meant to go through them together before the lesson, and to decide where to put in commas, but that we had had no time. Now the silly fool has given away the whole show. He is going to bring the matter before the staff meeting. But after all, it’s simply _impossible_ to give 6 girls out of 25 a bad conduct mark.

December 4th. The head mistress came to inspect the German lesson to-day. Afterwards she said that she expected us to make all the knowledge which Frau Doktor M. had instilled into us for 3 years, the firm foundation of our further development in the higher classes. In the English lesson she referred to the more restricted use of punctuation marks in English; and afterwards we 6 _sinners_ were summoned to the office. The whole school knew about the trouble and was astonished at our courage, especially the lower classes; the Fifth and the Sixth were rather annoyed that we in the Fourth had dared to do it. The head gave us a terrible scolding, saying that it was an unexampled piece of impudence, and that we were not doing credit to Frau Doktor M. Then Hella said very modestly: “Frau Direktorin, will you please allow me to say a word in our defence?” Then she explained that Prof. Fritsch never missed a chance of casting a slur upon Frau Doktor M., not in plain words of course, but so that we could not fail to understand it, and that was why we acted as we did. The head answered we must certainly be mistaken, that no member of the staff could ever speak against another in such a way we had simply misunderstood Prof Fritsch! But we know perfectly well how often the Nutling used to say in the Maths lesson: “Don’t you know _that_? Surely you _must_ have been taught that.” The emphasis does it!!!!! The staff meeting is to-morrow, and we were told to do our best to make amends before the meeting. The 2 Ehrenfelds suggested that we should write the compositions over again, of course with all the commas, and should place them on his desk to- morrow morning before the German lesson; but all the rest of us were against this, for we saw plainly that the head had changed colour when Hella said what she did. We shall make the corrections and then we shall all begin new copybooks.

December 8th. It is 3 days now since the staff meeting, but not a word has been said yet about our affair, and in the German lesson yesterday the Prof. gave out the subject for the third piece of home work without saying anything in particular. I think he is afraid to. Hella has saved us all, for everyone else would have been afraid to say what she did, even I. Hella said: “My dear Rita, I’m not an officer’s daughter for nothing; if _I_ have not courage, who should have? The girls stare at us in the interval and whenever they meet us, though in the office the head said to us: “I do hope that this business will not be spread all over the school.” But Brauner has a sister in the Second and Edith Bergler’s sister is in the Fifth and through them all the classes have heard about it. I suppose nothing is going to be said to our parents or something would have happened already. Besides, to be on the safe side, I have already dropped a few hints at home. And since Dora, thank goodness, is no longer at the school, it is impossible that there can be much fuss. It was only at first that we were alarmed, but Hella was quite right when she said: “I’m sure nothing will happen to us, for _we are in the right_.”

December 15th. A meeting with Viktor!!! Dora and I had gone to do our Christmas shopping, and we came across him just as we had turned into Tuchlauben. Dora got fiery red, and both their _voices trembled_. He does look fine, with his black moustache and his flashing eyes! And the green facings on his tunic suit him splendidly. He cleared his throat quickly to cover his embarrassment, and walked with us as far as the Upper Market-place; he has another six-months furlough because of throat trouble; so Dora can be quite easy in her mind in case she fancied that — — — — –. When he said goodbye he kissed our hands, _mine as well as Dora’s_, and smiled so sweetly, sadly and sweetly at the same time. Several times I wanted to turn the conversation upon him. But when Dora does not want a thing, you can do what you like and she won’t budge; she’s as obstinate as a mule! She’s always been like that since she was quite a little girl, when she used to say: Dor not! That meant: Dora won’t; little wretch! such a wilful little beast!

December 17th. Yesterday we had our first tobogganing party on the Anninger; it was glorious, we kept on tumbling into the snow; the snow lay fairly thick, especially up there, where hardly anyone comes. As we were going home such a ridiculous thing happened to Hella; she caught her foot on a snag and tore off the whole sole of a brand new shoe. She had to tie it on with a string, and even then she limped so badly that every one believed she had sprained her ankle tobogganing. Her grandmother was frightfully angry and said: “That comes of such _unladylike_ amusements!” Aunt Dora was very much upset, for she had been with us, but Father said: Hella’s grandmother is quite an old lady, and in her day people had very different views in this respect. I should say so, _in this respect_, Hella finds it out a dozen times a day, all the things she must not say and must not do, and all the things which are unsuitable for young girls! Her grandmother would like to keep her under a glass shade; but not a transparent one, for she must not be able to see out, and _no one_ must be able to see _in_. (The last is the main point.)

December 20th. To-day was the last German lesson before Christmas, and not a word more has been said about our affair. Hella has proved splendidly right. Even Verbenowitsch, who curries favour with every member of the staff, has congratulated her, and so has Hammer, who is a newcomer and did not know Frau Doktor M. By the way, at 1 o’clock the other day we met Franke; she goes now to a school of dramatic art, and says that the whole tone of the place is utterly different, she is so glad to have done with the High School. She had heard of the affair with Prof. F. and she congratulated us upon our _strength of character_, especially Hella of course. She says that the matter is common talk in all the High Schools of Vienna, at least she heard of it from a girl at the High School for the Daughters of Civil Servants, a girl whose sister is at the School of Dramatic Art. She is very happy there, but she is annoyed that such an institution should still be called a school; it’s not a _school_ in the least; we would be astonished to see how free they all are. She is very pretty and has even more figure than she used to have. She speaks very prettily too, but rather too loudly, so that everyone turned round to look at us. She hopes that she will be able to invite us to see her debut in _one year!!!_ I should never be able to stand on a stage before a lot of strangers, I know I would never be able to get a word out.

December 21st. Hella is awfully unlucky. The day before yesterday she got such bad influenza and sore throat that she can’t go to Cracow. She says she is born to ill luck; this is the second Christmas that has been spoiled, two years ago the appendicitis operation, and now this wretched influenza. She hopes her mother will come to Vienna, but if so her father will be left quite alone. And how on earth shall we get on, Christmas without Mother, the first Christmas without Mother. I simply don’t dare to think of it, for if I did it would make me cry. Dora says too that it can’t be a proper Christmas without Mother. I wonder what Father will say when he sees Mother’s portrait. I do hope the frame will be ready to-morrow. Hella is especially unhappy because she is not able to see Lajos. Besides, she is madly in love at the same time with a lieutenant of dragoons whom we meet every day and who is a count, and he is madly in love with her. He knows that her father is a general, for when her father went to kiss the Emperor’s hand he took Hella part of the way with him in the motor, and she was introduced to the lieutenant then. So now he salutes her when they meet. He is tremendously tall and looks fearfully aristocratic. But what annoys me with Hella is that she _invariably_ denies it when she is in love with anyone. I always tell her, or if she notices anything I don’t deny it. What’s the sense of it between friends? for example, the year before last she was certainly in love with the young doctor in the hospital. And in September when we came back from Theben with that magnificent lieutenant in the flying corps, I made no secret of the fact that I was frantically in love with him. But she did not believe me, and said: That is not real love, when people don’t see one another for months and flirt with others between whiles. That was aimed at Hero Siegfried. Goodness me, at him!! it’s really too absurd.

December 22nd. I am so delighted, Frau Doktor M., at least she is Frau Professor Theyer now, has written to me. I had sent her Christmas good wishes, and she sent a line to thank me, and at the same time she wished me a happy New Year, _she took the lead in this_; it was heavenly. I was frightfully annoyed because Dora said that she had done it only to save herself the trouble of writing again; I’m sure that’s not true. Dora always says things like that simply to annoy me. But her sweet, her divine letter, I carry it about with me wherever I go, and _her_ photograph too. She sent Hella only a card, naturally, for that was all Hella had sent her. I can quite well fancy Frau Doktor M. as a stepmother, that is, not quite well, but better than anyone else. She wrote so sweetly about Mother, saying that of course I should find this Christmas less happy than usual. She is certainly right there. We can none of us feel as if the day after to-morrow is to be Christmas Eve. The only thing that I really enjoy thinking of is the way Father will stare when he sees the portrait. But really in the first years after such a loss one ought not to keep Christmas, for on such days one feels one’s sadness more than ever.

December 23rd. I have still a frightful lot to do for Christmas, but I must write to-day. There was a ring at the front door this morning at about half past 11. I thought it must be Hella come to fetch me, that she must be all right again, so I rushed out, tore the door open, prepared to greet Hella, and then I was simply kerblunxed, for there was a gentleman standing who asked most politely: Is anyone at home? I knew him in a moment, it was that Dr. Pruckmuller from Fieberbr. Meanwhile Dora had opened the drawing- room door, and now came the great proof of deceitfulness: She was _not in the least_ surprised, but said: “Ah, Dr. Pruckmuller, I am so glad you have kept your word.” So it was plain that he had promised her to come, and I am practically sure she knew he was coming _to-day_, for she was wearing her best black silk apron with the insertions, such as we only wear when visitors are expected. What a humbug she is! So I went into the drawing-room too. Then Aunt Dora came in and asked him to supper this evening. Then he went away. All the time he had not said a word to me, it seemed as if he had not even noticed that there was such a person as me in the world Not until he was actually leaving did he say: “Well; Fraulein, how are you?” “Oh well,” said I, “I’m much as anyone can expect to be so soon after Mother’s death.” Dora got as red as fire, for she understood. I shall know how to treat him _if_ he becomes my brother- in-law. But that may be a long way off; for he lives in Innsbruck, and Father is not likely to allow Dora to marry away to Innsbruck. At dinner I hardly said a word, I was so enraged at this deceitfulness. But there is more to come. At 7, or whatever time it was, Dr. Pruckmuller turned up. Dora appeared in a white blouse with a black bow, and had remained in her room till the last minute so that I might not know what she was wearing. For I had believed she would wear her black dress with the insertions, and so I was wearing mine. Oh well, that did not matter. At supper he talked all the time to Dora, so I purposely talked to Oswald. Then he said that on March 1st he was going to be transferred to Vienna. Once more Dora was not in the least astonished, so _she must have known all about it!_ But now I remember quite well that in October the postman handed me a letter for her with the Innsbruck postmark. So she was _corresponding with him openly the whole time_, less than 6 months after Mother’s death. It really is too bad! But when I was chattering about the country, she kicked me under the table as a hint not to laugh so frightfully. And when my brother-in-law in spe, oh how it does make me laugh, two or three years ago, in Goisern I think it was, we used to call Dora Inspe, because she had said of Robert Warth and me: The bridal pair in spe! And now she is in the same position. When he went away in the evening I was trembling lest Father should invite him to the Christmas tree, but thank goodness when Father asked: “What are you doing with yourself to-morrow,” he answered: “To-morrow I am spending the day with my sister’s family, she is married to a captain out Wieden way.” Thank goodness that came to nothing, for we are not at all in the mood for visitors, especially the first Christmas without Mother. And if she knew — — — I wish I knew what really happens to the soul. Of course I gave up believing in Heaven long ago; but the soul must go somewhere. There are so many riddles, and they make one so unhappy; in a newspaper feuilleton the other day I saw the title of a chapter: _The Riddle of Love_. But _this_ riddle does not make people sad, as one can see by Dora. Anyhow, all girls, that is all elder sisters, seem alike in this respect. I remember what Hella told me about Lizzi’s engagement. It is true, she had first made his acquaintance in London, not at home; but there was just the same deceitfulness. What on earth does it mean? Would it not be much more kindly and reasonable to tell your sister _everything_? Otherwise how can anyone expect one to be an ally. Oh well, _I_ don’t care, I’m not going to let my Christmas Eve be disturbed by a thing _like that_; if one can call it a _Christmas Eve_ at all. On Boxing Day, when he is to spend the evening here, I shall tell Hella that I want to come to her and her grandmother. After all, I am glad she has stayed in Vienna.

December 25th. Christmas Eve was _very_ melancholy. We all three got Mother’s picture, life size in beautiful green frames, for our rooms. Dora sobbed out loud, and so I cried too and went up to Father and put my arms around him. His eyes were quite wet; for he adored Mother. Only Oswald did not actually cry, but he kept on biting his lips. I was so glad that Dr. P. was not there, for it is horribly disagreeable to cry before strangers. We _both_ got lovely white guipure blouses, not lace blouses, then Aunt gave me a splendid album for 500 postcards, and she also gave me an anthology which I had asked for. Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, because Dora would not lend me hers last year because she said they were too difficult for me; as if _that_ were any business of hers; surely my music mistress is a better judge; then some writing paper with my monogram, a new en-tout-cas with everything complete, and hair ribbons and other trifles. Father was awfully delighted with Mother’s portrait; of course we had not known that he was getting us life- size portraits of Mother, and from the last photograph of the winter before last we had quite a small likeness painted by Herr Milanowitz, who is a painter, and who knew Mother very well–in colour of course. And we got a lovely rococo frame to close up; when it is open it looks as if Mother were looking out of the window. That was _my_ idea, and Herr Milanowitz thought it _most original_. Dora considered it very awkward that he would not take any money for it, but it made it possible for us to get a much more elegant frame. After Christmas; for New Year, we are going to send Herr M. some of the best cigars, bought with _our own_ money, I wanted to send them for Christmas, but we don’t know anything about cigars, and we did not want to tell anyone because one can never know whether one won’t be betrayed and you will be told it is unintentional; but that is not true, for when one betrays anything one has always secretly intended to do so; and then one says it was a slip of the tongue; but one really knows all the time. I can’t write down all the extra things that Dora got, only one of them: At 7 o’clock just when Father was lighting the candles on the tree, a commissionaire brought some lovely roses with two sprays of mistletoe interwoven and beneath a nosegay of violets — — — of course from Dr. P. with a card, but she would not let anyone read that. All she said was: Dr. P. sends everyone Christmas greetings; I believe he had really written: _Merry_ Christmas,” but Dora did not dare to say _that_. Oh, and Hella gave me a bead bag, and I gave her a purse with the double eagle on it, for she wanted a purse that would have a military look. I never knew anyone with such an enthusiasm for the army as Hella; certainly I think officers look awfully smart; but surely it’s going too far when she feels that other men practically don’t exist. The others have to learn a lot, for example doctors, lawyers, mining engineers, not to speak of students at the College of Agriculture, for perhaps these last “hardly count” (that’s the phrase Hella is always using); but all of them have to learn a great deal more than officers do; Hella never will admit that, and always begins to talk of the officers of the general staff; as if they _all_ belonged to the general staff! We have often argued about it. Still, I do hope she will get an officer for her husband, of course one who is well enough off to marry, for otherwise it’s no go; for Father says the Bruckners have no private means. It’s true he always says that of us too, but I don’t believe it; we are not so to say rich, but I fancy we should both of us have enough money for an officer to be able to marry us. Anyhow, Dora voluntarily renounces that possibility, _if_ she is really going to marry Dr. P.

27th. Well, I went to Hella’s yesterday and stayed till 9, and on Christmas Day she was here. I see that I wrote above that the Bs. were not well off; it seems to me to be very much the reverse. We always get a great many things and very nice ones at Christmas and on our birthdays and name days (of course Protestants don’t have these last), but we don’t give one another such splendid things as the Bs. do. Hella had been given a piece of rose-coloured silk for a dress to wear at the dancing class which must have cost at least 50 crowns, and a lace collar and cuffs, which we had seen at the shop, and it had cost 24 crowns, then she had a gold ring with an emerald, and a number of smaller things which she never even looked at. And to see all the things her sister got, things for her _trousseau!_ And the Bs. Christmas tree cost 12 crowns whilst ours cost only 7, though ours was just as good. So I think that the Bs. really have plenty of money, and I said to Hella: “You must be enormously rich.” And she said: “Oh well, not so rich as all that; I must not expect to marry an officer on the general staff. Lizzi has done very well for herself for Paul is a baron and is very well off. He is frantically in love with her; queer taste, isn’t it?” I quite agree, for Lizzi has not much to boast of in the way of looks, beautiful fair hair, but she is so awfully thin, not a trace of b — –, Hella has much more figure. And if one hasn’t any by the time one is 20 one is not likely to get one.

Something awfully funny happened to-day. Hella asked me: “I say, what’s the Christian name of that Dr. who is dangling after your sister?” Then it struck me for the first time that on his visiting card he only has Dr. jur. A. Pruckmuller, and then I remembered that last summer, when we first made his acquaintance, Dora said, It’s a pity he’s called August, the name does not suit him at all. Well, we laughed till we felt quite ill, for of course Hella began to sing: “O du lieber Augustin,” and then I thought of Der dumme August [clown’s nickname in circus] and we wondered what Dora would call him. Gusti or Gustel, or Augi, my darling Augi, my beloved Gusterl, oh dear, we were in fits of laughter. Then we discussed what names we should like to have for our husbands, and I said: Ewald or Leo, and Hella said: Wouldn’t you like Siegfried? But I put my hand on her mouth and said: “Shut up, or you will make me really angry, _that_ is and must remain forgotten.” She said what she would like best would be to have a husband called Peter or Thamian or Chrysostomus; then for a pet name she would use Dami or Sosti; and then she said quite seriously that she would only marry a man called Egon, or Alexander, or at least Georg. Just at that moment her mother came in to call us to tea, and she said: “What’s an that about Alexander and Georg? You are such dreadful girls. If you are alone together for a couple of minutes (I had come at half past 2 and the Brs. have tea at 4, and that’s what Hella’s mother calls 2 minutes), you begin to talk of unsuitable things.” Hella was afraid her mother would think God knows what, so she said: “Oh no, Mother, we were only discussing what names we should like our fiances to have.” You ought to have seen how her mother went on. “That’s just it, that when you are barely 15 (I’m not 15 yet) you should have nothing but _such_ things in your heads!” _Such_ things, how absurd. At tea it was almost as dull as it was the other evening at home; for the Herr Baron was there, that is, they all say Du to one another now, for the wedding is to be in February, as soon as it is settled whether the Baron is to stay in London or to be transferred to Berlin. It must be funny to say “Du” to a strange man. Hella says she soon got used to it, and that she likes Paul well enough. When he brings Lizzi sweets, when he is taking her to the theatre, he always gives Hella a box for herself. _Other_ people would certainly not do that, and I know _other_ people who wouldn’t accept it. When I got home, Father said: Well, another time I think you’d better stay and sleep at the Brs., and I said: I did not want to be a killjoy here. And Oswald said: “What you need is a box on the ear,” Father was luckily out of the room already and so I said: “_Your_ children, if you ever have any, can be kept in order by boxing their ears till they are green and blue, but you have no rights over your sisters, Father told you so in Fieberbrunn.” “Oh, I know Father always backs you two up, he has done so from the first.” “Please don’t draw me into your quarrels,” said Dora, as if she had been something quite different from me. And then Aunt Dora said: “I do wish you would not keep on quarreling.” “_I_ didn’t begin it,” said I, and went away without saying goodnight; that is I went to Father’s room to say goodnight to him and I saw Aunt Dora in the hall, but I _didn’t_ say goodnight to Oswald and Dora, for I’m not going to put up with _everything_. And now it’s half past 11 already, for I have been writing such a long time, and have cried such a lot, for I’m _very_ unhappy. Even Hella doesn’t know how unhappy I am. I must go to bed now; whether I shall sleep or not is another question. If I can possibly manage it, I shall go alone to the cemetery to-morrow.

31st. Hella and I went to the cemetery to-day. Her father and mother returned to Cracow yesterday evening, and she told her grandmother she was going to spend the morning with me, and I said I was going to the Brs., so we went alone to Potzleinsdorf. Hella went for a walk round the cemetery while I went to darling Mother’s grave. I am so unhappy; Hella consoles me as much as she can, but even she can’t understand.

January 1, 19–! Of course we did not keep New Year’s Eve yesterday, but were quite alone and it was very melancholy. This morning Dr. P. brought Dora and Aunt Dora some roses and he gave me some lovely violets as a New Year’s greeting. He is leaving on the 4th, so he is coming here on the evening of the 3rd. I can’t say I look forward to it. To-morrow school begins thank goodness. I met a dust cart, that means good luck; Father says it is a scandal the way the dirt carts go on all through the day in Vienna, and that one should see one even on New Year’s day at 2 in the afternoon. But still, if it means _good luck!_

January 2nd. The dust cart did bring good luck. We had a real piece of _luck_ to-day! In the big interval I noticed a little knot of girls in the hall, and suddenly I felt as if my heart would stop beating. Frau Doktor M., I should say Frau Professor Theyer, was standing among them, she saw us directly and held out her hand to us so we kissed it. She has come to visit her parents and _her husband_ is with her; since she did not know for certain whether she would be able to come to the school she had not written either to me or to Hella about it. She is so lovely and so entrancingly loveable. When the bell rang for class and Frau Doktor Dunker came in I saw that _she_ was still standing outside. So I put my handkerchief up to my face as if my nose were bleeding, and rushed out to her. And because I slipped and nearly fell, she held out her arms to me. Hardly had I reached her, when Hella came out and said: “Of course I understood directly; I said you were awfully bad, so I must go and look after you.” Then the Frau Professor laughed like anything and said: “You are such wicked little actresses; I must send you back immediately.” But of course she did not but was frightfully sweet. Then we begged her to let us stay with her, but she said: “No, no, I’ve been your teacher here, and I must not encourage you in mischief. But here is a better idea. Would you like to come and see me to-morrow?” “Rather,” we both exclaimed. She said she was staying in a hotel, but we must not come alone to a hotel, so she would see us at her parents, in Schwindgasse, and we were to come there at 4 or half past. Then we kissed both her hands and were so happy! To-morrow at 4! Oh dear, a whole night more and nearly a whole day to wait. “If your parents allow you,” she said; as if Father or even Hella’s grandmother would not allow _that!_ All Father said was: “All right Gretel, but don’t go quite off your head first or you won’t be able to find your way to Schwindgasse. Is Hella as crazy as you are?” Of course, how can one be otherwise?

January 3rd. Still 2 hours, it’s awful, Hella is coming to fetch me at half past 3. In school to-day we kept on looking at one another, and all the other girls thought it must be something to do with a man. Goodness, what do we care about a man now! We had a splendid idea, that we had just time to make a memento for _her_, since she does not leave until the evening of the 5th. I am having traced on a piece of yellow silk for a book marker an edelweiss and her monogram E. T., the new one of course. Hella is painting a paperknife in imitation of tarsia mosaic. I would rather have done something of that sort too, but I have no patience for such work, so I often spoil it before I’ve finished. But one can’t very well spoil a piece of embroidery. But I shan’t get the tracing on the silk back from the shop until half past 3, so I shall have to work all night and the whole day to-morrow.

Evening. Thank goodness and confound it, whichever way you like to take it, the idiot at the shop had forgotten about the bookmarker and I shan’t get it until to-morrow morning early. So I’m able to write now: It was heavenly! We had to walk up and down in front of her house for at least half an hour, until at last it was 5 minutes past 4. She was so sweet to us! She wanted to say Sie to us, but we _simply would not have it_, and so she said Du as she used to. We talked of all sorts of things, I don’t know what, only that I suddenly burst out crying, and then she drew me to her b — –, no, I can’t write that about her; she drew me to herself and than I felt _her heart beating!_ and went almost crazy. Hella says that I put both my arms round her neck, but I’m sure that’s all imagination, for I should never have dared. She has such fascinating hands, and the _wedding ring_ glistens so on her divine ring finger. Of course we talked about the school, and then she suddenly said: Tell me what really happened about those compositions, when half the class deliberately refrained from putting any punctuation marks. “Oh,” we said, “that is a frightful cram, it wasn’t _half_ the class, but only 6 of us who have a special veneration for you.” Then we told her how it all came about. She laughed a little, and said: “Well, girls, you did not do me any particular _service_. It really was a great piece of impertinence.” But I said: “Prof. Fritsch’s remarks were 10 times more impertinent, for they related to another member of the staff, and what was worse to you.” Then she said: “My darling girls, that often happens in life, that the absent are given a bad reputa- tion, whether justly or unjustly; one is liable to that in every profession.” Hella said that the head mistress was not like that or there would have been a frightful row, since the matter had become known in all the High Schools of Vienna. Then Frau Doktor M. said: “Yes, the Frau Direktorin is really a splendid woman.” Then there came something glorious, or really 2 glorious things: 1). She gave us some magnificent sweets, better than I have ever eaten before. Hella agrees, and we are really connoisseurs in the matter of sweets. The second thing, even more glorious, was this: after we had been there some time, there was a knock at the door and in came _her_ husband, the Herr Prof., and said: “How are you my treasure?” and to us: “Goodday, young _ladies_.” Then she introduced us, saying: “Two of my best-loved pupils and my most faithful adherents.” Then the Herr Prof. laughed a great deal and said: “That can’t be said of all pupils.” So I said quickly: “Oh yes, it can be said of Frau Doktor, the whole class would go through fire for her.” Then he went away, and she said: “Excuse me for a moment,” and we could hear quite plainly that _he kissed her_ in the next room, and then she said as she came in again: “Oh well, be off with you, Karl, goodbye.” It’s a pity his name is Karl, it’s so prosaic, and he calls her Lise, and I expect when they are alone he calls her Lieschen, since he is a North German. I must go to bed, it’s half past 11 already. To be continued to-morrow. Sleep well, my sweet glorious ecstatic golden and only treasure! God, I am so happy.

January 6th. Thank goodness to-day is a holiday, and we can’t go tobogganing because Dora has a _chill!!!_ I got the bookmarker on the 4th, worked at it all day and up till midnight, and yesterday I got up at half past 5, went on working the whole morning, and at 2 o’clock we took our mementoes to the house. Though we should have liked to give them to her ourselves, we didn’t, but only gave them to the maid. She said: Shall I show you in? but Hella said: “No, thank you, we don’t want to disturb Frau Theyer, and when I reproached her for this she said: Oh no, it was better not; you are quite upset anyhow, you know what _she_ said: But my dear child, you will make yourself ill; you must not do that on _my_ account!” Oh dear, I’m crying so that I can hardly write, but I _must_ write, for there is still so much that’s glorious to put down, things that I must never, never forget, even if it should take me a week to write. The great thing is that I shall simply live upon this memory, and the only thing I want in life is that I may see _her_ once more. Of course we took her some flowers on Friday, I lilies of the valley with violets and tuberoses, and Hella Christmas roses. She was delighted, and went directly to fetch 2 vases which her mother brought in. She is as small as Frau Richter, and her hair is grey, she is charming; but she is not in the least like Frau Doktor M. When we said goodbye she offered us still more sweets, but since we were both nearly crying already we did not want to take any more, but she wrapped them nearly all up for us, saying: “To console you in your sorrow.” From anyone else it might have sounded ironical, but from her it was simply lovely. There were 17 large sweets, and Hella gave me 9 of them and took only 8 for herself. I shall eat only one every day, so that they will last me 9 days. _Joy and sorrow combined!!_ Hella is not so frightfully in love as I am, and yesterday she said, in joke of course: “It seems to me that your whole world is foundered; I must pull you out, or you’ll be drowned.” And then she asked me how I could have been so stupid as to use the word _honeymoon_ to _her_, although she hemmed to warn me. She said it really was utterly idiotic of me, and that the Frau Prof. blushed. I did not notice it myself, but when her _husband_ came in, she certainly did flush up like anything. Hella and I talked of quite a lot of _other things of that sort_. I should so much have liked to ask her whether she has given up going to church, for I think the Herr Prof. really is a Jew, though he does not _look_ like one. For lots of other men wear black beards. But I did not venture to ask, and Hella thinks it is a very good thing I did not, for one _does not talk about such things_. I wonder _whether she will have a baby_? Oh, it would be horrible. Of course she may have entered into a _marriage_ contract, that would have been the best way. However, Hella thinks that the professor would not have agreed to anything of the kind. But surely if he was frantically in love with her . . .

January 1 5th. The girls in our class are frantically jealous. We did not say in so many words that we, alone among them all, had been invited to see her, but Hella had brought one of the sweets she had given us and in the interval she said: This must be eaten reverently, and she cut it in two to give me half. The Ehrenfelds thought it must have been given by some acquaintance made at the skating rink, and Trude said: “Doubly sweetened, by chocolate and love.” “Yes,” said I, “but not in the sense you imagine.” And since she said: “Oh, of course, I know all about that, but I don’t want to be indiscreet,” Hella said: “I may as well tell you that Frau Doktor M., or I should say the _married_ Frau Prof. Theyer, gave us this sweet and a great many more on the day she had invited us to go and see her.” Then they were all utterly kerblunxed and said: “Great Scott, what luck, but you always were Frau Doktor M.’s favourites, especially Lainer. But Lainer always courted Frau Doktor M.”

January 17th. The whole school knows about our being invited to see her, the glorious one! I’ve just been reading it over, and I see that I have left a frightful lot out, especially about her father. When we were leaving, just outside the house door we burst out crying because as I opened the door I had said, For the last time! Just then an old gentleman came up and was about to go in, and when he saw that we were crying, though we were standing quite in the shadow, he came up to us and asked what was the matter. Then Hella said: “We have lost out best friend.” Then the old gentleman looked at us for a tremendously long time and said: “I say, do you happen to be the two ardent admirers of Frau Doktor Mallburg? She is my daughter, you know. And then he said: But you really can’t go through the streets bathed in tears like that. Come upstairs again with me and my daughter will console you.” So we really did go upstairs again, and she was perfectly unique. Her father opened the door and called out: Lieserl, your admirers simply can’t part from you, and I found them being washed out to sea in a river of tears. Then she came out wearing a _rose-coloured dressing- gown!!!_ exquisite. And she led us into the room and said: “Girls, you must not look at me in this old rag, which is only fit to throw away.” I should have liked to say: “Give it to _me_ then.” But of course I could not. And when we made our final goodbye, perhaps _for ever_, she kissed each of us _twice over_ and said: Girls, I wish you all the happiness in the world!

January 18th. Hella invited me there to-day, to meet Lajos and Jeno. But I’m not going, for Jeno does not interest me in the very least. That was not a _real_ love. I don’t care for anyone in the whole world except her, my one and only! Even Hella can’t understand that, in fact she thinks it _dotty_. Father wanted me to go to Hella’s _to change the current of my thoughts_. Of course I hardly say a word about _her_ to anyone, for no one understands me. But I never could have believed that Father would be just like anyone else. It’s quite true that I’m getting thin. I’m so glad that we are not going tobogganing to-day because Dora has a chill, a _real_ chill this time. So I am going to the church in Schwindgasse and shall walk up and down in front of _her_ house; perhaps I shall meet her father or her mother. I wrote to her the day before yesterday.

January 24th. I am so happy. She wrote to me _by return!_ This is the second letter I have had from her! At dinner to-day Father said: “Hullo, Gretel, why are you looking so happy to-day? I have not seen you with such a sunny face for a long time.” So I answered in as few words as possible: “After dinner I will tell _you_ why.” For the others need not know anything about it. And when I told Father vaguely that Frau Prof. Th. had written to me, Father said: “Oh, is _that_ what has pleased you so much. But I have something up my sleeve which will also please you. February 1st and 2nd are Sunday and Monday, you have 2 days free, and if you and Hella can get a day off from school on Saturday we might make an excursion to Mariazell. How does that strike you?” It would be glorious, if only Hella is allowed to come, for her grandmother imagines that the sore throat she had before Christmas was due to the tobogganing on the Anninger, where the sole was torn off her shoe! As if _we_ could help that. Still, by good luck she may have forgotten it; she is 63 already, and one forgets a lot when one is that age.

Evening. Hella may come; it will be splendid! Perhaps we shall try a little skiing. But really Hella is a horrid pig; she said: “All right, I’ll come, if you’ll promise not to be continually talking about Frau Professor Th. I’m very fond of her too, but you are simply crazy about her.” It’s really too bad, and I shall never mention _her_ name to the others any more. I am looking forward so to the tobogganing at Mariazell. We’ve never made any such excursion in winter before. Hurrah, it will be glorious! Oh I do wish the 31st of January were here; I’m frantically excited.

EDITOR’S NOTE

Rita’s joyful expectations of tobogganing among glistening snow-clad hills, remained unfulfilled. The rude hand of fate was thrust into the lives of the two sisters. On January 29th their father, suddenly struck down with paralysis, was brought home in an ambulance, and died in a few hours without recovering consciousness.

Torn from the sheltering and affectionate atmosphere of home, separated from her most intimate friend, the young orphan had to struggle for peace of soul in the isolation of a provincial town — — —