آزادی در انکس

دوره: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / درس 33

آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان

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آزادی در انکس

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Freedom in the Annex

Five-thirty. Bep’s arrival signals the beginning of our nightly freedom. Things get going right away. I go upstairs with Bep, who usually has her dessert before the rest of us. The moment she sits down, Mrs. van D. begins stating her wishes. Her list usually starts with “Oh, by the way, Bep, something else I’d like. . .” Bep winks at me. Mrs. van D. doesn’t miss a chance to make her wishes known to whoever comes upstairs. It must be one of the reasons none of them like to go up there.

Five forty-five. Bep leaves. I go down two floors to have a look around: first to the kitchen, then to the private office and then to the coal bin to open the cat door for Mouschi.

After a long tour of inspection, I wind up in Mr. Kugler’s office. Mr. van Daan is combing all the drawers and files for today’s mail. Peter picks up Boche and the warehouse key; Pim lugs the typewriters upstairs; Margot looks around for a quiet place to do her office work; Mrs. van D. puts a kettle of water on the stove; Mother comes down the stairs with a pan of potatoes; we all know our jobs.

Soon Peter comes back from the warehouse. The first question they ask him is whether he’s remembered the bread. No, he hasn’t. He crouches before the door to the front office to make himself as small as possible and crawls on his hands and knees to the steel cabinet, takes out the bread and starts to leave. At any rate, that’s what he intends to do, but before he knows what’s happened, Mouschi has jumped over him and gone to sit under the desk.

Peter looks all around him. Aha, there’s the cat! He crawls back into the office and grabs the cat by the tail. Mouschi hisses, Peter sighs. What has he accomplished? Mouschi’s now sitting by the window licking herself, very pleased at having escaped Peter’s clutches. Peter has no choice but to lure her with a piece of bread. Mouschi takes the bait, follows him out, and the door closes. I watch the entire scene through a crack in the door.

Mr. van Daan is angry and slams the door. Margot and I exchange looks and think the same thing: he must have worked himself into a rage again because of some blunder on Mr. Kugler’s part, and he’s forgotten all about the Keg Company next door.

Another step is heard in the hallway. Dussel comes in, goes toward the window with an air of propriety, sniffs. . . coughs, sneezes and clears his throat. He’s out of luck-it was pepper. He continues on to the front office. The curtains are open, which means he can’t get at his writing paper. He disappears with a scowl.

Margot and I exchange another glance. “One less page for his sweetheart tomorrow,” I hear her say. I nod in agreement.

An elephant’s tread is heard on the stairway. It’s Dussel, seeking comfort in his favorite spot.

We continue working. Knock, knock, knock. . . Three taps means dinnertime! MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 1943

Wenn Die Uhr Halb Neune Schlaat . . .* [* When the clock strikes half past eight.]

Margot and Mother are nervous. “Shh . . . Father. Be quiet, Otto. Shh . . . Pim! It’s eight-thirty.

Come here, you can’t run the water anymore. Walk softly!” A sample of what’s said to Father in the bathroom. At the stroke of half past eight, he has to be in the living room. No running water, no flushing toilet, no walking around, no noise whatsoever. As long as the office staff hasn’t arrived, sounds travel more easily to the warehouse.

The door opens upstairs at eight-twenty, and this is followed by three gentle taps on the floor. . . Anne’s hot cereal. I clamber up the stairs to get my doggie dish.

Back downstairs, everything has to be done quickly, quickly: I comb my hair, put away the potty, shove the bed back in place. Quiet! The clock is striking eight-thirty! Mrs. van D. changes shoes and shuffles through the room in her slippers; Mr. van D. too-a veritable Charlie Chaplin. All is quiet. The ideal family scene has now reached its high point. I want to read or study and Margot does too. Father and Mother ditto. Father is sitting (with Dickens and the dictionary, of course) on the edge of the sagging, squeaky bed, which doesn’t even have a decent mattress. Two bolsters can be piled on top of each other. “I don’t need these,” he thinks. “I can manage without them!” Once he starts reading, he doesn’t look up. He laughs now and then and tries to get Mother to read a story.

“I don’t have the time right now!”

He looks disappointed, but then continues to read.

A little while later, when he comes across another good passage, he tries again: “You have to read this, Mother!”

Mother sits on the folding bed, either reading, sewing, knitting or studying, whichever is next on her list. An idea suddenly occurs to her, and she quickly says, so as not to forget, “Anne, remember to . . . Margot, jot this down. . . “

After a while it’s quiet again. Margot slams her book shut; Father knits his forehead, his eyebrows forming a funny curve and his wrinkle of concentration reappearing I at the back of his head, and he buries himself in his book 1 again; Mother starts chatting with Margot; and I get curious and listen too. Pim is drawn into the conversation . . . Nine o’clock. Breakfast! FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 1943 Dearest Kitty,

Every time I write to you, something special has happened, usually unpleasant rather than pleasant. This time, however, something wonderful is going on. On Wednesday, September 8, we were listening to the seven o’clock news when we heard an announcement: “Here is some of the best news of the war so far: Italy has capitulated.” Italy has unconditionally surrendered! The Dutch broadcast from England began at eight-fifteen with the news: “Listeners, an hour and fifteen minutes ago, just as I finished writing my daily report, we received the wonderful news of Italy’s capitulation. I tell you, I never tossed my notes into the wastepaper basket with more delight than I did today!”

“God Save the King,” the American national anthem and the Russian’ ‘Internationale” were played. As always, the Dutch program was uplifting without being too optimistic.

The British have landed in Naples. Northern Italy is occupied by the Germans. The truce was signed on Friday, September 3, the day the British landed in Italy. The Germans are ranting and raving in all the newspapers at the treachery of Badoglio and the Italian king.

Still, there’s bad news as well. It’s about Mr. Kleiman. As you know, we all like him very much. He’s unfailingly cheerful and amazingly brave, despite the fact that he’s always sick and in pain and can’t eat much or do a lot of walking. “When Mr. Kleiman enters a room, the sun begins to shine,” Mother said recently, and she’s absolutely right.

Now it seems he has to go to the hospital for a very difficult operation on his stomach, and will have to stay there for at least four weeks. You should have seen him when he told us good-bye. He acted so normally, as though he were just off to do an errand.

Yours, Anne

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