دوشنبه چهاردهم فوریه 1944

کتاب: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / فصل 48

آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان

86 فصل

دوشنبه چهاردهم فوریه 1944

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Dearest Kitty,

A lot has changed for me since Saturday. What’s happened is this: I was longing for something (and still am), but. . . a small, a very small, part of the problem has been resolved.

On Sunday morning I noticed, to my great joy (I’ll be honest with you), that Peter kept looking at me. Not in the usual way. I don’t know, I can’t explain it, but I suddenly had the feeling he wasn’t as in love with Margot as I used to think. All day long I tried not to look at him too much, because whenever I did, I caught him looking at me and then-well, it made me feel wonderful inside, and that’s not a feeling I should have too often.

Sunday evening everyone, except Pim and me, was clustered around the radio, listening to the “Immortal Music of the German Masters.” Dussel kept twisting and turning the knobs, which annoyed Peter, and the others too. After restraining himself for half an hour, Peter asked somewhat irritably if he would stop fiddling with the radio. Dussel replied in his haughtiest tone, “Ich mach’ das schon!”Peter got angry and made an insolent remark. Mr. van Daan sided with him, and Dussel had to back down. That was it. The reason for the disagreement wasn’t particularly interesting in and of itself, but Peter has apparently taken the matter very much to heart, because this morning, when I was rummaging around in the crate of books in the attic, Peter came up and began telling me what had happened. I didn’t know anything about it, but Peter soon realized he’d found an attentive listener and started warming up to his subject.

“Well, it’s like this,” he said. “I don’t usually talk much, since I know beforehand I’ll just be tongue-tied. I start stuttering and blushing and I twist my words around so much I finally have to stop, because I can’t find the right words. That’s what happened yesterday. I meant to say something entirely different, but once I started, I got all mixed up. It’s awful. I used to have a bad habit, and sometimes I wish I still did: whenever I was mad at someone, I’d beat them up instead of arguing with them. I know this method won’t get me anywhere, and that’s why I admire you. You’re never at a loss for words: you say exactly what you want to say and aren’t in the least bit shy.” “Oh, you’re wrong about that,” I replied. “Most of what I say comes out very differently from the way I’d planned. Plus I talk too much and too long, and that’s just as bad.”

“Maybe, but you have the advantage that no one can see you’re embarrassed. You don’t blush or go to pieces.”

I couldn’t help being secretly amused at his words. However, since I wanted him to go on talking quietly about himself, I hid my laughter, sat down on a cushion on the floor, wrapped my arms around my knees and gazed at him intently.

I’m glad there’s someone else in this house who flies into the same rages as I do. Peter seemed relieved that he could criticize Dussel without being afraid I’d tell. As for me, I was pleased too, because I sensed a strong feeling of fellowship, which I only remember having had with my girlfriends.

Yours, Anne


The minor run-in with Dussel had several repercussions, for which he had only himself to blame. Monday evening Dussel came in to see Mother and told her triumphantly that Peter had asked him that morning if he’d slept well, and then added how sorry he was about what had happened Sunday evening-he hadn’t really meant what he’d said. Dussel assured him he hadn’t taken it to heart. So everYthing was right as rain again. Mother passed this story on to me, and I was secretly amazed that Peter, who’d been so angry at Dussel, had humbled himself, despite all his assurances to the contrary.

I couldn’t refrain from sounding Peter out on the subject, and he instantly replied that Dussel had been lying. You should have seen Peter’s face. I wish I’d had a camera. Indignation, rage, indecision, agitation and much more crossed his face in rapid succession.

That evening Mr. van Daan and Peter really told Dussel off. But it couldn’t have been all that bad, since Peter had another dental appointment today.

Actually, they never wanted to speak to each other again.


Peter and I hadn’t talked to each other all day, except for a few meaningless words. It was too cold to go up to the attic, and anyway, it was Margot’s birthday. At twelve-thirty he came to look at the presents and hung around chatting longer than was strictly necessary, something he’d never have done otherwise. But I got my chance in the afternoon. Since I felt like spoiling Margot on her birthday, I went to get the coffee, and after that the potatoes. When I came to Peter’s room, he immediately took his papers off the stairs, and I asked if I should close the trapdoor to the attic.

“Sure,” he said, “go ahead. When you’re ready to come back down, just knock and I’ll open it for you.”

I thanked him, went upstairs and spent at least ten minutes searching around in the barrel for the smallest potatoes. My back started aching, and the attic was cold. Naturally, I didn’t bother to knock but opened the trap-door myself. But he obligingly got up and took the pan out of my hands.

“I did my best, but I couldn’t find any smaller ones.”

“Did you look in the big barrel?”

“Yes, I’ve been through them all.”

By this time I was at the bottom of the stairs, and he examined the pan of potatoes he was still holding. “Oh, but these are fine,” he said, and added, as I took the pan from him, “My compliments!”

As he said this, he gave me such a warm, tender look that I started glowing inside. I could tell he wanted to please me, but since he couldn’t make a long complimentary speech, he said everything with his eyes. I understood him so well and was very grateful. It still makes me happy to think back to those words and that look!

When I went downstairs, Mother said she needed more potatoes, this time for dinner, so I volunteered to go back up. When I entered Peter’s room, I apologized for disturbing him again. As I was going up the stairs, he stood up, went over to stand between the stairs and the wall, grabbed my arm and tried to stop me.

“I’ll go,” he said. “I have to go upstairs anyway.”

I replied that it wasn’t really necessary, that I didn’t have to get only the small ones this time. Convinced, he let go of my arm. On my way back, he opened the trapdoor and once again took the pan from me. Standing by the door, I asked, “What are you working on?”

“French,” he replied.

I asked if I could take a look at his lessons. Then I went to wash my hands and sat down across from him on the divan.

After I’d explained some French to him, we began to talk. He told me that after the war he wanted to go to the Dutch East Indies and live on a rubber plantation. He talked about his life at home, the black market and how he felt like a worthless bum. I told him he had a big inferiority complex. He talked about the war, saying that Russia and England were bound to go to war against each other, and about the Jews. He said life would have been much easier if he’d been a Christian or could become one after the war. I asked if he wanted to be baptized, but that wasn’t what he meant either. He said he’d never be able to feel like a Christian, but that after the war he’d make sure nobody would know he was Jewish. I felt a momentary pang. It’s such a shame he still has a touch of dishonesty in him.

Peter added, “The Jews have been and always will be the chosen people!” I answered, “Just this once, I hope they’ll be chosen for something good!” But we went on chatting very pleasantly, about Father, about judging human character and all sorts of things, so many that I can’t even remember them all. I left at a quarter past five, because Bep had arrived.

That evening he said something else I thought was nice. We were talking about the picture of a movie star I’d once given him, which has been hanging in his room for at least a year and a half. He liked it so much that I offered to give him a few more.

“No,” he replied, “I’d rather keep the one I’ve got. I look at it every day, and the people in it have become my friends.”

I now have a better understanding of why he always hugs Mouschi so tightly. He obviously needs affection too. I forgot to mention something else he was talking about. He said, “No, I’m not afraid, except when it comes to things about myself, but I’m working on that.”

Peter has a huge inferiority complex. For example, he always thinks he’s so stupid and we’re so smart. When I help him with French, he thanks me a thousand times. One of these days I’m going to say, “Oh, cut it out! You’re much better at English and geography!”

Anne Frank

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