پنجشنبه پنجم اگوست 1943

دوره: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / درس 31

آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان

86 درس

پنجشنبه پنجم اگوست 1943

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THURSDAY, AUGUST 5, 1943

Dearest Kitty,

Today let’s talk about the lunch break.

It’s twelve-thirty. The whole gang breathes a sigh of relief: Mr. van Maaren, the man with the shady past, and

Mr. de Kok have gone home for lunch.

Upstairs you can hear the thud of the vacuum cleaner on Mrs. van D.’s beautiful and only rug. Margot tucks a few books under her arm and heads for the class for “slow learners,” which is what Dussel seems to be. Pim goes and sits in a corner with his constant companion, Dickens, in hopes of finding a bit of peace and quiet. Mother hastens upstairs to help the busy little housewife, and I tidy up both the bathroom and myself at the same time.

Twelve forty-five. One by one they trickle in: first Mr.

Gies and then either Mr. Kleiman or Mr. Kugler, followed by Bep and sometimes even Miep.

One. Clustered around the radio, they all listen raptly to the BBC. This is the only time the members of the Annex family don’t interrupt each other, since even Mr. van Daan can’t argue with the speaker.

One-fifteen. Food distribution. Everyone from downstairs gets a cup of soup, plus dessert, if there happens to be any. A contented Mr. Gies sits on the divan or leans against the desk with his newspaper, cup and usually the cat at his side. If one of the three is missing, he doesn’t hesitate to let his protest be heard. Mr. Kleiman relates the latest news from town, and he’s an excellent source. Mr. Kugler hurries up the stairs, gives a short but solid knock on the door and comes in either wringing his hands or rubbing them in glee, depending on whether he’s quiet and in a bad mood or talkative and in a good mood.

One forty-five. Everyone rises from the table and goes about their business. Margot and Mother do the dishes, Mr. and Mrs. van D. head for the divan, Peter for the attic, Father for his divan, Dussel too, and Anne does her homework. What comes next is the quietest hour of the day; when they’re all asleep, there are no disturbances. To judge by his face, Dussel is dreaming of food. But I don’t look at him long, because the time whizzes by and before you know it, it’ll be 4 P.M. and the pedantic Dr. Dussel will be standing with the clock in his hand because I’m one minute ,late clearing off the table.

Yours, Anne

SATURDAY, AUGUST 7, 1943

Dearest Kitty, A few weeks ago I started writing a story, something I made up from beginning to end, and I’ve enjoyed it so much that the products of my pen are piling up. Yours, Anne

MONDAY, AUGUST 9, 1943

Dearest Kitty,

We now continue with a typical day in the Annex. Since we’ve already had lunch, it’s time to describe dinner.

Mr. van Daan. Is served first, and takes a generous portion of whatever he likes. Usually joins in the conversation, never fails to give his opinion. Once he’s spoken, his word is final. If anyone dares to suggest otherwise, Mr. van D. can put up a good fight. Oh, he can hiss like a cat. . . but I’d rather he didn’t. Once you’ve seen it, you never want to see it again. His opinion is the best, he knows the most about everything. Granted, the man has a good head on his shoulders, but it’s swelled to no small degree.

Madame. Actually, the best thing would be to say nothing. Some days, especially when a foul mood is on the way, her face is hard to read. If you analyze the discussions, you realize she’s not the subject, but the guilty party! A fact everyone prefers to ignore. Even so, you could call her the instigator. Stirring up trouble, now that’s what Mrs. van Daan calls fun. Stirring up trouble between Mrs. Frank and Anne. Margot and Mr. Frank aren t qwte as easy. But let’s return to the table. Mrs. van D. may think she doesn’t always get enough, but that’s not the case. The choicest potatoes, the tastiest morsel, the tenderest bit of whatever there is, that’s Madame’s motto. The others can all have their turn, as long as I get the best. (Exactly what she accuses Anne Frank of doing.) Her second watchword is: keep talking. As long as somebody’s listening, it doesn’t seem to occur to her to wonder whether they’re interested. She must think that whatever Mrs. van Daan says will interest everyone.

Smile coquettishly, pretend you know everything, offer everyone a piece of advice and mother them-that’s sure to make a good impression. But if you take a better look, the good impression fades. One, she’s hardworking; two, cheerful; three, coquettish-and sometimes a cute face. That’s Petronella van Daan. The third diner. Says very little. Young Mr. van Daan is usually quiet and hardly makes his presence known. As far as his appetite is concerned, he’s a Danaldean vessel that never gets full. Even after the most substantial meal, he can look you calmly in the eye and claim he could have eaten twice as much. Number four-Margot. Eats like a bird and doesn’t talk at all. She eats only vegetables and fruit. “Spoiled,” in the opinion of the van Daans. “Too little exercise and fresh air,” in ours.

Beside her-Mama. Has a hearty appetite, does her share of the talking. No one has the impression, as they do with Mrs. van Daan, that this is a housewife. What’s the difference between the two? Well, Mrs. van D. does the cooking and Mother does the dishes and polishes the furniture.

Numbers six and seven. I won’t say much about Father and me. The former is the most modest person at the table. He always looks to see whether the others have been served first. He needs nothing for himself; the best things are for the children. He’s goodness personified. Seated next to him is the Annex’s little bundle of nerves.

Dussel. Help yourself, keep your eyes on the food, eat and don’t talk. And if you have to say something, then for goodness’ sake talk about food. That doesn’t lead to quarrels, just to bragging. He consumes enormous portions, and “no” is not part of his vocabulary, whether the food is good or bad. Pants that come up to his chest, a red jacket, black patent-leather slippers and horn-rimmed glasses-that’s how he looks when he’s at work at the little table, always studying and never progressing. This is interrupted only by his afternoon nap, food and-his favorite spot-the bathroom.

Three, four or five times a day there’s bound to be someone waiting outside the bathroom door, hopping impatiently from one foot to another, trying to hold it in and barely managing. Does Dussel care? Not a whit. From seven-fifteen to seven-thirty, from twelve-thirty to one, from two to two-fifteen, from four to four-fifteen, from six to six-fifteen, from eleven-thirty to twelve. You can set your watch by them; these are the times for his “regular sessions.” He never deviates or lets himself be swayed by the voices outside the door, begging him to open up before a disaster occurs.

Number nine is not part of our Annex family, although she does share our house and table. Hep has a healthy appetite. She cleans her plate and isn’t choosy. Hep’s easy to please and that pleases us. She can be characterized as follows: cheerful, good-humored, kind and willing.

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