سه شنبه سیزدهم جولای 1943

کتاب: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / فصل 27

آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان

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سه شنبه سیزدهم جولای 1943

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TUESDAY, JULY 13, 1943

The Best Little Table

Yesterday afternoon Father gave me permission to ask Mr. Dussel whether he would please be so good as to allow me (see how polite I am?) to use the table in our room two afternoons a week, from four to five-thirty. I already sit there every day from two-thirty to four while Dussel takes a nap, but the rest of the time the room and the table are off-limits to me. It’s impossible to study next door in the afternoon, because there’s too much going on. Besides, Father sometimes likes to sit at the desk during the afternoon.

So it seemed like a reasonable request, and I asked Dussel very politely. What do you think the learned gentleman’s reply was? “No.” Just plain “No!” I was incensed and wasn’t about to let myself be put off like that. I asked him the reason for his “No,” but this didn’t get me anywhere. The gist of his reply was: “I have to study too, you know, and if I can’t do that in the afternoons, I won’t be able to fit it in at all. I have to finish the task I’ve set for myself; otherwise, there’s no point in starting. Besides, you aren’t serious about your studies. Mythology-what kind of work is that? Reading and knitting don’t count either. I use that table and I’m not going to give it up!” I replied, “Mr. Dussel, I do take my wsork seriously. I can’t study next door in the afternoons, and I would appreciate it if you would reconsider my request!”

Having said these words, the insulted Anne turned around and pretended the learned doctor wasn’t there. I was seething with rage and felt that Dussel had been incredibly rude (which he certainly had been) and that I’d been very polite.

That evening, when I managed to get hold of Pim, I told him what had happened and we discussed what my next step should be, because I had no intention of giving up and preferred to deal with the matter myself. Pim gave me a rough idea of how to approach Dussel, but cautioned me to wait until the next day, since I was in such a flap. I ignored this last piece of advice and waited for Dussel after the dishes had been done. Pim was sitting next door and that had a calming effect.

I began, “Mr. Dussel, you seem to believe further discussion of the matter is pointless, but I beg you to reconsider.”

Dussel gave me his most charming smile and said, “I’m always prepared to discuss the matter, even though it’s already been settled.”

I went on talking, despite Dussel’s repeated interruptions. When you first came here,” I said, “we agreed that the room was to be shared by the two of us. If we were to divide it fairly, you’d have the entire morning and I’d have the entire afternoon! I’m not asking for that much, but two afternoons a week does seem reasonable to me.”

Dussel leapt out of his chair as if he’d sat on a pin. “You have no business talking about your rights to the room. Where am I supposed to go? Maybe I should ask Mr. van Daan to build me a cubbyhole in the attic. You’re not the only one who can’t find a quiet place to work. You’re always looking for a fight. If your sister Margot, who has more right to work space than you do, had come to me with the same request, I’d never even have thought of refusing, but you. . .”

And once again he brought up the business about the mythology and the knitting, and once again Anne was insulted. However, I showed no sign of it and let Dussel finish: “But no, it’s impossible to talk to you. You’re shamefully self-centered. No one else matters, as long as you get your way. I’ve never seen such a child. But after all is said and done, I’ll be obliged to let you have your way, since I don’t want people saying later on that Anne Frank failed her exams because Mr. Dussel refused to relinquish his table!”

He went on and on until there was such a deluge of words I could hardly keep up. For one fleeting moment I thought, “Him and his lies. I’ll smack his ugly mug so hard he’ll go bouncing off the wall!” But the next moment I thought, “Calm down, he’s not worth getting so upset about!”

At long last Mr. Dussel’ s fury was spent, and he left the room with an expression of triumph mixed with wrath, his coat pockets bulging with food. I went running over to Father and recounted the entire story, or at least those parts he hadn’t been able to follow himself. rim decided to talk to Dussel that very same evening, and they spoke for more than half an hour.

They first discussed whether Anne should be allowed to use the table, yes or no. Father said that he and Dussel had dealt with the subject once before, at which time he’d professed to agree with Dussel because he didn’t want to contradict the elder in front of the younger, but that, even then, he hadn’t thought it was fair. Dussel felt I had no right to talk as if he were an intruder laying claim to everything in sight. But Father protested strongly, since he himself had heard me say nothing of the kind. And so the conversation went back and forth, with Father defending my “selfishness” and my “busywork” and Dussel grumbling the whole time.

Dussel finally had to give in, and I was granted the opportunity to work without interruption two afternoons a week. Dussel looked very sullen, didn’t speak to me for two days and made sure he occupied the table from five to five-thirty-all very childish, of course.

Anyone who’s so petty and pedantic at the age of fifty-four was born that way and is never going to change.

FRIDAY, JULY 16, 1943

Dearest Kitty,

There’s been another break-in, but this time a real one! Peter went down to the warehouse this morning at seven, as usual, and noticed at once that both the warehouse door and the street door were open. He immediately reported this to Pim, who went to the private office, tuned the radio to a German station and locked the door. Then they both went back upstairs. In such cases our orders are not to wash ourselves or run any water, to be quiet, to be dressed by eight and not to go to the bathroom,” and as usual we followed these to the letter. We were all glad we’d slept so well and hadn’t heard anything.

For a while we were indignant because no one from the office came upstairs the entire morning; Mr. Kleiman left us on tenterhooks until eleven-thirty. He told that the burglars had forced the outside door and the warehouse door with a crowbar, but when they didn’t find anything worth stealing, they tried their luck on the next floor. They stole two cashboxes containing 40 guilders, blank checkbooks and, worst of all, coupons for 330 pounds of sugar, our entire allotment. It won’t be easy to wangle new ones.

Mr. Kugler thinks this burglar belongs to the same gang as the one who made an unsuccessful attempt six weeks ago to open all three doors (the warehouse door and the two outside doors).

The burglary caused another stir, but the Annex seems to thrive on excitement. Naturally, we were glad the cash register and the typewriters had been safely tucked away in our clothes closet.

Yours, Anne

PS. Landing in Sicily. Another step closer to the . . . !

MONDAY, JULY 19,1943

Dearest Kitty,

North Amsterdam was very heavily bombed on Sunday. There was apparently a great deal of destruction. Entire streets are in ruins, and it will take a while for them to dig out all the bodies. So far there have been two hundred dead and countless wounded; the hospitals are bursting at the seams. We’ve been told of children searching forlornly in the smoldering ruins for their dead parents. It still makes me shiver to think of the dull, distant drone that signified the approaching destruction.

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