چهارشنبه دوم سپتامبر سال 1942

دوره: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / درس 10

آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان

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چهارشنبه دوم سپتامبر سال 1942

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متن انگلیسی درس

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 1942

Dearest Kitty,

Mr. and Mrs. van Daan have had a terrible fight. I’ve never seen anything like it, since Mother and Father wouldn’t dream of shouting at each other like that. The argument was based on something so trivial it didn’t seem worth wasting a single word on it. Oh well, to each his own.

Of course, it’s very difficult for Peter, who gets caught in the middle, but no one takes Peter seriously anymore, since he’s hypersensitive and lazy. Yesterday he was beside himself with worry because his tongue was blue instead of pink. This rare phenomenon disappeared as quickly as it came. Today he’s walking around with a heavy scarf on because he’s got a stiff neck. His Highness has been complaining of lumbago too. Aches and pains in his heart, kidneys and lungs are also par for the course. He’s an absolute hypochondriac! (That’s the right word, isn’t it?) Mother and Mrs. van Daan aren’t getting along very well. There are enough reasons for the friction. To give you one small example, Mrs. van D. has removed all but three of her sheets from our communal linen closet. She’s assuming that Mother’s can be used for both families. She’ll be in for a nasty surprise when she discovers that Mother has followed her lead.

Furthermore, Mrs. van D. is ticked off because we’re using her china instead of ours. She’s still trying to find out what we’ve done with our plates; they’re a lot closer than she thinks, since they’re packed in cardboard boxes in the attic, behind a load of Opekta advertising material. As long as we’re in hiding, the plates will remain out of her reach. Since I’m always having accidents, it’s just as well! Yesterday I broke one of Mrs. van D.’s soup bowls.

“Oh!” she angrily exclaimed. “Can’t you be more careful? That was my last one.” Please bear in mind, Kitty, that the two ladies speak abominable Dutch (I don’t dare comment on the gentlemen: they’d be highly insulted). If you were to hear their bungled attempts, you’d laugh your head off. We’ve given up pointing out their errors, since correcting them doesn’t help anyway. Whenever I quote Mother or Mrs. van Daan, I’ll write proper Dutch instead of trying to duplicate their speech.

Last week there was a brief interruption in our monotonous routine. This was provided by Peter-and a book about women. I should explain that Margot and Peter are allowed to read nearly all the books Mr. Kleiman lends us. But the adults preferred to keep this special book to themselves. This immediately piqued Peter’s curiosity. What forbidden fruit did it contain? He snuck off with it when his mother was downstairs talking, and took himself and his booty to the loft. For two days all was well. Mrs. van Daan knew what he was up to, but kept mum until Mr. van Daan found out about it. He threw a fit, took the book away and assumed that would be the end of the business. However, he’d neglected to take his son’s curiosity into account. Peter, not in the least fazed by his father’s swift action, began thinking up ways to read the rest of this vastly interesting book.

In the meantime, Mrs. van D. asked Mother for her opinion. Mother didn’t think this particular book was suitable for Margot, but she saw no harm in letting her read most other books.

You see, Mrs. van Daan, Mother Said, there’s a big difference between Margot and Peter. To begin with, Margot’s a girl, and girls are always more mature than boys. Second, she’s already read many serious books and doesn’t go looking for those which are no longer forbidden. Third, Margot’s much more sensible and intellectually advanced, as a result of her four years at an excellent school.” Mrs. van Daan agreed with her, but felt it was wrong as a matter of principle to let youngsters read books written for adults.

Meanwhile, Peter had thought of a suitable time when no one would be interested in either him or the book. At seven-thirty in the evening, when the entire family was listening to the radio in the private office, he took his treasure and stole off to the loft again. He should have been back by eight-thirty, but he was so engrossed in the book that he forgot the time and was just coming down the stairs when his father entered the room. The scene that followed was not surprising: after a slap, a whack and a tug-of-war, the book lay on the table and Peter was in the loft.

This is how matters stood when it was time for the family to eat. Peter stayed upstairs. No one gave him a moment’s thought; he’d have to go to bed without his dinner. We continued eating, chatting merrily away, when suddenly we heard a piercing whistle. We lay down our forks and stared at each other, the shock clearly visible on our pale faces.

Then we heard Peter’s voice through the chimney: “I won t come down!” Mr. van Daan leapt up, his napkin falling to the floor, and shouted, with the blood rushing to his face, “I’ve had enough!”

Father, afraid of what might happen, grabbed him by the arm and the two men went to the attic. After much struggling and kicking, Peter wound up in his room with the door shut, and we went on eating.

Mrs. van Daan wanted to save a piece of bread for her darling son, but Mr. van D. was adamant. “If he doesn’t apologize this minute, he’ll have to sleep in the loft.”

We protested that going without dinner was enough punishment. What if Peter were to catch cold? We wouldn’t be able to call a doctor.

Peter didn’t apologize, and returned to the loft.

Mr. van Daan decided to leave well enough alone, though he did note the next morning that Peter’s bed had been slept in. At seven Peter went to the attic again, but was persuaded to come downstairs when Father spoke a few friendly words to him. After three days of sullen looks and stubborn silence, everything was back to normal.

Yours, Anne

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