Journals 1911 (part 1)

by Franz Kafka


3 January. “You,” I said, and then gave him a little shove with my knee, “I want to say good-bye.” At this sudden utterance some saliva flew from my mouth as an evil omen.
“But you've been considering that for a long time,” he said, stepped away from the wall and stretched.

“No, I haven't been considering it at all.”

“Then what have you been thinking about?”

“For the last time I have been preparing myself a little more for the company. Try as you may, you won't understand that. I, an average man from the country, whom at any moment one could exchange for one of those who wait together by the hundreds in railway stations for particular trains.”

4 January. Glaube und Heimat (Faith and Homeland) by Schönherr.

The wet fingers of the balconyites beneath me who wipe their eyes.

6 January. “You,” I said, aimed, and gave him a little shove with my knee, “but now I'm going. If you want to see it too, open your eyes.”

“Really, then?” he asked, at the same time looking at me from wide-open eyes with a direct glance that nevertheless was so weak that I could have fended it off with a wave of my arm. “You're really going, then? What shall I do? I cannot keep you. And if I could, I still wouldn't want to. By which I simply want to make clear to you your feeling that you could still be held back by me.” And immediately he assumed that inferior servants' face by means of which they are permitted within an otherwise regulated state to make the children of their masters obedient or afraid.

7 January. N.'s sister who is so in love with her fiancé that she maneuvers to speak with each visitor individually, since one can better express and repeat one's love to a single person.

As though by magic, since neither external nor internal circumstances—which are now more friendly than they have been for a year—prevented me, I was kept from writing the entire holiday, it is a Sunday. —Several new perceptions of the unfortunate creature that I am have dawned upon me consolingly.

12 January. I haven't written down a great deal about myself during these days, partly because of laziness (I now sleep so much and so soundly during the day, I have greater weight while I sleep) but also partly because of the fear of betraying my self-perception. This fear is justified, for one should permit a self-perception to be established definitively in writing only when it can be done with the greatest completeness, with all the incidental consequences, as well as with entire truthfulness. For if this does not happen—and in any event I am not capable of it—then what is written down will, in accordance with its own purpose and with the superior power of the established, replace what has been felt only vaguely in such a way that the real feeling will disappear while the worthlessness of what has been noted down will be recognized too late.

A few days ago Leonie Frippon, cabaret girl, Stadt Wien. Hair dressed in a bound-up mass of curls. Bad girdle, very old dress, but very pretty with tragic gestures, flutterings of the eyelids, thrusts of the long legs, skillful stretching of the arms along the body, significance of the rigid throat during ambiguous passages. Sang: Button Collection in the Louvre.

Schiller, as drawn by Schadow in 1804 in Berlin, where he had been greatly honored. One cannot grasp a face more firmly than by this nose. The partition of the nose is a little pulled down as a result of the habit of pulling on his nose while working. A friendly, somewhat hollow-cheeked person whom the shaven face has probably made senile.

14 January. Novel, Eheleute (Married People), by Beradt. A lot of bad Jewishness. A sudden, monotonous, coy appearance of the author; for instance: All were gay, but one was present who was not gay. Or: Here comes a Mr. Stern (whom we already know to the marrow of his novelistic bones). In Hamsun too there is something like this, but there it is as natural as the knots in wood, here, however, it drips into the plot like a fashionable medicine on to sugar. Odd turns of expression are clung to interminably, for instance: He was busy about her hair, busy and again busy. Individual characters, without being shown in a new light, are brought out well, so well that even faults here and there do not matter. Minor characters mostly wretched.

17 January. Max read me the first act of Abschied von der Jugend (Parting of the Young People). How can I, as I am today, come up to this? I should have to look for a year before I found a true emotion in me, and am supposed, in the face of so great a work, in some way to have a right to remain seated in my chair in the coffeehouse late in the evening, plagued by the passing flatulence of a digestion which is bad in spite of everything.

19 January. Every day, since I seem to be completely finished—during the last year I did not wake up for more than five minutes at a time—I shall either have to wish myself off the earth or else, without my being able to see even the most moderate hope in it, I shall have to start afresh like a baby. Externally, this will be easier for me than before. For in those days I still strove with hardly a suspicion after a description in which every word would be linked to my life, which I would draw to my heart, and which would transport me out of myself. With what misery (of course, not to be compared with the present) I began! What a chill pursued me all day long out of what I had written! How great the danger was and how uninterruptedly it worked, that I did not feel that chill at all, which indeed on the whole did not lessen my misfortune very much.

Once I projected a novel in which two brothers fought each other, one of whom went to America while the other remained in a European prison. I only now and then began to write a few lines, for it tired me at once. So once I wrote down something about my prison on a Sunday afternoon when we were visiting my grandparents and had eaten an especially soft kind of bread, spread with butter, that was customary there. It is of course possible that I did it mostly out of vanity, and by shifting the paper about on the tablecloth, tapping with my pencil, looking around under the lamp, wanted to tempt someone to take what I had written from me, look at it, and admire me. It was chiefly the corridor of the prison that was described in the few lines, above all its silence and coldness; a sympathetic word was also said about the brother who was left behind, because he was the good brother. Perhaps I had a momentary feeling of the worthlessness of my description, but before that afternoon I never paid much attention to such feelings when among relatives to whom I was accustomed (my timidity was so great that the accustomed was enough to make me halfway happy), I sat at the round table in the familiar room and could not forget that I was young and called to great things out of this present tranquillity. An uncle who liked to make fun of people finally took the page that I was holding only weakly, looked at it briefly, handed it back to me, even without laughing, and only said to the others who were following him with their eyes, “The usual stuff,” to me he said nothing. To be sure, I remained seated and bent as before over the now useless page of mine, but with one thrust I had in fact been banished from society, the judgment of my uncle repeated itself in me with what amounted almost to real significance and even within the feeling of belonging to a family I got an insight into the cold space of our world which I had to warm with a fire that first I wanted to seek out.

19 February. When I wanted to get out of bed this morning I simply folded up. This has a very simple cause, I am completely overworked. Not by the office but my other work. The office has an innocent share in it only to the extent that, if I did not have to go there, I could live calmly for my own work and should not have to waste these six hours a day which have tormented me to a degree that you cannot imagine, especially on Friday and Saturday, because I was full of my own things. In the final analysis, I know, that is just talk, the fault is mine and the office has a right to make the most definite and justified demands on me. But for me in particular it is a horrible double life from which there is probably no escape but insanity. I write this in the good light of the morning and would certainly not write it if it were not so true and if I did not love you like a son.

For the rest, I shall certainly be myself again by tomorrow and come to the office where the first thing I hear will be that you want to have me out of your department.

The special nature of my inspiration in which I, the most fortunate and unfortunate of men, now go to sleep at 2 a.m. (perhaps, if I can only bear the thought of it, it will remain, for it is loftier than all before), is such that I can do everything, and not only what is directed to a definite piece of work. When I arbitrarily write a single sentence, for instance, “He looked out of the window,” it already has perfection.

“Will you stay here for a long time?” I asked. At my sudden utterance some saliva dew from my mouth as an evil omen.

“Does it disturb you? If it disturbs you or perhaps keeps you from going up, I will go away at once, but otherwise I should still like to remain, because I'm tired.”

But finally he had every right to be satisfied too, and to become continually more satisfied the better I knew him. For he continually knew me even better, apparently, and could certainly stick me, with all my perceptions, in his pocket. For how otherwise could it be explained that I still remained on the street as though no house but rather a fire were before me. When one is invited into society, one simply steps into the house, climbs the stairs, and scarcely notices it, so engrossed is one in thought. Only so does one act correctly towards oneself and towards society.

20 February. Mella Mars in the Cabaret Lucerna. A witty tragedienne who, so to speak, appears on a stage turned wrong side out in the way tragediennes sometimes show themselves behind the scenes. When she makes her appearance she has a tired, indeed even flat, empty, old face, which constitutes for all famous actors a natural beginning. She speaks very sharply, her movements are sharp too, beginning with the thumb bent backwards, which instead of bone seems to be made of stiff fiber. Unusual changeability of her nose through the shifting highlights and hollows of the playing muscles around it. Despite the eternal flashing of her movements and words she makes her points delicately.

Small cities also have small places to stroll about in.

The young, clean, well-dressed youths near me on the promenade reminded me of my youth and therefore made an unappetizing impression on me.

Kleist's early letters, twenty-two years old. Gives up soldiering. They ask him at home: Well, how are you going to earn a living, for that was something they considered a matter of course. You have a choice of jurisprudence or political economy. But then do you have connections at court? “I denied it at first in some embarrassment, but then declared so much the more proudly that I, even if I had connections, should be ashamed, with my present ideas, to count on them. They smiled, I felt that I had been too hasty. One must be wary of expressing such truths.”

21 February. My life here is just as if I were quite certain of a second life, in the same way, for example, I got over the pain of my unsuccessful visit to Paris with the thought that I would try to go there again very soon. With this, the sight of the sharply divided light and shadows on the pavement of the street.

For the length of a moment I fell myself clad in steel.

How far from me are—for example—my arm muscles.

Marc Henry - Delvard. The tragic feeling bred in the audience by the empty hall increases the effect of the serious songs, detracts from that of the merry ones. Henry does the prologue, while Delvard, behind a curtain that she doesn't know is translucent, fixes her hair. At poorly attended performances, W., the producer, seems to wear his Assyrian beard—which is otherwise deep black—streaked with gray. Good to have oneself blown upon by such a temperament, it lasts for twenty-four hours, no, not so long. Much display of costumes, Breton costumes, the undermost petticoat is the longest, so that one can count the wealth from a distance—Because they want to save an accompanist, Delvard does the accompaniment first, in a very low-cut green dress, and freezes—Parisian street cries. Newsboys are omitted— Someone speaks to me; before I draw a breath I have been dismissed—Delvard is ridiculous, she has the smile of an old maid, an old maid of the German cabaret. With a red shawl that she fetches from behind the curtain, she plays revolution. Poems by Dauthendey in the same tough, unbreakable voice. She was charming only at the start, when she sat in a feminine way at the piano. At the song “À Batignolles” I felt Paris in my throat. Batignolles is supposed to live on its annuities, even its Apaches. Bruant wrote a song for every section of the city.

THE URBAN WORLD
Oscar M., an older student—if one looked at him closely one was frightened by his eyes—stopped short in the middle of a snowstorm on an empty square one winter afternoon, in his winter clothes with his winter coat, over it a shawl around his neck and a fur cap on his head. His eyes blinked reflectively. He was so lost in thought that once he took off his cap and stroked his face with its curly fur. Finally he seemed to have come to a conclusion and turned with a dancing movement on to his homeward path.

When he opened the door to his parental living room he saw his father, a smooth-shaven man with a heavy, fleshy face, seated at an empty table facing the door.

“At last,” said the latter, when Oscar had barely set foot in the room. “Please stay by the door, I am so furious with you that I don't know what I might do.”

“But father,” said Oscar, and became aware only when he spoke how he had been running.

“Silence,” shouted the father and stood up, blocking a window. “Silence, I say. And keep your ‘buts’ to yourself, do you understand?” At the same time he took the table in both hands and carried it a step nearer to Oscar. “I simply won't put up with your good-for-nothing existence any longer. I'm an old man. I hoped you would be the comfort of my old age, instead you are worse than all my illnesses. Shame on such a son, who through laziness, extravagance, wickedness, and—why shouldn't I say so to your face—stupidity, drives his old father to his grave!” Here the father fell silent, but moved his face as though he were still speaking.

“Dear Father,” said Oscar, and cautiously approached the table, “calm yourself, everything will be all right. Today I have had an idea that will make an industrious person out of me, beyond all your expectations.”

“How is that?” the father asked, and gazed towards a corner of the room.

“Just trust me, I'll explain everything to you at supper. Inwardly I was always a good son, but the fact that I could not show it outwardly embittered me so, that I preferred to vex you if I couldn't make you happy. But now let me go for another short walk so that my thoughts may unfold more clearly.”

The father, who, becoming attentive at first, had sat down on the edge of the table, stood up. “I do not believe that what you just said makes much sense, I consider it only idle talk. But after all you are my son. Come back early, we will have supper at home and you can tell me all about this matter then.”

“This small confidence is enough for me, I am grateful to you from my heart for it. But isn't it evident in my very appearance that I am completely occupied with a serious matter?”

“At the moment, no, I can't see a thing,” said the father. “But that could be my fault too, for I have got out of the habit of looking at you at all.” With this, as was his custom, he called attention to the passage of time by regularly tapping on the surface of the table. “The chief thing, however, is that I no longer have any confidence at all in you, Oscar. If I sometimes yell at you—when you came in I really did yell at you, didn't I?—then I do it not in the hope that it will improve you, I do it only for the sake of your poor, good mother who perhaps doesn't yet feel any immediate sorrow on your account, but is already slowly going to pieces under the strain of keeping off such sorrow for she thinks she can help you in some way by this. But after all, these are really things which you know very well, and out of consideration for myself alone I should not have mentioned them again if you had not provoked me into it by your promises.”

During these last words the maid entered to look after the fire in the stove. She had barely left the room when Oscar cried out, “But Father! I would never have expected that. If in the past I had had only one little idea, an idea for my dissertation, let's say, which has been lying in my trunk now for ten years and needs ideas like salt, then it is possible, even if not probable, that, as happened today, I would have come running from my walk and said: ‘Father, by good fortune I have such-and-such an idea.’ If with your venerable voice you had then thrown into my face the reproaches you did, my idea would simply have been blown away and I should have had to march off at once with some sort of apology or without one. Now just the contrary! Everything you say against me helps my ideas, they do not stop, becoming stronger, they fill my head. I'll go, because only when I am alone can I bring them into order.” He gulped his breath in the warm room.

“It may be only a piece of rascality that you have in your head,” said the father with his eyes opened wide in surprise. “In that case I am ready to believe that it has got hold of you. But if something good has lost its way into you, it will make its escape overnight. I know you.”

Oscar turned his head as though someone had him by the throat, “Leave me alone now. You are worrying me more than is necessary. The bare possibility that you can correctly predict my end should really not induce you to disturb me in my reflections. Perhaps my past gives you the right to do so, but you should not make use of it.”

“There you see best how great your uncertainty must be when it forces you to speak to me so.”

“Nothing forces me,” said Oscar, and his neck twitched. He also stepped up very close to the table so that one could no longer tell to whom it belonged. “What I said, I said with respect and even out of love for you, as you will see later, too, for consideration for you and Mama plays the greatest part in my decisions.”

“Then I must thank you right now,” the father said, “as it is indeed very improbable that your mother and I will still be capable of it when the time comes.”

“Please, Father, just let tomorrow sleep on as it deserves. If you awaken it before its time, then you will have a sleepy day. But that your son must say this to you! Besides, I really didn't intend to convince you yet, but only to break the news to you. And in that, at least, as you yourself must admit, I have succeeded.”

“Now, Oscar, there is only one thing more that really makes me wonder: why haven't you been coming to me often with something like this business of today. It corresponds so well with your character up to now. No, really, I am being serious.”

“Yes, wouldn't you have thrashed me, then, instead of listening to me? I ran home, God knows, in a hurry to give you a little pleasure. But I can't tell you a thing as long as my plan is not complete. Then why do you punish me for my good intentions and demand explanations from me that at this time might still injure the execution of my plan?”

“Keep quiet, I don't want to know a thing. But I have to answer you very quickly because you are retreating towards the door and apparently have something very urgent in hand: You have calmed my first anger with your trick, but now I am even sadder in spirit than before and therefore I beg you—if you insist, I can even fold my hands—at least say nothing to your mother of your ideas. Be satisfied with me.”

“This can't be my father speaking to me,” cried Oscar, who already had his arm on the door latch. “Something has happened to you since noon, or I'm meeting a stranger now for the first time in my father's room. My real father”—Oscar was silent for a moment with his mouth open—“he would certainly have had to embrace me, he would have called my mother. What is wrong with you, Father?”

“Then you ought to have supper with your real father, I think. It would be more fun.”

“He will come, you can be sure of that. In the end he can't stay away. And my mother must be there. And Franz, whom I am now going to fetch. All.” Thereupon Oscar pressed his shoulder against the door—it opened easily—as though he were trying to break it down.

Having arrived in Franz's home, he bowed to the little landlady and said, “The Herr Engineer is asleep, I know, it doesn't matter.” And without bothering about the woman, who because she was displeased by the visit walked aimlessly up and down in the anteroom, he opened the glass door—it quivered under his hand as though it had been touched in a sensitive spot—and called, paying no heed to the interior of the room into which he could scarcely see, “Franz, get up. I need your expert advice. But I can't stand it here in the room, we must go for a lithe walk, you must also have supper with us. Quick, then.”

“Gladly,” said the engineer from his leather sofa, “but which first? Get up, have supper, go for a walk, give advice? And some of it I probably haven't caught.”

“Most important, Franz, don't joke. That's the most important thing, I forgot that.”

“I'll do you that favor at once. But to get up! I would rather have supper for you twice than get up once.”

“Get up now! No arguments.” Oscar grabbed the weak man by the front of his coat and sat him up.

“You're mad, you know. With all due respect. Have I ever pulled you off a sofa like that?” He wiped his closed eyes with his two little fingers.

“But Franz,” said Oscar with a grimace. “Get dressed now. After all, I'm not a fool, to have waked you without a reason.”

“Just as I wasn't sleeping without a reason, either. Yesterday I worked the night shift, after that I'm done out of my afternoon nap, also because of you.”

“Why?”

“Oh, well, it annoys me how little consideration you have for me. It isn't the first time. Naturally, you are a free student and can do whatever you want. Not everyone is so fortunate. So you really must have some consideration, damn it! Of course, I'm your friend, but they haven't taken my profession away yet because of that.” This he indicated by shaking his hands up and down, palm to palm.

“But to judge by your present jabbering don't I have to believe that you've had more than your fill of sleep?” said Oscar, who had drawn himself up against a bedpost whence he looked at the engineer as though he now had somewhat more time than before.

“Well, what is it you really want of me? Or rather, why did you wake me?” the engineer asked, and rubbed his neck hard under his goatee in that more intimate relationship which one has to one's body after sleep.

“What I want of you,” said Oscar softly, and gave the bed a kick with the heel of his foot. “Very little. I already told you what I want while I was still in the anteroom: that you get dressed.”

“If you want to point out by that, Oscar, that your news interests me very little, then you are quite right.”

“All the better. Then the interest my news will kindle in you will burn entirely on its own account, without our friendship adding to it. The information will be clearer too. I need clear information, keep that in mind. But if you are perhaps looking for your collar and tie, they are lying there on the chair.”

“Thanks,” said the engineer, and started to fasten his collar and tie. “A person can really depend on you after all.”

26 March. Theosophical lectures by Dr Rudolf Steiner, Berlin. Rhetorical effect: Comfortable discussion of the objections of opponents, the listener is astonished at this strong opposition, further development and praise of these objections, the listener becomes worried, complete immersion in these objections as though they were nothing else, the listener now considers any refutation as completely impossible and is more than satisfied with a cursory description of the possibility of a defense.

Continual looking at the palm of the extended hand.—Omission of the period. In general, the spoken sentence starts off from the speaker with its initial capital letter, curves in its course, as far as it can, out to the audience, and returns with the period to the speaker. But if the period is omitted then the sentence, no longer held in check, falls upon the listener immediately with full force.

Before that, lecture by Loos and Kraus.

In Western European stories, as soon as they even begin to include any groups of Jews, we are now almost used immediately to hunting for and finding under or over the plot the solution to the Jewish question too. In the Jüdinnen, however, no such solution is indicated, indeed not even conjectured, for just those characters who busy themselves with such questions stand farthest from the center of the story at a point where events are already revolving more rapidly, so that we can, to be sure, still observe them closely, but no longer have an opportunity to get from them a calm report of their efforts. Offhand, we recognize in this a fault in the story, and feel ourselves all the more entitled to such a criticism because today, since Zionism came into being, the possibilities for a solution stand so clearly marshaled about the Jewish problem that the writer would have had to take only a few last steps in order to find the possibility of a solution suitable to his story.

This fault, however, has still another origin. The Jüdinnen lacks non-Jewish observers, the respectable contrasting persons who in other stories draw out the Jewishness so that it advances towards them in amazement, doubt, envy, fear, and finally, finally is transformed into self-confidence, but in any event can draw itself up to its full height only before them. That is just what we demand, no other principle for the organization of this Jewish material seems justified to us. Nor do we appeal to this feeling in this case alone, it is universal in at least one respect. In the same way, too, the convulsive starting up of a lizard under our feet on a footpath in Italy delights us greatly, again and again we are moved to bow down, but if we see them at a dealer's by hundreds crawling over one another in confusion in the large bottles in which otherwise pickles are usually packed, then we don't know what to do.

Both faults unite into a third. The Jüdinnen can do without that most prominent youth who usually, within his story, attracts the best to himself and leads it nicely along a radius to the borders of the Jewish circle. It is just this that we will not accept, that the story can do without this youth, here we sense a fault rather than see it.

28 March. P. Karlin the artist, his wife, two large, wide upper front teeth that gave a tapering shape to the large, rather flat face, Frau Hofrat B., mother of the composer, in whom old age so brings out her heavy skeleton that she looks like a man, at least when she is seated.

Dr. Steiner is so very much taken up with his absent disciples. At the lecture the dead press so about him. Hunger for knowledge? But do they really need it? Apparently, though—Sleeps two hours. Ever since someone once cut off his electric light he has always had a candle with him—He stood very close to Christ—He produced his play in Munich (you can study it all year there and won't understand it), he designed the costumes, composed the music—He instructed a chemist. Löwy Simon, soap dealer on Quai Moncey, Paris, got the best business advice from him. He translated his works into French. The wife of the Hofrat therefore has in her notebook, “How Does One Achieve Knowledge of the Higher Worlds? At S. Löwy's in Paris.”

In the Vienna lodge there is a theosophist, sixty-five years old, strong as a giant, a great drinker formerly, and a blockhead, who constantly believes and constantly has doubts. It is supposed to have been very funny when once, during a congress in Budapest, at a dinner on the Blocksberg one moonlit evening, Dr. Steiner unexpectedly joined the company; in fear he hid behind a beer barrel with his beer mug (although Dr. Steiner would not have been angered by it).

He is, perhaps, not the greatest contemporary psychic scholar, but he alone has been assigned the task of uniting theosophy and science. And that is why he knows everything too. Once a botanist came to his native village, a great master of the occult. He enlightened him.

That I would look up Dr. Steiner was interpreted to me by the lady as the beginning of recollection. The lady's doctor, when the first signs of influenza appeared in her, asked Dr. Steiner for a remedy, prescribed this for the lady, and restored her to health with it immediately. A French woman said good-bye to him with “Au revoir.” Behind her back he shook his head. In two months she died. A similar case in Munich. A Munich doctor cures people with colors decided upon by Dr. Steiner. He also sends invalids to the picture gallery with instructions to concentrate for half an hour or longer before a certain painting.

End of the Atlantic world, lemuroid destruction, and now through egoism. We live in a period of decision. The efforts of Dr. Steiner will succeed if only the Ahrimanian forces do not get the upper hand.

He eats two liters of emulsion of almonds and fruits that grow in the air.

He communicates with his absent disciples by means of thought-forms which he transmits to them without bothering further about them after they are generated. But they soon wear out and he must replace them.

Mrs. F.: “I have a poor memory.” Dr St.: “Eat no eggs.”

MY VISIT TO DR STEINER
A woman is already waiting (upstairs on the third floor of the Victoria Hotel on Jungmannstrasse) but urges me to go in before her. We wait. The secretary arrives and gives us hope. I catch a glimpse of him down the hall. Immediately thereafter he comes toward us with arms half spread. The woman explains that I was there first. So I walk behind him as he leads me into his room. His black Prince Albert which on those evenings when he lectures looks polished (not polished but just shining because of its clean blackness) is now in the light of day (3 p.m.) dusty and even spotted, especially on the back and elbows.

In his room I try to show my humility, which I cannot feel, by seeking out a ridiculous place for my hat, I lay it down on a small wooden stand for lacing boots. Table in the middle, I sit facing the window, he on the left side of the table. On the table papers with a few drawings which recall those of the lectures dealing with occult physiology. An issue of the Annalen für Naturphilosophie (Annals of Natural Philosophy) topped a small pile of the books which seemed to be lying about in other places as well. However, you cannot loook around because he keeps trying to hold you with his glance. But if for a moment he does not, then you must watch for the return of his glance. He begins with a few disconnected sentences. So you are Dr. Kafka? Have you been interested in theosophy long?

But I push on with my prepared address: I feel that a great part of my being is striving toward theosophy, but at the same time I have the greatest fear of it. That is to say, I am afraid it will result in a new confusion which would be very bad for me, because even my present unhappiness consists only of confusion. This confusion is as follows: My happiness, my abilities, and every possibility of being useful in any way have always been in the literary field. And here I have, to be sure, experienced states (not many) which in my opinion correspond very closely to the clairvoyant states described by you, Herr Doktor, in which I completely dwelt in every idea, but also filled every idea, and in which I not only felt myself at my boundary, but at the boundary of the human in general. Only the calm of enthusiasm, which is probably characteristic of the clairvoyant, was still lacking in those states, even if not completely. I conclude this from the fact that I did not write the best of my works in those states. I cannot now devote myself completely to this literary field, as would be necessary and indeed for various reasons. Aside from my family relationships, I could not live by literature if only, to begin with, because of the slow maturing of my work and its special character; besides, I am prevented also by my health and my character from devoting myself to what is, in the most favorable case, an uncertain life. I have therefore become an official in a social insurance agency. Now these two professions can never be reconciled with one another and admit a common fortune. The smallest good fortune in one becomes a great misfortune in the other. If I have written something good one evening, I am afire the next day in the office and can bring nothing to completion. This back and forth continually becomes worse. Outwardly, I fulfil my duties satisfactorily in the office, not my inner duties, however, and every unfulfilled inner duty becomes a misfortune that never leaves. And to these two never-to-be-reconciled endeavors shall I now add theosophy as a third? Will it not disturb both the others and itself be disturbed by both? Will I, at present already so unhappy a person, be able to carry the three to completion? This is what I have come to ask you, Herr Doktor, for I have a presentiment that if you consider me capable of this, then I can really take it upon myself.

He listened very attentively without apparently looking at me at all, entirely devoted to my words. He nodded from time to time, which he seems to consider an aid to strict concentration. At first a quiet head cold disturbed him, his nose ran, he kept working his handkerchief deep into his nose, one finger at each nostril.

Since in contemporary Western European stories about Jews the reader has become used immediately to hunting for and finding under or over the story the solution to the Jewish question too, and since in the Jüdinnen no such solution is indicated or even conjectured, there-fore it is possible that offhand the reader will recognize in this a fault of the Jüdinnen, and will look on only unwillingly if Jews go about in the light of day without political encouragement from the past or the future. He must tell himself in regard to this that, especially since the rise of Zionism, the possibilities for a solution stand marshaled so clearly about the Jewish problem that in the end all the writer has to do is turn his body in order to find a definite solution, suitable to the part of the problem under discussion.

27 May. Today is your birthday, but I'm not even sending you the usual book, for it would be only pretense; at bottom I am after all not even in a position to give you a book. I am writing only because it is so necessary for me today to be near you for a moment, even though it be only by means of this card, and I have begun with the complaint only so that you may recognize me at once.

15 August. The time which has just gone by and in which I haven't written a word has been so important for me because I have stopped being ashamed of my body in the swimming pools in Prague, Königssaal and Czernoschitz. How late I make up for my education now, at the age of twenty-eight, a delayed start they would call it at the race track. And the harm of such a misfortune consists, perhaps, not in the fact that one does not win; this is indeed only the still visible, clear, healthy kernel of the misfortune, progressively dissolving and losing its boundaries, that drives one into the interior of the circle, when after all the circle should be run around. Aside from that I have also observed a great many other things in myself during this period which was to some extent also happy, and will try to write it down in the next few days.

20 August. I have the unhappy belief that I haven't the time for the least bit of good work, for I really don't have time for a story, time to expand myself in every direction in the world, as I should have to do. But then I once more believe that my trip will turn out better, that I shall comprehend better if I am relaxed by a little writing, and so try it again.

From his appearance I had a suspicion of the exertions which he had taken upon himself for my sake and which now, perhaps only because he was tired, gave him this certainty. A little more effort might have sufficed and the deception would have succeeded, it succeeded perhaps even now. Did I defend myself, then? Indeed, I stood stiff-necked here in front of the house, but—just as stiff-necked—I hesitated to go up. Was I waiting until the guests came to fetch me with a song?

I have been reading about Dickens. Is it so difficult and can an outsider understand that you experience a story within yourself from its beginning, from the distant point up to the approaching locomotives of steel, coal, and steam, and you don't abandon it even now, but want to be pursued by it and have time for it, therefore are pursued by it and of your own volition run before it wherever it may thrust and wherever you may lure it.

I can't understand it and can't believe it. I live only here and there in a small word in whose vowel (“thrust” above, for instance) I lose my useless head for a moment. The first and last letters are the beginning and end of my fishlike emotion.

24 August. Sitting with acquaintances at a coffeehouse table in the open air and looking at a woman at the next table who has just arrived, breathing heavily beneath her heavy breasts, and who, with a heated, brownish, shining face, sits down. She leans her head back, a heavy down becomes visible, she turns her eyes up, almost in the way in which she perhaps sometimes looks at her husband, who is now reading an illustrated paper beside her. If one could only persuade her that one may read at most a newspaper but never a magazine beside one's wife in a coffeehouse. After a moment she becomes aware of the fullness of her body and moves back from the table a little.

26 August. Tomorrow I am supposed to leave for Italy. Father has been unable to fall asleep these evenings because of excitement, since he has been completely caught up in his worries about the business and in his illness, which they have aggravated. A wet cloth on his heart, vomiting, suffocation, walking back and forth to the accompaniment of sighs. My mother in her anxiety finds new solace. He was always after all so energetic, he got over everything, and now … I say that all the misery over the business could after all last only another three months, then everything will have to be all right. He walks up and down, sighing and shaking his head. It is clear that from his point of view his worries will not be taken from his shoulders and will not even be made lighter by us, but even from our point of view they will not, even in our best intentions there is something of the sad conviction that he must provide for his family—By his frequent yawning or his poking into his nose (on the whole not disgusting) Father engenders a slight reassurance as to his condition, which scarcely enters his consciousness, despite the fact that when he is well he usually does not do this. Ottla confirmed this for me—Poor Mother will go to the landlord tomorrow to beg.

It had already become a custom for the four friends, Robert, Samuel, Max, and Franz, to spend their short holidays every summer or autumn on a trip together. During the rest of the year their friendship consisted mostly of the fact that they all four liked to come together one evening every week, usually at Samuel's, who, as the most well-to-do, had a rather large room, to tell each other various things and to accompany it by drinking a moderate amount of beer. They were never finished with the telling of things when they separated at midnight; since Robert was secretary of an association, Samuel an employee in a business office, Max a Civil Service official, and Franz an employee in a bank, almost everything that anyone had experienced in his work during the week was not only unknown to the other three and had to be told to them quickly, but it was also incomprehensible without rather lengthy explanations. But more than anything else the consequence of the difference of these professions was that each was compelled to describe his profession to the others again and again, since the descriptions (they were all only weak people, after all) were not thoroughly understood, and for that very reason and also out of friendship were demanded again and again.

Talk about women, on the other hand, was seldom engaged in, for even if Samuel for his part would have found it to his liking he was still careful not to demand that the conversation adapt itself to his requirements, in this regard the old maid who brought up the beer often appeared to him as an admonition. But they laughed so much during these evenings that Max said on the way home that this eternal laughing is really to be regretted, because of it one forgets all the serious concerns of which everyone, after all, really has enough. While one laughs one thinks there is still time enough for seriousness. That isn't correct, however, for seriousness naturally makes greater demands on a person, and after all it is clear that one is also able to satisfy greater demands in the society of friends than alone. One should laugh in the office because there is nothing better to be accomplished there. This opinion was aimed at Robert, who worked hard in the art association he was putting new life into and at the same time observed in the old the most comical things with which he entertained his friends.

As soon as he began, the friends left their places, stood around him or sat down on the table, and laughed so self-obviously, especially Max and Franz, that Samuel carried all the glasses over to a side-table. If they tired of talking Max sat down at the piano with suddenly renewed strength and played, while Robert and Samuel sat beside him on the bench; Franz, on the other hand, who understood nothing of music, stood alone at the table and looked through Samuel's collection of picture postcards or read the paper. When the evenings became warmer and the window could be left open, all four would perhaps come to the window and with their hands behind their backs look down into the street without letting themselves be diverted from their conversation by the light traffic outside. Now and then one returned to the table to take a swallow of beer, or pointed to the curls of two girls who sat downstairs in front of their wine-shop, or to the moon that quietly surprised them, until finally Franz said it was getting cool, they ought to close the window.

In summer they sometimes met in a public garden, sat at a table off to one side where it was darker, drank to one another, and, their heads together in conversation, hardly noticed the distant brass band. Arm in arm and in step, they then walked home through the park. The two on the outside twirled their canes or struck at the shrubs, Robert called on them to sing, but then he sang alone, well enough for four, the other one in the middle felt himself made especially comfortable by this.

On one such evening, Franz, drawing his two neighbors more closely to him, said it was really so beautiful to be together that he couldn't understand why they met only once a week when they could certainly arrange without difficulty to see each other, if not often, then at least twice a week. They all were in favor of it, even the fourth one on the end, who had heard Franz's soft words only indistinctly. A pleasure of this sort would certainly be worth the slight effort which it would now and then cost one of them. It seemed to Franz as though he had a hollow voice as punishment for speaking uninvited for all of them. But he did not stop. And if sometimes one of them couldn't come, that's his loss and he can be consoled for it the next time, but do the others then have to give each other up, aren't three enough for each other, even two, if it comes to that? Naturally, naturally, they all said. Samuel disengaged himself from the end of the line and stood close in front of the three others, because in this way they were closer to each other. But then it didn't seem so, and he preferred to link up with the others again.

Robert made a proposal. “Let's meet every week and study Italian. We are determined to learn Italian, last year already we saw in the little part of Italy where we were that our Italian was only sufficient to ask the way when we got lost, remember, among the vineyard walls of the Campagna. And even then it managed to do only thanks to the greatest efforts on the part of those we asked. We'll have to study it if we want to go to Italy again this year. We simply have to. And so isn't it best to study together?”

“No,” said Max, “we shall learn nothing together. I am as certain of that as you, Samuel, are certain that we ought to study together.”

“Am I !” Samuel said. “We shall certainly learn very well together, I always regret that we weren't together even at school. Do you realize that we've known each other only two years?” He bent forward to look at all three. They had slowed down their steps and let go their arms.

“But we haven't studied anything together yet,” said Franz. “I like it very well that way, too. I don't want to learn a thing. But if we have to learn Italian, then it is better for each one to learn it by himself.”

“I don't understand that,” Samuel said. “First you want us to meet every week, then you don't want it.”

“Come now,” Max said. “Franz and I, after all, just don't want our being together to be disturbed by studying, or our studying by being together, nothing else.”

“Yes,” said Franz.

“And indeed there isn't much time,” said Max. “It is June now and in September we want to leave.”

“That's the very reason why I want us to study together,” Robert said, and stared in surprise at the two who opposed him. His neck became especially flexible when someone contradicted him.

One thinks that one describes him correctly, but it is only approximate and is corrected by the diary.

It probably lies in the essence of friendship and follows it like a shadow—one will welcome it, the second regret it, the third not notice it at all—

26 September. The artist Kubin recommends Regulin as a laxative, a powdered seaweed that swells up in the bowels, shakes them up, is thus effective mechanically in contrast to the unhealthy chemical effect of other laxatives which just tear through the excrement and leave it hanging on the walls of the bowels.

He met Hamsun at Langen. He (Hamsun) grins mockingly for no reason. During the conversation, without interrupting it, he put one foot on his neck, took a large pair of scissors from the table, and trimmed the frayed edges of his trousers. Shabbily dressed, with one or so rather expensive details, his tie, for example.

Stories about an artist's pension in Munich where painters and veterinaries lived (the latters' school was in the neighborhood) and where they acted in such a debauched way that the windows of the house across the way, from which a good view could be had, were rented out. In order to satisfy these spectators, one of the residents in the pension would sometimes jump up on the window sill in the posture of a monkey and spoon his soup out of the pot.

A manufacturer of fraudulent antiques who got the worn effect by means of buckshot and who said of a table: “Now we must drink coffee on it three more times, then it can be shipped off to the Innsbruck Museum.”

Kubin himself: very strong, but somewhat monotonous facial expression, he describes the most varied things with the same movement of muscles. Looks different in age, size, and strength according to whether he is sitting, standing, wearing just a suit, or an overcoat.

27 September. Yesterday on the Wenzelsplatz met two girls, kept my eye too long on one while it was just the other, as it proved too late, who wore a plain, soft, brown, wrinkled, ample coat, open a little in front, had a delicate throat and delicate nose, her hair was beautiful in a way already forgotten—Old man with loosely hanging trousers on the Belvedere. He whistles; when I look at him he stops; if I look away he begins again; finally he whistles even when I look at him—The beautiful large button, beautifully set low on the sleeve of a girl's dress. The dress worn beautifully too, hovering over American boots. How seldom I succeed in creating something beautiful, and this unnoticed button and its ignorant seamstress succeeded—The woman talking on the way to the Belvedere, whose lively eyes, independent of the words of the moment, contentedly surveyed her story to its end—The powerful half-turn of the neck of a strong girl.

29 September. Goethe's diaries. A person who keeps none is in a false position in the face of a diary. When for example he reads in Goethe's diaries: “1/11/1797. All day at home busy with various affairs,” then it seems to him that he himself had never done so little in one day.

Goethe's observations on his travels different from today's because made from a mail-coach, and with the slow changes of the region, develop more simply and can be followed much more easily even by one who does not know those parts of the country. A calm, so-to-speak pastoral form of thinking sets in. Since the country offers itself unscathed in its indigenous character to the passengers in a wagon, and since highways too divide the country much more naturally than the railway lines to which they perhaps stand in the same relationship as do rivers to canals, so too the observer need do no violence to the landscape and he can see systematically without great effort. Therefore there are few observations of the moment, mostly only indoors, where certain people suddenly and hugely bubble up before one's eyes; for instance, Austrian officers in Heidelberg, on the other hand the passage about the men in Wiesenheim is closer to the landscape, “They wear blue coats and white vests ornamented with woven flowers” (quoted from memory). Much written down about the falls of the Rhine at Schaffhausen, in the middle in larger letters: “Excited ideas.”

Cabaret Lucerna. Lucie König showing photographs with old hairstyles. Threadbare face. Sometimes, with her turned-up nose, with her arm held aloft and a turn of all her fingers, she succeeds on something. A milksop face—Longen (the painter Pittermann), mimic jokes. A production that is obviously without joy and yet cannot be considered so, for if it were, then it couldn't be performed every evening, particularly since it was so unhappy a thing even at the moment it was created that no satisfactory pattern has resulted which would dispense with frequent appearances of the whole person. Pretty jump of a clown over a chair into the emptiness of the wings. The whole thing reminds one of a private production where, because of social necessity, one vigorously applauds a wretched, insignificant performance in order to get something smooth and rounded from the minus of the production by means of the plus of the applause.

The singer Vaschata. So bad that one loses oneself in his appearance. But because he is a powerful person he holds the attention of the audience with an animal force of which certainly I am consciously aware.

Grünbaum is effective with what is apparently only the seeming inconsolability of his existence.

Odys, dancer. Stiff hips. Real fleshlessness. Red knees only suit the “Moods of Spring” dance.

30 September. The girl in the adjoining room yesterday. I lay on the sofa and, on the point of dozing off, heard her voice. She seemed to me in my mind to be overdressed not only because of the clothes she wore, but also because of the entire room; only her shapely, naked, round, strong, dark shoulders which I had seen in the bath prevailed against her clothes. For a moment she seemed to me to be steaming and to be filling the whole room with her vapors. Then she stood up in her ash-gray-colored bodice that stood off from her body so far at the bottom that one could sit down on it and after a fashion ride along.

More on Kubin: The habit always of repeating in an approving tone someone else's last words, even if it appears from his own words added on that he by no means agrees with the other person. Provoking—When you listen to his many stories it is easy to forget his importance. Suddenly you are reminded of this and become frightened. Someone said that a place we wanted to go to was dangerous; he said he wouldn't go there, then; I asked him whether he was afraid to, and he answered (moreover, his arm was passed through mine): “Naturally, I am young and have a lot in front of me yet.”

All evening he spoke often and—in my opinion—entirely seriously about my constipation and his. Towards midnight, however, when I let my hand hang over the edge of the table, he saw part of my arm and cried: “But you are really sick.” Treated me from then on even more indulgently and later also kept off the others who wanted to talk me into going to the brothel with them. When we had already said good-bye he called to me again from the distance: “Regulin!”

Tucholsky and Szafranski. The aspirated Berlin dialect in which the voice makes use of intervals consisting of “nich”. The former, an entirely consistent person of twenty-one. From the controlled and powerful swing of his walking-stick that gives a youthful lift to his shoulders to the deliberate delight in and contempt for his own literary works. Wants to be a defense lawyer, sees only a few obstacles and at the same time how they may be overcome: his clear voice that after the manly sound of the first half-hour of talk pretends to become revealingly girlish—doubt of his own capacity to pose, which, however, he hopes to get with more experience of the world—fear, finally, of changing into a melancholic, as he has seen happen in older Berlin Jews of his type, in any event for the time being he sees no sign of this. He will marry soon.

Szafranski, a disciple of Bernhardt's, grimaces while he observes and draws in a way that resembles what is drawn. Reminds me that I too have a pronounced talent for metamorphosing myself which no one notices. How often I must have imitated Max. Yesterday evening, on the way home, if I had observed myself from the outside I should have taken myself for Tucholsky. The alien being must be in me, then, as distinctly and invisibly as the hidden object in a picture-puzzle, where, too, one would never find anything if one did not know that it is there. When these metamorphoses take place, I should especially like to believe in a dimming of my own eyes.

1 October. The Altneu Synagogue yesterday. Kol Nidre. Suppressed murmur of the stock market. In the entry, boxes with the inscription: “Merciful gifts secretly left assuage the wrath of the bereft.” Churchly inside. Three pious, apparently Eastern Jews. In socks. Bowed over their prayer books, their prayer shawls drawn over their heads, become as small as they possibly can. Two are crying, moved only by the holy day. One of them may only have sore eyes, perhaps, to which he fleetingly applies his still-folded handkerchief, at once to lower his face to the text again. The words are not really, or chiefly, sung, but behind them arabesque-like melodies are heard that spin out the words as fine as hairs. The little boy without the slightest conception of it all and without any possibility of understanding, who, with the clamor in his ears, pushes himself among the thronging people and is pushed. The clerk (apparently) who shakes himself rapidly while he prays, which is to be understood only as an attempt at putting the strongest possible—even if possibly incomprehensible—emphasis on each word, by means of which the voice, which in any case could not attain a large, clear emphasis in the clamor, is spared. The family of a brothel owner. I was stirred immeasurably more deeply by Judaism in the Pinkas Synagogue.

The day before the day before yesterday. The one, a Jewish girl with a narrow face—better, that tapers down to a narrow chin, but is loosened by a broad, wavy hairdo. The three small doors that lead from the inside of the building into the salon. The guests as though in a police station on the stage, drinks on the table are scarcely touched.

Several girls here dressed like the marionettes for children's theaters that are sold in the Christmas market, i.e. with ruching and gold stuck on and loosely sewn so that one can rip them with one pull and they then fall apart in one's fingers. The landlady with the pale blonde hair drawn tight over doubtless disgusting pads, with the sharply slanting nose the direction of which stands in some sort of geometric relation to the sagging breasts and the stiffly held belly, complains of headaches which are caused by the fact that today, Saturday, there is so great an uproar and there is nothing in it.

More on Kubin: The story about Hamsun is suspect. One could tell such stories as one's own experiences by the thousand from his works.

More on Goethe: “Excited ideas” are only the ideas which the Rhine Falls excite. One sees this from a letter to Schiller—The isolated momentary observation, “Castanet rhythms of the children in wooden shoes,” made such an impression, is so universally accepted, that it is unthinkable that anyone, even if he had never read this remark, could feel this observation as an original idea.

2 October. Sleepless night. The third in a row. I fall asleep soundly, but after an hour I wake up, as though I had laid my head in the wrong hole. I am completely awake, have the feeling that I have not slept at all or only under a thin skin, have before me anew the labor of falling asleep and feel myself rejected by sleep. And for the rest of the night, until about five, thus it remains, so that indeed I sleep but at the same time vivid dreams keep me awake. I sleep alongside myself, so to speak, while I myself must struggle with dreams. About five the last trace of sleep is exhausted, I just dream, which is more exhausting than wakefulness. In short, I spend the whole night in that state in which a healthy person finds himself for a short time before really falling asleep. Then I awaken, all the dreams are gathered about me, but I am careful nor to reflect on them. Towards morning I sigh into the pillow, because for this night all hope is gone. I think of those nights at the end of which I was raised out of deep sleep and awoke as though I had been folded in a nut.

The horrible apparition last night of a blind child, apparently the daughter of my aunt in Leitmeritz who, however, has no daughter but only sons, one of whom once broke his leg. On the other hand there were resemblances between this child and Dr. M.'s daughter who, as I have recently seen, is in the process of changing from a pretty child into a stout, stiffly dressed little girl. This blind or weak-sighted child had both eyes covered by a pair of glasses, the left, under a lens held at a certain distance from the eye, was milky-gray and bulbous, the other receded and was covered by a lens lying close against it. In order that this eyeglass might be set in place with optical correctness it was necessary, instead of the usual support going behind the ears, to make use of a lever, the head of which could be attached to no place but the cheekbone, so that from this lens a little rod descended to the cheek, there disappeared into the pierced flesh and ended on the bone, while another small wire rod came out and went back over the ear.

I believe this sleeplessness comes only because I write. For no matter how little and how badly I write, I am still made sensitive by these minor shocks, feel, especially towards evening and even more in the morning, the approaching, the imminent possibility of great moments which would tear me open, which could make me capable of anything, and in the general uproar that is within me and which I have no time to command, find no rest. In the end this uproar is only a suppressed, restrained harmony, which, left free, would fill me completely, which could even widen me and yet still fill me. But now such a moment arouses only feeble hopes and does me harm, for my being does not have sufficient strength or the capacity to hold the present mixture, during the day the visible word helps me, during the night it cuts me to pieces unhindered. I always think in this connection of Paris, where at the time of the siege and later, until the Commune, the population of the northern and eastern suburbs, up to that time strangers to the Parisians, for a period of months moved through the connecting streets into the center of Paris, dawdling like the hands of a clock.

My consolation is—and with it I now go to bed—that I have not written for so long, that therefore this writing could find no right place within my present circumstances, that nevertheless, with a little fortitude, I'll succeed, at least temporarily.

I was so weak today that I even told my chief the story of the child. I remembered the glasses in the dream derive from my mother, who in the evening sits next to me and, while playing cards, looks across at me not very pleasantly under her eyeglasses. Her glasses even have, which I do not remember having noticed before, the right lens nearer the eye than the left.

3 October. The same sort of night, but fell asleep with even more difficulty. While falling asleep a vertically moving pain in my head over the bridge of the nose, as though from a wrinkle too sharply pressed into my forehead. To make myself as heavy as possible, which I consider good for falling asleep, I had crossed my arms and laid my hands on my shoulders, so that I lay there like a soldier with his pack. Again it was the power of my dreams, shining forth into wakefulness even before I fall asleep, which did not let me sleep. In the evening and the morning my consciousness of the creative abilities in me is more than I can encompass. I feel shaken to the core of my being and can get out of myself whatever I desire. Calling forth such powers, which are then not permitted to function, reminds me of my relationship with B. Here toe there are effusions which are not released but must instead spend themselves in being repulsed, but here—this is the difference—it is a matter of more mysterious powers which are of an ultimate significance to me.

On the Josefsplatz a large touring car with a family sitting crowded together drove by me. In the wake of the car, with the smell of petrol, a breath of Paris blew across my face.

While dictating a rather long report to the district Chief of Police, towards the end, where a climax was intended, I got stuck and could do nothing but look at K., the typist, who, in her usual way, became especially lively, moved her chair about, coughed, tapped on the table and so called the attention of the whole room to my misfortune. The sought-for idea now has the additional value that it will make her be quiet, and the more valuable it becomes the more difficult it becomes to find it. Finally I have the word “stigmatize” and the appropriate sentence, but still hold it all in my mouth with disgust and a sense of shame as though it were raw meat, cut out of me (such effort has it cost me). Finally I say it, but retain the great fear that everything within me is ready for a poetic work and such a work would be a heavenly enlightenment and a real coming-alive for me, while here, in the office, because of so wretched an official document, I must rob a body capable of such happiness of a piece of its flesh.

4 October. I feel restless and vicious. Yesterday, before falling asleep, I had a flickering, cool little flame up in the left side of my head. The tensions over my left eye has already settled down and made itself at home. When I think about it, it seems to me that I couldn't hold out in the office even if they told me that in one month I'd be free. And most of the time in the office I do what I am supposed to, am quite calm when I can be sure that my boss is satisfied, and do not feel that my condition is dreadful. By the way, last night I purposely made myself dull, went for a walk, read Dickens, then felt a little better and had lost the strength for sorrow. I still regarded the sorrow as justified but it seemed to have withdrawn somewhat, I looked at it from a distance and therefore hoped for better sleep. It was a little deeper too, but not enough, and often interrupted. I told myself, as consolation, that I had indeed once more repressed the great agitation in me but that I did not wish to succumb at once, as I had always done in the past after such occasions; rather, I wished to remain entirely conscious of the final flutterings of that agitation, which I had never done before. Perhaps in this way I would find hidden steadfastness in myself.

Towards evening, in the dark of my room on the sofa. Why does one take a rather long time to recognize a color, but then, after the understanding has reached the decisive turning point, quickly become all the more convinced of the color. If the light from the anteroom and the kitchen shines on the glass door simultaneously from the outside, then greenish—or rather, not to detract from the definiteness of the impression—green light pours down almost the length of the panes. If the light in the anteroom is turned off and only the kitchen light remains, then the pane nearer the kitchen becomes deep blue, the other whitish blue, so whitish that all the drawings on the frosted glass (stylized poppies, tendrils, various rectangles, and leaves) dissolve.

The lights and shadows thrown on the walls and the ceiling by the electric lights in the street and the bridge down below are distorted, partly spoiled, overlapping, and hard to follow. When they installed the electric arc-lamps down below and when they furnished this room, there was simply no housewifely consideration given to how my room would look from the sofa at this hour without any lights of its own.

The glare thrown on the ceiling by the tram passing down below moves whitely, wraithlike and with mechanical pauses along the one wall and ceiling, broken in the corner. The globe stands on the linen chest in the first, fresh, full reflection of the street lights, a greenishly clean light on top, has a highlight on its roundness and gives the impression that the glare is really too strong for it, although the light passes over its smoothness and goes off leaving it rather brownish like a leather apple. The light from the anteroom throws a large patch of glare on the wall over the bed. This patch is bounded by a curved line beginning at the head of the bed, gives the illusion that the bed is pressed down, widens the dark bedposts, raises the ceiling over the bed.

5 October. Restlessness again for the first time in several days, even now that I am writing. Rage at my sister who comes into the room and sits down at the table with a book. Waiting for the next trifling occasion to let this rage explode. Finally she takes a visiting card from the tray and fiddles around with it between her teeth. With departing rage, of which only a stinging vapor remains behind in my head, and dawning relief and confidence, I begin to work.

Last night Café Savoy. Yiddish troupe. Mrs. K., “male impersonator." In a caftan, short black trousers, white stockings, from the black shirt a thin white woollen waistcoat emerges that is held in front at the throat by a knot and then flares into a wide, loose, long, spreading collar. On her head, confining her woman's hair but necessary anyhow and worn by her husband as well, a dark, brimless skullcap, over it a large, soft black hat with a turned-up brim.

I ready don't know what sort of person it is that she and her husband represent. If I wanted to explain them to someone to whom I didn't want to confess my ignorance, I should find that I consider them sextons, employees of the temple, notorious lazybones with whom the community has come to terms, privileged shnorrers for some religious reason, people who, precisely as a result of their being set apart, are very close to the center of the community’s life, know many songs as a result of their useless wandering about and spying, see clearly to the core the relationship of all the members of the community, but as a result of their lack of relatedness to the workaday world don't know what to do with this knowledge, people who are Jews in an especially pure form because they live only in the religion, but live in it without effort, understanding, or distress. They seem to make a fool of everyone, laugh immediately after the murder of a noble Jew, sell themselves to an apostate, dance with their hands on their earlocks in delight when the unmasked murderer poisons himself and calls upon God, and yet all this only because they are as light as a feather, sink to the ground under the slightest pressure, are sensitive, cry easily with dry faces (they cry themselves out in grimaces), but as soon as the pressure is removed haven't the slightest specific gravity but must bounce right back up in the air.

They must have caused a lot of difficulty in a serious play, such as Der Meshumed (The Apostate) by Lateiner is, for they are forever—large as life and often on tiptoe or with both feet in the air—at the front of the stage and do not unravel but rather cut apart the suspense of the play. The seriousness of the play spins itself out, however, in words so compact, carefully considered even where possibly improvised, so full of the tension of a unified emotion, that even when the plot is gong along only at the rear of the stage, it always keeps its meaning. Rather, the two in caftans are suppressed now and then which befits their nature, and despite their extended arms and snapping fingers one sees behind them only the murderer, who, the poison in him, his hand at his really too large collar, is staggering to the door.

The melodies are long, one's body is glad to confide itself to them. As a result of their long-drawn-out forward movement, the melodies are best expressed by a swaying of the hips, by raising and lowering extended arms in a calm rhythm, by bringing the palms close to the temples and taking care not to touch them. Suggests the šlapak (a Czech folk dance).

Some songs, the expression “yiddische kinderlach (yiddish children's laughter),” some of this woman's acting (who, on the stage, because she is a Jew, draws us listeners to her because we are Jews, without any longing for or curiosity about Christians) made my cheeks tremble. The representative of the government, with the exception of a waiter and two maids standing to the left of the stage, perhaps the only Christian in the hall, is a wretched person, afflicted with a facial tic that—especially on the left side of his face, but spreading also far on to the right—contracts and passes from his face with the almost merciful quickness, I mean the haste but also the regularity, of a second hand. When it reaches the left eye it almost obliterates it. For this contraction new, small, fresh muscles have developed in the otherwise quite wasted face.

The talmudic melody of minute questions, adjurations, or explanations. The air moves into a pipe and takes the pipe along, and a great screw, proud in its entirety, humble in its turns, twists from small, distant beginnings in the direction of the one who is questioned.

6 October. The two old men up front at the long table near the stage. One leans both his arms on the table and has only his face (whose false, bloated redness with an irregular, square, matted beard beneath it sadly conceals his old age) turned up to the right towards the stage, while the other, directly opposite the stage, holds his face, which old age has made quite dry, back away from the table on which he leans only with his left arm, holding his right arm bent in the air in order better to enjoy the melody that his fingertips follow and to which the short pipe in his right hand weakly yields. “Tateleben, come on and sing,” cries the woman now to one, now to the other, at the same time stooping a little and stretching her arms forward encouragingly.

The melodies are made to catch hold of every person who jumps up and they can, without breaking down, encompass all his excitement even if one won't believe they have inspired it. The two in caftans are particularly in a hurry to meet the singing, as though it were stretching their body according to its most essential needs, and the clapping of the hands during the singing is an obvious sign of the good health of the man in the actor. The children of the landlord, in a corner of the stage, remain children in their relationship to Mrs. K. and sing along, their mouths, between their pursed lips, full of the melody.

The play: Twenty years ago Seidemann, a rich Jew, obviously having marshalled all his criminal instincts towards that end, had himself baptized, poisoning his wife at the same time, since she would not let herself be forced into baptism. Since then he has made every effort to forget the jargon that unintentionally echoes in his speech, especially at first so that the audience can notice it and because the approaching events still leave time for it, and continually expresses great disgust for everything Jewish. He has promised his daughter to the officer, Dragomirow, while she, who is in love with her cousin, young Edelmann, in a big scene, drawing herself up in an unusual stony position, broken only at the waist, declares to her father that she holds fast to Judaism and ends a whole act with contemptuous laughter for the violence done her. (The Christians in the play are: an honest Polish servant of Seidemann's who later contributes to his unmasking, honest chiefly because Seidemann must be ranged round with contrasts; the officer with whom the play—aside from portraying his guilt—concerns itself little, because as a distinguished Christian he interests no one, just the same as a presiding judge who appears later; and finally a court attendant whose malice does not exceed the requirements of his position and the mirth of the two in caftans, although Max calls him a pogromist.) Dragomirow, however, for some reason or other can marry only if his notes, which old Edelmann holds, are taken up, but which the latter, although he is about to leave for Palestine and although Seidemann wants to pay them in cash, will not hand over. The daughter acts haughtily towards the enamored officer and boasts of her Judaism although she has been baptized, the officer does not know what to do, and, his arms slack, his hands loosely clasped at the ends of them, looks beseechingly at the father. The daughter runs away to Edelmann, she wants to be married to her beloved, even if for the time being in secret, since according to civil law a Jew cannot marry a Christian woman and she obviously cannot convert to Judaism without the consent of her father. The father arrives, sees that without some stratagem all is lost, and outwardly gives his blessing to this marriage. They all forgive him, yes, begin to love him as though they had been in the wrong, even old Edelmann, and especially he, although he knows that Seidemann had poisoned his sister. (These inconsistencies arose perhaps through cutting, but perhaps also because the play is passed on orally most of the time, from one troupe of actors to another.) Through his reconciliation Seidemann gets hold, first of all, of Dragomirow's notes—“You know,” he says, “I don't want this Dragomirow to speak badly of the Jews”—and Edelmann gives them to him for nothing, then Seidemann calls him to the portière in the background, ostensibly to show him something, and from behind gives him a fatal thrust with a knife through his dressing-gown into his back. (Between the reconciliation and the murder Seidemann was removed from the stage for a time to think out the plan and buy the knife.) In this way he intends to bring young Edelmann to the gallows, for it is he whom suspicion must fall upon, and his daughter will become free for Dragomirow. He runs away, Edelmann lies behind the portière. The daughter, wearing her bridal veil, enters on the arm of young Edelmann, who has put on his prayer shawl. The father, they see, unfortunately is not yet there. Seidemann enters and seems happy at the sight of the bridal couple.

8 October. Then a man appears, perhaps Dragomirow himself, perhaps only an actor, but actually a detective unknown to us, and explains that he has to search the house since “your life isn't safe in this house.” Seidemann: “Children, don't worry, this is of course an obvious mistake. Everything will be straightened out.” Edelmann's body is found, young Edelmann torn from his beloved and arrested. For a whole act Seidemann, with great patience and very well-stressed little asides (Yes, yes, very good. No, that's wrong. Yes, now that's better. Of course, of course), instructs the two in caftans how they are to testify in court concerning the alleged enmity that has existed between old and young Edelmann for years. They get going with difficulty, there are many misunderstandings (they come forward at an improvised rehearsal of the court scene and declare that Seidemann had commissioned them to represent the affair in the following way), until finally they immerse themselves in that enmity so thoroughly that even Seidemann can no longer restrain them—they now know how the murder itself took place and the man stabs the woman to death with a French bread. This of course is again more than will be required of them. But Seidemann is satisfied enough with the two and hopes with their help for a favorable outcome to the trial. Here, for the spectator who is religious, without its having been expressed because it is self-evident, God himself reaches into the play in place of the author and strikes the villain blind.

In the last act the presiding judge is again the eternal Dragomirow actor (in this, too, contempt is revealed for the Christian, one Jewish actor can play three Christian roles well, and if he plays them badly, it doesn’t matter either) and beside him, as defense attorney, with great display of hair and moustache, recognized at once, Seidemann's daughter. Of course, you recognize her easily, but in view of Dragomirow you assume for a long time that she is playing a second part until, towards the middle of the act, you realize that she has disguised herself to save her beloved. The two caftans are each supposed to testify individually, but that is very difficult for them as they have rehearsed it together. Also, they don't understand the judge's High German, though it is true that the defense attorney helps him out when he gets too involved, as he has to prompt him in other respects as well. Then comes Seidemann, who had already tried to direct the two in caftans by tugging at their clothes, and by his fluent, decisive speech, by his reasonable bearing, by correctly addressing the presiding judge in contrast to the former witnesses, makes a good impression which is in terrible contrast to what we know of him. His testimony is pretty much without content, unfortunately he knows very little about the whole case. But the last witness, the servant, is, though not entirely aware of it, Seidemann's real accuser. He had seen Seidemann buy the knife, he knows that at the crucial time Seidemann was at Edelmann's, he knows, finally, that Seidemann hates the Jews and especially Edelmann and wanted his notes. The two in caftans jump up and are happy to be able to confirm all this. Seidemann defends himself as a somewhat confused man of honor. Then the discussion turns to his daughter. Where is she? At home, naturally, and she’ll bear him out. No, that she won't do, insists the defense attorney, and he will prove it, turns to the wall, takes off the wig, and turns toward the horrified Seidemann in the person of his daughter. The clean whiteness of her upper lip looks threatening when she takes off the moustache. Seidemann has taken poison in order to escape the justice of this world, confesses his misdeeds, but hardly any longer to the people, rather to the Jewish God whom he now professes. Meanwhile the piano player has struck up a tune, the two in caftans feel moved by it and must start dancing. In the background stands the reunited bridal pair, they sing the melody, especially the serious bridegroom, in the customary old way.

First appearance of the two in caftans. They enter Seidemann's empty room with collection boxes for the temple, look around, feel ill at ease, look at each other. Feel along the doorposts with their hand, don't find a mezuzah (small roll of parchment with Biblical verses encased in a small wooden or metal case and put on the doorpost of a Jewish house). None on the other doors, either. They don't want to believe it and jump up beside doors as if they were catching flies, jumping up and failing back, slapping the very tops of the doorposts again and again. Unfortunately all in vain. Up to now they haven't spoken a word.

Remembrance between Mrs. K and last year's Mrs. W. Mrs. K. has a personality perhaps a trifle weaker and more monotonous, to make up for it she is prettier and more respectable. Mrs. W.’s standing joke was to bump her fellow players with her large behind. Besides, she had a worse singer with her and was quite new to us.

“Male impersonator” is really a false title. By virtue of the fact that she is stuck into a caftan, her body is entirely forgotten. She only reminds one of her body by shrugging her shoulder and twisting her back as though she were being bitten by fleas. The sleeves, though short, have to be pulled up a little every minute; this the spectator enjoys and even watches for it to happen, anticipating the great relief it will be for this woman who has so much to sing and to explain in the talmudic manner.

Would like to see a large Yiddish theater as the production may after all suffer because of the small cast and inadequate rehearsal. Also, would like to know Yiddish literature, which is obviously characterized by an uninterrupted tradition of national struggle that determines every work. A tradition, therefore, that pervades no other literature, not even that of the most oppressed people. It may be that other peoples in times of war make a success out of a pugnacious national literature, and that other works, standing at a greater remove, acquire from the enthusiasm of the audience a national character too, as is the case with The Bartered Bride, but here there appear to be only works of the first type, and indeed always.

The appearance of the simple stage that awaits the actors as silently as we. Since, with its three walls, the chair, and the table, it will have to suffice for all the scenes, we expect nothing from it, rather with all our energy await the actors and are therefore unresistingly attracted by the singing from behind the blank walls that introduces the performance.

9 October. If I reach my fortieth year, then I'll probably marry an old maid with protruding upper teeth left a little exposed by the upper lip. The upper front teeth of Miss K., who was in Paris and London, slant towards each other a little like legs which are quickly crossed at the knees. I'll hardly reach my fortieth birthday, however; the frequent tension over the left half of my skull, for example, speaks against it—it feels like an inner leprosy which, when I only observe it and disregard its unpleasantness, makes the same impression on me as the skull cross-section in textbooks, or as an almost painless dissection of the living body where the knife—a little coolingly, carefully, often stopping and going back, sometimes lying still—splits still thinner the paper-thin integument close to the functioning parts of the brain.

Last night's dream which in the morning I myself didn't even consider beautiful except for a small comic scene consisting of two counter-remarks which resulted in that tremendous dream satisfaction but which I have forgotten.

I walked—whether Max was there right at the start I don't know—through a long row of houses at the level of the first or second floor, just as one walks through a tunnel from one carriage to another. I walked very quickly, perhaps also because the house was so rickety that for that reason alone one hurried. The doors between the houses I did not notice at all, it was just a gigantic row of rooms, and yet not only the differences between the individual apartments but also between the houses were recognizable. They were perhaps all rooms with beds through which I went. One typical bed has remained in my memory. It stood at the side to the left of me against the dark or dirty wall, which sloped like an attic's, perhaps had a low pile of bedclothes, and its cover, really only a coarse sheet crumpled by the feet of the person who had slept here, hung down in a point. I felt abashed to walk through people's rooms at a time when many of them were still lying in their beds, therefore took long strides on tiptoes, by which I somehow or other hoped to show that I was passing through only by compulsion, was as considerate of everything as was at all possible, walked softly, and that my passing through did not, as it were, count at all. Therefore, too, I never turned my head in any one room and saw only either what lay on the right towards the street or on the left towards the back wall.

The row of houses was often interrupted by brothels; and although I was making this journey seemingly because of them, I walked through them especially quickly so that I remember nothing except that they were there. However, the last room of all the houses was again a brothel, and here I remained. The wall across from the door through which I entered, therefore the last wall of the row of houses, was either of glass or merely broken through, and if I had walked on I should have fallen. It is even more probable that it was broken through, for the whores lay towards the edge of the floor. Two I saw clearly on the ground, the head of one hung down a little over the edge into the open air. To the left was a solid wall, on the other hand the wall on the right was not finished, you could see down into the court, even if not to the bottom of it, and a ramshackle gray staircase led down in several flights. To judge by the light in the room the ceiling was like that in the other rooms.

I occupied myself chiefly with the whore whose head was hanging down, Max with the one lying beside her on the left. I fingered her legs and then for a long time pressed the upper parts of her thighs in regular rhythm. My pleasure in this was so great that I wondered that for this entertainment, which was after all really the most beautiful kind, one still had to pay nothing. I was convinced that I (and I alone) deceived the world. Then the whore, without moving her legs, raised the upper part of her body and turned her back to me, which to my horror was covered with large sealing-wax-red circles with paling edges, and red splashes scattered among them. I now noticed that her whole body was full of them, that I was pressing my thumb to her thighs in just such spots, and that there were these little red particles—as though from a crumbled seal—on my fingers too.

I stepped back among a number of men who seemed to be waiting against the wall near the opening of the stairway, on which there was a small amount of traffic. They were waiting in the way men in the country stand together in the market place on Sunday morning. Therefore it was Sunday too. It was here that the comic scene took place, when a man I and Max had reason to be afraid of went away, then came up the stairs, then stepped up to me, and while I and Max anxiously expected some terrible threat from him, put a ridiculously simple-minded question to me. Then I stood there and with apprehension watched Max, who, without fear in this place, was sitting on the ground somewhere to the left eating a thick potato soup out of which the potatoes peeped like large balls, especially one. He pushed them down into the soup with his spoon, perhaps with two spoons, or just turned them.

10 October. Wrote a sophistic article for the Tetschen-Bodenbacher Zeitung for and against my insurance institute.

Yesterday evening on the Graben. Three actresses coming towards me from a rehearsal. It is so difficult quickly to become familiar with the beauty of three women when in addition you also want to look at two actors who are approaching behind them with that too swinging actors' walk. The two—of whom the one on the left, with his fat, youthful face and open overcoat wrapped around his strong body, is representative enough of both—overtake the ladies, the one on the left on the pavement, the one on the right down in the roadway. The one on the left grasps his hat high up near the top, seizes it with all five fingers, raises it high and calls (the one on the right recollects himself only now): Good-bye! Good night! But while this overtaking and greeting has separated the gentlemen, the ladies addressed, as though led by the one nearest the roadway who seems to be the weakest and tallest but also the youngest and most beautiful, continue on their way quite undisturbed, with an easy greeting which scarcely interrupts their harmonious conversation. The whole thing seemed to me at the moment to be strong proof that theatrical affairs here are orderly and well conducted.

Day before yesterday among the Jews in Café Savoy. Die Sedernacht (The Seder Night) by Feimann. At times (at the moment the consciousness of this pierced me) we did not interfere in the plot only because we were too moved, not because we were mere spectators.

12 October. Yesterday at Max's wrote in the Paris diary. In the half-darkness of Rittergasse, in her autumn outfit, fat, warm R. whom we have known only in her summer blouse and thin, blue summer jacket, in which a girl with a not entirely faultless appearance is, after all, worse than naked. Then you really were able to see the large nose in her bloodless face and the cheeks to which you cold have pressed your hands for a long time before any redness appeared, the heavy blonde down which heaped itself up on the cheek and upper lip, the railway dust which had strayed between the nose and cheek, and the sickly whiteness where her blouse was cut away. Today, however, we ran after her respectfully, and when I had to make my farewells at the entrance to a house that went through to Ferdinandstrasse (I was unshaven and otherwise shabby in appearance), I afterward felt a few slight impulses of affection for her. And when I considered why, I had to keep telling myself: because she was so warmly dressed.

13 October. Inaesthetic transition from the taut skin of my boss's bald spot to the delicate wrinkles of his forehead. An obvious, very easily imitated fault of nature, bank notes should not be made so.

I didn't consider the description of R. good, but nevertheless it must have been better than I thought, or my impression of R. the day before yesterday must have been so incomplete that the description was adequate to it or even surpassed it. For when I went home last night the description came to my mind for a moment, imperceptibly replaced the original impression and I felt that I had seen R. only yesterday, and indeed without Max, so that I prepared myself to tell him about her just as I have described her here for myself.

Yesterday evening on Schützen Island, did not find my colleagues and left immediately. I made some stir in my short jacket with my crushed soft hat in my hand, because it was cold out, but too hot inside from the breath of the beer drinkers, smokers, and the wind-instrument players of the military band. This band was not very high up, could not be, either, because the hall is pretty low, and filled the one end of the hall to the side walls. The mass of musicians was crowded into this end of the room as though cut to size. This crowded impression was then lost a little in the hall, as the places near the band were pretty empty and the hall filled up only towards the middle.

Talkativeness of Dr. K. Walked around with him for two hours behind the Franz-Josef railway station, begged him from time to time to let me leave, had clasped my hands in impatience and listened as little as possible. It seemed to me that a person who is good at his job, when he has got himself involved in talking shop, must become irresponsible; he becomes conscious of his proficiency, there are associations with every story, and indeed several, he surveys them all because he has experienced them, must in haste and out of consideration for me suppress many, some I also destroy by asking questions but remind him by these of others, show him thereby that he is also in control deep into my own thinking, he himself plays in most of the stories a handsome role which he just touches upon, because of which the suppressed seems even more significant to him, now he is however so certain of my admiration that he can also complain, for even in his misfortune, his trouble, his doubt, he is admirable, his opponents are also capable people and worth talking about; in an attorney's office which had four clerks and two chiefs there was a controversy in which he alone opposed this office, for weeks the daily subject of discussion of the six lawyers. Their best speaker, a sharp lawyer, opposed him—to this is attached the Supreme Court whose decisions are allegedly bad, contradictory, in a tone of farewell I say a word of defense for this court, now he produces proofs that the court cannot be defended, and once more we must walk up and down the street, I am immediately surprised at the badness of this court, whereupon he explains to me why it must be so, the court is overburdened, why and how, well, I must leave, but now the Court of Appeals is better and the Court of Administration much better still, and why and how, finally I can't be detained any longer, whereupon he brings in my own affairs (setting up the factory), which is what I come to him about and which we had already fully discussed, he unconsciously hopes in this way to trap me and to be able to tempt me back to his stories again. I say something, but while speaking I hold out my hand in farewell and so escape.

He is a very good storyteller, by the way, in his stories the detailed expansiveness of the brief is mixed with the vivacious speech that one often finds in such fat, black Jews, healthy for the present, of medium height, excited by continuous smoking of cigarettes. Legal expressions give the speech steadiness, paragraphs are numbered to a high count that seems to banish them into a distance. Each story is developed from its very beginning, speech and counter-speech are produced and, as it were, shuffled up by personal asides, matters that are beside the point, that no one would think of, are first mentioned, then called beside the point and set aside (“A man, his name is beside the point”), the listener is personally drawn in, questioned, while alongside the plot of the story thickens, sometimes, preliminary to a story which cannot interest him at all, the listener is even questioned, uselessly of course, in order to establish some sort of provisional connection, the listener's interjected remarks are not immediately introduced, which would be annoying (Kubin), but are shortly put in the right place as the story goes on, so that the listener is flattered and drawn into the story and given a special right to be a listener.

14 October. Yesterday evening at the Savoy. Sulamith by A. Goldfaden. Really an opera, but every sung play is called an operetta, even this trifle seems to me to point to an artistic endeavor that is stubborn, hasty, and passionate for the wrong reasons, that cuts across European art in a direction that is partly arbitrary.

The story: A hero saves a girl who is lost in the desert (“I pray thee, great, almighty God”) and because of the torments of thirst has thrown herself into a well. They swear to be true to each other (“My dear one, my loved one, my diamond found in the desert”) by calling upon the well and a red-eyed desert cat in witness. The girl, Sulamith (Mrs. Ts.), is taken back to Bethlehem to her father, Manoach (Ts.), by Cingitang, the savage servant of Absalom (P.), while Absalom (K.) goes on another journey to Jerusalem; there, however, he falls in love with Abigail, a rich girl of Jerusalem (Mrs. K.), forgets Sulamith, and marries. Sulamith waits for her lover at home in Bethlehem. “Many people go to Yerusholaim and arrive beshulim.” “He, the noble one, will be untrue to me!” By means of despairing outbursts she gains a confidence prepared for anything and determines to feign insanity in order not to have to marry and to be able to wait. “My will is of iron, my heart I make a fortress.” And even in the insanity which she now feigns for years she enjoys sadly and aloud all her memories of her lover, for her insanity is concerned only with the desert, the well, and the cat. By means of her insanity she immediately repels her three suitors with whom Manoach was able to get along in peace only by organizing a lottery: Joel Gedoni (U.), “I am the most powerful Jewish hero,” Avidanov, the landowner (R.P.), and the potbellied priest, Nathan (Löwy), who feels superior to everyone, “Give her to me, I die for her.” Absalom suffered a misfortune, one of his children was bitten to death by a desert cat, the other falls into a well. He remembers his guilt, confesses all to Abigail. “Restrain your crying.” “Cease with your words to split my heart.” “Alas, it is all emes that I speak.” Some ideas seem on the point of taking shape around the two and then disappear. Is Absalom to return to Sulamith and desert Abigail? Sulamith too deserves rachmones (compassion). Finally Abigail releases him. In Bethlehem Manoach laments over his daughter: “Alas, oh, the years of my old age.” Absalom cures her with his voice. “The rest, Father, I will tell thee later.” Abigail collapses there in the Jerusalem vineyard, Absalom has as justification only his heroism.

At the end of the performance we still expect the actor Löwy, whom I would admire in the dust. He is supposed, as is customary, “to announce”: “Dear guests, I thank you in all our names for your visit and cordially invite you to tomorrow's performance, when the world-famous masterpiece — by — will be produced. Until we meet again!” Exit with a flourish of his hat. Instead, we see the curtain first held tightly closed, then tentatively drawn apart a little. This goes on quite a while. Finally it is drawn wide open, in the middle a button holds it together, behind it we see Löwy walking towards the footlights and, his face turned to us, the audience, defending himself with his hands against someone who is attacking him from behind, until suddenly the whole curtain with its wire supports on top is pulled down by Löwy who is looking for something to hold on to. Before our eyes P., who had played the savage and who is still bowed down as if the curtain were drawn, grabs Löwy (who is on his knees) by his head and pushes him sideways off the stage. Everyone runs together into the wing of the theater. “Close the curtain!” they shout on the almost completely exposed stage on which Mrs. Ts., with her pale Sulamith face, is standing pitiably. Little waiters on tables and chairs put the curtain somewhat in order, the landlord tries to calm the government representative who, however, wants only to get away and is being held back by this attempt to calm him, behind the curtain one hears Mrs. Ts.: “And we who claim to preach morals to the public from the stage….” The association of Jewish office workers, Zukunft, which took over the next night under its own direction and before tonight's performance had held a regular membership meeting, decides because of this occurrence to call a special meeting within half an hour, a Czech member of the association prophesies complete ruin for the actors as a result of their scandalous behavior. Then suddenly one sees Löwy, who seemed to have dis-appeared, pushed towards a door by the headwaiter, R., with his hands, perhaps also with his knees. He is simply being thrown out. This headwaiter, who before and later stands before every guest, before us as well, like a dog, with a doglike muzzle which sags over a large mouth closed by humble wrinkles on the side, has his—

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16 October. Strenuous Sunday yesterday. The whole staff gave Father notice. By soft words, cordiality, effective use of his illness, his size and former strength, his experience, his cleverness, he wins almost all of them back in group and individual discussions. An important clerk, F., wants time until Monday to think it over because he has given his word to our manager who is stepping out and would like to take the whole staff along into his newly-to-be-established business. On Sunday the bookkeeper writes he cannot remain after all, R. will not release him from his promise.

I go to see him in Zizkov. His young wife with round cheeks, longish face, and a small, thick nose of the sort that never spoils Czech faces. A too-long, very loose, flowered and spotted housecoat. It seems especially long and loose because she moves especially hurriedly in order to greet me, to place the album properly on the table in a final straightening of the room and to disappear in order to have her husband called. The husband enters with similar hurried movements, perhaps imitated by his very dependent wife, the upper part of his body bent forward and his arms swinging rapidly like pendulums while the lower part is noticeably behind it. Impression of a man you have known for ten years, seen often, regarded little, with whom you suddenly come into a closer relationship. The less success I have with my Czech arguments (indeed, he already had a signed contract with R., he was just so embarrassed by my father Saturday evening that he had not mentioned the contract), the more catlike his face becomes. Towards the end I act a little with a very pleasurable feeling, so I look silently around the room with my face drawn rather long and my eyes narrowed, as though I were pursuing something significant into the ineffable. Am, however, not unhappy when I see that it has little effect and that I, instead of being spoken to by him in a new tone, must begin afresh to persuade him. The conversation was begun with the fact that on the other side of the street another T. lives, it was concluded at the door with his surprise at my thin clothes in the cold weather. Indicative of my first hopes and final failure. I made him promise, however, to come to see Father in the afternoon. My arguments in places too abstract and formal. Mistake not to have called his wife into the room.

Afternoon to Radotin to keep the clerk. Miss, as a result, the meeting with Löwy of whom I think incessantly. In the carriage: pointed nose of the old woman with still almost youthful, taut skin. Does youth therefore end at the tip of the nose and death begin there? The swallowing of the passengers that glides down their throats, the widening of their mouths as a sign that in their judgment the railway journey, the combination of the other passengers, their seating arrangements, the temperature in the carriage, even the copy of Pan that I hold on my knees and that several glance at from time to time (as it is after all something that they would not have expected in the compartment), are harmless, natural, unsuspicious, while at the same time they sill believe that everything could have been much worse.

Up and down in Mr. H. 's yard, a dog puts his paw on the tip of my foot which I shake. Children, chickens, here and there adults. A children's nurse, occasionally leaning on the railing of the Pawlatsche or hiding behind a door, has her eye on me. Under her eyes I do not know just what I am, whether indifferent, embarrassed, young or old, impudent or devoted, holding my hands behind or before me, animal lover or man of affairs, friend of H. or supplicant, superior to those gathered at the meeting who sometimes go from the tavern to the pissoir and back in an unbroken line, or ridiculous to them because of my thin clothes, Jew or Christian, etc. The walking around, wiping my nose, occasional reading of Pan, timid avoiding of the Pawlatsche with my eyes only suddenly to see that it is empty, watching the poultry, being greeted by a man, seeing through the tavern window the flat faces of the men set crookedly close together and turned towards a speaker, everything contributes to it. Mr. H. leaves the meeting from time to time and I ask him to use his influence for us with the clerk whom he had brought into our office. Black-brown beard growing around cheeks and chin, black eyes, between eyes and beard the dark shadings of his cheeks. He is a friend of my father's, I knew him even as a child and the idea that he was a coffee-roaster always made him even darker and more manly for me than he was.

17 October. I finish nothing because I have no time and it presses so within me. If the whole day were free and this morning restlessness could mount within me until midday and wear itself out by evening, then I could sleep. This way, however, there is left for this restlessness only an evening twilight hour at most, it gets somewhat stronger, is then suppressed, and uselessly and injuriously undermines the night for me. Shall I be able to bear it long? And is there any purpose in bearing it, shall I, then, be given time?

Napoleon is reminiscing at the royal table in Erfurt: When I was still a mere lieutenant in the Fifth Regiment … (the royal highnesses look at each other in embarrassment, Napoleon notices it and corrects himself), when I still had the honor to be a mere lieutenant … When I think of this anecdote the arteries in my neck swell with the pride that I can easily feel with him and that vicariously thrills through me.

Again in Radotin: freezing, I then walked around alone in the garden, then recognized in an open window the children's nurse who had walked to this side of the house with me.

20 October. The 18th at Max's; wrote about Paris. Wrote badly, without really arriving at that freedom of true description which releases one's foot from the experienced. I was also dull after the great exaltation of the previous day that had ended with Löwy's lecture. During the day I was not yet in any unusual frame of mind, went with Max to meet his mother who was arriving from Gablonz, was in the coffeehouse with them and then at Max's, who played a gypsy dance from La Jolie Fille de Perth for me. A dance in which for pages only the hips rock gently in a monotonous ticking and the face has a slow, cordial expression. Until finally, towards the end, briefly and late, the inner wildness that has been tempted outward arrives, shakes the body, overpowers it, compresses the melody so that it beats into the heights and depths (unusually bitter, dull tones are heard in it) and then comes to an unheeded close. At the beginning, and unmistakable through it all, a strong feeling of closeness to gypsydom, perhaps because a people so wild in the dance shows its tranquil side only to a friend. Impression of great truth of the first dance. Then leafed through Aussprüche Napoleons (Napoleon's Remarks). How easily you become for the moment a little part of your own tremendous notion of Napoleon! Then, already boiling, I went home, I couldn't withstand one of my ideas, disordered, pregnant, disheveled, swollen, amidst my furniture which was rolling about me; overwhelmed by my pains and worries, taking up as much space as possible, for despite my bulk I was very nervous, I entered the lecture hall. From the way in which I was sitting, for instance, and very truly sat, I should as a spectator immediately have recognized my condition.

Löwy read humorous sketches by Sholom Aleichem, then a story by Peretz, the Lichtverkäuferin (The Light Shopgirl) by Rosenfeld, a poem by Bialik (the one instance where the poet stooped from Hebrew to Yiddish, himself translating his original Hebrew poem into Yiddish, in order to popularize this poem which, by making capital out of the Kishinev pogrom, sought to further the Jewish cause). A recurrent widening of the eyes, natural to the actor, which are then left so for awhile, framed by the arched eyebrows. Complete truth of all the reading; the weak raising of the right arm from the shoulder, the adjusting of the pince-nez that seems borrowed for the occasion, so poorly does it fit the nose; the position under the table of the leg that is stretched out in such a way that the weak joint between the upper and lower parts of the leg is particularly in motion; the crook of the back, weak and wretched-looking since the unbroken surface of a back cannot deceive an observer in the way that a face does, with its eyes, the hollows and projections of its cheeks, or even with some trifle be it only a stubble of beard. After the reading, while still on my way home, I felt all my abilities concentrated, and on that account complained to my sisters, even to my mother, at home.

On the 19th at Dr. K.'s about the factory (the asbestos factory his brother-in-law established and which Kafka was forced into helping to set up and run). The little theoretical hostility that is bound to arise between contracting parties when contracts are being made. The way my eyes searched H.'s face, which was turned toward the lawyers. This hostility is bound to arise all the more between two people who otherwise are not accustomed to think through their mutual relationship and therefore make difficulties about every trifle. Dr. K.'s habit of walking diagonally up and down the room with the tense, forward rocking of the upper part of his body, as though in a drawing-room, at the same time telling stories and frequently, at the end of a diagonal, shaking off the ash of his cigarette into one of the three ashtrays placed about the room.

This morning at N. N. Co. The way the boss leans back sideways in his armchair in order to get room and support for the Eastern Jewish gestures of his hand. The interaction and reciprocal reinforcement of the play of his hands and face. Sometimes he combines the two, either by looking at his hands, or for the convenience of the listener, holding them close to his face. Temple melodies in the cadence of his speech; the melody is led from finger to finger as though through various registers, especially when enumerating several points. Then met Father at the Graben with Mr. Pr., who raises his hand to make his sleeve fall back a little (since he doesn't himself want to draw back the sleeve) and there in the middle of the Graben makes powerful screwing motions by opening up his hand and letting it fall away with the fingers spread.

I am probably sick, since yesterday my body has been itching all over. In the afternoon my face was so hot and blotched that I was afraid the assistant giving me a haircut, who could see me and my reflected image all the time, would recognize that I had a serious disease. Also the connection between stomach and mouth is partly disturbed, a lid the size of a gulden moves up or down, or stays down below from where it exerts an expanding effect of light pressure that spreads upward over my chest.

More on Radotin: invited her to come down. The first answer was serious although until then, together with the girl entrusted to her, she had giggled and flirted across at me in a way she would never have dared from the moment we became acquainted. We then laughed a great deal together although I was freezing down below and she up above at the open window. She pressed her breasts against her crossed arms and, her knees apparently bent, pressed her whole body against the window sill. She was seventeen years old and took me to be fifteen or sixteen (actually he was twenty-eight); I couldn't make her change her mind throughout our entire conversation. Her small nose was a littte crooked and threw an unusual shadow across her cheek, which, to be sure, wouldn't help me to recognize her again. She was not from Radotin but from Chuchle (the next station on the way to Prague), which she wouldn't let me forget.

Then a walk with the clerk (who even without my trip would have remained with our firm) in the dark out of Radotin on the highway and back to the railway station. On one side waste hills used by a cement factory for its supply of chalky sand. Old mills. Story of a poplar whirled out of the earth by a tornado. Face of the clerk: dough-like reddish flesh on heavy bones, looks tired but robust within his limits. Does not show surprise even by his voice that we are walking here together. A clear moon over a large field, the chimney smoke looking like clouds in the light; the field, right in the middle of the town, bought up as a precaution by a factory but left unused for the time being, surrounded by factory buildings which were strongly but only partly lit up by electric lights. Train signals. Scuffling of rats near the path worn across the field by the townspeople in defiance of the will of the factory.

Examples of the way this writing, which is on the whole trivial, strengthens me after all:

Monday, the 16th, I was with Löwy at the National Theater to see Dubrovacka Trilogjia. Play and production were hopeless. Of the first act I remember the beautiful chime of a mantel clock; the singing of the “Marseillaise” by Frenchmen marching outside the window, the fading song is repeatedly taken up by the newcomers and rises again; a girl dressed in black carries her shadow through the streak of light that the setting sun throws on the parquet floor. Of the second act only the delicate throat of a girl, which rises out of shoulders dressed in red-brown, expands from between puffed sleeves, and lengthens into a small head. Of the third act the crushed Prince Albert, the dark fancy vest of an old, stooped descendant of the former gospodars with the gold watch-chain drawn diagonally across it. So it is not much. The seats were expensive, I was a poor benefactor to have thrown money away here while L. was in need; finally he was even somewhat more bored than I. In short, I had again demonstrated the misfortune that follows every undertaking that I begin by myself. But while I usually unite myself indivisibly with this misfortune, attract all earlier cases of misfortune up to me, all later ones down to me, I was this time almost completely independent, bore everything quite easily as something that happens just once, and for the first time in the theater even felt my head, as the head of a spectator, raised high out of the collective darkness of the seat and the body into a distinct light, independent of the bad occasion of this play and this production.

A second example: Yesterday evening I simultaneously held out both my hands to my two sisters-in-law on Mariengasse with a degree of adroitness as if they were two right hands and I a double person.

21 October. A counter-example: When my boss confers with me about office matters (today the filing cabinet), I cannot look him in the eye for long without there coming into my eyes against my will a slight bitterness which forces either my look or his away. His look yields more briefly but more often to every impulse to look away, since he is not aware of the reason, but his glance immediately returns as he considers it all only a momentary fatigue of his eyes. I defend myself against it more vigorously, therefore hasten the zigzagging of my glance, look by preference along his nose and across to the shadows of his cheeks, often only keep my face towards him by the aid of the teeth and tongue in my tight-shut mouth—when I must, I lower my eyes, to be sure, but never farther than to his tie, but get the most direct look immediately after he turns his eyes away, when I follow him closely and without consideration.

The Jewish actors. Mrs. Tschissik has protuberances on her cheeks near her mouth. Caused in part by hollow cheeks as a result of the pains of hunger, childbed, journeys, and acting, in part by the relaxed unusual muscles she had to develop for the actor's movements of her large, what originally must have been a heavy mouth. Most of the time, as Sulamith, she wore her hair loose, which covered her checks so that her face sometimes looked like the face of a girl out of the past. She has a large, bony, moderately robust body and is tightly laced. Her walk easily takes on a solemnity since she has the habit of raising, stretching and slowly moving her long arms. Especially when she sang the Jewish national anthem, gently rocked her large hips and moved her arms, bent parallel to her hips, up and down with hands cupped as though she were playing with a slowly flying ball.

22 October. Yesterday with the Jews. Kol Nidre by Scharkansky, pretty bad play with a good, witty letter-writing scene, a prayer by the lovers standing up beside each other with hands clasped, the converted Grand Inquisitor pressing himself against the curtain of the Ark of the Covenant, he mounts the stairs and remains standing there, his head bowed, his lips against the curtain, holds the prayer book before his chattering teeth. For the first time on this fourth evening my distinct inability to get a clear impression. Our large company and the visits at my sisters' table were also responsible for it. Nevertheless, I needn't have been so weak. With my love for Mrs. Ts., who only thanks to Max sat beside me, I behaved wretchedly. I'll recover again, however, even now I feel better.

Mrs. Tschissik (I enjoy writing the name so much) likes to bow her head at the table even while eating roast goose, you believe you can get in under her eyelids with your glance if you first carefully look along her cheeks and then, making yourself small, slip in, in doing which you don't even first have to raise the lids, for they are raised and even let a bluish gleam through which lures you on to the attempt. Out of her truthful acting flourishes of her fist now and then emerge, turns of her arm that drape invisible trains about her body; she places her outspread fingers on her breast because the artless shriek does not suffice. Her acting is not varied: the frightened look at her antagonist, the seeking for a way out on the small stage, the soft voice that, without being raised, mounts heroically in even, short ascents aided only by a greater inner resonance, the joy that spreads through her face across her high forehead into her hair; the self-sufficiency and independence of all other means when she sings solos, the holding herself erect when she resists that compels the spectator to devote his attention to her whole body—but not much more. But there is the truth of the whole and as a result the conviction that the least of her effects cannot be taken from her, that she is independent of the play and of us. The sympathy we have for these actors who are so good, who earn nothing and who do not get nearly enough gratitude and fame is really only sympathy for the sad fate of many noble strivings, above all of our own. Therefore, too, it is so immoderately strong, because on the surface it is attached to strangers and in reality belongs to us. Nevertheless, in spite of everything, it is so closely bound up with the actors that I cannot disengage it even now. Because I recognize this and in spite of it this sympathy attaches itself even more closely to them.

The striking smoothness of Mrs. Tschissik's cheeks alongside her muscular mouth. Her somewhat shapeless little girl.

Walking with Löwy and my sister for three hours.

23 October. The actors by their presence always convince me to my horror that most of what I've written about them until now is false. It is false because I write about them with steadfast love (even now, while I write it down, this too becomes false) but varying ability, and this varying ability does not hit off the real actors loudly and correctly but loses itself dully in this love that will never be satisfied with the ability and therefore thinks it is protecting the actors by preventing this ability from exercising itself.

Quarrel between Tschissik and Löwy. Ts.: Edelstatt is the greatest Jewish writer. He is sublime. Rosenfeld is of course also a great writer, but not the foremost. Löwy: Ts. is a socialist and because Edelstatt writes socialist poems, because he is editor of a Jewish socialist news-paper in London, therefore Ts. considers him the greatest. But who is Edelstatt, his party knows him, no one else, but the world knows Rosenfeld. –Ts.: It is not a question of recognition. Everything of Edelstatt's is sublime. –L.: Of course, I'm well acquainted with him too. The Selbstmörder (Suicide), for example, is very good. –Ts.: What's the use of arguing. We won't agree. I'll repeat my opinion until tomorrow and you the same. –L.: I until the day after tomorrow.

Goldfaden, married, spendthrift, even if terribly badly off. About a hundred pieces. Stolen liturgical melodies made popular. The whole people sings them. The tailor at his work (is imitated), the maid, etc.

With so little room for dressing you are bound, as Ts. says, to get into quarrels. You come off the stage excited, everyone considers himself the greatest actor, then if someone, for example, steps on someone else's foot, which cannot be avoided, not only a quarrel but a good battle is ready to break out. But in Warsaw there were seventy-five small, individual dressing rooms, each one with light.

At six o'clock I met the actors in their coffeehouse seated around two tables, divided into the two hostile groups. A book by Peretz was on the table of the Ts. group. Löwy had just shut it and stood up to leave with me.

Until the age of twenty Löwy was a bocher who studied and spent the money of his well-to-do father. There was a society of young people of the same age who met in a locked tavern precisely on Satur-day and, dressed in their caftans, smoked and otherwise sinned against the Sabbath commandments.

“The great Adler” from New York, the most famous Yiddish actor, who is a millionaire, for whom Gordin wrote Der Wilde Mensch (The Wild Man) and whom Löwy in Karlsbad had asked not to come to the performance because he didn't have the courage to act in his presence on their poorly equipped stage.—Real sets, not this miserable stage on which you cannot move. How shall we play the wild man! You need a sofa for it. In the Crystal Palace in Leipzig it was magnificent. Windows you could open, the sun shone in, you needed a throne in the play, good, there was a throne, I walked towards it through the crowd and was really a king. It is much easier to act there. Here everything confuses you.

24 October. Mother works all day, is merry and sad as the fancy strikes her, without taking advantage of her own condition in the slightest, her voice is clear, too loud for ordinary speech but does you good when you are sad and suddenly hear it after some time. For a long time now I have been complaining that I am always ill, but never have any definite illness that would compel me to go to bed. This wish certainly goes back chiefly to the fact that I know how comforting Mother can be when, for example, she comes from the lighted living room into the twilight of the sickroom, or in the evening, when the day begins to change monotonously into night, returns from business and with her concerns and hurried instructions once more causes the day, already so late, to begin again and rouses the invalid to help her in this. I should wish that for myself once more, because then I should be weak, therefore convinced by everything my mother did, and could enjoy childish pleasure with age's keener capacity for gratification. Yesterday it occurred to me that I did not always love my mother as she deserved and as I could, only because the German language prevented it. The Jewish mother is no “Mutter,” to call her “Mutter” makes her a little comic (not to herself, because we are in Germany), we give a Jewish woman the name of a German mother, but forget the contradiction that sinks into the emotions so much the more heavily, “Mutter” is peculiarly German for the Jew, it unconsciously contains, together with the Christian splendor Christian coldness also, the Jewish woman who is called “Mutter” therefore becomes not only comic but strange. Mama would be a better name if only one didn't imagine “Mutter” behind it. I believe that it is only the memories of the ghetto that still preserve the Jewish family, for the word “Vater” too is far from meaning the Jewish father.

Today I stood before Counselor L., who asked about my illness unexpectedly, uninvited, childishly, lyingly, ridiculously and to the point where I lost patience. We hadn't spoken so intimately for a long time, or perhaps never at all—I felt my face, which had never before been so closely observed by him, reveal parts to him in spurious frankness that he hardly understood but that nevertheless surprised him. I was unrecognizable to myself. I know him quite well.

26 October. Thursday. All afternoon yesterday Löwy read from Gott, Mensch, Teufel (God, Man, Devil) by Gordin and then from his own Paris diaries. The day before yesterday I saw the performance of Der Wilde Mensch by Gordin. Gordin is better than Lateiner, Scharkansky, Feimann, etc., because he has more detail, more order, and more logical sequence in this order, he therefore somehow lacks the immediate Jewishness that is always being improvised in other plays, the clamor of this Jewishness - rings more dully and therefore in less detail. Of course, concessions are made to the audience and sometimes you believe you must stretch in order to see the play over the heads of the Jewish theater audience of New York (the character of the wild man, the whole story of Mrs. Selde), but worse is the fact that palpable concessions are made also to some vaguely felt art; for example, in Der Wilde Mensch the plot rambles as a result of hesitancy, the wild man delivers speeches humanly unintelligible but dramatically so clumsy that one would prefer to close one's eyes, the same is true of the older girl in Gott, Mensch, Teufel. Parts of the plot of Der Wilde Mensch are very spirited. A young widow marries an old man with four children and immediately brings her lover, Vladimir Vorobeitchik, along into the marriage. The two proceed to ruin the whole family, Shmul Leiblich (Pipes) must hand over all his money and becomes sick, the oldest son, Simon (Klug), a student, leaves the house, Alexander becomes a gambler and drunkard, Lise (Tschissik) becomes a prostitute, and Lemech (Löwy), the idiot, is driven to idiotic insanity by hate of Mrs. Selde, because she takes the place of his mother, and by love, because she is the first young woman to whom he feels close. At this point the plot reaches a climax with the murder of Selde by Lemech. All the others remain incomplete and helpless in the spectator's memory. The conception of this woman and her lover, a conception that asks no one's opinion, gave me a vague, different self-confidence.

The discreet impression made by the playbill. One learns not only the names but a little more, yet only so much as the audience has to know, even a very cool audience with the best intentions, about a family exposed to their judgment. Shmul Leiblich is a “rich merchant,” however, it is not said that he is old and infirm, that he is a ridiculous ladies' man, a bad father, and an irreverent widower who remarries on the anniversary of his wife's death. And yet all these characterizations would be more accurate than that on the playbill, for at the end of the play he is no longer rich, because the Selde woman has thoroughly robbed him, he is also hardly a merchant any longer, since he has neglected his business. Simon is “a student” on the playbill, therefore something very vague, something we know many sons of our most distant acquaintances are. Alexander, this characterless young man, is just “Alexander”; of Lise, the home-loving girl, we know also only that she is “Lise.” Lemech is unfortunately “an idiot,” for that is something that cannot be hushed up. Vladimir Vorobeitchik is only “Selde's lover,” but not the corrupter of a family, not a drunkard, gambler, wastrel, idler, parasite. In the characterization, “Selde's lover,” much of course is betrayed, but considering his behavior it is the least that can be said. In addition to this the scene of action is Russia, the scarcely assembled characters are scattered over a tremendous area, or assembled in a small, unrevealed place in this area, in short, the play has become impossible, the spectator will get to see nothing.

—Nevertheless, the play begins, the obviously great powers of the author begin to work, things come to light which one would not expect of the characters on the playbill but which fall to their lot with the greatest inevitability if one can only persuade oneself to believe in all the whipping, snatching away, beating, slapping on the shoulder, fainting, throat-cutting, limping, dancing in Russian topboots, dancing with raised skirts, rolling on the sofa, which are after all things that it does no good to contradict. Yet not even the climax of the spectator's excitement, remembered afterward, is necessary in order to recognize that the discreet impression made by the playbill is a false impression which can originate only in some tired outsider, since for one who judges honestly no decent relationship can be seen between the playbill and the play after its performance.

From the dash on, written in despair, because today they are playing cards with unusual uproar, I must sit at the common table, O. laughs with all her mouth, gets up, sits down, reaches across the table, speaks to me, and I, to complete the misfortune, write so badly and must think of Löwy's Paris recollections, well written with an uninterrupted feeling, which come out of an independent fire while I, at least now (mostly, I am certain, because I have so little time), am almost entirely under Max's influence, which sometimes, to cap it all, even spoils my enjoyment of his work as well. Because it consoles me I write down an autobiographical remark of Shaw's, although it actually is the opposite of consoling: As a boy he was apprentice in the office of an estate agent's in Dublin. He soon gave up this position, went to London, and became a writer. In the first nine years, from 1876 to 1885, he earned 140 kronen in all. “But although I was a strong young man and my family found itself in poor circumstances, I did not throw myself into the struggle for a livelihood; I threw my mother in and let her support me. I was no support for my old father; on the contrary, I hung on to his coattails.” In the end this is little consolation for me. The free years he spent in London are already past for me, the possible happiness becomes ever more impossible, I lead a horrible synthetic life and am cowardly and miserable enough to follow Shaw only to the extent of having read the passage to my parents. How this possible life flashes before my eyes in colors of steel, with spanning rods of steel and airy darkness between!

27 October. Löwy's stories and diaries: How Notre Dame frightens him, how the tiger in the Jardin des Plantes affects him as an image of one who despairs and hopes, appeasing his despair and hope with food, how his pious father in misapprehension questions him as to whether he can now go for walks on Saturday, whether he now has time to read modern books, whether he now may eat on the fast days, while as a matter of fact he must work on Saturdays, has no time for anything, and fasts more than any religion prescribed. When he walks through the streets chewing his black beard it looks from a distance as though he were eating chocolate. The work in the cap factory and his friend the socialist who considers everyone a bourgeois who does not work exactly the way he does—such as Löwy with his fine hands—who is bored on Sundays, who despises reading as something luxurious, cannot read himself and ironically asks Löwy to read him a letter that he had received.

The Jewish ritual bath that every Jewish community in Russia has, which I picture to myself as a cabin with a basin of exactly determined outline, with arrangements appointed and supervised by the rabbi, which must only wash the earthly dirt from the soul, whose external condition is therefore a matter of indifference, that is, a symbol, there-fore can be, and is, filthy and stinking, but still fulfils its purpose. The woman comes here to purify herself of her period, the Torah scribe to purify himself of all sinful thoughts before writing the last verse of a book of the Torah.

Custom, immediately after awakening, to dip the fingers three times in water, as the evil spirits have settled during the night on the second and third joints of the fingers. Rationalist explanation: To prevent the fingers directly touching the face, since, uncontrolled during sleep and dreams, they could after all have touched every possible part of the body, the armpits, the behind, the genitals.

The dressing room behind their stage is so narrow that if by chance you are standing in front of the mirror behind the portière on the set and someone else wants to pass by, he must raise the curtain and willy-nilly show himself for a moment to the audience.

Superstition: The evil spirits gain entry into a person who drinks out of an imperfect glass.

How bruised the actors appeared to me after the performance, how I feared to touch them with a word. How instead I quickly left after a hasty handshake, as though I were angry and dissatisfied, because the truth of my impression was so impossible to express. Everyone seemed false to me except Max, who quietly made some meaningless remark. And the person who asked about some irrelevant detail was false, the person who gave a facetious reply to a remark by an actor, the ironic one and the one who began to explain his varied impressions, all the rabble that had been crowded into the back of the auditorium where it belonged and now, late at night, got up and once more became aware of its importance. (Very far from correct.)

28 October. Of course, I had a similar feeling, but neither acting nor play came anywhere near seeming perfect to me that evening. For that very reason I owed the actors particular respect. When there are small, even if many deficiencies in one's impression, who knows whose fault they are? Mrs. Tschissik once stepped on the hem of her dress and tottered for a moment in her princess-style hussy's dress like a massive pillar; once she made a mistake in her lines and, in order to calm her tongue, turned in great agitation towards the back wall, despite the fact that this did not quite suit the words; it irritated me, but it did not prevent the sudden flutter of a shudder upon my cheekbone, which I always feel when I hear her voice. But because my acquaintances had got a much less pure impression than I, they seemed to me to owe even greater respect, because in my opinion their respect would have been much more effective than mine, so that I had double reason to curse their behavior.

“Axioms for the Drama” by Max in the Schaubühne (Showstage). Has quite the character of a dream truth, which the expression “axioms” suits too. The more dreamlike it inflates itself, all the more coolly must you seize it. The following principles are formulated:

The thesis is, that the essence of the drama lies in a lack.

The drama (on the stage) is more exhaustive than the novel, because we see everything about which we otherwise just read.

It only seems to be, for in the novel the author can show us only what is important, in the drama, on the other hand, we see everything, the actor, the settings, and so not just what is important, therefore less. From the point of view of the novel, therefore, the best drama would be entirely unstimulating, for example, a philosophical drama that would be read by seated actors in any set at all that represented a room.

And yet the best drama is that which is the most stimulating in time and space, frees itself of all the demands of life, limits itself only to the speeches, to the thoughts in the monologues, to the main points of what happens; everything else is left to the stimulation that has been aroused, and, raised high on a shield borne by the actors, painters, directors, obeys only its most extreme inspirations.

Error in this chain of reasoning: It changes its point of view without indicating it, sees things now from the writer's room, now from the audience. Granted that the audience does not see everything from the point of view of the author, that even he is surprised by the performance (29 October, Sunday), it is still the author who had the play with all its details within himself, who moved along from detail to detail, and who only because he assembled all the details in the speeches has given them dramatic weight and force. Because of this the drama in its highest development achieves an unbearable humanization which it is the task of the actor—with his role blowing loosely and in tatters about him—to draw down, to make bearable. The drama therefore hovers in the air, but not like a roof carried along on a storm, rather like a whole building whose foundation walls have been torn up out of the earth with a force which today is still close to madness. Sometimes it seems that the play is resting up in the flies, the actors have drawn down strips of it the ends of which they hold in their hands or have wound about their bodies for the play, and that only now and then a strip that is difficult to release carries an actor, to the terror of the audience, up in the air.

I dreamed today of a donkey that looked like a greyhound, it was very cautious in its movements. I looked at it closely because I was aware how unusual a phenomenon it was, but remember only that its narrow human feet could not please me because of their length and uniformity. I offered it a bunch of fresh, dark-green cypress leaves which I had just received from an old Zürich lady (it all took place in Zürich), it did not want it, just sniffed a little at it; but then, when I left the cypress on a table, it devoured it so completely that only a scarcely recognizable kernel resembling a chestnut was left. Later there was talk that this donkey had never yet gone on all fours but always held itself erect like a human being and showed its silvery shining breast and its little belly. But actually that was not correct.

Besides this, I dreamed about an Englishman whom I met at a meeting like the one the Salvation Army held in Zürich. There were seats there like those in school, under the blackboard there was even an open shelf; once when I reached in to straighten something I wondered at the ease with which one makes friends on a trip. By this apparently was meant the Englishman, who shortly thereafter approached me. He had loose, light clothes in very good condition, but high up on the back of the arms, instead of the material of the clothing, or at least sewn on over it, there was a gray, wrinkled material, hanging a little, torn in strips, stippled as though by spiders, that reminded one as much of the leather reinforcements on riding-breeches as of the sleeve protectors of seamstresses, salesgirls, clerks. His face was also covered with a gray material that had very clever slits for mouth, eyes, probably also for the nose. But this material was new, napped, rather like flannel, very flexible and soft, of excellent English manufacture. All this pleased me so, that I was eager to become acquainted with the man. He wanted to invite me to his house too, but since I had to leave as soon as the day after tomorrow, that came to nothing. Before he left the meeting he put on several more apparently very practical pieces of clothing that made him look quite inconspicuous after he had buttoned them. Although he could not invite me to his home, he nevertheless asked me to go into the street with him. I followed him, we stopped across the street from the meeting place on the curb, I below, he above, and found again after some discussion that nothing could be done about the invitation.

Then I dreamed that Max, Otto, and I had the habit of packing our trunks only when we reached the railway station. There we were, carrying our shirts, for example, through the main hall to our distant trunks. Although this seemed to be a general custom, it was not a good one in our case, especially since we had begun to pack only shortly before the arrival of the train. Then we were naturally excited and had hardly any hope of still catching the train, let alone getting good seats.

Although the regular guests and employees of the coffeehouse are fond of the actors, they cannot remain respectful amid the depressing impressions, and despise the actors as starvellings, tramps, fellow Jews, exactly as in the past. Thus, the headwaiter wanted to throw Löwy out of the hall, the doorman, who used to work in a brothel and is now a pimp, shouted little Tschissik down when she, in the excitement of her sympathy during Der Wilde Mensch, wanted to pass something to the actors, and the day before yesterday, when I accompanied Löwy back to the coffeehouse after he had read me the first act of Gordin's Eliezar ben Schevia in the City Café, that fellow called to him (he squints, and between his crooked, pointed nose and his mouth there is a hollow out of which a small moustache bristles): “Come on, idiot. (Allusion to the role in Der Wilde Mensch.) Someone's waiting. There's a visitor you really don't deserve. An officer candidate in the artillery is here. Look.” And he points to one of the curtained coffeehouse windows behind which the officer candidate is allegedly sitting. Löwy passes his hand over his forehead: “From Eliezar ben Schevia to this.”

The sight of stairs moves me so today. Early in the day already, and several times since, I have enjoyed the sight from my window of the triangular piece cut out of the stone railing of the staircase that leads down on the right from the Czech Bridge to the quay level. Very steep, as though it were giving only a hasty suggestion. And now, over there across the river, I see a stepladder on the slope that leads down to the water. It has always been there, but is revealed only in the autumn and winter by the removal of the swimming school in front of it, and it lies there in the dark grass under the brown trees in the play of perspective.

Löwy: Four young friends became great Talmud scholars in their old age. But each had a different fate. One became mad, one died, Rabbi Eliezar became a free-thinker at forty and only the oldest one, Akiva, who had not begun his studies until the age of forty, achieved complete knowledge. The disciple of Rabbi Eliezar was Rabbi Meyer, a pious man whose piety was so great that he was not harmed by what the free-thinker taught him. He ate, as he said, the kernel of the nut, the shell he threw away. Once, on Saturday, Eliezar went for a ride, Rabbi Meyer followed on foot, the Talmud in his hand, of course only for two thousand paces, for you are not permitted to go any farther on Saturday. And from this walk emerged a symbolic demand and the reply to it. Come back to your people, said Rabbi Meyer. Rabbi Eliezar refused with a pun.

30 October. This craving that I almost always have, when for once I feel my stomach is healthy, to heap up in me notions of terrible deeds of daring with food. I especially satisfy this craving in front of pork butchers. If I see a sausage that is labeled as an old, hard sausage; I bite into it in my imagination with all my teeth and swallow quickly, regularly, and thoughtlessly, like a machine. The despair that this act, even in the imagination, has as its immediate result, increases my haste. I shove the long slabs of rib meat unbitten into my mouth, and then pull them out again from behind, tearing through stomach and intestines. I eat dirty delicatessen stores completely empty. Cram myself with herrings, pickles, and all the bad, old, sharp foods. Bonbons are poured into me like hail from their tin boxes. I enjoy in this way not only my healthy condition but also a suffering that is without pain and can pass at once.

It is an old habit of mine, at the point when an impression has reached its greatest degree of purity, whether of joy or pain, not to allow it to run its salutary course through all my being, but rather to cloud and dispel its purity by new, unexpected, weak impressions. It is not that I evilly intend my own harm, I am only too weak to bear the purity of that impression. Instead of admitting this weakness, which alone would be right, because in revealing itself it calls forth other forces to its support, I rathher quietly and with seeming arbitrariness try to evoke new impressions in an effort to help myself.

On Saturday evening, for example, after hearing Miss T.'s excellent story, which after all belongs more to Max, at least belongs to him to a greater extent than one of his own stories, and later after hearing the excellent play Konkurrenz (Competition) by Baum, in which dramatic force can be seen in the work and in the effect quite as uninterruptedly as in the production of a living craftsman, after the hearing of both these works I was so cast down and my insides, already fairly empty for several days, quite without warning filled with such deep sorrow that I declared to Max on the way home that nothing can come of Richard and Samuel. For this declaration too, not the smallest courage was needed at the time, as far as either I or Max was concerned. The dis-cussion that followed confused me a little, as Richard and Samuel was then far from being my chief concern and I therefore did not find the right answers to Max's objections. But later, when I was alone, and not only the disturbance of my sorrow by the conversation but also the almost effective consolation of Max's presence had disappeared, my hopelessness grew to such an extent that it began to dissolve my thinking (at this point, while I am stopping for dinner, Löwy comes to the house and interrupts me and delights me from seven to ten o'clock). Still, instead of waiting at home for what would happen next, I carelessly read two issues of Aktion, a little in Die Missgeschickten (The Unfortunate Ones), finally also in my Paris notes, and went to bed, really more content than before, but obdurate. It was the same several days ago when I returned from a walk and found myself imitating Löwy to such a degree that the force of his enthusiasm, externally, worked towards my goal. Then, too, I read and spoke a great deal in confusion at home and slowly collapsed.

31 October. Despite the fact that today I have read here and there in the Fischer catalogue, in the Insel Almanach, in the Rundschau, I am now pretty sure that, whether I have assimilated everything either thoroughly or casually, I have in any case defended myself against all harm. And I should have enough self-confidence tonight if I didn't have to go out with Löwy again.

When on Sunday afternoon, just after passing three women, I stepped into Max's house, I thought: There are still one or two houses in which I have something to do, there are still women walking behind me who can see me turn in on a Sunday afternoon at a house door in order to work, talk, purposefully, hurriedly, only occasionally looking at the matter in this way.
This must not remain so for long.

I read the stories of Wilhelm Schäfer, especially when aloud, with the same attentive enjoyment that I should get from drawing a piece of twine over my tongue. At first I did not like Valli very much yesterday afternoon, but after I had lent her Die Missgeschickten and she had already read it a little while and must already have been properly under the influence of the story, I loved her because of this influence and caressed her.

In order not to forget it, should my father once again call me a bad son, I write it down that, in the presence of several relatives, without special occasion, whether it may have been simply to put me in my place, whether it was supposedly to rescue me, he called Max a “meshuggener ritoch (crazy hothead),” and that yesterday, when Löwy was in my room, ironically shaking his body and contorting his mouth, he referred to these strange people who were being let into the house, what could interest one in a strange person, why one enters into such useless relationships, etc. After all, I should not have written it down, for I have written myself almost into a hatred of my father, for which after all he has given no occasion today and which, at least as far as Löwy is concerned, is out of all proportion to what I have written down as having been said by my father, and which even increases because I cannot remember what was really wicked in my father's behavior yesterday.

Copyright Schocken Books Inc.
Translated by Joseph Kresh

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