Yesterday afternoon with Daddy's permission, I asked Dussel whether he would please be so good (being really very polite) as to allow me to use the little table in our room twice a week in the afternoons, from four o'clock till half past five.
Dussel replied "No." Just plain "No!" I was indignant and refused to be put off like that, so I asked him the reason for his "No." And this was the barrage that followed. "I have to work too, and anyway, you don't work seriously at anything. I am at the table and shall stay there."
I waited for Dussel after the dishes for dinner had been done. "I'm not asking for that much, but two afternoons a week does seem reasonable to me." Dussel leapt out of his chair as if he'd sat on a pin. "I've never seen such a child, you're shamefully self-centered. No one else matters, as long as you get your way." He went on and on until there was such a deluge of words I could hardly keep up.
At long last Mr. Dussel' s fury was spent, and he left the room with an expression of triumph mixed with wrath, and I went running over to Father and recounted the entire story, or at least those parts he hadn't been able to follow himself. He decided to talk to Dussel that very same evening, and they spoke for more than half an hour.
They first discussed whether Anne should be allowed to use the table, yes or no. Father said that he and Dussel had dealt with the subject once before, at which time he'd agreed with Dussel, but even then, he hadn't thought it was fair. And so it went back and forth, with Father defending my "selfishness" and my "busywork" and Dussel grumbling the whole time.
Dussel finally had to give in, and he looked very sullen, didn't speak to me for two days and made sure he occupied the table from five to five-thirty -- all very childish, of course. Anyone who's so petty and pedantic at the age of fifty-four was born that way and is never going to change.