It is evening, after supper. From outside we hear the sound of children playing. The “grown-ups,” with the exception of MR. VAN DAAN, are all in the main room. MRS. FRANK is doing some mending. MRS. VAN DAAN is reading a fashion magazine. MR. FRANK is going over business accounts. DUSSEL, in his dentist’s jacket, is pacing up and down, impatient to get into his bedroom. MR. VAN DAAN is upstairs working on a piece of embroidery in an embroidery frame. In his room PETER is sitting before the mirror, smoothing his hair. As the scene goes on, he puts on his tie, brushes his coat and puts it on, preparing himself meticulously for a visit from ANNE. On his wall are now hung some of ANNE’s motion picture stars. In her room ANNE too is getting dressed. She stands before the mirror in her slip, trying various ways of dressing her hair. MARGOT is seated on the sofa, hemming a skirt for ANNE to wear.
In the main room DUSSEL can stand it no longer. He comes over, rapping sharply on the door of his and ANNE’s bedroom.
Anne (calling to him). No, no, Mr. Dussel! I am not dressed yet. (DUSSEL walks away, furious, sitting down and burying his head in his hands. ANNE turns to MARGOT.) How is that? How does that look?
Margot (glancing at her briefly). Fine.
Anne. You didn’t even look.
Margot. Of course I did. It’s fine.
Anne. Margot, tell me, am I terribly ugly?
Margot. Oh, stop fishing.
Anne. No. No. Tell me.
Margot. Of course you’re not. You’ve got nice eyes . . . and a lot of animation, and . . .
Anne. A little vague, aren’t you?
[She reaches over and takes a brassiere out of MARGOT’s sewing basket. She holds it up to herself, studying the effect in the mirror. Outside, MRS. FRANK, feeling sorry for DUSSEL, comes over, knocking at the girls’ door.]
Mrs. Frank (outside). May I come in?
Margot. Come in, Mother.
Mrs. Frank (shutting the door behind her). Mr. Dussel’s impatient to get in here.
Anne (still with the brassiere). Heavens, he takes the room for himself the entire day.
Mrs. Frank (gently). Anne, dear, you’re not going in again tonight to see Peter?
Anne (dignified). That is my intention.
Mrs. Frank. But you’ve already spent a great deal of time in there today.
Anne. I was in there exactly twice. Once to get the dictionary, and then three quarters of an hour before supper.
Mrs. Frank. Aren’t you afraid you’re disturbing him?
Anne. Mother, I have some intuition.
Mrs. Frank. Then may I ask you this much, Anne. Please don’t shut the door when you go in.
Anne. You sound like Mrs. Van Daan! (She throws the brassiere back in MARGOT’s sewing basket and picks up her blouse, putting it on.)
Mrs. Frank. No. No. I don’t mean to suggest anything wrong. I only wish that you wouldn’t expose yourself to criticism . . . that you wouldn’t give Mrs. Van Daan the opportunity to be unpleasant.
Anne. Mrs. Van Daan doesn’t need an opportunity to be unpleasant!
Mrs. Frank. Everyone’s on edge, worried about Mr. Kraler. This is one more thing . . .
Anne. I’m sorry, Mother. I’m going to Peter’s room. I’m not going to let Petronella Van Daan spoil our friendship.
[MRS. FRANK hesitates for a second, then goes out, closing the door after her. She gets a pack of playing cards and sits at the center table, playing solitaire. In ANNE’s room MARGOT hands the finished skirt to ANNE. As ANNE is putting it on, MARGOT takes off her high-heeled shoes and stuffs paper in the toes so that ANNE can wear them.]
Margot (to ANNE). Why don’t you two talk in the main room? It’d save a lot of trouble. It’s hard on Mother, having to listen to those remarks from Mrs. Van Daan and not say a word.
Anne. Why doesn’t she say a word? I think it’s ridiculous to take it and take it.
Margot. You don’t understand Mother at all, do you? She can’t talk back. She’s not like you. It’s just not in her nature to fight back.
Anne. Anyway . . . the only one I worry about is you. I feel awfully guilty about you. (She sits on the stool near MARGOT, putting on MARGOT’s high-heeled shoes.)
Margot. What about?
Anne. I mean, every time I go into Peter’s room, I have a feeling I may be hurting you. (MARGOT shakes her head.) I know if it were me, I’d be wild. I’d be desperately jealous, if it were me.
Margot. Well, I’m not.
Anne. You don’t feel badly? Really? Truly? You’re not jealous?
Margot. Of course I’m jealous . . . jealous that you’ve got something to get up in the morning for . . . But jealous of you and Peter? No.
[ANNE goes back to the mirror.]
Anne. Maybe there’s nothing to be jealous of. Maybe he doesn’t really like me. Maybe I’m just taking the place of his cat . . . (She picks up a pair of short white gloves, putting them on.) Wouldn’t you like to come in with us?
Margot. I have a book.
[The sound of the children playing outside fades out. In the main room DUSSEL can stand it no longer. He jumps up, going to the bedroom door and knocking sharply.]
Dussel. Will you please let me in my room!
Anne.Just a minute, dear, dear Mr. Dussel. (She picks up her mother’s pink stole and adjusts it elegantly over her shoulders, then gives a last look in the mirror.) Well, here I go . . . to run the gantlet. (She starts out, followed by MARGOT.)
Dussel (as she appears—sarcastic). Thank you so much.
[DUSSEL goes into his room. ANNE goes toward PETER’s room, passing MRS. VAN DAAN and her parents at the center table.]
Mrs. Van Daan. My God, look at her! (ANNE pays no attention. She knocks at PETER’s door.) I don’t know what good it is to have a son. I never see him. He wouldn’t care if I killed myself. (PETER opens the door and stands aside for ANNE to come in.) Just a minute, Anne. (She goes to them at the door.) I’d like to say a few words to my son. Do you mind? (PETER and ANNE stand waiting.) Peter, I don’t want you staying up till all hours tonight. You’ve got to have your sleep. You’re a growing boy. You hear?
Mrs. Frank. Anne won’t stay late. She’s going to bed promptly at nine. Aren’t you, Anne?
Anne. Yes, Mother . . . (To MRS. VAN DAAN) May we go now?
Mrs. Van Daan. Are you asking me? I didn’t know I had anything to say about it.
Mrs. Frank. Listen for the chimes, Anne dear.
[The two young people go off into PETER’s room, shutting the door after them.]
Mrs. Van Daan (to MRS. FRANK). In my day it was the boys who called on the girls. Not the girls on the boys.
Mrs. Frank. You know how young people like to feel that they have secrets. Peter’s room is the only place where they can talk.
Mrs. Van Daan. Talk! That’s not what they called it when I was young.
[MRS. VAN DAAN goes off to the bathroom. MARGOT settles down to read her book. MR. FRANK puts his papers away and brings a chess game to the center table. He and MRS. FRANK start to play. In PETER’s room, ANNE speaks to PETER, indignant, humiliated.]
Anne. Aren’t they awful? Aren’t they impossible? Treating us as if we were still in the nursery.
[She sits on the cot. PETER gets a bottle of pop and two glasses.]
Peter. Don’t let it bother you. It doesn’t bother me.
Anne. I suppose you can’t really blame them . . . they think back to what they were like at our age. They don’t realize how much more advanced we are. . . . When you think what wonderful discussions we’ve had! . . . Oh, I forgot. I was going to bring you some more pictures.
Peter. Oh, these are fine, thanks.
Anne. Don’t you want some more? Miep just brought me some new ones.
Peter. Maybe later. (He gives her a glass of pop and, taking some for himself, sits down facing her.)
Anne (looking up at one of the photographs). I remember when I got that . . . I won it. I bet Jopie that I could eat five ice-cream cones. We’d all been playing ping-pong . . . We used to have heavenly times . . . we’d finish up with ice cream at the Delphi or the Oasis, where Jews were allowed . . . there’d always be a lot of boys . . . we’d laugh and joke . . . I’d like to go back to it for a few days or a week. But after that I know I’d be bored to death. I think more seriously about life now. I want to be a journalist . . . or something. I love to write. What do you want to do?
Peter. I thought I might go off someplace . . . work on a farm or something . . . some job that doesn’t take much brains.
Anne. You shouldn’t talk that way. You’ve got the most awful inferiority complex.
Peter. I know I’m not smart.
Anne. That isn’t true. You’re much better than I am in dozens of things . . . arithmetic and algebra and . . . well, you’re a million times better than I am in algebra. (With sudden directness) You like Margot, don’t you? Right from the start you liked her, liked her much better than me.
Peter (uncomfortably). Oh, I don’t know.
[In the main room MRS. VAN DAAN comes from the bathroom and goes over to the sink, polishing a coffeepot.]
Anne. It’s all right. Everyone feels that way. Margot’s so good. She’s sweet and bright and beautiful and I’m not.
Peter. I wouldn’t say that.
Anne. Oh, no, I’m not. I know that. I know quite well that I’m not a beauty. I never have been and never shall be.
Peter. I don’t agree at all. I think you’re pretty.
Anne. That’s not true!
Peter. And another thing. You’ve changed . . . from at first, I mean.
Anne. I have?
Peter. I used to think you were awful noisy.
Anne. And what do you think now, Peter? How have I changed?
Peter. Well . . . er . . . you’re . . . quieter.
[In his room DUSSEL takes his pajamas and toilet articles and goes into the bathroom to change.]
Anne. I’m glad you don’t just hate me.
Peter. I never said that.
Anne. I bet when you get out of here, you’ll never think of me again.
Peter. That’s crazy.
Anne. When you get back with all of your friends, you’re going to say . . . now what did I ever see in that Mrs. Quack Quack.
Peter. I haven’t got any friends.
Anne. Oh, Peter, of course you have. Everyone has friends.
Peter. Not me. I don’t want any. I get along all right without them.
Anne. Does that mean you can get along without me? I think of myself as your friend.
Peter. No. If they were all like you, it’d be different.
[He takes the glasses and the bottle and puts them away. There is a second’s silence and then ANNE speaks, hesitantly, shyly.]
Anne. Peter, did you ever kiss a girl?
Peter. Yes. Once.
Anne. (to cover her feelings). That picture’s crooked. (PETER goes over, straightening the photograph.) Was she pretty?
Anne. The girl that you kissed.
Peter. I don’t know. I was blindfolded. (He comes back and sits down again.) It was at a party. One of those kissing games.
Anne (relieved). Oh. I don’t suppose that really counts, does it?
Peter. It didn’t with me.
Anne. I’ve been kissed twice. Once a man I’d never seen before kissed me on the cheek when he picked me up off the ice and I was crying. And the other was Mr. Koophuis, a friend of Father’s, who kissed my hand. You wouldn’t say those counted, would you?
Peter. I wouldn’t say so.
Anne. I know almost for certain that Margot would never kiss anyone unless she was engaged to them. And I’m sure too that Mother never touched a man before Pim. But I don’t know . . . things are so different now . . . What do you think? Do you think a girl shouldn’t kiss anyone except if she’s engaged or something? It’s so hard to try to think what to do, when here we are with the whole world falling around our ears and you think . . . well . . . you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and . . . What do you think?
Peter. I suppose it’d depend on the girl. Some girls, anything they do’s wrong. But others . . . well . . . it wouldn’t necessarily be wrong with them. (The carillon starts to strike nine o’clock.) I’ve always thought that when two people . . .
Anne. Nine o’clock. I have to go.
Peter. That’s right.
Anne (without moving). Good night.
[There is a second’s pause; then PETER gets up and moves toward the door.]
Peter. You won’t let them stop you coming?
Anne. No. (She rises and starts for the door.) Sometime I might bring my diary. There are so many things in it that I want to talk over with you. There’s a lot about you.
Peter. What kind of thing?
Anne. I wouldn’t want you to see some of it. I thought you were a nothing, just the way you thought about me.
Peter. Did you change your mind, the way I changed my mind about you?
Anne. Well . . . You’ll see . . .
[For a second ANNE stands looking up at PETER, longing for him to kiss her. As he makes no move, she turns away. Then suddenly PETER grabs her awkwardly in his arms, kissing her on the cheek. ANNE walks out dazed. She stands for a minute, her back to the people in the main room. As she regains her poise, she goes to her mother and father and MARGOT, silently kissing them. They murmur their good nights to her. As she is about to open her bedroom door, she catches sight of MRS. VAN DAAN. She goes quickly to her, taking her face in her hands and kissing her, first on one cheek and then on the other. Then she hurries off into her room. MRS. VAN DAAN looks after her and then looks over at PETER’s room. Her suspicions are confirmed.]
Mrs. Van Daan (she knows). Ah hah!
[The lights dim out. The curtain falls on the scene. In the darkness ANNE’s voice comes, faintly at first and then with growing strength.]
Anne’s Voice. By this time we all know each other so well that if anyone starts to tell a story, the rest can finish it for him. We’re having to cut down still further on our meals. What makes it worse, the rats have been at work again. They’ve carried off some of our precious food. Even Mr. Dussel wishes now that Mouschi was here. Thursday, the twentieth of April, nineteen forty-four. Invasion fever is mounting every day. Miep tells us that people outside talk of nothing else. For myself, life has become much more pleasant. I often go to Peter’s room after supper. Oh, don’t think I’m in love, because I’m not. But it does make life more bearable to have someone with whom you can exchange views. No more tonight. P.S. . . . I must be honest. I must confess that I actually live for the next meeting. Is there anything lovelier than to sit under the skylight and feel the sun on your cheeks and have a darling boy in your arms? I admit now that I’m glad the Van Daans had a son and not a daughter. I’ve outgrown another dress. That’s the third. I’m having to wear Margot’s clothes after all. I’m working hard on my French and am now reading La Belle Nivernaise.
[As she is saying the last lines, the curtain rises on the scene. The lights dim on as ANNE’s voice fades out.]