11. May 1938

[380511–2‑1]

O., May 11, 1938

Valued Mr. Nord­hoff!

I recei­ved your let­ter yes­ter­day. Thank you very much. Above all, becau­se I was allo­wed to con­fi­de in you, you could perhaps extend your hand to me as my gui­de. I know that I am put­ting you in an embarr­as­sing situa­ti­on; but you must be able to under­stand me. Do you know what it means to pos­sess a girl­fri­end, who inward­ly, howe­ver, is as for­eign as any other per­son? If you must car­ry alo­ne all suf­fe­ring, which one can­not escape in life? I am cer­tain­ly not one of tho­se who lets herself get dis­cou­ra­ged by the sligh­test event; but this time I find that I can’t go on alo­ne. I must unbur­den my heart to someo­ne. And the per­son whom I uncon­di­tio­nal­ly trust is you, Mr. Nord­hoff. I belie­ve in you, the­re­fo­re I can con­fi­de in you.

I want to be gone from here! I can­not bear life like this any­mo­re – becau­se I love you too much. Do you under­stand? Ever­ything in my home­land reminds me of you and some­ti­mes I feel like it’s bray­ing into my ear: “never again — never again!” I know that it is not allo­wed to be; that I am not an equal match for you. The­re­fo­re, I must go, must for­get. It hurts so much when one must repress what is bare­ly bloo­m­ing and always show the world a calm, fri­end­ly face. But deep insi­de the heart it con­stant­ly pier­ces and hurts. Tell me, have you any­ti­me in your life loved someo­ne so deeply and then fate inter­ven­ed with a rough grasp? I no lon­ger know what I should do. I had inten­ded to sign up for Labour Ser­vice or the vol­un­ta­ry two-year honor ser­vice as a nur­se. Howe­ver, my boss is not wil­ling to release me from work. I have not yet infor­med my par­ents about my reso­lu­ti­ons. But I know they will not stand in my way, if it is in my best inte­rest. Well, I ask you, Mr. Nord­hoff, tell me if you can. I can’t seem to get a say­ing by our poet Fried­rich Rück­ert [The Wis­dom of the Brah­min: A Didac­tic Poem, Book 1.1, transl. Charles T. Brooks, 1882] out of my head. Do you think one can belie­ve in it?

If ill befal­leth thee, count it a bles­sing still;
If ill thou takest it, that is a sorer ill.
For­gi­ve thy fri­end if he tormenteth thee; and know
He is not well, or else he would not vex thee so.
And if Love woundeth thee, let that but spur thy love;
For, that thou hast the rose, the thorn doth surely
pro­ve.

I con­clu­de now by thanking you for allo­wing me to wri­te to you and will remain hope­ful for a mes­sa­ge from you soon, with best wis­hes,

[Hil­de Lau­be].

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