18 Jul 1945, R. E. Jones Wartime diary | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

18 Jul 1945, R. E. Jones Wartime diary

Book / Document: 
Date(s) of events described: 
Wed, 18 Jul 1945

Cool E wind.

Odd jobs am & fixed the other Rec. rm. form with seating.

Rec. Dec ’43 with snap of them both from Marj.

Pwd. box for C ∴ sehr hold. [very affectionate.]

Wood squads detailed.


The German word "hold" is an old fashionend poetic word for graceful or dainty. So probably it says : very graceful.

Hello Klaus! I didn't see your suggestion of "graceful" for R.E. Jones's "hold" and made an alternative suggestion to David by email. David suggests we discuss it together! My Langenscheidt dictionary (1967) gives lieblich as a synonym for "hold" and gives "lovely, charming, sweet, winsome" as possible English equivalents. It doesn't give "graceful". Would you accept "sweet" in the modern context that Jones uses it of his lady friend? I've forgotten who Jones's German teacher was and suppose he didn't have much in the way of teaching materials apart from his own memory. I was reminded of a line from The Magic Flute when the Three Boys are trying to stop Pamina committing suicide and looked it up to be sure: Du holdes Mädchen, sieh uns an. 

 Await your thoughts....

Hello Jill. That's an interesting discussion! I'd better be an etymologist rather than a chemist to really be sure about a correct translation.

Anyway, the word "hold" is an old fashioned poetic word, your example with the Magic Flute shows it. Many words (in a certain language) have more than one meaning. All of your suggestions for the translation into the English language are correct, and "sweet" is certainly a good choice and probably better than "graceful". 

But we do not know what R.E. Jones really wanted to say with his entry. I'm not sure how good his German skills were, but certainly more meanings (or interpretations) are possible. One of these could be the question "Bist du mir noch hold?" = "Do you still love me?". So the entry in his diary could also mean "very affectionate" (believing she also loves him). 

We will never find out!

Cheers, Klaus

Klaus, I very much like your solution of "affectionate" for "hold". I think it ticks all the boxes for Jones's situation as we know it. Thank you for explaining the very elegant construction: "Bist du mir noch hold?". I hadn't come across it in life and probably misunderstood it in literature! 

David, we have come to a swift agreement!

"affectionate" it is - I've updated the text.