From the hermitage I strolled on up the hill, lost in my thoughts, and was just turning to descend when from the left the slender figure of a young girl appeared. She wore the local costume, had a pretty face, and greeted me with friendly blue eyes. As though it were the most natural thing, in the world we descended into the valley together. She was about my own age. Since I knew no other girls except my cousins, I felt rather embarrassed and did not know how to talk to her. So I began hesitantly explaining that I was here for a couple of days on holiday, that I was at the Gymnasium in Basel and later wanted to study at the university. While I was talking, a strange feeling of fatefulness crept over me. "She has appeared just at this moment," I thought to myself, "and she walks along with me as naturally as if we belonged together? I glanced sideways at her and saw an expression of mingled shyness and admiration in her face, which embarrassed me and somehow pierced me. Can it be possible, I wondered, that this is fate? Is my meeting her mere chance? A peasant girl—could it possibly be? She is a Catholic, but perhaps her priest is the very one with whom my father has made friends? She has no idea who I am. I certainly couldn't talk to her about Schopenhauer and the negation of the Will, could I? Yet she doesn't seem in any way sinister. Perhaps her Priest is not one of those Jesuits skulking about in black robes. But I cannot tell her, either, that my father is a Protestant clergyman. That might frighten or offend her. And to talk about philosophy, or about the devil, who is more important than Faust even though Goethe made such a simpleton of him--that is quite out of the question. She still dwells in the distant land of innocence, but I have plunged into reality, into the splendor and cruelty of creation. How can she endure to hear about that? An impenetrable wall stands between us. There is not and cannot be any relationship. Sad at heart, I retreated into myself and turned the conversation to less dangerous topics.