On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 15

solemnisation, all reminiscence
and all future; the present was to be as a hyphen between the two. And
fate, now unfriendly, had just stepped into our magic circle--and we
knew not how to dismiss her;--the very unusual character of the
circumstances filled us with mysterious excitement.

Whilst we stood thus in silence for some time, divided into two
hostile groups, the clouds above waxed ever redder and the evening
seemed to grow more peaceful and mild; we could almost fancy we heard
the regular breathing of nature as she put the final touches to her
work of art--the glorious day we had just enjoyed; when, suddenly, the
calm evening air was rent by a confused and boisterous cry of joy
which seemed to come from the Rhine. A number of voices could be heard
in the distance--they were those of our fellow-students who by that
time must have taken to the Rhine in small boats. It occurred to us
that we should be missed and that we should also miss something:
almost simultaneously my friend and I raised our pistols: our shots
were echoed back to us, and with their echo there came from the valley
the sound of a well-known cry intended as a signal of identification.
For our passion for shooting had brought us both repute and ill-repute
in our club. At the same time we were conscious that our behaviour
towards the silent philosophical couple had been exceptionally
ungentlemanly; they had been quietly contemplating us for some time,
and when we fired the shock made them draw close up to each other. We
hurried up to them, and each in our turn cried out: "Forgive us. That
was our last shot, and it was intended for our friends on the Rhine.
They have understood us, do you hear? If you insist upon having that
place among the trees, grant us at least the permission to recline
there also. You will find a number of benches on the spot: we shall
not disturb you; we shall sit quite still and shall not utter a word:
but it is now past seven o'clock and we _must_ go there at once.

"That sounds more mysterious than it is," I added after a pause; "we
have made a solemn vow to spend this coming hour on that ground, and
there were reasons for the vow. The spot is sacred to us, owing to
some pleasant associations, it must also inaugurate a good future for
us. We shall therefore endeavour to leave you with no disagreeable
recollections of our meeting--even though we have done much to perturb
and

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