When I was six monthsold, my parents moved from Kesswil on Lake Constance to Laufen, the castle and vicarage above the Falls of the Rhine. This was in 1875. My memories begin with my second or third year. I recall the vicarage, the garden, the laundry house, the church, the castle, the Falls, the small castle of Worth, and the sexton's farm. These are nothing but islands of memory afloat in the sea of vagueness, each by itself, apparently with no connection between them.
The Alps could seen very clearly that evening. "Now look over there" - I can hear her saying to me in Swiss dialect- "the mountains are all red."For the first time I consciously saw the Alps. Then I was told that the next day the village children would be going on a school outing to the Uetliberg, near Zurich. I wanted so much to go too. To my sorrow I was informed that children as small as I could not go along, there was nothing to be done about it. From then on the Uetliberg and Zurich became an unattainable land of dreams, near the glowing, snow covered mountains.
From a somewhat later period comes another memory. My mother tooke me to Thurgau to visit friends, who had a castle on the Lake Constance. I could not be dragged away from the water. The waves from the steamer washed up to the shore, the sun glistened on the water, and the sand under the water had been curled into little ridges by the waves. The lake stretched away and away into the distance. This expanse of waterwas an invonceivable pleasure to me, an incomparable splendor. At that time the idea became fixed in my mind that I must live near a lake, without water, I thought nobody could live at all.
Yet another image: I am restive, feverish, unable to sleep. My father carries me in his arms, pace up and down, singing his old student songs. I particularly remember one I was espically fond of and which always used to soothe me, "Alles schweige, feder neige...." The beginning went something like that. To this day I can remember my father's voice, singing over me in the stillness of the night. I was suffering, so my mother told me afterward, from general eczema. Dim intimations of trouble in my parent's marriage hovered around me. My illness in 1878, must have been connected with the temporay seperation of my parents. My mother spent several months in a hospital in Basel, and presumably her illness had something to do with the difficulty in the marriage.
An aunt of mine, who was a spinster and some twenty years older than my mother, took care of me. I was deeply troubled by my mother being away. From then on. I always felt mistrustful when the word "love" was spoken. The feeling I associated with "woman" was for a long time that of innate unreliability. "Father," on the other hand meant reliability and - powerlessness. That is the handicap I started off with. Later, these early impressions were revised; I have trusted men friends and been disappointed by them, and I have mistrusted women and was not disappointed.
While my mother was away, our maid, too, looked after me. I still remember her picking me up and laying my head against her shoulder. She had black hair and olive complexion, and was quite different from my mother. I can see, even now, her hairline, her throat, with its darkly pigmented skin, and her ear. All this seemed to me very strange and yet strangely familiar. It was a though she belonged not to my family but only to me, as though she were connected in some way with other mysterious things I could not understand. This type of girl later became a component of my anima. The feeling of strangeness which she conveyed, and yet of having her always, was a characteristic of that figure which later came to symbolize for me the whole essence of womanhood.
At this time I also had vague fears at night. I would hear things walking about the house. The muted roar of the Rhine Falls was always audible, and all around lay a danger zone. Peole drowned, bodies were swept over the rocks. In the cemetery nearby, the sexton would dig a hole-heaps of brown, upturned earth. Black solemn men in long frock coats with unusually tall hats and shiny black boots would bring a black box. My father would be there in his clerical gown, speaking in a resounding voice. Women wept. I was told that someone was being buried in this hole in the ground. Certain person who had been around previously would suddenly no longer be there.Then I wouyld hear that they had been buried, and that the Lord Jesus had taken them to himself.
My mother had taught me a prayer which I had to say every evening. I gladly did so because it gave me a sense of comfort in face of the vague uncertainties of the night:
"If Satan would devour it, no harm shall overpower it," So let the angels sing.