THE NOVEL OF IMPRESSIONISM 287 the women he has loved, the face of Eve, of the Urmutttr^ which lures to rapture, to birth, and, as the last grasp of her love, to death. But ere he has time to shape the mystery of her face she folds her hands round his heart and shapes him - to the will to death, to the fading of the fire she wakes. And before he dies Narziss, the lonely scholar with the fine face shaped by thinking, has bent over him and kissed him with the only kiss that life grants him. In DerRurgast (1925) and Die NiirnbergerlLeise (1927) there is again the problem of nature's urges and the controlling function of the mind, and in the latter we read that nature is, as flowers are, lovely but fast fading, while reason, though it wearies, is durable as gold. Morgenlandjahrt (1923), with its secret league of sterling characters, comes still nearer to the synthesis of these opposites which is symbolically achieved in Das Glasperknspiel (1943). This story of the bead-game, in the province of Kastalien round about the year 2400, shows mathematics and art in unison contriving control of the functions of existence. These bead-players live like monks, sundered from 'the forbidden and inferior world', devot- ing themselves to the works of the spirit, as happened in Goethe's p&dagogische Proving in the Wanderjahre. In days following the havoc of a great war, which has brought degradation to mankind, the bead-players in the peace of their Alpine valley practise this game of glass pearls which, *der Inbegriffdes Geistigen und Musischen\ syn- thetizes intellectual disciplines and in which all dissonance becomes unison. The purpose of their order is to rescue the world from that degradation of mind which had come from the 'warlike age*, 'dasfeuilktonistische Zeitalter*> and to safeguard order, norm, reason, law, and measure. The protagonist is Josef Knecht, whose life is chronicled from his early orphan days till he rises to be Magister Ludi, the High Priest of this gamefal religion. But he is initiated into historical studies by Pater Jacobus (what is quoted points to Jakob Burckhardt as model), and he learns that all historical phases are transitory. He realizes, too, that the bead-players preserve cultural values, but do not create them, and he observes that every- thing tends to change to its contrary. Thus he himself, Knecht by- name, is Master of the Order. He discovers that he is not merely a Castalian, but a human being as well, and that as such his con- cern is with the world as a whole and not with a fraction of it* And so he sets out to find his earthly transformation, breaks way into the common life, and is drowned in a mountain lake.