While his lips were with Lydia and his hand with Julie, he felt that he should either force Lydia to give in to him, or he should leave. To love her and yet renounce her had been wrong, had been nonsense. How happy all three of us could be now! Let us do what our blood demands! She drew back, shrinking, and his desire fled to the other girl.
His hand was doing such pleasing things to Julie that she answered with a long quivering sigh of lust. Lydia heard the sigh and her heart contracted with jealousy, as though poison had been dropped into it. Julie was startled. Silently she got up. Barefoot in her nightgown, Lydia stood on the stone floor, her feet blue with cold.
Softly the sisters vanished from the room. With conflicting emotions, Goldmund listened intently and breathed with relief as the house remained deathly quiet. The three young people were forced to meditate in solitude over their strange and unnatural association. The two sisters found nothing to say to each other, after they hurried back to their bedroom.
They lay awake in their respective beds, each alone, silent, and stubborn. A spirit of grief, contradiction, nonsense, alienation, and innermost confusion seemed to have taken hold of the house. Goldmund did not fall asleep until after midnight; Julie not until the early hours of morning. Lydia lay torturously awake until the pale day rose over the snow.
Goldmund and Julie were still asleep when the knight was informed of everything Lydia had decided to tell him. When Goldmund appeared in the writing room at the usual hour that morning, he found the knight in boots, vest, and girdled sword, instead of the slippers and housecoat he usually wore while they wrote. At once he knew the meaning of this. Goldmund took his cap from the nail and followed his master down the stairs, across the courtyard, and out the gate.
Their soles made crunching noises on the slightly frozen snow; the sky was still red with dawn. The knight walked ahead in silence; the young man followed. Several times he looked back at the house, at the window of his room, at the steep, snow-covered roof, until all disappeared and there was nothing more to see.
He would never see that roof, those windows again, never again the study, the bedroom, the two sisters. He had so often toyed with the thought of sudden departure. Now his heart contracted with pain, and it hurt bitterly to leave this way. For an hour they walked in this fashion, the master going on ahead.
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Neither spoke, and Goldmund began to think about his fate. The knight was armed; perhaps he would kill him. But he did not believe that he would. No, his life was not in danger. But this silent walking behind the offended, solemn man, this being led away wordlessly pained him more with every step.
Finally the knight halted. If you ever show your face again in the neighborhood of my house, you will be killed. I have no desire to take revenge on you; I should have been more intelligent than to allow so young a man to live intimately with my daughters. But if you have the audacity to come back, your life is lost. Go now, and may God forgive you! As he stood in the sallow light of the snowy morning, his gray-bearded face looked almost dead. Like a ghost he stood there, and did not move until Goldmund had disappeared over the next ridge.
The reddish tint in the cloudy sky had faded, the sun did not come out, and snow began to fall in thin, hesitant flakes His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In , he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. In his time, Hesse was a popular and influential author in the German-speaking world; worldwide fame only came later.
NARCISSUS AND GOLDMUND by Hermann Hesse | Kirkus Reviews
Hesse's first great novel, Peter Camenzind, was received enthusiastically by young Germans desiring a different and more "natural" way of life at the time of great economic and technological progress in the country. Demian had a strong and enduring influence on the generation of home-returners from the First World War. Similarly, The Glass Bead Game, with its disciplined intellectual world of Castalia and the powers of mediation and humanity, captivated Germans' longing for a new order amid the chaos of a broken nation following the loss in the Second World War.
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By the time of Hesse's death in , his works were still relatively little-read in the United States, despite his status as a Nobel laureate. Related titles.
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