Metamorphosis E

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    Onemorning,whenGregorSamsawokefromtroubleddreams,hefoundhimselftransformedinhisbedintoahorriblevermin.Helayonhisarmour-likeback,andifheliftedhisheadalittlehecouldseehisbrownbelly,slightlydomedanddividedbyarchesintostiffsections.Thebeddingwashardlyabletocoveritandseemedreadytoslideoffanymoment.Hismanylegs,pitifullythincomparedwiththesizeoftherestofhim,wavedabouthelplesslyashelooked."What'shappenedtome?"hethought.Itwasn'tadream.Hisroom,aproperhumanroomalthoughalittletoosmall,laypeacefullybetweenitsfourfamiliarwalls.Acollectionoftextilesampleslayspreadoutonthetable-Samsawasatravellingsalesman-andaboveittherehungapicturethathehadrecentlycutoutofanillustratedmagazineandhousedinanice,gildedframe.Itshowedaladyfittedoutwithafurhatandfurboawhosatupright,raisingaheavyfurmuffthatcoveredthewholeofherlowerarmtowardstheviewer.Gregorthenturnedtolookoutthewindowatthedullweather.Dropsofraincouldbeheardhittingthepane,whichmadehimfeelquitesad."HowaboutifIsleepalittlebitlongerandforgetallthisnonsense",hethought,butthatwassomethinghewasunabletodobecausehewasusedtosleepingonhisright,andinhispresentstatecouldn'tgetintothatposition.Howeverhardhethrewhimselfontohisright,healwaysrolledbacktowherehewas.Hemusthavetrieditahundredtimes,shuthiseyessothathewouldn'thavetolookattheflounderinglegs,andonlystoppedwhenhebegantofeelamild,dullpaintherethathehadneverfeltbefore."Oh,God",hethought,"whatastrenuouscareeritisthatI'vechosen!Travellingdayinanddayout.Doingbusinesslikethistakesmuchmoreeffortthandoingyourownbusinessathome,andontopofthatthere'sthecurseoftra

    velling,worriesaboutmakingtrainconnections,badandirregularfood,contactwithdifferentpeopleallthetimesothatyoucannevergettoknowanyoneorbecomefriendlywiththem.ItcanallgotoHell!"Hefeltaslightitchuponhisbelly;pushedhimselfslowlyuponhisbacktowardstheheadboardsothathecouldlifthisheadbetter;foundwheretheitchwas,andsawthatitwascoveredwithlotsoflittlewhitespotswhichhedidn'tknowwhattomakeof;andwhenhetriedtofeeltheplacewithoneofhislegshedrewitquicklybackbecauseassoonashetouchedithewasovercomebyacoldshudder.Heslidbackintohisformerposition."Gettingupearlyallthetime",hethought,"itmakesyoustupid.You'vegottogetenoughsleep.Othertravellingsalesmenlivealifeofluxury.Forinstance,wheneverIgobacktotheguesthouseduringthemorningtocopyoutthecontract,thesegentlemenarealwaysstillsittingthereeatingtheirbreakfasts.Ioughttojusttrythatwithmyboss;I'dgetkickedo

    utonthespot.Butwhoknows,maybethatwouldbethebestthingforme.IfIdidn'thavemyparentstothinkaboutI'dhavegiveninmynoticealongtimeago,I'dhavegoneuptothebossandtoldhimjustwhatIthink,tellhimeverythingIwould,lethimknowjustwhatIfeel.He'dfallrightoffhisdesk!Andit'safunnysortofbusinesstobesittingupthereatyourdesk,talkingdownatyoursubordinatesfromupthere,especiallywhenyouhavetogorightupclosebecausethebossishardofhearing.Well,there'sstillsomehope;onceI'vegotthemoneytogethertopayoffmyparents'debttohim-anotherfiveorsixyearsIsuppose-that'sdefinitelywhatI'lldo.That'swhenI'llmakethebigchange.Firstofallthough,I'vegottogetup,mytrainleavesatfive."Andhelookedoveratthealarmclock,tickingonthechestofdrawers."GodinHeaven!"hethought.Itwashalfpastsixandthehandswerequietlymovingforwards,itwasevenlaterthanhalfpast,morelikequartertoseven.Hadtheal

    armclocknotrung?Hecouldseefromthebedthatithadbeensetforfouro'clockasitshouldhavebeen;itcertainlymusthaverung.Yes,butwasitpossibletoquietlysleepthroughthatfurniture-rattlingnoise?True,hehadnotsleptpeacefully,butprobablyallthemoredeeplybecauseofthat.Whatshouldhedonow?Thenexttrainwentatseven;ifheweretocatchthathewouldhavetorushlikemadandthecollectionofsampleswasstillnotpacked,andhedidnotatallfeelparticularlyfreshandlively.Andevenifhedidcatchthetrainhewouldnotavoidhisboss'sangerastheofficeassistantwouldhavebeentheretoseethefiveo'clocktraingo,hewouldhaveputinhisreportaboutGregor'snotbeingtherealongtimeago.Theofficeassistantwastheboss'sman,sp

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    ineless,andwithnounderstanding.Whataboutifhereportedsick?ButthatwouldbeextremelystrainedandsuspiciousasinfifteenyearsofserviceGregorhadneveronceyetbeenill.Hisbosswouldcertainlycomeroundwiththedoctorfromthemedicalinsurancecompany,accusehisparentsofhavingalazyson,andacceptthedoctor'srecommendationnottomakeanyclaimasthedoctorbelievedthatno-onewaseverillbutthatmanywereworkshy.Andwhat'smore,wouldhehavebeenentirelywronginthiscase?Gregordidinfact,apartfromexcessivesleepinessaftersleepingforsolong,feelcompletelywellandevenfeltmuchhungrierthanusual.Hewasstillhurriedlythinkingallthisthrough,unabletodecidetogetoutofthebed,whentheclockstruckquartertoseven.Therewasacautiousknockatthedoornearhishead."Gregor",somebodycalled-itwashismother-"it'squartertoseven.Didn'tyouwanttogosomewhere?"Thatgentlevoice!Gregorwasshockedwhenheheardhisownvoiceanswering,itcouldhardlyberecognisedasthevoicehehadhadbefore.Asiffromdeepinsidehim,therewasapainfulanduncontrollablesqueakingmixedinwithit,thewordscouldbemadeoutatfirstbutthentherewasasortofechowhichmadethemunclear,leavingthehearerunsurewhetherhehadheardproperlyornot.Gregorhadwantedtogiveafullanswerandexplaineverything,butinthecircumstancescontentedhimselfwithsaying:"Yes,mother,yes,thank-you,I'mgettingupnow."ThechangeinGregor'svoiceprobablycouldnotbenoticedoutsidethroughthewoodendoor,ashismotherwassatisfiedwiththisexplanationandshuffledaway.ButthisshortconversationmadetheothermembersofthefamilyawarethatGregor,againsttheirexpectationswasstillathome,andsoonhisfathercameknockingatoneofthesidedoors,gently,butwithhisfist."Gregor,Gregor",

    hecalled,"what'swrong?"Andafterashortwhilehecalledagainwithawarningdeepnessinhisvoice:"Gregor!Gregor!"Attheothersidedoorhissistercameplaintively:"Gregor?Aren'tyouwell?Doyouneedanything?"Gregoransweredtobothsides:"I'mready,now",makinganefforttoremoveallthestrangenessfromhisvoicebyenunciatingverycarefullyandputtinglongpausesbetweeneach,individualword.Hisfatherwentbacktohisbreakfast,buthissisterwhispered:"Gregor,openthedoor,Ibegofyou."Gregor,however,hadnothoughtofopeningthedoor,andinsteadcongratulatedhimselfforhiscautioushabit,acquiredfromhistravelling,oflockingalldoorsatnightevenwhenhewasathome.Thefirstthinghewantedtodowastogetupinpeacewithoutbeingdisturbed,togetdressed,andmostofalltohavehisbreakfast.Onlythenwouldheconsiderwhattodonext,ashewaswellawarethathewouldnotbringhisthoughtstoanysensibleconclusionsbylyinginbed.Herememberedthathehadoft

    enfeltaslightpaininbed,perhapscausedbylyingawkwardly,butthathadalwaysturnedouttobepureimaginationandhewonderedhowhisimaginingswouldslowlyresolvethemselvestoday.Hedidnothavetheslightestdoubtthatthechangeinhisvoicewasnothingmorethanthefirstsignofaseriouscold,whichwasanoccupationalhazardfortravellingsalesmen.Itwasasimplemattertothrowoffthecovers;heonlyhadtoblowhimselfupalittleandtheyfelloffbythemselves.Butitbecamedifficultafterthat,especiallyashewassoexceptionallybroad.Hewouldhaveusedhisarmsandhishandstopushhimselfup;butinsteadofthemheonlyhadallthoselittlelegscontinuouslymovingindifferentdirections,andwhichhewasmoreoverunabletocontrol.Ifhewantedtobendoneofthem,thenthatwasthefirstonethatwouldstretchitselfout;andifhefinallymanagedtodowhathewantedwiththatleg,alltheothersseemedtobesetfreeandwouldmoveaboutpainfully."Thisissomethingthatcan'tb

    edoneinbed",Gregorsaidtohimself,"sodon'tkeeptryingtodoit".Thefirstthinghewantedtodowasgetthelowerpartofhisbodyoutofthebed,buthehadneverseenthislowerpart,andcouldnotimaginewhatitlookedlike;itturnedouttobetoohardtomove;itwentsoslowly;andfinally,almostinafrenzy,whenhecarelesslyshovedhimselfforwardswithalltheforcehecouldgather,hechosethewrongdirection,hithardagainstthelowerbedpost,andlearnedfromtheburningpainhefeltthatthelowerpartofhisbodymightwell,atpresent,bethemostsensitive.Sothenhetriedtogetthetoppartofhisbodyoutofthebedfirst,carefullyturninghisheadtotheside.Thishemanagedquiteeasily,anddespiteitsbreadthanditsweight,thebulkofhisbodye

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    ventuallyfollowedslowlyinthedirectionofthehead.Butwhenhehadatlastgothisheadoutofthebedandintothefreshairitoccurredtohimthatifhelethimselffallitwouldbeamiracleifhisheadwerenotinjured,sohebecameafraidtocarryonpushinghimselfforwardthesameway.Andhecouldnotknockhimselfoutnowatanyprice;bettertostayinbedthanloseconsciousness.Ittookjustasmuchefforttogetbacktowherehehadbeenearlier,butwhenhelaytheresighing,andwasoncemorewatchinghislegsastheystruggledagainsteachotherevenharderthanbefore,ifthatwaspossible,hecouldthinkofnowayofbringingpeaceandordertothischaos.Hetoldhimselfoncemorethatitwasnotpossibleforhimtostayinbedandthatthemostsensiblethingtodowouldbetogetfreeofitinwhateverwayhecouldatwhateversacrifice.Atthesametime,though,hedidnotforgettoremindhimselfthatcalmconsiderationwasmuchbetterthanrushingtodesperateconclusions.Attimeslikethishewoulddirecthiseyestothewindowandlookoutasclearlyashecould,butunfortunately,eventheothersideofthenarrowstreetwasenvelopedinmorningfogandtheviewhadlittleconfidenceorcheertoofferhim."Seveno'clock,already",hesaidtohimselfwhentheclockstruckagain,"seveno'clock,andthere'sstillafoglikethis."Andhelaytherequietlyawhilelonger,breathinglightlyasifheperhapsexpectedthetotalstillnesstobringthingsbacktotheirrealandnaturalstate.Butthenhesaidtohimself:"BeforeitstrikesquarterpastsevenI'lldefinitelyhavetohavegotproperlyoutofbed.Andbythensomebodywillhavecomeroundfromworktoaskwhat'shappenedtomeaswell,astheyopenupatworkbeforeseveno'clock."Andsohesethimselftothetaskofswingingtheentirelengthofhisbodyoutofthebedallatthesame

    time.Ifhesucceededinfallingoutofbedinthiswayandkepthisheadraisedashedidsohecouldprobablyavoidinjuringit.Hisbackseemedtobequitehard,andprobablynothingwouldhappentoitfallingontothecarpet.Hismainconcernwasfortheloudnoisehewasboundtomake,andwhicheventhroughallthedoorswouldprobablyraiseconcernifnotalarm.Butitwassomethingthathadtoberisked.WhenGregorwasalreadystickinghalfwayoutofthebed-thenewmethodwasmoreofagamethananeffort,allhehadtodowasrockbackandforth-itoccurredtohimhowsimpleeverythingwouldbeifsomebodycametohelphim.Twostrongpeople-hehadhisfatherandthemaidinmind-wouldhavebeenmorethanenough;theywouldonlyhavetopushtheirarmsunderthedomeofhisback,peelhimawayfromthebed,benddownwiththeloadandthenbepatientandcarefulasheswangoverontothefloor,where,hopefully,thelittlelegswouldfindause.Shouldhereallycallforhelpthough,evenapartfro

    mthefactthatallthedoorswerelocked?Despiteallthedifficultyhewasin,hecouldnotsuppressasmileatthisthought.Afterawhilehehadalreadymovedsofaracrossthatitwouldhavebeenhardforhimtokeephisbalanceifherockedtoohard.Thetimewasnowtenpastsevenandhewouldhavetomakeafinaldecisionverysoon.Thentherewasaringatthedooroftheflat."That'llbesomeonefromwork",hesaidtohimself,andfrozeverystill,althoughhislittlelegsonlybecameallthemorelivelyastheydancedaround.Foramomenteverythingremainedquiet."They'renotopeningthedoor",Gregorsaidtohimself,caughtinsomenonsensicalhope.Butthenofcourse,themaid'sfirmstepswenttothedooraseverandopenedit.Gregoronlyneededtohearthevisitor'sfirstwordsofgreetingandheknewwhoitwas-thechiefclerkhimself.WhydidGregorhavetobetheonlyonecondemnedtoworkforacompanywheretheyimmediatelybecamehighlysuspiciousattheslightestshortcoming?Wereallemplo

    yees,everyoneofthem,louts,wastherenotoneofthemwhowasfaithfulanddevotedwhowouldgosomadwithpangsofconsciencethathecouldn'tgetoutofbedifhedidn'tspendatleastacoupleofhoursinthemorningoncompanybusiness?Wasitreallynotenoughtoletoneofthetraineesmakeenquiries-assumingenquirieswereevennecessary-didthechiefclerkhavetocomehimself,anddidtheyhavetoshowthewhole,innocentfamilythatthiswassosuspiciousthatonlythechiefclerkcouldbetrustedtohavethewisdomtoinvestigateit?Andmorebecausethesethoughtshadmadehimupsetthanthroughanyproperdecision,heswanghimselfwithallhisforceoutofthebed.Therewasaloudthump,butitwasn'treallyaloudnoise.Hisfallwassoftenedalittlebythecarp

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    et,andGregor'sbackwasalsomoreelasticthanhehadthought,whichmadethesoundmuffledandnottoonoticeable.Hehadnotheldhisheadcarefullyenough,though,andhititashefell;annoyedandinpain,heturneditandrubbeditagainstthecarpet."Something'sfallendowninthere",saidthechiefclerkintheroomontheleft.Gregortriedtoimaginewhethersomethingofthesortthathadhappenedtohimtodaycouldeverhappentothechiefclerktoo;youhadtoconcedethatitwaspossible.Butasifingruffreplytothisquestion,thechiefclerk'sfirmfootstepsinhishighlypolishedbootscouldnowbeheardintheadjoiningroom.Fromtheroomonhisright,Gregor'ssisterwhisperedtohimtolethimknow:"Gregor,thechiefclerkishere.""Yes,Iknow",saidGregortohimself;butwithoutdaringtoraisehisvoiceloudenoughforhissistertohearhim."Gregor",saidhisfathernowfromtheroomtohisleft,"thechiefclerkhascomeroundandwantstoknowwhyyoudidn'tleaveontheearlytrain.Wedon'tknowwhattosaytohim.Andanyway,hewantstospeaktoyoupersonally.Sopleaseopenupthisdoor.I'msurehe'llbegoodenoughtoforgivetheuntidinessofyourroom."Thenthechiefclerkcalled"Goodmorning,Mr.Samsa"."Heisn'twell",saidhismothertothechiefclerk,whilehisfathercontinuedtospeakthroughthedoor."Heisn'twell,pleasebelieveme.WhyelsewouldGregorhavemissedatrain!Theladonlyeverthinksaboutthebusiness.Itnearlymakesmecrossthewayhenevergoesoutintheevenings;he'sbeenintownforaweeknowbutstayedhomeeveryevening.Hesitswithusinthekitchenandjustreadsthepaperorstudiestraintimetables.Hisideaofrelaxationisworkingwithhisfretsaw.He'smadealittleframe,forinstance,itonlytookhimtwoorthreeevenings,you'llbeamazedhowniceitis;it'shangingupin

    hisroom;you'llseeitassoonasGregoropensthedoor.Anyway,I'mgladyou'rehere;wewouldn'thavebeenabletogetGregortoopenthedoorbyourselves;he'ssostubborn;andI'msureheisn'twell,hesaidthismorningthatheis,butheisn't.""I'llbethereinamoment",saidGregorslowlyandthoughtfully,butwithoutmovingsothathewouldnotmissanywordoftheconversation."WellIcan'tthinkofanyotherwayofexplainingit,Mrs.Samsa",saidthechiefclerk,"Ihopeit'snothingserious.Butontheotherhand,Imustsaythatifwepeopleincommerceeverbecomeslightlyunwellthen,fortunatelyorunfortunatelyasyoulike,wesimplyhavetoovercomeitbecauseofbusinessconsiderations.""Canthechiefclerkcomeintoseeyounowthen?",askedhisfatherimpatiently,knockingatthedooragain."No",saidGregor.Intheroomonhisrighttherefollowedapainfulsilence;intheroomonhislefthissisterbegantocry.Sowhydidhissisternotgoandjointheothers?Shehadprobablyonly

    justgotupandhadnotevenbeguntogetdressed.Andwhywasshecrying?Wasitbecausehehadnotgotup,andhadnotletthechiefclerkin,becausehewasindangeroflosinghisjobandifthathappenedhisbosswouldoncemorepursuetheirparentswiththesamedemandsasbefore?Therewasnoneedtoworryaboutthingslikethatyet.Gregorwasstillthereandhadnottheslightestintentionofabandoninghisfamily.Forthetimebeinghejustlaythereonthecarpet,andno-onewhoknewtheconditionhewasinwouldseriouslyhaveexpectedhimtoletthechiefclerkin.Itwasonlyaminordiscourtesy,andasuitableexcusecouldeasilybefoundforitlateron,itwasnotsomethingforwhichGregorcouldbesackedonthespot.AnditseemedtoGregormuchmoresensibletoleavehimnowinpeaceinsteadofdisturbinghimwithtalkingathimandcrying.Buttheothersdidn'tknowwhatwashappening,theywereworried,thatwouldexcusetheirbehaviour.Thechiefclerknowraisedhisvoice,"Mr.Samsa",hecall

    edtohim,"whatiswrong?Youbarricadeyourselfinyourroom,giveusnomorethanyesornoforananswer,youarecausingseriousandunnecessaryconcerntoyourparentsandyoufail-andImentionthisjustbytheway-youfailtocarryoutyourbusinessdutiesinawaythatisquiteunheardof.I'mspeakinghereonbehalfofyourparentsandofyouremployer,andreallymustrequestaclearandimmediateexplanation.Iamastonished,quiteastonished.IthoughtIknewyouasacalmandsensibleperson,andnowyousuddenlyseemtobeshowingoffwithpeculiarwhims.Thismorning,youremployerdidsuggestapossiblereasonforyourfailuretoappear,it'strue-ithadtodowiththemoneythatwasrecentlyentrustedtoyou-butIcameneartogivinghimmywordofhonourthat

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    thatcouldnotbetherightexplanation.ButnowthatIseeyourincomprehensiblestubbornnessInolongerfeelanywishwhatsoevertointercedeonyourbehalf.Andnorisyourpositionallthatsecure.Ihadoriginallyintendedtosayallthistoyouinprivate,butsinceyoucausemetowastemytimeherefornogoodreasonIdon'tseewhyyourparentsshouldnotalsolearnofit.Yourturnoverhasbeenveryunsatisfactoryoflate;Igrantyouthatit'snotthetimeofyeartodoespeciallygoodbusiness,werecognisethat;buttheresimplyisnotimeofyeartodonobusinessatall,Mr.Samsa,wecannotallowtheretobe.""ButSir",calledGregor,besidehimselfandforgettingallelseintheexcitement,"I'llopenupimmediately,justamoment.I'mslightlyunwell,anattackofdizziness,Ihaven'tbeenabletogetup.I'mstillinbednow.I'mquitefreshagainnow,though.I'mjustgettingoutofbed.Justamoment.Bepatient!It'snotquiteaseasyasI'dthought.I'mquitealrightnow,though.It'sshocking,whatcansuddenlyhappentoaperson!Iwasquitealrightlastnight,myparentsknowaboutit,perhapsbetterthanme,Ihadasmallsymptomofitlastnightalready.Theymusthavenoticedit.Idon'tknowwhyIdidn'tletyouknowatwork!Butyoualwaysthinkyoucangetoveranillnesswithoutstayingathome.Please,don'tmakemyparentssuffer!There'snobasisforanyoftheaccusationsyou'remaking;nobody'seversaidawordtomeaboutanyofthesethings.Maybeyouhaven'treadthelatestcontractsIsentin.I'llsetoffwiththeeighto'clocktrain,aswell,thesefewhoursofresthavegivenmestrength.Youdon'tneedtowait,sir;I'llbeintheofficesoonafteryou,andpleasebesogoodastotellthattothebossandrecommendmetohim!"AndwhileGregorgushedoutthesewords,hardlyknowingwhathewassaying,hemadehiswayo

    vertothechestofdrawers-thiswaseasilydone,probablybecauseofthepractisehehadalreadyhadinbed-wherehenowtriedtogethimselfupright.Hereallydidwanttoopenthedoor,reallydidwanttoletthemseehimandtospeakwiththechiefclerk;theotherswerebeingsoinsistent,andhewascurioustolearnwhattheywouldsaywhentheycaughtsightofhim.IftheywereshockedthenitwouldnolongerbeGregor'sresponsibilityandhecouldrest.If,however,theytookeverythingcalmlyhewouldstillhavenoreasontobeupset,andifhehurriedhereallycouldbeatthestationforeighto'clock.Thefirstfewtimeshetriedtoclimbuponthesmoothchestofdrawershejustsliddownagain,buthefinallygavehimselfonelastswingandstoodthereupright;thelowerpartofhisbodywasinseriouspainbuthenolongergaveanyattentiontoit.Nowhelethimselffallagainstthebackofanearbychairandheldtightlytotheedgesofitwithhislittlelegs.Bynowhehadalsocalmeddown,andke

    ptquietsothathecouldlistentowhatthechiefclerkwassaying."Didyouunderstandawordofallthat?"thechiefclerkaskedhisparents,"surelyhe'snottryingtomakefoolsofus"."Oh,God!"calledhismother,whowasalreadyintears,"hecouldbeseriouslyillandwe'remakinghimsuffer.Grete!Grete!"shethencried."Mother?"hissistercalledfromtheotherside.TheycommunicatedacrossGregor'sroom."You'llhavetogoforthedoctorstraightaway.Gregorisill.Quick,getthedoctor.DidyouhearthewayGregorspokejustnow?""Thatwasthevoiceofananimal",saidthechiefclerk,withacalmnessthatwasincontrastwithhismother'sscreams."Anna!Anna!"hisfathercalledintothekitchenthroughtheentrancehall,clappinghishands,"getalocksmithhere,now!"Andthetwogirls,theirskirtsswishing,immediatelyranoutthroughthehall,wrenchingopenthefrontdooroftheflatastheywent.Howhadhissistermanagedtogetdressedsoquickly?Therewasnosoundofthedoorbanging

    shutagain;theymusthaveleftitopen;peopleoftendoinhomeswheresomethingawfulhashappened.Gregor,incontrast,hadbecomemuchcalmer.Sotheycouldn'tunderstandhiswordsanymore,althoughtheyseemedclearenoughtohim,clearerthanbefore-perhapshisearshadbecomeusedtothesound.Theyhadrealised,though,thattherewassomethingwrongwithhim,andwerereadytohelp.Thefirstresponsetohissituationhadbeenconfidentandwise,andthatmadehimfeelbetter.Hefeltthathehadbeendrawnbackinamongpeople,andfromthedoctorandthelocksmithheexpectedgreatandsurprisingachievements-althoughhedidnotreallydistinguishonefromtheother.Whateverwassaidnextwouldbecrucial,so,inordertomakehisvoiceasclearaspossible,hecoug

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    hedalittle,buttakingcaretodothisnottooloudlyaseventhismightwellsounddifferentfromthewaythatahumancoughsandhewasnolongersurehecouldjudgethisforhimself.Meanwhile,ithadbecomeveryquietinthenextroom.Perhapshisparentsweresatatthetablewhisperingwiththechiefclerk,orperhapstheywereallpressedagainstthedoorandlistening.Gregorslowlypushedhiswayovertothedoorwiththechair.Oncethereheletgoofitandthrewhimselfontothedoor,holdinghimselfuprightagainstitusingtheadhesiveonthetipsofhislegs.Herestedtherealittlewhiletorecoverfromtheeffortinvolvedandthensethimselftothetaskofturningthekeyinthelockwithhismouth.Heseemed,unfortunately,tohavenoproperteeth-howwashe,then,tograspthekey?-butthelackofteethwas,ofcourse,madeupforwithaverystrongjaw;usingthejaw,hereallywasabletostartthekeyturning,ignoringthefactthathemusthavebeencausingsomekindofdamageasabrownfluidcamefromhismouth,flowedoverthekeyanddrippedontothefloor."Listen",saidthechiefclerkinthenextroom,"he'sturningthekey."Gregorwasgreatlyencouragedbythis;buttheyallshouldhavebeencallingtohim,hisfatherandhismothertoo:"Welldone,Gregor",theyshouldhavecried,"keepatit,keepholdofthelock!"Andwiththeideathattheywereallexcitedlyfollowinghisefforts,hebitonthekeywithallhisstrength,payingnoattentiontothepainhewascausinghimself.Asthekeyturnedroundheturnedaroundthelockwithit,onlyholdinghimselfuprightwithhismouth,andhungontothekeyorpusheditdownagainwiththewholeweightofhisbodyasneeded.TheclearsoundofthelockasitsnappedbackwasGregor'ssignthathecouldbreakhisconcentration,andasheregainedhisbreathhesaidtohimself:"So,Ididn't

    needthelocksmithafterall".Thenhelayhisheadonthehandleofthedoortoopenitcompletely.Becausehehadtoopenthedoorinthisway,itwasalreadywideopenbeforehecouldbeseen.Hehadfirsttoslowlyturnhimselfaroundoneofthedoubledoors,andhehadtodoitverycarefullyifhedidnotwanttofallflatonhisbackbeforeenteringtheroom.Hewasstilloccupiedwiththisdifficultmovement,unabletopayattentiontoanythingelse,whenheheardthechiefclerkexclaimaloud"Oh!",whichsoundedlikethesoughingofthewind.Nowhealsosawhim-hewasthenearesttothedoor-hishandpressedagainsthisopenmouthandslowlyretreatingasifdrivenbyasteadyandinvisibleforce.Gregor'smother,herhairstilldishevelledfrombeddespitethechiefclerk'sbeingthere,lookedathisfather.Thensheunfoldedherarms,tooktwostepsforwardtowardsGregorandsankdownontothefloorintoherskirtsthatspreadthemselvesoutaroundherasherheaddisappeareddownontoherbreast.Hi

    sfatherlookedhostile,andclenchedhisfistsasifwantingtoknockGregorbackintohisroom.Thenhelookeduncertainlyroundthelivingroom,coveredhiseyeswithhishandsandweptsothathispowerfulchestshook.SoGregordidnotgointotheroom,butleantagainsttheinsideoftheotherdoorwhichwasstillheldboltedinplace.Inthiswayonlyhalfofhisbodycouldbeseen,alongwithhisheadaboveitwhichheleantovertoonesideashepeeredoutattheothers.Meanwhilethedayhadbecomemuchlighter;partoftheendless,grey-blackbuildingontheothersideofthestreet-whichwasahospital-couldbeseenquiteclearlywiththeaustereandregularlineofwindowspiercingitsfacade;therainwasstillfalling,nowthrowingdownlarge,individualdropletswhichhitthegroundoneatatime.Thewashingupfrombreakfastlayonthetable;therewassomuchofitbecause,forGregor'sfather,breakfastwasthemostimportantmealofthedayandhewouldstretchitoutforseveralhoursashesat

    readinganumberofdifferentnewspapers.OnthewallexactlyoppositetherewasphotographofGregorwhenhewasalieutenantinthearmy,hisswordinhishandandacarefreesmileonhisfaceashecalledforthrespectforhisuniformandbearing.Thedoortotheentrancehallwasopenandasthefrontdooroftheflatwasalsoopenhecouldseeontothelandingandthestairswheretheybegantheirwaydownbelow."Now,then",saidGregor,wellawarethathewastheonlyonetohavekeptcalm,"I'llgetdressedstraightawaynow,packupmysamplesandsetoff.Willyoupleasejustletmeleave?Youcansee",hesaidtothechiefclerk,"thatI'mnotstubbornandlikeIliketodomyjob;beingacommercialtravellerisarduousbutwithouttravellingIcouldn'tearnmyliving.So

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    whereareyougoing,intotheoffice?Yes?Willyoureporteverythingaccurately,then?It'squitepossibleforsomeonetobetemporarilyunabletowork,butthat'sjusttherighttimetorememberwhat'sbeenachievedinthepastandconsiderthatlateron,oncethedifficultyhasbeenremoved,hewillcertainlyworkwithallthemorediligenceandconcentration.You'rewellawarethatI'mseriouslyindebttoouremployeraswellashavingtolookaftermyparentsandmysister,sothatI'mtrappedinadifficultsituation,butIwillworkmywayoutofitagain.Pleasedon'tmakethingsanyharderformethantheyarealready,anddon'ttakesidesagainstmeattheoffice.Iknowthatnobodylikesthetravellers.Theythinkweearnanenormouswageaswellashavingasofttimeofit.That'sjustprejudicebuttheyhavenoparticularreasontothinkbetterit.Butyou,sir,youhaveabetteroverviewthantherestofthestaff,infact,ifIcansaythisinconfidence,abetteroverviewthanthebosshimself-it'sveryeasyforabusinessmanlikehimtomakemistakesabouthisemployeesandjudgethemmoreharshlythanheshould.Andyou'realsowellawarethatwetravellersspendalmostthewholeyearawayfromtheoffice,sothatwecanveryeasilyfallvictimtogossipandchanceandgroundlesscomplaints,andit'salmostimpossibletodefendyourselffromthatsortofthing,wedon'tusuallyevenhearaboutthem,orifatallit'swhenwearrivebackhomeexhaustedfromatrip,andthat'swhenwefeeltheharmfuleffectsofwhat'sbeengoingonwithoutevenknowingwhatcausedthem.Please,don'tgoaway,atleastfirstsaysomethingtoshowthatyougrantthatI'matleastpartlyright!"ButthechiefclerkhadturnedawayassoonasGregorhadstartedtospeak,and,withprotrudinglips,onlystaredbackathimoverhistremblingshouldersasheleft.Hedidnotkeep

    stillforamomentwhileGregorwasspeaking,butmovedsteadilytowardsthedoorwithouttakinghiseyesoffhim.Hemovedverygradually,asiftherehadbeensomesecretprohibitiononleavingtheroom.Itwasonlywhenhehadreachedtheentrancehallthathemadeasuddenmovement,drewhisfootfromthelivingroom,andrushedforwardinapanic.Inthehall,hestretchedhisrighthandfarouttowardsthestairwayasifoutthere,thereweresomesupernaturalforcewaitingtosavehim.Gregorrealisedthatitwasoutofthequestiontoletthechiefclerkgoawayinthismoodifhispositioninthefirmwasnottobeputintoextremedanger.Thatwassomethinghisparentsdidnotunderstandverywell;overtheyears,theyhadbecomeconvincedthatthisjobwouldprovideforGregorforhisentirelife,andbesides,theyhadsomuchtoworryaboutatpresentthattheyhadlostsightofanythoughtforthefuture.Gregor,though,didthinkaboutthefuture.Thechiefclerkhadtobeheldback,calmeddown,convin

    cedandfinallywonover;thefutureofGregorandhisfamilydependedonit!Ifonlyhissisterwerehere!Shewasclever;shewasalreadyintearswhileGregorwasstilllyingpeacefullyonhisback.Andthechiefclerkwasaloverofwomen,surelyshecouldpersuadehim;shewouldclosethefrontdoorintheentrancehallandtalkhimoutofhisshockedstate.Buthissisterwasnotthere,Gregorwouldhavetodothejobhimself.Andwithoutconsideringthathestillwasnotfamiliarwithhowwellhecouldmoveaboutinhispresentstate,orthathisspeechstillmightnot-orprobablywouldnot-beunderstood,heletgoofthedoor;pushedhimselfthroughtheopening;triedtoreachthechiefclerkonthelandingwho,ridiculously,washoldingontothebanisterwithbothhands;butGregorfellimmediatelyoverand,withalittlescreamashesoughtsomethingtoholdonto,landedonhisnumerouslittlelegs.Hardlyhadthathappenedthan,forthefirsttimethatday,hebegantofeelalrightwithhisbody;thelitt

    lelegshadthesolidgroundunderthem;tohispleasure,theydidexactlyashetoldthem;theywereevenmakingtheefforttocarryhimwherehewantedtogo;andhewassoonbelievingthatallhissorrowswouldsoonbefinallyatanend.Heheldbacktheurgetomovebutswayedfromsidetosideashecrouchedthereonthefloor.Hismotherwasnotfarawayinfrontofhimandseemed,atfirst,quiteengrossedinherself,butthenshesuddenlyjumpedupwithherarmsoutstretchedandherfingersspreadshouting:"Help,forpity'ssake,Help!"ThewaysheheldherheadsuggestedshewantedtoseeGregorbetter,buttheunthinkingwayshewashurryingbackwardsshowedthatshedidnot;shehadforgottenthatthetablewasbehindherwithallthebreakfastthingsonit;whenshereached

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    thetableshesatquicklydownonitwithoutknowingwhatshewasdoing;withoutevenseemingtonoticethatthecoffeepothadbeenknockedoverandagushofcoffeewaspouringdownontothecarpet."Mother,mother",saidGregorgently,lookingupather.Hehadcompletelyforgottenthechiefclerkforthemoment,butcouldnothelphimselfsnappingintheairwithhisjawsatthesightoftheflowofcoffee.Thatsethismotherscreaminganew,shefledfromthetableandintothearmsofhisfatherasherushedtowardsher.Gregor,though,hadnotimetospareforhisparentsnow;thechiefclerkhadalreadyreachedthestairs;withhischinonthebanister,helookedbackforthelasttime.Gregormadearunforhim;hewantedtobesureofreachinghim;thechiefclerkmusthaveexpectedsomething,asheleaptdownseveralstepsatonceanddisappeared;hisshoutsresoundingallaroundthestaircase.Theflightofthechiefclerkseemed,unfortunately,toputGregor'sfatherintoapanicaswell.Untilthenhehadbeenrelativelyselfcontrolled,butnow,insteadofrunningafterthechiefclerkhimself,oratleastnotimpedingGregorasheranafterhim,Gregor'sfatherseizedthechiefclerk'sstickinhisrighthand(thechiefclerkhadleftitbehindonachair,alongwithhishatandovercoat),pickedupalargenewspaperfromthetablewithhisleft,andusedthemtodriveGregorbackintohisroom,stampinghisfootathimashewent.Gregor'sappealstohisfatherwereofnohelp,hisappealsweresimplynotunderstood,howevermuchhehumblyturnedhisheadhisfathermerelystampedhisfootalltheharder.Acrosstheroom,despitethechillyweather,Gregor'smotherhadpulledopenawindow,leantfaroutofitandpressedherhandstoherface.Astrongdraughtofairflewinfromthestreettowardsthestairway,thecurtainsflewup,thenewspapersonthetable

    flutteredandsomeofthemwereblownontothefloor.NothingwouldstopGregor'sfatherashedrovehimback,makinghissingnoisesathimlikeawildman.Gregorhadneverhadanypracticeinmovingbackwardsandwasonlyabletogoveryslowly.IfGregorhadonlybeenallowedtoturnroundhewouldhavebeenbackinhisroomstraightaway,buthewasafraidthatifhetookthetimetodothathisfatherwouldbecomeimpatient,andtherewasthethreatofalethalblowtohisbackorheadfromthestickinhisfather'shandanymoment.Eventually,though,Gregorrealisedthathehadnochoiceashesaw,tohisdisgust,thathewasquiteincapableofgoingbackwardsinastraightline;sohebegan,asquicklyaspossibleandwithfrequentanxiousglancesathisfather,toturnhimselfround.Itwentveryslowly,butperhapshisfatherwasabletoseehisgoodintentionsashedidnothingtohinderhim,infactnowandthenheusedthetipofhissticktogivedirectionsfromadistanceastowhichwaytoturn.Ifonl

    yhisfatherwouldstopthatunbearablehissing!ItwasmakingGregorquiteconfused.Whenhehadnearlyfinishedturninground,stilllisteningtothathissing,hemadeamistakeandturnedhimselfbackalittlethewayhehadjustcome.Hewaspleasedwhenhefinallyhadhisheadinfrontofthedoorway,butthensawthatitwastoonarrow,andhisbodywastoobroadtogetthroughitwithoutfurtherdifficulty.Inhispresentmood,itobviouslydidnotoccurtohisfathertoopentheotherofthedoubledoorssothatGregorwouldhaveenoughspacetogetthrough.HewasmerelyfixedontheideathatGregorshouldbegotbackintohisroomasquicklyaspossible.NorwouldheeverhaveallowedGregorthetimetogethimselfuprightaspreparationforgettingthroughthedoorway.Whathedid,makingmorenoisethanever,wastodriveGregorforwardsalltheharderasiftherehadbeennothingintheway;itsoundedtoGregorasiftherewasnowmorethanonefatherbehindhim;itwasnotapleasantexperience,andGre

    gorpushedhimselfintothedoorwaywithoutregardforwhatmighthappen.Onesideofhisbodylifteditself,helayatanangleinthedoorway,oneflankscrapedonthewhitedoorandwaspainfullyinjured,leavingvilebrownflecksonit,soonhewasstuckfastandwouldnothavebeenabletomoveatallbyhimself,thelittlelegsalongonesidehungquiveringintheairwhilethoseontheothersidewerepressedpainfullyagainsttheground.Thenhisfathergavehimaheftyshovefrombehindwhichreleasedhimfromwherehewasheldandsenthimflying,andheavilybleeding,deepintohisroom.Thedoorwasslammedshutwiththestick,then,finally,allwasquiet.IIItwasnotuntilitwasgettingdarkthateveningthatGregorawokefromhisdeepandcoma-likesleep.Hewoul

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    dhavewokensoonafterwardsanywayevenifhehadn'tbeendisturbed,ashehadhadenoughsleepandfeltfullyrested.Buthehadtheimpressionthatsomehurriedstepsandthesoundofthedoorleadingintothefrontroombeingcarefullyshuthadwokenhim.Thelightfromtheelectricstreetlampsshonepalelyhereandthereontotheceilingandtopsofthefurniture,butdownbelow,whereGregorwas,itwasdark.Hepushedhimselfovertothedoor,feelinghiswayclumsilywithhisantennae-ofwhichhewasnowbeginningtolearnthevalue-inordertoseewhathadbeenhappeningthere.Thewholeofhisleftsideseemedlikeone,painfullystretchedscar,andhelimpedbadlyonhistworowsoflegs.Oneofthelegshadbeenbadlyinjuredintheeventsofthatmorning-itwasnearlyamiraclethatonlyoneofthemhadbeen-anddraggedalonglifelessly.Itwasonlywhenhehadreachedthedoorthatherealisedwhatitactuallywasthathaddrawnhimovertoit;itwasthesmellofsomethingtoeat.Bythedoortherewasadishfilledwithsweetenedmilkwithlittlepiecesofwhitebreadfloatinginit.Hewassopleasedhealmostlaughed,ashewasevenhungrierthanhehadbeenthatmorning,andimmediatelydippedhisheadintothemilk,nearlycoveringhiseyeswithit.Buthesoondrewhisheadbackagainindisappointment;notonlydidthepaininhistenderleftsidemakeitdifficulttoeatthefood-hewasonlyabletoeatifhiswholebodyworkedtogetherasasnufflingwhole-butthemilkdidnottasteatallnice.Milklikethiswasnormallyhisfavouritedrink,andhissisterhadcertainlyleftitthereforhimbecauseofthat,butheturned,almostagainsthisownwill,awayfromthedishandcrawledbackintothecentreoftheroom.Throughthecrackinthedoor,Gregorcouldseethatthegashadbeenlitinthelivingroom.Hisfatheratthistimewould

    normallybesatwithhiseveningpaper,readingitoutinaloudvoicetoGregor'smother,andsometimestohissister,buttherewasnownotasoundtobeheard.Gregor'ssisterwouldoftenwriteandtellhimaboutthisreading,butmaybehisfatherhadlostthehabitinrecenttimes.Itwassoquietallaroundtoo,eventhoughtheremusthavebeensomebodyintheflat."Whataquietlifeitisthefamilylead",saidGregortohimself,and,gazingintothedarkness,feltagreatpridethathewasabletoprovidealifelikethatinsuchanicehomeforhissisterandparents.Butwhatnow,ifallthispeaceandwealthandcomfortshouldcometoahorribleandfrighteningend?ThatwassomethingthatGregordidnotwanttothinkabouttoomuch,sohestartedtomoveabout,crawlingupanddowntheroom.Onceduringthatlongevening,thedoorononesideoftheroomwasopenedveryslightlyandhurriedlyclosedagain;lateronthedoorontheothersidedidthesame;itseemedthatsomeoneneededtoentertheroombut

    thoughtbetterofit.Gregorwentandwaitedimmediatelybythedoor,resolvedeithertobringthetimorousvisitorintotheroominsomewayoratleasttofindoutwhoitwas;butthedoorwasopenednomorethatnightandGregorwaitedinvain.Thepreviousmorningwhilethedoorswerelockedeveryonehadwantedtogetintheretohim,butnow,nowthathehadopeneduponeofthedoorsandtheotherhadclearlybeenunlockedsometimeduringtheday,no-onecame,andthekeyswereintheothersides.Itwasnotuntillateatnightthatthegaslightinthelivingroomwasputout,andnowitwaseasytoseethatparentsandsisterhadstayedawakeallthattime,astheyallcouldbedistinctlyheardastheywentawaytogetherontip-toe.Itwasclearthatno-onewouldcomeintoGregor'sroomanymoreuntilmorning;thatgavehimplentyoftimetothinkundisturbedabouthowhewouldhavetore-arrangehislife.Forsomereason,thetall,emptyroomwherehewasforcedtoremainmadehimfeeluneasyashelaytherefl

    atonthefloor,eventhoughhehadbeenlivinginitforfiveyears.Hardlyawareofwhathewasdoingotherthanaslightfeelingofshame,hehurriedunderthecouch.Itpresseddownonhisbackalittle,andhewasnolongerabletolifthishead,buthenonethelessfeltimmediatelyateaseandhisonlyregretwasthathisbodywastoobroadtogetitallunderneath.Hespentthewholenightthere.Someofthetimehepassedinalightsleep,althoughhefrequentlywokefromitinalarmbecauseofhishunger,andsomeofthetimewasspentinworriesandvaguehopeswhich,however,alwaysledtothesameconclusion:forthetimebeinghemustremaincalm,hemustshowpatienceandthegreatestconsiderationsothathisfamilycouldbeartheunpleasantnessthathe,inhispresentco

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    ndition,wasforcedtoimposeonthem.Gregorsoonhadtheopportunitytotestthestrengthofhisdecisions,asearlythenextmorning,almostbeforethenighthadended,hissister,nearlyfullydressed,openedthedoorfromthefrontroomandlookedanxiouslyin.Shedidnotseehimstraightaway,butwhenshedidnoticehimunderthecouch-hehadtobesomewhere,forGod'ssake,hecouldn'thaveflownaway-shewassoshockedthatshelostcontrolofherselfandslammedthedoorshutagainfromoutside.Butsheseemedtoregretherbehaviour,assheopenedthedooragainstraightawayandcameinontip-toeasifenteringtheroomofsomeoneseriouslyillorevenofastranger.Gregorhadpushedhisheadforward,righttotheedgeofthecouch,andwatchedher.Wouldshenoticethathehadleftthemilkasitwas,realisethatitwasnotfromanylackofhungerandbringhiminsomeotherfoodthatwasmoresuitable?Ifshedidn'tdoitherselfhewouldrathergohungrythandrawherattentiontoit,althoughhedidfeelaterribleurgetorushforwardfromunderthecouch,throwhimselfathissister'sfeetandbegherforsomethinggoodtoeat.However,hissisternoticedthefulldishimmediatelyandlookedatitandthefewdropsofmilksplashedarounditwithsomesurprise.Sheimmediatelypickeditup-usingarag,notherbarehands-andcarrieditout.Gregorwasextremelycuriousastowhatshewouldbringinitsplace,imaginingthewildestpossibilities,buthenevercouldhaveguessedwhathissister,inhergoodness,actuallydidbring.Inordertotesthistaste,shebroughthimawholeselectionofthings,allspreadoutonanoldnewspaper.Therewereold,half-rottenvegetables;bonesfromtheeveningmeal,coveredinwhitesaucethathadgonehard;afewraisinsandalmonds;somecheesethatGregorhaddeclaredinedibletwodaysbefore;adryrolland

    somebreadspreadwithbutterandsalt.Aswellasallthatshehadpouredsomewaterintothedish,whichhadprobablybeenpermanentlysetasideforGregor'suse,andplaceditbesidethem.Then,outofconsiderationforGregor'sfeelings,assheknewthathewouldnoteatinfrontofher,shehurriedoutagainandeventurnedthekeyinthelocksothatGregorwouldknowhecouldmakethingsascomfortableforhimselfasheliked.Gregor'slittlelegswhirred,atlasthecouldeat.What'smore,hisinjuriesmustalreadyhavecompletelyhealedashefoundnodifficultyinmoving.Thisamazedhim,asmorethanamonthearlierhehadcuthisfingerslightlywithaknife,hethoughtofhowhisfingerhadstillhurtthedaybeforeyesterday."AmIlesssensitivethanIusedtobe,then?",hethought,andwasalreadysuckinggreedilyatthecheesewhichhadimmediately,almostcompellingly,attractedhimmuchmorethantheotherfoodsonthenewspaper.Quicklyoneafteranother,hiseyeswateringwithpleasure,heconsum

    edthecheese,thevegetablesandthesauce;thefreshfoods,ontheotherhand,hedidn'tlikeatall,andevendraggedthethingshedidwanttoeatalittlewayawayfromthembecausehecouldn'tstandthesmell.Longafterhehadfinishedeatingandlaylethargicinthesameplace,hissisterslowlyturnedthekeyinthelockasasigntohimthatheshouldwithdraw.Hewasimmediatelystartled,althoughhehadbeenhalfasleep,andhehurriedbackunderthecouch.Butheneededgreatself-controltostaythereevenfortheshorttimethathissisterwasintheroom,aseatingsomuchfoodhadroundedouthisbodyalittleandhecouldhardlybreatheinthatnarrowspace.Halfsuffocating,hewatchedwithbulgingeyesashissisterunselfconsciouslytookabroomandsweptuptheleft-overs,mixingtheminwiththefoodhehadnoteventouchedatallasifitcouldnotbeusedanymore.Shequicklydroppeditallintoabin,closeditwithitswoodenlid,andcarriedeverythingout.Shehadhardlyturnedherbackbef

    oreGregorcameoutagainfromunderthecouchandstretchedhimself.ThiswashowGregorreceivedhisfoodeachdaynow,onceinthemorningwhilehisparentsandthemaidwerestillasleep,andthesecondtimeaftereveryonehadeatentheirmealatmiddayashisparentswouldsleepforalittlewhilethenaswell,andGregor'ssisterwouldsendthemaidawayonsomeerrand.Gregor'sfatherandmothercertainlydidnotwanthimtostarveeither,butperhapsitwouldhavebeenmorethantheycouldstandtohaveanymoreexperienceofhisfeedingthanbeingtoldaboutit,andperhapshissisterwantedtosparethemwhatdistressshecouldastheywereindeedsufferingenough.ItwasimpossibleforGregortofindoutwhattheyhadtoldthedoctorandthelocksmiththatfirstmorningtoge

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    tthemoutoftheflat.Asnobodycouldunderstandhim,nobody,notevenhissister,thoughtthathecouldunderstandthem,sohehadtobecontenttohearhissister'ssighsandappealstothesaintsasshemovedabouthisroom.Itwasonlylater,whenshehadbecomealittlemoreusedtoeverything-therewas,ofcourse,noquestionofhereverbecomingfullyusedtothesituation-thatGregorwouldsometimescatchafriendlycomment,oratleastacommentthatcouldbeconstruedasfriendly."He'senjoyedhisdinnertoday",shemightsaywhenhehaddiligentlyclearedawayallthefoodleftforhim,orifheleftmostofit,whichslowlybecamemoreandmorefrequent,shewouldoftensay,sadly,"noweverything'sjustbeenleftthereagain".AlthoughGregorwasn'tabletohearanynewsdirectlyhedidlistentomuchofwhatwassaidinthenextrooms,andwheneverheheardanyonespeakinghewouldscurrystraighttotheappropriatedoorandpresshiswholebodyagainstit.Therewasseldomanyconversation,especiallyatfirst,thatwasnotabouthiminsomeway,evenifonlyinsecret.Fortwowholedays,allthetalkateverymealtimewasaboutwhattheyshoulddonow;butevenbetweenmealstheyspokeaboutthesamesubjectastherewerealwaysatleasttwomembersofthefamilyathome-nobodywantedtobeathomebythemselvesanditwasoutofthequestiontoleavetheflatentirelyempty.AndontheveryfirstdaythemaidhadfallentoherkneesandbeggedGregor'smothertolethergowithoutdelay.Itwasnotveryclearhowmuchsheknewofwhathadhappenedbutsheleftwithinaquarterofanhour,tearfullythankingGregor'smotherforherdismissalasifshehaddoneheranenormousservice.Sheevensworeemphaticallynottotellanyonetheslightestaboutwhathadhappened,eventhoughno-onehadaskedthatofher.NowGregor'ssisteralsohadtohelphism

    otherwiththecooking;althoughthatwasnotsomuchbotherasno-oneateverymuch.Gregoroftenheardhowoneofthemwouldunsuccessfullyurgeanothertoeat,andreceivenomoreanswerthan"nothanks,I'vehadenough"orsomethingsimilar.No-onedrankverymucheither.Hissisterwouldsometimesaskhisfatherwhetherhewouldlikeabeer,hopingforthechancetogoandfetchitherself.Whenhisfatherthensaidnothingshewouldadd,sothathewouldnotfeelselfish,thatshecouldsendthehousekeeperforit,butthenhisfatherwouldclosethematterwithabig,loud"No",andnomorewouldbesaid.Evenbeforethefirstdayhadcometoanend,hisfatherhadexplainedtoGregor'smotherandsisterwhattheirfinancesandprospectswere.Nowandthenhestoodupfromthetableandtooksomereceiptordocumentfromthelittlecashboxhehadsavedfromhisbusinesswhenithadcollapsedfiveyearsearlier.Gregorheardhowheopenedthecomplicatedlockandthencloseditagainafterhehadtakentheitem

    hewanted.WhatheheardhisfathersaywassomeofthefirstgoodnewsthatGregorheardsincehehadfirstbeenincarceratedinhisroom.Hehadthoughtthatnothingatallremainedfromhisfather'sbusiness,atleasthehadnevertoldhimanythingdifferent,andGregorhadneveraskedhimaboutitanyway.Theirbusinessmisfortunehadreducedthefamilytoastateoftotaldespair,andGregor'sonlyconcernatthattimehadbeentoarrangethingssothattheycouldallforgetaboutitasquicklyaspossible.Sothenhestartedworkingespeciallyhard,withafieryvigourthatraisedhimfromajuniorsalesmantoatravellingrepresentativealmostovernight,bringingwithitthechancetoearnmoneyinquitedifferentways.Gregorconvertedhissuccessatworkstraightintocashthathecouldlayonthetableathomeforthebenefitofhisastonishedanddelightedfamily.Theyhadbeengoodtimesandtheyhadnevercomeagain,atleastnotwiththesamesplendour,eventhoughGregorhadlaterearnedsomuchthathew

    asinapositiontobearthecostsofthewholefamily,anddidbearthem.Theyhadevengotusedtoit,bothGregorandthefamily,theytookthemoneywithgratitudeandhewasgladtoprovideit,althoughtherewasnolongermuchwarmaffectiongiveninreturn.Gregoronlyremainedclosetohissisternow.Unlikehim,shewasveryfondofmusicandagiftedandexpressiveviolinist,itwashissecretplantosendhertotheconservatorynextyeareventhoughitwouldcausegreatexpensethatwouldhavetobemadeupforinsomeotherway.DuringGregor'sshortperiodsintown,conversationwithhissisterwouldoftenturntotheconservatorybutitwasonlyevermentionedasalovelydreamthatcouldneverberealised.Theirparentsdidnotliketohearthisinnocenttalk,butGrego

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    rthoughtaboutitquitehardanddecidedhewouldletthemknowwhatheplannedwithagrandannouncementofitonChristmasday.Thatwasthesortoftotallypointlessthingthatwentthroughhismindinhispresentstate,presseduprightagainstthedoorandlistening.Thereweretimeswhenhesimplybecametootiredtocontinuelistening,whenhisheadwouldfallwearilyagainstthedoorandhewouldpullitupagainwithastart,aseventheslightestnoisehecausedwouldbeheardnextdoorandtheywouldallgosilent."What'sthathe'sdoingnow",hisfatherwouldsayafterawhile,clearlyhavinggoneovertothedoor,andonlythenwouldtheinterruptedconversationslowlybetakenupagain.Whenexplainingthings,hisfatherrepeatedhimselfseveraltimes,partlybecauseitwasalongtimesincehehadbeenoccupiedwiththesemattershimselfandpartlybecauseGregor'smotherdidnotunderstandeverythingfirsttime.FromtheserepeatedexplanationsGregorlearned,tohispleasure,thatdespitealltheirmisfortunestherewasstillsomemoneyavailablefromtheolddays.Itwasnotalot,butithadnotbeentouchedinthemeantimeandsomeinteresthadaccumulated.Besidesthat,theyhadnotbeenusingupallthemoneythatGregorhadbeenbringinghomeeverymonth,keepingonlyalittleforhimself,sothatthat,too,hadbeenaccumulating.Behindthedoor,Gregornoddedwithenthusiasminhispleasureatthisunexpectedthriftandcaution.Hecouldactuallyhaveusedthissurplusmoneytoreducehisfather'sdebttohisboss,andthedaywhenhecouldhavefreedhimselffromthatjobwouldhavecomemuchcloser,butnowitwascertainlybetterthewayhisfatherhaddonethings.Thismoney,however,wascertainlynotenoughtoenablethefamilytoliveofftheinterest;itwasenoughtomaintainthemfor,perhaps,oneortwoyears,nomore.That'stosay,itwas

    moneythatshouldnotreallybetouchedbutsetasideforemergencies;moneytoliveonhadtobeearned.Hisfatherwashealthybutold,andlackinginselfconfidence.Duringthefiveyearsthathehadnotbeenworking-thefirstholidayinalifethathadbeenfullofstrainandnosuccess-hehadputonalotofweightandbecomeveryslowandclumsy.WouldGregor'selderlymothernowhavetogoandearnmoney?Shesufferedfromasthmaanditwasastrainforherjusttomoveaboutthehome,everyotherdaywouldbespentstrugglingforbreathonthesofabytheopenwindow.Wouldhissisterhavetogoandearnmoney?Shewasstillachildofseventeen,herlifeuptillthenhadbeenveryenviable,consistingofwearingniceclothes,sleepinglate,helpingoutinthebusiness,joininginwithafewmodestpleasuresandmostofallplayingtheviolin.Whenevertheybegantotalkoftheneedtoearnmoney,Gregorwouldalwaysfirstletgoofthedoorandthenthrowhimselfontothecool,leathersofanexttoit,as

    hebecamequitehotwithshameandregret.Hewouldoftenlietherethewholenightthrough,notsleepingawinkbutscratchingattheleatherforhoursonend.Orhemightgotoalltheeffortofpushingachairtothewindow,climbingupontothesilland,proppedupinthechair,leaningonthewindowtostareoutofit.Hehadusedtofeelagreatsenseoffreedomfromdoingthis,butdoingitnowwasobviouslysomethingmorerememberedthanexperienced,aswhatheactuallysawinthiswaywasbecominglessdistincteveryday,eventhingsthatwerequitenear;hehadusedtocursetheever-presentviewofthehospitalacrossthestreet,butnowhecouldnotseeitatall,andifhehadnotknownthathelivedinCharlottenstrasse,whichwasaquietstreetdespitebeinginthemiddleofthecity,hecouldhavethoughtthathewaslookingoutthewindowatabarrenwastewherethegreyskyandthegreyearthmingledinseparably.Hisobservantsisteronlyneededtonoticethechairtwicebeforeshewouldalwayspushit

    backtoitsexactpositionbythewindowaftershehadtidieduptheroom,andevenlefttheinnerpaneofthewindowopenfromthenon.IfGregorhadonlybeenabletospeaktohissisterandthankherforallthatshehadtodoforhimitwouldhavebeeneasierforhimtobearit;butasitwasitcausedhimpain.Hissister,naturally,triedasfaraspossibletopretendtherewasnothingburdensomeaboutit,andthelongeritwenton,ofcourse,thebettershewasabletodoso,butastimewentbyGregorwasalsoabletoseethroughitallsomuchbetter.Ithadevenbecomeveryunpleasantforhim,now,wheneversheenteredtheroom.Nosoonerhadshecomeinthanshewouldquicklyclosethedoorasaprecautionsothatno-onewouldhavetosuffertheviewintoGregor'sroom,the

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    nshewouldgostraighttothewindowandpullithurriedlyopenalmostasifsheweresuffocating.Evenifitwascold,shewouldstayatthewindowbreathingdeeplyforalittlewhile.ShewouldalarmGregortwiceadaywiththisrunningaboutandnoisemaking;hewouldstayunderthecouchshiveringthewholewhile,knowingfullwellthatshewouldcertainlyhavelikedtosparehimthisordeal,butitwasimpossibleforhertobeinthesameroomwithhimwiththewindowsclosed.Oneday,aboutamonthafterGregor'stransformationwhenhissisternolongerhadanyparticularreasontobeshockedathisappearance,shecameintotheroomalittleearlierthanusualandfoundhimstillstaringoutthewindow,motionless,andjustwherehewouldbemosthorrible.Initself,hissister'snotcomingintotheroomwouldhavebeennosurpriseforGregorasitwouldhavebeendifficultforhertoimmediatelyopenthewindowwhilehewasstillthere,butnotonlydidshenotcomein,shewentstraightbackandclosedthedoorbehindher,astrangerwouldhavethoughthehadthreatenedherandtriedtobiteher.Gregorwentstraighttohidehimselfunderthecouch,ofcourse,buthehadtowaituntilmiddaybeforehissistercamebackandsheseemedmuchmoreuneasythanusual.Itmadehimrealisethatshestillfoundhisappearanceunbearableandwouldcontinuetodoso,sheprobablyevenhadtoovercometheurgetofleewhenshesawthelittlebitofhimthatprotrudedfromunderthecouch.Oneday,inordertosparehereventhissight,hespentfourhourscarryingthebedsheetovertothecouchonhisbackandarrangeditsothathewascompletelycoveredandhissisterwouldnotbeabletoseehimevenifshebentdown.Ifshedidnotthinkthissheetwasnecessarythenallshehadtodowastakeitoffagain,asitwasclearenoughthatitwasnopleasureforGregortocuthimself

    offsocompletely.Sheleftthesheetwhereitwas.Gregoreventhoughtheglimpsedalookofgratitudeonetimewhenhecarefullylookedoutfromunderthesheettoseehowhissisterlikedthenewarrangement.Forthefirstfourteendays,Gregor'sparentscouldnotbringthemselvestocomeintotheroomtoseehim.Hewouldoftenhearthemsayhowtheyappreciatedallthenewworkhissisterwasdoingeventhough,before,theyhadseenherasagirlwhowassomewhatuselessandfrequentlybeenannoyedwithher.Butnowthetwoofthem,fatherandmother,wouldoftenbothwaitoutsidethedoorofGregor'sroomwhilehissistertidiedupinthere,andassoonasshewentoutagainshewouldhavetotellthemexactlyhoweverythinglooked,whatGregorhadeaten,howhehadbehavedthistimeandwhether,perhaps,anyslightimprovementcouldbeseen.HismotheralsowantedtogoinandvisitGregorrelativelysoonbuthisfatherandsisteratfirstpersuadedheragainstit.Gregorlistenedverycloselytoallthis,and

    approvedfully.Later,though,shehadtobeheldbackbyforce,whichmadehercallout:"LetmegoandseeGregor,heismyunfortunateson!Can'tyouunderstandIhavetoseehim?",andGregorwouldthinktohimselfthatmaybeitwouldbebetterifhismothercamein,noteverydayofcourse,butonedayaweek,perhaps;shecouldunderstandeverythingmuchbetterthanhissisterwho,forallhercourage,wasstilljustachildafterall,andreallymightnothavehadanadult'sappreciationoftheburdensomejobshehadtakenon.Gregor'swishtoseehismotherwassoonrealised.Outofconsiderationforhisparents,Gregorwantedtoavoidbeingseenatthewindowduringtheday,thefewsquaremetersofthefloordidnotgivehimmuchroomtocrawlabout,itwashardtojustliequietlythroughthenight,hisfoodsoonstoppedgivinghimanypleasureatall,andso,toentertainhimself,hegotintothehabitofcrawlingupanddownthewallsandceiling.Hewasespeciallyfondofhangingfromtheceiling;itwasqu

    itedifferentfromlyingonthefloor;hecouldbreathemorefreely;hisbodyhadalightswingtoit;andupthere,relaxedandalmosthappy,itmighthappenthathewouldsurpriseevenhimselfbylettinggooftheceilingandlandingonthefloorwithacrash.Butnow,ofcourse,hehadfarbettercontrolofhisbodythanbeforeand,evenwithafallasgreatasthat,causedhimselfnodamage.VerysoonhissisternoticedGregor'snewwayofentertaininghimself-hehad,afterall,lefttracesoftheadhesivefromhisfeetashecrawledabout-andgotitintoherheadtomakeitaseasyaspossibleforhimbyremovingthefurniturethatgotinhisway,especiallythechestofdrawersandthedesk.Now,thiswasnotsomethingthatshewouldbeabletodobyherself;shedidnotdare

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    toaskforhelpfromherfather;thesixteenyearoldmaidhadcarriedonbravelysincethecookhadleftbutshecertainlywouldnothavehelpedinthis,shehadevenaskedtobeallowedtokeepthekitchenlockedatalltimesandnevertohavetoopenthedoorunlessitwasespeciallyimportant;sohissisterhadnochoicebuttochoosesometimewhenGregor'sfatherwasnotthereandfetchhismothertohelpher.Assheapproachedtheroom,Gregorcouldhearhismotherexpressherjoy,butonceatthedoorshewentsilent.First,ofcourse,hissistercameinandlookedroundtoseethateverythingintheroomwasalright;andonlythendidshelethermotherenter.Gregorhadhurriedlypulledthesheetdownloweroverthecouchandputmorefoldsintoitsothateverythingreallylookedasifithadjustbeenthrowndownbychance.Gregoralsorefrained,thistime,fromspyingoutfromunderthesheet;hegaveupthechancetoseehismotheruntillaterandwassimplygladthatshehadcome."Youcancomein,hecan'tbeseen",saidhissister,obviouslyleadingherinbythehand.Theoldchestofdrawerswastooheavyforapairoffeeblewomentobeheavingabout,butGregorlistenedastheypusheditfromitsplace,hissisteralwaystakingontheheaviestpartoftheworkforherselfandignoringhermother'swarningsthatshewouldstrainherself.Thislastedaverylongtime.Afterlabouringatitforfifteenminutesormorehismothersaiditwouldbebettertoleavethechestwhereitwas,foronethingitwastooheavyforthemtogetthejobfinishedbeforeGregor'sfathergothomeandleavingitinthemiddleoftheroomitwouldbeinhiswayevenmore,andforanotherthingitwasn'tevensurethattakingthefurnitureawaywouldreallybeanyhelptohim.Shethoughtjusttheopposite;thesightofthebarewallssaddenedherrighttoherheart;andwhywouldn

    'tGregorfeelthesamewayaboutit,he'dbeenusedtothisfurnitureinhisroomforalongtimeanditwouldmakehimfeelabandonedtobeinanemptyroomlikethat.Then,quietly,almostwhisperingasifwantingGregor(whosewhereaboutsshedidnotknow)tohearnoteventhetoneofhervoice,asshewasconvincedthathedidnotunderstandherwords,sheadded"andbytakingthefurnitureaway,won'titseemlikewe'reshowingthatwe'vegivenupallhopeofimprovementandwe'reabandoninghimtocopeforhimself?Ithinkit'dbebesttoleavetheroomexactlythewayitwasbeforesothatwhenGregorcomesbacktousagainhe'llfindeverythingunchangedandhe'llbeabletoforgetthetimeinbetweenalltheeasier".HearingthesewordsfromhismothermadeGregorrealisethatthelackofanydirecthumancommunication,alongwiththemonotonouslifeledbythefamilyduringthesetwomonths,musthavemadehimconfused-hecouldthinkofnootherwayofexplainingtohimselfwhyhehadseriouslywantedhisroom

    emptiedout.Hadhereallywantedtotransformhisroomintoacave,awarmroomfittedoutwiththenicefurniturehehadinherited?Thatwouldhavelethimcrawlaroundunimpededinanydirection,butitwouldalsohavelethimquicklyforgethispastwhenhehadstillbeenhuman.Hehadcomeveryclosetoforgetting,andithadonlybeenthevoiceofhismother,unheardforsolong,thathadshakenhimoutofit.Nothingshouldberemoved;everythinghadtostay;hecouldnotdowithoutthegoodinfluencethefurniturehadonhiscondition;andifthefurnituremadeitdifficultforhimtocrawlaboutmindlesslythatwasnotalossbutagreatadvantage.Hissister,unfortunately,didnotagree;shehadbecomeusedtotheidea,notwithoutreason,thatshewasGregor'sspokesmantohisparentsaboutthethingsthatconcernedhim.Thismeantthathismother'sadvicenowwassufficientreasonforhertoinsistonremovingnotonlythechestofdrawersandthedesk,asshehadthoughtatfirst,butallthefurnitureap

    artfromtheall-importantcouch.Itwasmorethanchildishperversity,ofcourse,ortheunexpectedconfidenceshehadrecentlyacquired,thatmadeherinsist;shehadindeednoticedthatGregorneededalotofroomtocrawlaboutin,whereasthefurniture,asfarasanyonecouldsee,wasofnousetohimatall.Girlsofthatage,though,dobecomeenthusiasticaboutthingsandfeeltheymustgettheirwaywhenevertheycan.PerhapsthiswaswhattemptedGretetomakeGregor'ssituationseemevenmoreshockingthanitwassothatshecoulddoevenmoreforhim.GretewouldprobablybetheonlyonewhowoulddareenteraroomdominatedbyGregorcrawlingaboutthebarewallsbyhimself.Sosherefusedtolethermotherdissuadeher.Gregor'smotheralreadylookeduneasyinhisroom,

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    shesoonstoppedspeakingandhelpedGregor'ssistertogetthechestofdrawersoutwithwhatstrengthshehad.ThechestofdrawerswassomethingthatGregorcoulddowithoutifhehadto,butthewritingdeskhadtostay.Hardlyhadthetwowomenpushedthechestofdrawers,groaning,outoftheroomthanGregorpokedhisheadoutfromunderthecouchtoseewhathecoulddoaboutit.Hemeanttobeascarefulandconsiderateashecould,but,unfortunately,itwashismotherwhocamebackfirstwhileGreteinthenextroomhadherarmsroundthechest,pushingandpullingatitfromsidetosidebyherselfwithout,ofcourse,movingitaninch.HismotherwasnotusedtothesightofGregor,hemighthavemadeherill,soGregorhurriedbackwardstothefarendofthecouch.Inhisstartlement,though,hewasnotabletopreventthesheetatitsfrontfrommovingalittle.Itwasenoughtoattracthismother'sattention.Shestoodverystill,remainedthereamoment,andthenwentbackouttoGrete.Gregorkepttryingtoassurehimselfthatnothingunusualwashappening,itwasjustafewpiecesoffurniturebeingmovedafterall,buthesoonhadtoadmitthatthewomengoingtoandfro,theirlittlecallstoeachother,thescrapingofthefurnitureonthefloor,allthesethingsmadehimfeelasifhewerebeingassailedfromallsides.Withhisheadandlegspulledinagainsthimandhisbodypressedtothefloor,hewasforcedtoadmittohimselfthathecouldnotstandallofthismuchlonger.Theywereemptyinghisroomout;takingawayeverythingthatwasdeartohim;theyhadalreadytakenoutthechestcontaininghisfretsawandothertools;nowtheythreatenedtoremovethewritingdeskwithitsplaceclearlywornintothefloor,thedeskwherehehaddonehishomeworkasabusinesstrainee,athighschool,evenwhilehehadbeenatinfantschool-hereallycould

    notwaitanylongertoseewhetherthetwowomen'sintentionsweregood.Hehadnearlyforgottentheywerethereanyway,astheywerenowtootiredtosayanythingwhiletheyworkedandhecouldonlyheartheirfeetastheysteppedheavilyonthefloor.So,whilethewomenwereleantagainstthedeskintheotherroomcatchingtheirbreath,hesalliedout,changeddirectionfourtimesnotknowingwhatheshouldsavefirstbeforehisattentionwassuddenlycaughtbythepictureonthewall-whichwasalreadydenudedofeverythingelsethathadbeenonit-oftheladydressedincopiousfur.Hehurriedupontothepictureandpressedhimselfagainstitsglass,itheldhimfirmlyandfeltgoodonhishotbelly.Thispictureatleast,nowtotallycoveredbyGregor,wouldcertainlybetakenawaybyno-one.Heturnedhisheadtofacethedoorintothelivingroomsothathecouldwatchthewomenwhentheycameback.Theyhadnotallowedthemselvesalongrestandcamebackquitesoon;Gretehadputherarmaroundhermoth

    erandwasnearlycarryingher."Whatshallwetakenow,then?",saidGreteandlookedaround.HereyesmetthoseofGregoronthewall.Perhapsonlybecausehermotherwasthere,sheremainedcalm,bentherfacetohersothatshewouldnotlookroundandsaid,albeithurriedlyandwithatremorinhervoice:"Comeon,let'sgobackinthelivingroomforawhile?"GregorcouldseewhatGretehadinmind,shewantedtotakehermothersomewheresafeandthenchasehimdownfromthewall.Well,shecouldcertainlytryit!Hesatunyieldingonhispicture.HewouldratherjumpatGrete'sface.ButGrete'swordshadmadehermotherquiteworried,shesteppedtooneside,sawtheenormousbrownpatchagainsttheflowersofthewallpaper,andbeforesheevenrealiseditwasGregorthatshesawscreamed:"OhGod,ohGod!"Armsoutstretched,shefellontothecouchasifshehadgivenupeverythingandstayedthereimmobile."Gregor!"shoutedhissister,gloweringathimandshakingherfist.Thatwasthefirstwordsheh

    adspokentohimdirectlysincehistransformation.Sheranintotheotherroomtofetchsomekindofsmellingsaltstobringhermotheroutofherfaint;Gregorwantedtohelptoo-hecouldsavehispicturelater,althoughhestuckfasttotheglassandhadtopullhimselfoffbyforce;thenhe,too,ranintothenextroomasifhecouldadvisehissisterlikeintheolddays;buthehadtojuststandbehindherdoingnothing;shewaslookingintovariousbottles,hestartledherwhensheturnedround;abottlefelltothegroundandbroke;asplintercutGregor'sface,somekindofcausticmedicinesplashedalloverhim;now,withoutdelayinganylonger,Gretetookholdofallthebottlesshecouldandranwiththemintohermother;sheslammedthedoorshutwithherfoot.SonowGre

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    gorwasshutoutfromhismother,who,becauseofhim,mightbeneartodeath;hecouldnotopenthedoorifhedidnotwanttochasehissisteraway,andshehadtostaywithhismother;therewasnothingforhimtodobutwait;and,oppressedwithanxietyandself-reproach,hebegantocrawlabout,hecrawledovereverything,walls,furniture,ceiling,andfinallyinhisconfusionasthewholeroombegantospinaroundhimhefelldownintothemiddleofthedinnertable.Helaythereforawhile,numbandimmobile,allaroundhimitwasquiet,maybethatwasagoodsign.Thentherewassomeoneatthedoor.Themaid,ofcourse,hadlockedherselfinherkitchensothatGretewouldhavetogoandanswerit.Hisfatherhadarrivedhome."What'shappened?"werehisfirstwords;Grete'sappearancemusthavemadeeverythingcleartohim.Sheansweredhimwithsubduedvoice,andopenlypressedherfaceintohischest:"Mother'sfainted,butshe'sbetternow.Gregorgotout.""JustasIexpected",saidhisfather,"justasIalwayssaid,butyouwomenwouldn'tlisten,wouldyou."ItwascleartoGregorthatGretehadnotsaidenoughandthathisfathertookittomeanthatsomethingbadhadhappened,thathewasresponsibleforsomeactofviolence.ThatmeantGregorwouldnowhavetotrytocalmhisfather,ashedidnothavethetimetoexplainthingstohimevenifthathadbeenpossible.Sohefledtothedoorofhisroomandpressedhimselfagainstitsothathisfather,whenhecameinfromthehall,couldseestraightawaythatGregorhadthebestintentionsandwouldgobackintohisroomwithoutdelay,thatitwouldnotbenecessarytodrivehimbackbutthattheyhadonlytoopenthedoorandhewoulddisappear.Hisfather,though,wasnotinthemoodtonoticesubtletieslikethat;"Ah!",heshoutedashecamein,soundingasifhewerebothangryandgladatthesameti

    me.Gregordrewhisheadbackfromthedoorandliftedittowardshisfather.Hereallyhadnotimaginedhisfatherthewayhestoodtherenow;oflate,withhisnewhabitofcrawlingabout,hehadneglectedtopayattentiontowhatwasgoingontherestoftheflatthewayhehaddonebefore.Hereallyoughttohaveexpectedthingstohavechanged,butstill,still,wasthatreallyhisfather?ThesametiredmanasusedtobelayingthereentombedinhisbedwhenGregorcamebackfromhisbusinesstrips,whowouldreceivehimsittinginthearmchairinhisnightgownwhenhecamebackintheevenings;whowashardlyevenabletostandupbut,asasignofhispleasure,wouldjustraisehisarmsandwho,onthecoupleoftimesayearwhentheywentforawalktogetheronaSundayorpublicholidaywrappeduptightlyinhisovercoatbetweenGregorandhismother,wouldalwayslabourhiswayforwardalittlemoreslowlythanthem,whowerealreadywalkingslowlyforhissake;whowouldplacehisstickdowncarefullyand,if

    hewantedtosaysomethingwouldinvariablystopandgatherhiscompanionsaroundhim.Hewasstandingupstraightenoughnow;dressedinasmartblueuniformwithgoldbuttons,thesortwornbytheemployeesatthebankinginstitute;abovethehigh,stiffcollarofthecoathisstrongdouble-chinemerged;underthebushyeyebrows,hispiercing,darkeyeslookedoutfreshandalert;hisnormallyunkemptwhitehairwascombeddownpainfullyclosetohisscalp.Hetookhiscap,withitsgoldmonogramfrom,probably,somebank,andthrewitinanarcrightacrosstheroomontothesofa,puthishandsinhistrouserpockets,pushingbackthebottomofhislonguniformcoat,and,withlookofdetermination,walkedtowardsGregor.Heprobablydidnotevenknowhimselfwhathehadinmind,butnonethelessliftedhisfeetunusuallyhigh.Gregorwasamazedattheenormoussizeofthesolesofhisboots,butwastednotimewiththat-heknewfullwell,rightfromthefirstdayofhisnewlife,thathisfatherthoughtitnecessary

    toalwaysbeextremelystrictwithhim.Andsoheranuptohisfather,stoppedwhenhisfatherstopped,scurriedforwardsagainwhenhemoved,evenslightly.Inthiswaytheywentroundtheroomseveraltimeswithoutanythingdecisivehappening,withoutevengivingtheimpressionofachaseaseverythingwentsoslowly.Gregorremainedallthistimeonthefloor,largelybecausehefearedhisfathermightseeitasespeciallyprovokingifhefledontothewallorceiling.Whateverhedid,Gregorhadtoadmitthathecertainlywouldnotbeabletokeepupthisrunningaboutforlong,asforeachstephisfathertookhehadtocarryoutcountlessmovements.Hebecamenoticeablyshortofbreath,eveninhisearlierlifehislungshadnotbeenveryreliable.Now,ashelurchedaboutin

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    hiseffortstomusterallthestrengthhecouldforrunninghecouldhardlykeephiseyesopen;histhoughtsbecametooslowforhimtothinkofanyotherwayofsavinghimselfthanrunning;healmostforgotthatthewallswerethereforhimtousealthough,here,theywereconcealedbehindcarefullycarvedfurniturefullofnotchesandprotrusions-then,rightbesidehim,lightlytossed,somethingflewdownandrolledinfrontofhim.Itwasanapple;thenanotheroneimmediatelyflewathim;Gregorfrozeinshock;therewasnolongeranypointinrunningashisfatherhaddecidedtobombardhim.Hehadfilledhispocketswithfruitfromthebowlonthesideboardandnow,withouteventakingthetimeforcarefulaim,threwoneappleafteranother.Theselittle,redapplesrolledaboutonthefloor,knockingintoeachotherasiftheyhadelectricmotors.AnapplethrownwithoutmuchforceglancedagainstGregor'sbackandslidoffwithoutdoinganyharm.Anotheronehowever,immediatelyfollowingit,hitsquarelyandlodgedinhisback;Gregorwantedtodraghimselfaway,asifhecouldremovethesurprising,theincrediblepainbychanginghisposition;buthefeltasifnailedtothespotandspreadhimselfout,allhissensesinconfusion.Thelastthinghesawwasthedoorofhisroombeingpulledopen,hissisterwasscreaming,hismotherranoutinfrontofherinherblouse(ashissisterhadtakenoffsomeofherclothesaftershehadfaintedtomakeiteasierforhertobreathe),sherantohisfather,herskirtsunfastenedandslidingoneafteranothertotheground,stumblingovertheskirtsshepushedherselftohisfather,herarmsaroundhim,unitingherselfwithhimtotally-nowGregorlosthisabilitytoseeanything-herhandsbehindhisfather'sheadbegginghimtospareGregor'slife.IIINo-onedaredtoremovetheapplelodgedinGregor'sflesh,soitr

    emainedthereasavisiblereminderofhisinjury.Hehadsuffereditthereformorethanamonth,andhisconditionseemedseriousenoughtoremindevenhisfatherthatGregor,despitehiscurrentsadandrevoltingform,wasafamilymemberwhocouldnotbetreatedasanenemy.Onthecontrary,asafamilytherewasadutytoswallowanyrevulsionforhimandtobepatient,justtobepatient.Becauseofhisinjuries,Gregorhadlostmuchofhismobility-probablypermanently.Hehadbeenreducedtotheconditionofanancientinvalidandittookhimlong,longminutestocrawlacrosshisroom-crawlingovertheceilingwasoutofthequestion-butthisdeteriorationinhisconditionwasfully(inhisopinion)madeupforbythedoortothelivingroombeingleftopeneveryevening.Hegotintothehabitofcloselywatchingitforoneortwohoursbeforeitwasopenedandthen,lyinginthedarknessofhisroomwherehecouldnotbeseenfromthelivingroom,hecouldwatchthefamilyinthelightofthedinnertabl

    eandlistentotheirconversation-witheveryone'spermission,inaway,andthusquitedifferentlyfrombefore.Theynolongerheldthelivelyconversationsofearliertimes,ofcourse,theonesthatGregoralwaysthoughtaboutwithlongingwhenhewastiredandgettingintothedampbedinsomesmallhotelroom.Allofthemwereusuallyveryquietnowadays.Soonafterdinner,hisfatherwouldgotosleepinhischair;hismotherandsisterwouldurgeeachothertobequiet;hismother,bentdeeplyunderthelamp,wouldsewfancyunderwearforafashionshop;hissister,whohadtakenasalesjob,learnedshorthandandFrenchintheeveningssothatshemightbeabletogetabetterpositionlateron.SometimeshisfatherwouldwakeupandsaytoGregor'smother"you'redoingsomuchsewingagaintoday!",asifhedidnotknowthathehadbeendozing-andthenhewouldgobacktosleepagainwhilemotherandsisterwouldexchangeatiredgrin.Withakindofstubbornness,Gregor'sfatherrefusedtotakehisuniformo

    ffevenathome;whilehisnightgownhungunusedonitspegGregor'sfatherwouldslumberwherehewas,fullydressed,asifalwaysreadytoserveandexpectingtohearthevoiceofhissuperiorevenhere.Theuniformhadnotbeennewtostartwith,butasaresultofthisitslowlybecameevenshabbierdespitetheeffortsofGregor'smotherandsistertolookafterit.Gregorwouldoftenspendthewholeeveninglookingatallthestainsonthiscoat,withitsgoldbuttonsalwayskeptpolishedandshiny,whiletheoldmaninitwouldsleep,highlyuncomfortablebutpeaceful.Assoonasitstruckten,Gregor'smotherwouldspeakgentlytohisfathertowakehimandtrytopersuadehimtogotobed,ashecouldn'tsleepproperlywherehewasandhereallyhadtogethissleepifhewasto

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    beupatsixtogettowork.Butsincehehadbeeninworkhehadbecomemoreobstinateandwouldalwaysinsistonstayinglongeratthetable,eventhoughheregularlyfellasleepanditwasthenharderthanevertopersuadehimtoexchangethechairforhisbed.Then,howevermuchmotherandsisterwouldimportunehimwithlittlereproachesandwarningshewouldkeepslowlyshakinghisheadforaquarterofanhourwithhiseyesclosedandrefusingtogetup.Gregor'smotherwouldtugathissleeve,whisperendearmentsintohisear,Gregor'ssisterwouldleaveherworktohelphermother,butnothingwouldhaveanyeffectonhim.Hewouldjustsinkdeeperintohischair.Onlywhenthetwowomentookhimunderthearmshewouldabruptlyopenhiseyes,lookatthemoneaftertheotherandsay:"Whatalife!ThisiswhatpeaceIgetinmyoldage!"Andsupportedbythetwowomenhewouldlifthimselfupcarefullyasifhewerecarryingthegreatestloadhimself,letthewomentakehimtothedoor,sendthemoffandcarryonbyhimselfwhileGregor'smotherwouldthrowdownherneedleandhissisterherpensothattheycouldrunafterhisfatherandcontinuebeingofhelptohim.Who,inthistiredandoverworkedfamily,wouldhavehadtimetogivemoreattentiontoGregorthanwasabsolutelynecessary?Thehouseholdbudgetbecameevensmaller;sonowthemaidwasdismissed;anenormous,thick-bonedcharwomanwithwhitehairthatflappedaroundherheadcameeverymorningandeveningtodotheheaviestwork;everythingelsewaslookedafterbyGregor'smotherontopofthelargeamountofsewingworkshedid.Gregorevenlearned,listeningtotheeveningconversationaboutwhatpricetheyhadhopedfor,thatseveralitemsofjewellerybelongingtothefamilyhadbeensold,eventhoughbothmotherandsisterhadbeenveryfondofwearingthematfunctionsandcelebrations.Butth

    eloudestcomplaintwasthatalthoughtheflatwasmuchtoobigfortheirpresentcircumstances,theycouldnotmoveoutofit,therewasnoimaginablewayoftransferringGregortothenewaddress.Hecouldseequitewell,though,thatthereweremorereasonsthanconsiderationforhimthatmadeitdifficultforthemtomove,itwouldhavebeenquiteeasytotransporthiminanysuitablecratewithafewairholesinit;themainthingholdingthefamilybackfromtheirdecisiontomovewasmuchmoretodowiththeirtotaldespair,andthethoughtthattheyhadbeenstruckwithamisfortuneunlikeanythingexperiencedbyanyoneelsetheykneworwererelatedto.Theycarriedoutabsolutelyeverythingthattheworldexpectsfrompoorpeople,Gregor'sfatherbroughtbankemployeestheirbreakfast,hismothersacrificedherselfbywashingclothesforstrangers,hissisterranbackandforthbehindherdeskatthebehestofthecustomers,buttheyjustdidnothavethestrengthtodoanymore.AndtheinjuryinGregor'sback

    begantohurtasmuchaswhenitwasnew.AftertheyhadcomebackfromtakinghisfathertobedGregor'smotherandsisterwouldnowleavetheirworkwhereitwasandsitclosetogether,cheektocheek;hismotherwouldpointtoGregor'sroomandsay"Closethatdoor,Grete",andthen,whenhewasinthedarkagain,theywouldsitinthenextroomandtheirtearswouldmingle,ortheywouldsimplysittherestaringdry-eyedatthetable.Gregorhardlysleptatall,eithernightorday.Sometimeshewouldthinkoftakingoverthefamily'saffairs,justlikebefore,thenexttimethedoorwasopened;hehadlongforgottenabouthisbossandthechiefclerk,buttheywouldappearagaininhisthoughts,thesalesmenandtheapprentices,thatstupidteaboy,twoorthreefriendsfromotherbusinesses,oneofthechambermaidsfromaprovincialhotel,atendermemorythatappearedanddisappearedagain,acashierfromahatshopforwhomhisattentionhadbeenseriousbuttooslow,-allofthemappearedtohim,mixedtogether

    withstrangersandothershehadforgotten,butinsteadofhelpinghimandhisfamilytheywerealloftheminaccessible,andhewasgladwhentheydisappeared.Othertimeshewasnotatallinthemoodtolookafterhisfamily,hewasfilledwithsimplerageaboutthelackofattentionhewasshown,andalthoughhecouldthinkofnothinghewouldhavewanted,hemadeplansofhowhecouldgetintothepantrywherehecouldtakeallthethingshewasentitledto,evenifhewasnothungry.Gregor'ssisternolongerthoughtabouthowshecouldpleasehimbutwouldhurriedlypushsomefoodorotherintohisroomwithherfootbeforesherushedouttoworkinthemorningandatmidday,andintheeveningshewouldsweepitawayagainwiththebroom,indifferentastowhetherithadbeeneat

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    enor-moreoftenthannot-hadbeenlefttotallyuntouched.Shestillcleareduptheroomintheevening,butnowshecouldnothavebeenanyquickeraboutit.Smearsofdirtwereleftonthewalls,hereandtherewerelittleballsofdustandfilth.Atfirst,Gregorwentintooneoftheworstoftheseplaceswhenhissisterarrivedasareproachtoher,buthecouldhavestayedthereforweekswithouthissisterdoinganythingaboutit;shecouldseethedirtaswellashecouldbutshehadsimplydecidedtoleavehimtoit.Atthesametimeshebecametouchyinawaythatwasquitenewforherandwhicheveryoneinthefamilyunderstood-cleaningupGregor'sroomwasforherandheralone.Gregor'smotherdidoncethoroughlycleanhisroom,andneededtouseseveralbucketfulsofwatertodoit-althoughthatmuchdampnessalsomadeGregorillandhelayflatonthecouch,bitterandimmobile.Buthismotherwastobepunishedstillmoreforwhatshehaddone,ashardlyhadhissisterarrivedhomeintheeveningthanshenoticedthechangeinGregor'sroomand,highlyaggrieved,ranbackintothelivingroomwhere,despitehermothersraisedandimploringhands,shebrokeintoconvulsivetears.Herfather,ofcourse,wasstartledoutofhischairandthetwoparentslookedonastonishedandhelpless;thenthey,too,becameagitated;Gregor'sfather,standingtotherightofhismother,accusedherofnotleavingthecleaningofGregor'sroomtohissister;fromherleft,Gregor'ssisterscreamedatherthatshewasnevertocleanGregor'sroomagain;whilehismothertriedtodrawhisfather,whowasbesidehimselfwithanger,intothebedroom;hissister,quakingwithtears,thumpedonthetablewithhersmallfists;andGregorhissedinangerthatno-onehadeventhoughtofclosingthedoortosavehimthesightofthisandallitsnoise.Gregor'ssisterwasexhaustedfro

    mgoingouttowork,andlookingafterGregorasshehaddonebeforewasevenmoreworkforher,butevensohismotheroughtcertainlynottohavetakenherplace.Gregor,ontheotherhand,oughtnottobeneglected.Now,though,thecharwomanwashere.Thiselderlywidow,witharobustbonestructurethatmadeherabletowithstandthehardestofthingsinherlonglife,wasn'treallyrepelledbyGregor.Justbychanceoneday,ratherthananyrealcuriosity,sheopenedthedoortoGregor'sroomandfoundherselffacetofacewithhim.Hewastakentotallybysurprise,no-onewaschasinghimbuthebegantorushtoandfrowhileshejuststoodthereinamazementwithherhandscrossedinfrontofher.Fromthenonsheneverfailedtoopenthedoorslightlyeveryeveningandmorningandlookbrieflyinonhim.Atfirstshewouldcalltohimasshedidsowithwordsthatsheprobablyconsideredfriendly,suchas"comeonthen,youolddung-beetle!",or"lookattheolddung-beetlethere!"Gregorneverrespondedtobe

    ingspokentointhatway,butjustremainedwherehewaswithoutmovingasifthedoorhadneverevenbeenopened.Ifonlytheyhadtoldthischarwomantocleanuphisroomeverydayinsteadoflettingherdisturbhimfornoreasonwhenevershefeltlikeit!Oneday,earlyinthemorningwhileaheavyrainstruckthewindowpanes,perhapsindicatingthatspringwascoming,shebegantospeaktohiminthatwayonceagain.Gregorwassoresentfulofitthathestartedtomovetowardher,hewasslowandinfirm,butitwaslikeakindofattack.Insteadofbeingafraid,thecharwomanjustlifteduponeofthechairsfromnearthedoorandstoodtherewithhermouthopen,clearlyintendingnottoclosehermouthuntilthechairinherhandhadbeenslammeddownintoGregor'sback."Aren'tyoucominganycloser,then?",sheaskedwhenGregorturnedroundagain,andshecalmlyputthechairbackinthecorner.Gregorhadalmostentirelystoppedeating.Onlyifhehappenedtofindhimselfnexttothefoodthathadbeenprepar

    edforhimhemighttakesomeofitintohismouthtoplaywithit,leaveitthereafewhoursandthen,moreoftenthannot,spititoutagain.Atfirsthethoughtitwasdistressatthestateofhisroomthatstoppedhimeating,buthehadsoongotusedtothechangesmadethere.Theyhadgotintothehabitofputtingthingsintothisroomthattheyhadnoroomforanywhereelse,andtherewerenowmanysuchthingsasoneoftheroomsintheflathadbeenrentedouttothreegentlemen.Theseearnestgentlemen-allthreeofthemhadfullbeards,asGregorlearnedpeeringthroughthecrackinthedooroneday-werepainfullyinsistentonthings'beingtidy.Thismeantnotonlyintheirownroombut,sincetheyhadtakenaroominthisestablishment,intheentireflatandespecially

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    inthekitchen.Unnecessaryclutterwassomethingtheycouldnottolerate,especiallyifitwasdirty.Theyhadmoreoverbroughtmostoftheirownfurnishingsandequipmentwiththem.Forthisreason,manythingshadbecomesuperfluouswhich,althoughtheycouldnotbesold,thefamilydidnotwishtodiscard.AllthesethingsfoundtheirwayintoGregor'sroom.Thedustbinsfromthekitchenfoundtheirwayintheretoo.Thecharwomanwasalwaysinahurry,andanythingshecouldn'tuseforthetimebeingshewouldjustchuckinthere.He,fortunately,wouldusuallyseenomorethantheobjectandthehandthatheldit.Thewomanmostlikelymeanttofetchthethingsbackoutagainwhenshehadtimeandtheopportunity,ortothroweverythingoutinonego,butwhatactuallyhappenedwasthattheywereleftwheretheylandedwhentheyhadfirstbeenthrownunlessGregormadehiswaythroughthejunkandmoveditsomewhereelse.Atfirsthemoveditbecause,withnootherroomfreewherehecouldcrawlabout,hewasforcedto,butlateronhecametoenjoyitalthoughmovingaboutinthewaylefthimsadandtiredtodeathandhewouldremainimmobileforhoursafterwards.Thegentlemenwhorentedtheroomwouldsometimestaketheireveningmealathomeinthelivingroomthatwasusedbyeveryone,andsothedoortothisroomwasoftenkeptclosedintheevening.ButGregorfounditeasytogiveuphavingthedooropen,hehad,afterall,oftenfailedtomakeuseofitwhenitwasopenand,withoutthefamilyhavingnoticedit,laininhisroominitsdarkestcorner.Onetime,though,thecharwomanleftthedoortothelivingroomslightlyopen,anditremainedopenwhenthegentlemenwhorentedtheroomcameinintheeveningandthelightwasputon.Theysatupatthetablewhere,formerly,Gregorhadtakenhismealswithhisfatherandmother,theyunfoldedtheserviettes

    andpickeduptheirknivesandforks.Gregor'smotherimmediatelyappearedinthedoorwaywithadishofmeatandsoonbehindhercamehissisterwithadishpiledhighwithpotatoes.Thefoodwassteaming,andfilledtheroomwithitssmell.Thegentlemenbentoverthedishessetinfrontofthemasiftheywantedtotestthefoodbeforeeatingit,andthegentlemaninthemiddle,whoseemedtocountasanauthorityfortheothertwo,didindeedcutoffapieceofmeatwhileitwasstillinitsdish,clearlywishingtoestablishwhetheritwassufficientlycookedorwhetheritshouldbesentbacktothekitchen.Itwastohissatisfaction,andGregor'smotherandsister,whohadbeenlookingonanxiously,begantobreatheagainandsmiled.Thefamilythemselvesateinthekitchen.Nonetheless,Gregor'sfathercameintothelivingroombeforehewentintothekitchen,bowedoncewithhiscapinhishandanddidhisroundofthetable.Thegentlemenstoodasone,andmumbledsomethingintotheirbeards.Then,oncethe

    ywerealone,theyateinnearperfectsilence.ItseemedremarkabletoGregorthataboveallthevariousnoisesofeatingtheirchewingteethcouldstillbeheard,asiftheyhadwantedtoShowGregorthatyouneedteethinordertoeatanditwasnotpossibletoperformanythingwithjawsthataretoothlesshowevernicetheymightbe."I'dliketoeatsomething",saidGregoranxiously,"butnotanythinglikethey'reeating.Theydofeedthemselves.AndhereIam,dying!"Throughoutallthistime,Gregorcouldnotrememberhavingheardtheviolinbeingplayed,butthiseveningitbegantobeheardfromthekitchen.Thethreegentlemenhadalreadyfinishedtheirmeal,theoneinthemiddlehadproducedanewspaper,givenapagetoeachoftheothers,andnowtheyleantbackintheirchairsreadingthemandsmoking.Whentheviolinbeganplayingtheybecameattentive,stoodupandwentontip-toeovertothedoorofthehallwaywheretheystoodpressedagainsteachother.Someonemusthaveheardtheminthekitchen,a

    sGregor'sfathercalledout:"Istheplayingperhapsunpleasantforthegentlemen?Wecanstopitstraightaway.""Onthecontrary",saidthemiddlegentleman,"wouldtheyoungladynotliketocomeinandplayforushereintheroom,whereitis,afterall,muchmorecosyandcomfortable?""Ohyes,we'dloveto",calledbackGregor'sfatherasifhehadbeentheviolinplayerhimself.Thegentlemensteppedbackintotheroomandwaited.Gregor'sfathersoonappearedwiththemusicstand,hismotherwiththemusicandhissisterwiththeviolin.Shecalmlypreparedeverythingforhertobeginplaying;hisparents,whohadneverrentedaroomoutbeforeandthereforeshowedanexaggeratedcourtesytowardsthethreegentlemen,didnotevendaretositontheirownchairs;hisfatherle

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    antagainstthedoorwithhisrighthandpushedinbetweentwobuttonsonhisuniformcoat;hismother,though,wasofferedaseatbyoneofthegentlemenandsat-leavingthechairwherethegentlemanhappenedtohaveplacedit-outofthewayinacorner.Hissisterbegantoplay;fatherandmotherpaidcloseattention,oneoneachside,tothemovementsofherhands.Drawninbytheplaying,Gregorhaddaredtocomeforwardalittleandalreadyhadhisheadinthelivingroom.Before,hehadtakengreatprideinhowconsideratehewasbutnowithardlyoccurredtohimthathehadbecomesothoughtlessabouttheothers.What'smore,therewasnowallthemorereasontokeephimselfhiddenashewascoveredinthedustthatlayeverywhereinhisroomandflewupattheslightestmovement;hecarriedthreads,hairs,andremainsoffoodaboutonhisbackandsides;hewasmuchtooindifferenttoeverythingnowtolayonhisbackandwipehimselfonthecarpetlikehehadusedtodoseveraltimesaday.Anddespitethiscondition,hewasnottooshytomoveforwardalittleontotheimmaculatefloorofthelivingroom.No-onenoticedhim,though.Thefamilywastotallypreoccupiedwiththeviolinplaying;atfirst,thethreegentlemenhadputtheirhandsintheirpocketsandcomeupfartooclosebehindthemusicstandtolookatallthenotesbeingplayed,andtheymusthavedisturbedGregor'ssister,butsoon,incontrastwiththefamily,theywithdrewbacktothewindowwiththeirheadssunkandtalkingtoeachotherathalfvolume,andtheystayedbythewindowwhileGregor'sfatherobservedthemanxiously.Itreallynowseemedveryobviousthattheyhadexpectedtohearsomebeautifulorentertainingviolinplayingbuthadbeendisappointed,thattheyhadhadenoughofthewholeperformanceanditwasonlynowoutofpolitenessthattheyallowedtheirpeacetobedisturbed.

    Itwasespeciallyunnerving,thewaytheyallblewthesmokefromtheircigarettesupwardsfromtheirmouthandnoses.YetGregor'ssisterwasplayingsobeautifully.Herfacewasleanttooneside,followingthelinesofmusicwithacarefulandmelancholyexpression.Gregorcrawledalittlefurtherforward,keepinghisheadclosetothegroundsothathecouldmeethereyesifthechancecame.Washeananimalifmusiccouldcaptivatehimso?Itseemedtohimthathewasbeingshownthewaytotheunknownnourishmenthehadbeenyearningfor.Hewasdeterminedtomakehiswayforwardtohissisterandtugatherskirttoshowhershemightcomeintohisroomwithherviolin,asno-oneappreciatedherplayinghereasmuchashewould.Heneverwantedtoletheroutofhisroom,notwhilehelived,anyway;hisshockingappearanceshould,foronce,beofsomeusetohim;hewantedtobeateverydoorofhisroomatoncetohissandspitattheattackers;hissistershouldnotbeforcedtostaywithhim,though,butst

    ayofherownfreewill;shewouldsitbesidehimonthecouchwithherearbentdowntohimwhilehetoldherhowhehadalwaysintendedtosendhertotheconservatory,howhewouldhavetoldeveryoneaboutitlastChristmas-hadChristmasreallycomeandgonealready?-ifthismisfortunehadn'tgotintheway,andrefusetoletanyonedissuadehimfromit.Onhearingallthis,hissisterwouldbreakoutintearsofemotion,andGregorwouldclimbuptohershoulderandkissherneck,which,sinceshehadbeengoingouttowork,shehadkeptfreewithoutanynecklaceorcollar."Mr.Samsa!",shoutedthemiddlegentlemantoGregor'sfather,pointing,withoutwastinganymorewords,withhisforefingeratGregorasheslowlymovedforward.Theviolinwentsilent,themiddleofthethreegentlemenfirstsmiledathistwofriends,shakinghishead,andthenlookedbackatGregor.HisfatherseemedtothinkitmoreimportanttocalmthethreegentlemenbeforedrivingGregorout,eventhoughtheywerenotatallupsetand

    seemedtothinkGregorwasmoreentertainingthattheviolinplayinghadbeen.HerusheduptothemwithhisarmsspreadoutandattemptedtodrivethembackintotheirroomatthesametimeastryingtoblocktheirviewofGregorwithhisbody.Nowtheydidbecomealittleannoyed,anditwasnotclearwhetheritwashisfather'sbehaviourthatannoyedthemorthedawningrealisationthattheyhadhadaneighbourlikeGregorinthenextroomwithoutknowingit.TheyaskedGregor'sfatherforexplanations,raisedtheirarmslikehehad,tuggedexcitedlyattheirbeardsandmovedbacktowardstheirroomonlyveryslowly.MeanwhileGregor'ssisterhadovercomethedespairshehadfallenintowhenherplayingwassuddenlyinterrupted.Shehadletherhandsdropandletviolinandbowhan

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    glimplyforawhilebutcontinuedtolookatthemusicasifstillplaying,butthenshesuddenlypulledherselftogether,laytheinstrumentonhermother'slapwhostillsatlaboriouslystrugglingforbreathwhereshewas,andranintothenextroomwhich,underpressurefromherfather,thethreegentlemenweremorequicklymovingtoward.Underhissister'sexperiencedhand,thepillowsandcoversonthebedsflewupandwereputintoorderandshehadalreadyfinishedmakingthebedsandslippedoutagainbeforethethreegentlemenhadreachedtheroom.Gregor'sfatherseemedsoobsessedwithwhathewasdoingthatheforgotalltherespectheowedtohistenants.Heurgedthemandpressedthemuntil,whenhewasalreadyatthedooroftheroom,themiddleofthethreegentlemenshoutedlikethunderandstampedhisfootandtherebybroughtGregor'sfathertoahalt."Ideclarehereandnow",hesaid,raisinghishandandglancingatGregor'smotherandsistertogaintheirattentiontoo,"thatwithregardtotherepugnantconditionsthatprevailinthisflatandwiththisfamily"-herehelookedbrieflybutdecisivelyatthefloor-"Igiveimmediatenoticeonmyroom.ForthedaysthatIhavebeenlivinghereIwill,ofcourse,paynothingatall,onthecontraryIwillconsiderwhethertoproceedwithsomekindofactionfordamagesfromyou,andbelievemeitwouldbeveryeasytosetoutthegroundsforsuchanaction."Hewassilentandlookedstraightaheadasifwaitingforsomething.Andindeed,histwofriendsjoinedinwiththewords:"Andwealsogiveimmediatenotice."Withthat,hetookholdofthedoorhandleandslammedthedoor.Gregor'sfatherstaggeredbacktohisseat,feelinghiswaywithhishands,andfellintoit;itlookedasifhewasstretchinghimselfoutforhisusualeveningnapbutfromtheuncontrolledwayhisheadkeptnoddingitcouldbese

    enthathewasnotsleepingatall.Throughoutallthis,Gregorhadlainstillwherethethreegentlemenhadfirstseenhim.Hisdisappointmentatthefailureofhisplan,andperhapsalsobecausehewasweakfromhunger,madeitimpossibleforhimtomove.Hewassurethateveryonewouldturnonhimanymoment,andhewaited.Hewasnotevenstartledoutofthisstatewhentheviolinonhismother'slapfellfromhertremblingfingersandlandedloudlyonthefloor."Father,Mother",saidhissister,hittingthetablewithherhandasintroduction,"wecan'tcarryonlikethis.Maybeyoucan'tseeit,butIcan.Idon'twanttocallthismonstermybrother,allIcansayis:wehavetotryandgetridofit.We'vedoneallthat'shumanlypossibletolookafteritandbepatient,Idon'tthinkanyonecouldaccuseusofdoinganythingwrong.""She'sabsolutelyright",saidGregor'sfathertohimself.Hismother,whostillhadnothadtimetocatchherbreath,begantocoughdully,herhandheldoutinfrontofheran

    daderangedexpressioninhereyes.Gregor'ssisterrushedtohismotherandputherhandonherforehead.HerwordsseemedtogiveGregor'sfathersomemoredefiniteideas.Hesatupright,playedwithhisuniformcapbetweentheplatesleftbythethreegentlemenaftertheirmeal,andoccasionallylookeddownatGregorashelaythereimmobile."Wehavetotryandgetridofit",saidGregor'ssister,nowspeakingonlytoherfather,ashermotherwastoooccupiedwithcoughingtolisten,"it'llbethedeathofbothofyou,Icanseeitcoming.Wecan'tallworkashardaswehavetoandthencomehometobetorturedlikethis,wecan'tendureit.Ican'tendureitanymore."Andshebrokeoutsoheavilyintearsthattheyfloweddownthefaceofhermother,andshewipedthemawaywithmechanicalhandmovements."Mychild",saidherfatherwithsympathyandobviousunderstanding,"whatarewetodo?"Hissisterjustshruggedhershouldersasasignofthehelplessnessandtearsthathadtakenholdofher,displac

    ingherearliercertainty."Ifhecouldjustunderstandus",saidhisfatheralmostasaquestion;hissistershookherhandvigorouslythroughhertearsasasignthatofthattherewasnoquestion."Ifhecouldjustunderstandus",repeatedGregor'sfather,closinghiseyesinacceptanceofhissister'scertaintythatthatwasquiteimpossible,"thenperhapswecouldcometosomekindofarrangementwithhim.Butasitis...""It'sgottogo",shoutedhissister,"that'stheonlyway,Father.You'vegottogetridoftheideathatthat'sGregor.We'veonlyharmedourselvesbybelievingitforsolong.HowcanthatbeGregor?IfitwereGregorhewouldhaveseenlongagothatit'snotpossibleforhumanbeingstolivewithananimallikethatandhewouldhavegoneofhisownfree

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    will.Wewouldn'thaveabrotheranymore,then,butwecouldcarryonwithourlivesandrememberhimwithrespect.Asitisthisanimalispersecutingus,it'sdrivenoutourtenants,itobviouslywantstotakeoverthewholeflatandforceustosleeponthestreets.Father,look,justlook",shesuddenlyscreamed,"he'sstartingagain!"Inheralarm,whichwastotallybeyondGregor'scomprehension,hissisterevenabandonedhismotherasshepushedherselfvigorouslyoutofherchairasifmorewillingtosacrificeherownmotherthanstayanywherenearGregor.Sherushedovertobehindherfather,whohadbecomeexcitedmerelybecauseshewasandstooduphalfraisinghishandsinfrontofGregor'ssisterasiftoprotecther.ButGregorhadhadnointentionoffrighteninganyone,leastofallhissister.Allhehaddonewasbegintoturnroundsothathecouldgobackintohisroom,althoughthatwasinitselfquitestartlingashispain-wrackedconditionmeantthatturningroundrequiredagreatdealofeffortandhewasusinghisheadtohelphimselfdoit,repeatedlyraisingitandstrikingitagainstthefloor.Hestoppedandlookedround.Theyseemedtohaverealisedhisgoodintentionandhadonlybeenalarmedbriefly.Nowtheyalllookedathiminunhappysilence.Hismotherlayinherchairwithherlegsstretchedoutandpressedagainsteachother,hereyesnearlyclosedwithexhaustion;hissistersatnexttohisfatherwithherarmsaroundhisneck."Maybenowthey'llletmeturnround",thoughtGregorandwentbacktowork.Hecouldnothelppantingloudlywiththeeffortandhadsometimestostopandtakearest.No-onewasmakinghimrushanymore,everythingwasleftuptohim.Assoonashehadfinallyfinishedturningroundhebegantomovestraightahead.Hewasamazedatthegreatdistancethatseparatedhimfromhisroom,andcouldnotunderstan

    dhowhehadcoveredthatdistanceinhisweakstatealittlewhilebeforeandalmostwithoutnoticingit.Heconcentratedoncrawlingasfastashecouldandhardlynoticedthattherewasnotaword,notanycry,fromhisfamilytodistracthim.Hedidnotturnhisheaduntilhehadreachedthedoorway.Hedidnotturnitallthewayroundashefelthisneckbecomingstiff,butitwasnonethelessenoughtoseethatnothingbehindhimhadchanged,onlyhissisterhadstoodup.Withhislastglancehesawthathismotherhadnowfallencompletelyasleep.Hewashardlyinsidehisroombeforethedoorwashurriedlyshut,boltedandlocked.ThesuddennoisebehindGregorsostartledhimthathislittlelegscollapsedunderhim.Itwashissisterwhohadbeeninsomuchofarush.Shehadbeenstandingtherewaitingandsprungforwardlightly,Gregorhadnotheardhercomingatall,andassheturnedthekeyinthelockshesaidloudlytoherparents"Atlast!"."Whatnow,then?",Gregoraskedhimselfashelookedround

    inthedarkness.Hesoonmadethediscoverythathecouldnolongermoveatall.Thiswasnosurprisetohim,itseemedratherthatbeingabletoactuallymovearoundonthosespindlylittlelegsuntilthenwasunnatural.Healsofeltrelativelycomfortable.Itistruethathisentirebodywasaching,butthepainseemedtobeslowlygettingweakerandweakerandwouldfinallydisappearaltogether.Hecouldalreadyhardlyfeelthe