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  外语解密学习法 逆读法(Reverse Reading Method)   解读法(Decode-Reading Method)训练范文 ——                 

解密目标语言:德语                                解密辅助语言:英语
              Language to be decoded:  German             Auxiliary Language :  English  

  
         
解密文本:《变形记》  [奥] 卡夫卡 原著          
 
Die Verwandlung
 von  Franz Kafka

 

       The Metamorphosis 
                                                                                     by  Franz Kafka               
 
                                                             

    Part1     Part2    Part3   

           德汉对照(German & Chinese)                                   德英对照(German & English)                                      英汉对照(English & Chinese)


 

                                                I

    One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug. He lay on his armour-hard back and saw, as he lifted his head up a little, his brown, arched abdomen divided up into rigid bow-like sections. From this height the blanket, just about ready to slide off completely, could hardly stay in place. His numerous legs, pitifully thin in comparison to the rest of his circumference, flickered helplessly before his eyes.

"What's happened to me," he thought. It was no dream. His room, a proper room for a human being, only somewhat too small, lay quietly between the four well-known walls. Above the table, on which an unpacked collection of sample cloth goods was spread out (Samsa was a traveling salesman) hung the picture which he had cut out of an illustrated magazine a little while ago and set in a pretty gilt frame. It was a picture of a woman with a fur hat and a fur boa. She sat erect there, lifting up in the direction of the viewer a solid fur muff into which her entire forearm disappeared.

Gregor's glance then turned to the window. The dreary weather (the rain drops were falling audibly down on the metal window ledge) made him quite melancholy. "Why don't I keep sleeping for a little while longer and forget all this foolishness," he thought. But this was entirely impractical, for he was used to sleeping on his right side, and in his present state he couldn't get himself into this position. No matter how hard he threw himself onto his right side, he always rolled again onto his back. He must have tried it a hundred times, closing his eyes, so that he would not have to see the wriggling legs, and gave up only when he began to feel a light, dull pain in his side which he had never felt before.

"O God," he thought, "what a demanding job I've chosen! Day in, day out on the road. The stresses of trade are much greater than the work going on at head office, and, in addition to that, I have to deal with the problems of traveling, the worries about train connections, irregular bad food, temporary and constantly changing human relationships which never come from the heart. To hell with it all!" He felt a slight itching on the top of his abdomen. He slowly pushed himself on his back closer to the bed post so that he could lift his head more easily, found the itchy part, which was entirely covered with small white spots (he did not know what to make of them), and wanted to feel the place with a leg. But he retracted it immediately, for the contact felt like a cold shower all over him.

He slid back again into his earlier position. "This getting up early," he thought, "makes a man quite idiotic. A man must have his sleep. Other traveling salesmen live like harem women. For instance, when I come back to the inn during the course of the morning to write up the necessary orders, these gentlemen are just sitting down to breakfast. If I were to try that with my boss, I'd be thrown out on the spot. Still, who knows whether that mightn't be really good for me. If I didn't hold back for my parents' sake, I would've quit ages ago. I would've gone to the boss and told him just what I think from the bottom of my heart. He would've fallen right off his desk! How weird it is to sit up at the desk and talk down to the employee from way up there. The boss has trouble hearing, so the employee has to step up quite close to him. Anyway, I haven't completely given up that hope yet. Once I've got together the money to pay off the parents' debt to him--that should take another five or six years--I'll do it for sure. Then I'll make the big break. In any case, right now I have to get up. My train leaves at five o'clock."

And he looked over at the alarm clock ticking away by the chest of drawers. "Good God," he thought. It was half past six, and the hands were going quietly on. It was past the half hour, already nearly quarter to. Could the alarm have failed to ring? One saw from the bed that it was properly set for four o'clock. Certainly it had rung. Yes, but was it possible to sleep through this noise that made the furniture shake? Now, it's true he'd not slept quietly, but evidently he'd slept all the more deeply. Still, what should he do now? The next train left at seven o'clock. To catch that one, he would have to go in a mad rush. The sample collection wasn't packed up yet, and he really didn't feel particularly fresh and active. And even if he caught the train, there was no avoiding a blow up with the boss, because the firm's errand boy would've waited for the five o'clock train and reported the news of his absence long ago. He was the boss's minion, without backbone or intelligence. Well then, what if he reported in sick? But that would be extremely embarrassing and suspicious, because during his five years' service Gregor hadn't been sick even once. The boss would certainly come with the doctor from the health insurance company and would reproach his parents for their lazy son and cut short all objections with the insurance doctor's comments; for him everyone was completely healthy but really lazy about work. And besides, would the doctor in this case be totally wrong? Apart from a really excessive drowsiness after the long sleep, Gregor in fact felt quite well and even had a really strong appetite.

As he was thinking all this over in the greatest haste, without being able to make the decision to get out of bed (the alarm clock was indicating exactly quarter to seven) there was a cautious knock on the door by the head of the bed.

"Gregor," a voice called (it was his mother!) "it's quarter to seven. Don't you want to be on your way?" The soft voice! Gregor was startled when he heard his voice answering. It was clearly and unmistakably his earlier voice, but in it was intermingled, as if from below, an irrepressibly painful squeaking which left the words positively distinct only in the first moment and distorted them in the reverberation, so that one didn't know if one had heard correctly. Gregor wanted to answer in detail and explain everything, but in these circumstances he confined himself to saying, "Yes, yes, thank you mother. I'm getting up right away." Because of the wooden door the change in Gregor's voice was not really noticeable outside, so his mother calmed down with this explanation and shuffled off. However, as a result of the short conversation the other family members became aware of the fact that Gregor was unexpectedly still at home, and already his father was knocking on one side door, weakly but with his fist. "Gregor, Gregor," he called out, "what's going on?" And after a short while he urged him on again in a deeper voice. "Gregor!" Gregor!" At the other side door, however, his sister knocked lightly. "Gregor? Are you all right? Do you need anything?" Gregor directed answers in both directions, "I'll be ready right away." He made an effort with the most careful articulation and by inserting long pauses between the individual words to remove everything remarkable from his voice. His father turned back to his breakfast. However, the sister whispered, "Gregor, open the door, I beg you." Gregor had no intention of opening the door, but congratulated himself on his precaution, acquired from traveling, of locking all doors during the night, even at home.

First he wanted to stand up quietly and undisturbed, get dressed, above all have breakfast, and only then consider further action, for (he noticed this clearly) by thinking things over in bed he would not reach a reasonable conclusion. He remembered that he had already often felt a light pain or other in bed, perhaps the result of an awkward lying position, which later turned out to be purely imaginary when he stood up, and he was eager to see how his present fantasies would gradually dissipate. That the change in his voice was nothing other than the onset of a real chill, an occupational illness of commercial travelers, of that he had not the slightest doubt.

It was very easy to throw aside the blanket. He needed only to push himself up a little, and it fell by itself. But to continue was difficult, particularly because he was so unusually wide. He needed arms and hands to push himself upright. Instead of these, however, he had only many small limbs which were incessantly moving with very different motions and which, in addition, he was unable to control. If he wanted to bend one of them, then it was the first to extend itself, and if he finally succeeded doing with this limb what he wanted, in the meantime all the others, as if left free, moved around in an excessively painful agitation. "But I must not stay in bed uselessly," said Gregor to himself.

At first he wanted to get of the bed with the lower part of his body, but this lower part (which he incidentally had not yet looked at and which he also couldn't picture clearly) proved itself too difficult to move. The attempt went so slowly. When, having become almost frantic, he finally hurled himself forward with all his force and without thinking, he chose his direction incorrectly, and he hit the lower bedpost hard. The violent pain he felt revealed to him that the lower part of his body was at the moment probably the most sensitive.

Thus, he tried to get his upper body out of the bed first and turned his head carefully toward the edge of the bed. He managed to do this easily, and in spite of its width and weight his body mass at last slowly followed the turning of his head. But as he finally raised his head outside the bed in the open air, he became anxious about moving forward any further in this manner, for if he allowed himself eventually to fall by this process, it would take a miracle to prevent his head from getting injured. And at all costs he must not lose consciousness right now. He preferred to remain in bed.

However, after a similar effort, while he lay there again sighing as before and once again saw his small limbs fighting one another, if anything worse than before, and didn't see any chance of imposing quiet and order on this arbitrary movement, he told himself again that he couldn't possibly remain in bed and that it might be the most reasonable thing to sacrifice everything if there was even the slightest hope of getting himself out of bed in the process. At the same moment, however, he didn't forget to remind himself from time to time of the fact that calm (indeed the calmest) reflection might be better than the most confused decisions. At such moments, he directed his gaze as precisely as he could toward the window, but unfortunately there was little confident cheer to be had from a glance at the morning mist, which concealed even the other side of the narrow street. "It's already seven o'clock" he told himself at the latest striking of the alarm clock, "already seven o'clock and still such a fog." And for a little while longer he lay quietly with weak breathing, as if perhaps waiting for normal and natural conditions to re-emerge out of the complete stillness.

But then he said to himself, "Before it strikes a quarter past seven, whatever happens I must be completely out of bed. Besides, by then someone from the office will arrive to inquire about me, because the office will open before seven o'clock." And he made an effort then to rock his entire body length out of the bed with a uniform motion. If he let himself fall out of the bed in this way, his head, which in the course of the fall he intended to lift up sharply, would probably remain uninjured. His back seemed to be hard; nothing would really happen to that as a result of the fall. His greatest reservation was a worry about the loud noise which the fall must create and which presumably would arouse, if not fright, then at least concern on the other side of all the doors. However, it had to be tried.

As Gregor was in the process of lifting himself half out of bed (the new method was more of a game than an effort; he needed only to rock with a constant rhythm) it struck him how easy all this would be if someone were to come to his aid. Two strong people (he thought of his father and the servant girl) would have been quite sufficient. They would have only had to push their arms under his arched back to get him out of the bed, to bend down with their load, and then merely to exercise patience and care that he completed the flip onto the floor, where his diminutive legs would then, he hoped, acquire a purpose. Now, quite apart from the fact that the doors were locked, should he really call out for help? In spite of all his distress, he was unable to suppress a smile at this idea.

He had already got to the point where, with a stronger rocking, he maintained his equilibrium with difficulty, and very soon he would finally have to decide, for in five minutes it would be a quarter past seven. Then there was a ring at the door of the apartment. "That's someone from the office" he told himself, and he almost froze while his small limbs only danced around all the faster. For one moment everything remained still. "They aren't opening," Gregor said to himself, caught up in some absurd hope. But of course then, as usual, the servant girl with her firm tread went to the door and opened it. Gregor needed to hear only the visitor's first word of greeting to recognize immediately who it was, the manager himself. Why was Gregor the only one condemned to work in a firm where at the slightest lapse someone immediately attracted the greatest suspicion? Were all the employees then collectively, one and all, scoundrels? Was there then among them no truly devoted person who, if he failed to use just a couple of hours in the morning for office work, would become abnormal from pangs of conscience and really be in no state to get out of bed? Was it really not enough to let an apprentice make inquiries, if such questioning was even necessary? Must the manager himself come, and in the process must it be demonstrated to the entire innocent family that the investigation of this suspicious circumstance could only be entrusted to the intelligence of the manager? And more as a consequence of the excited state in which this idea put Gregor than as a result of an actual decision, he swung himself with all his might out of the bed. There was a loud thud, but not a real crash. The fall was absorbed somewhat by the carpet and, in addition, his back was more elastic than Gregor had thought. For that reason the dull noise was not quite so conspicuous. But he had not held his head up with sufficient care and had hit it. He turned his head, irritated and in pain, and rubbed it on the carpet.

"Something has fallen in there," said the manager in the next room on the left. Gregor tried to imagine to himself whether anything similar to what was happening to him today could have also happened at some point to the manager. At least one had to concede the possibility of such a thing. However, as if to give a rough answer to this question, the manager now took a few determined steps in the next room, with a squeak of his polished boots. From the neighbouring room on the right the sister was whispering to inform Gregor: "Gregor, the manager is here." "I know," said Gregor to himself. But he did not dare make his voice loud enough so that his sister could hear.

"Gregor," his father now said from the neighbouring room on the left, "Mr. Manager has come and is asking why you have not left on the early train. We don't know what we should tell him. Besides, he also wants to speak to you personally. So please open the door. He will be good enough to forgive the mess in your room."

In the middle of all this, the manager called out in a friendly way, "Good morning, Mr. Samsa." "He is not well," said his mother to the manager, while his father was still talking at the door, "He is not well, believe me, Mr. Manager. Otherwise how would Gregor miss a train! The young man has nothing in his head except business. I'm almost angry that he never goes out at night. Right now he's been in the city eight days, but he's been at home every evening. He sits there with us at the table and reads the newspaper quietly or studies his travel schedules. It's quite a diversion for him if he busies himself with fretwork. For instance, he cut out a small frame over the course of two or three evenings. You'd be amazed how pretty it is. It's hanging right inside the room. You'll see it immediately, as soon as Gregor opens the door. Anyway, I'm happy that you're here, Mr. Manager. By ourselves, we would never have made Gregor open the door. He's so stubborn, and he's certainly not well, although he denied that this morning."

"I'm coming right away," said Gregor slowly and deliberately and didn't move, so as not to lose one word of the conversation. "My dear lady, I cannot explain it to myself in any other way," said the manager; "I hope it is nothing serious. On the other hand, I must also say that we business people, luckily or unluckily, however one looks at it, very often simply have to overcome a slight indisposition for business reasons." "So can Mr. Manager come in to see you now" asked his father impatiently and knocked once again on the door. "No," said Gregor. In the neighbouring room on the left a painful stillness descended. In the neighbouring room on the right the sister began to sob.

Why didn't his sister go to the others? She'd probably just gotten up out of bed now and hadn't even started to get dressed yet. Then why was she crying? Because he wasn't getting up and wasn't letting the manager in; because he was in danger of losing his position, and because then his boss would badger his parents once again with the old demands? Those were probably unnecessary worries right now. Gregor was still here and wasn't thinking at all about abandoning his family. At the moment he was lying right there on the carpet, and no one who knew about his condition would've seriously demanded that he let the manager in. But Gregor wouldn't be casually dismissed right way because of this small discourtesy, for which he would find an easy and suitable excuse later on. It seemed to Gregor that it might be far more reasonable to leave him in peace at the moment, instead of disturbing him with crying and conversation. But it was the very uncertainty which distressed the others and excused their behaviour.

"Mr. Samsa," the manager was now shouting, his voice raised, "what's the matter? You are barricading yourself in your room, answer with only a yes and a no, are making serious and unnecessary troubles for your parents, and neglecting (I mention this only incidentally) your commercial duties in a truly unheard of manner. I am speaking here in the name of your parents and your employer, and I am requesting you in all seriousness for an immediate and clear explanation. I am amazed. I am amazed. I thought I knew you as a calm, reasonable person, and now you appear suddenly to want to start parading around in weird moods. The Chief indicated to me earlier this very day a possible explanation for your neglect--it concerned the collection of cash entrusted to you a short while ago--but in truth I almost gave him my word of honour that this explanation could not be correct. However, now I see here your unimaginable pig headedness, and I am totally losing any desire to speak up for you in the slightest. And your position is not at all the most secure. Originally I intended to mention all this to you privately, but since you are letting me waste my time here uselessly, I don't know why the matter shouldn't come to the attention of your parents. Your productivity has also been very unsatisfactory recently. Of course, it's not the time of year to conduct exceptional business, we recognize that, but a time of year for conducting no business, there is no such thing at all, Mr. Samsa, and such a thing must never be."

"But Mr. Manager," called Gregor, beside himself and in his agitation forgetting everything else, "I'm opening the door immediately, this very moment. A slight indisposition, a dizzy spell, has prevented me from getting up. I'm still lying in bed right now. But now I'm quite refreshed once again. I'm in the midst of getting out of bed. Just have patience for a short moment! Things are not going so well as I thought. But things are all right. How suddenly this can overcome someone! Just yesterday evening everything was fine with me. My parents certainly know that. Actually just yesterday evening I had a small premonition. People must have seen that in me. Why have I not reported that to the office! But people always think that they'll get over sickness without having to stay at home. Mr. Manager! Take it easy on my parents! There is really no basis for the criticisms which you are now making against me, and really nobody has said a word to me about that. Perhaps you have not read the latest orders which I shipped. Besides, now I'm setting out on my trip on the eight o'clock train; the few hours' rest have made me stronger. Mr. Manager, do not stay. I will be at the office in person right away. Please have the goodness to say that and to convey my respects to the Chief."

While Gregor was quickly blurting all this out, hardly aware of what he was saying, he had moved close to the chest of drawers without effort, probably as a result of the practice he had already had in bed, and now he was trying to raise himself up on it. Actually, he wanted to open the door; he really wanted to let himself be seen by and to speak with the manager. He was keen to witness what the others now asking after him would say at the sight of him. If they were startled, then Gregor had no more responsibility and could be calm. But if they accepted everything quietly, then he would have no reason to get excited and, if he got a move on, could really be at the station around eight o'clock.

At first he slid down a few times from the smooth chest of drawers. But at last he gave himself a final swing and stood upright there. He was no longer at all aware of the pains in his lower body, no matter how they might still sting. Now he let himself fall against the back of a nearby chair, on the edge of which he braced himself with his thin limbs. By doing this he gained control over himself and kept quiet, for he could now hear the manager.

"Did you understand a single word?" the manager asked the parents, "Is he playing the fool with us?" "For God's sake," cried the mother already in tears, "perhaps he's very ill and we're upsetting him. Grete! Grete!" she yelled at that point. "Mother?" called the sister from the other side. They were making themselves understood through Gregor's room. "You must go to the doctor right away. Gregor is sick. Hurry to the doctor. Have you heard Gregor speak yet?" "That was an animal's voice," said the manager, remarkably quietly in comparison to the mother's cries.

"Anna! Anna!' yelled the father through the hall into the kitchen, clapping his hands, "fetch a locksmith right away!" The two young women were already running through the hall with swishing skirts (how had his sister dressed herself so quickly?) and yanked open the doors of the apartment. One couldn't hear the doors closing at all. They probably had left them open, as is customary in an apartment in which a huge misfortune has taken place.

However, Gregor had become much calmer. All right, people did not understand his words any more, although they seemed clear enough to him, clearer than previously, perhaps because his ears had gotten used to them. But at least people now thought that things were not all right with him and were prepared to help him. The confidence and assurance with which the first arrangements had been carried out made him feel good. He felt himself included once again in the circle of humanity and was expecting from both the doctor and the locksmith, without differentiating between them with any real precision, splendid and surprising results. In order to get as clear a voice as possible for the critical conversation which was imminent, he coughed a little, and certainly took the trouble to do this in a really subdued way, since it was possible that even this noise sounded like something different from a human cough. He no longer trusted himself to decide any more. Meanwhile in the next room it had become really quiet. Perhaps his parents were sitting with the manager at the table and were whispering; perhaps they were all leaning against the door and listening.

Gregor pushed himself slowly towards the door, with the help of the easy chair, let go of it there, threw himself against the door, held himself upright against it (the balls of his tiny limbs had a little sticky stuff on them), and rested there momentarily from his exertion. Then he made an effort to turn the key in the lock with his mouth. Unfortunately it seemed that he had no real teeth. How then was he to grab hold of the key? But to make up for that his jaws were naturally very strong; with their help he managed to get the key really moving, and he did not notice that he was obviously inflicting some damage on himself, for a brown fluid came out of his mouth, flowed over the key, and dripped onto the floor.

"Just listen for a moment," said the manager in the next room, "he's turning the key." For Gregor that was a great encouragement. But they all should've called out to him, including his father and mother, "Come on, Gregor," they should've shouted, "keep going, keep working on the lock." Imagining that all his efforts were being followed with suspense, he bit down frantically on the key with all the force he could muster. As the key turned more, he danced around the lock. Now he was holding himself upright only with his mouth, and he had to hang onto the key or then press it down again with the whole weight of his body, as necessary. The quite distinct click of the lock as it finally snapped really woke Gregor up. Breathing heavily he said to himself, "So I didn't need the locksmith," and he set his head against the door handle to open the door completely.

Because he had to open the door in this way, it was already open very wide without him yet being really visible. He first had to turn himself slowly around the edge of the door, very carefully, of course, if he did not want to fall awkwardly on his back right at the entrance into the room. He was still preoccupied with this difficult movement and had no time to pay attention to anything else, when he heard the manager exclaim a loud "Oh!" (it sounded like the wind whistling), and now he saw him, nearest to the door, pressing his hand against his open mouth and moving slowly back, as if an invisible constant force was pushing him away. His mother (in spite of the presence of the manager she was standing here with her hair sticking up on end, still a mess from the night) with her hands clasped was looking at his father; she then went two steps towards Gregor and collapsed right in the middle of her skirts spreading out all around her, her face sunk on her breast, completely concealed. His father clenched his fist with a hostile expression, as if he wished to push Gregor back into his room, then looked uncertainly around the living room, covered his eyes with his hands, and cried so that his mighty breast shook.

At this point Gregor did not take one step into the room, but leaned his body from the inside against the firmly bolted wing of the door, so that only half his body was visible, as well as his head, titled sideways, with which he peeped over at the others. Meanwhile it had become much brighter. Standing out clearly from the other side of the street was a part of the endless gray-black house situated opposite (it was a hospital) with its severe regular windows breaking up the facade. The rain was still coming down, but only in large individual drops visibly and firmly thrown down one by one onto the ground. The breakfast dishes were standing piled around on the table, because for his father breakfast was the most important meal time in the day, which he prolonged for hours by reading various newspapers. Directly across on the opposite wall hung a photograph of Gregor from the time of his military service; it was a picture of him as a lieutenant, as he, smiling and worry free, with his hand on his sword, demanded respect for his bearing and uniform. The door to the hall was ajar, and since the door to the apartment was also open, one saw out into the landing of the apartment and the start of the staircase going down.

"Now," said Gregor, well aware that he was the only one who had kept his composure. "I'll get dressed right away, pack up the collection of samples, and set off. You'll allow me to set out on my way, will you not? You see, Mr. Manager, I am not pig-headed, and I am happy to work. Traveling is exhausting, but I couldn't live without it. Where are you going, Mr. Manager? To the office? Really? Will you report everything truthfully? A person can be incapable of work momentarily, but that is precisely the best time to remember the earlier achievements and to consider that later, after the obstacles have been shoved aside, the person will work all the more keenly and intensely. I am really so indebted to Mr. Chief--you know that perfectly well. On the other hand, I am concerned about my parents and my sister. I'm in a fix, but I'll work myself out of it again. Don't make things more difficult for me than they already are. Speak up on my behalf in the office! People don't like traveling salesmen. I know that. People think they earn pots of money and thus lead a fine life. People don't even have any special reason to think through this judgment more clearly. But you, Mr. Manager, you have a better perspective on the interconnections than the other people, even, I tell you in total confidence, a better perspective than Mr. Chairman himself, who in his capacity as the employer may let his judgment make casual mistakes at the expense of an employee. You also know well enough that the traveling salesman who is outside the office almost the entire year can become so easily a victim of gossip, coincidences, and groundless complaints, against which it's impossible for him to defend himself, since for the most part he doesn't hear about them at all and only then when he's exhausted after finishing a trip, and gets to feel in his own body at home the nasty consequences, which can't be thoroughly explored back to their origins. Mr. Manager, don't leave without speaking a word telling me that you'll at least concede that I'm a little in the right!"

But at Gregor's first words the manager had already turned away, and now he looked back at Gregor over his twitching shoulders with pursed lips. During Gregor's speech he was not still for a moment, but was moving away towards the door, without taking his eyes off Gregor, but really gradually, as if there was a secret ban on leaving the room. He was already in the hall, and after the sudden movement with which he finally pulled his foot out of the living room, one could have believed that he had just burned the sole of his foot. In the hall, however, he stretched out his right hand away from his body towards the staircase, as if some truly supernatural relief was waiting for him there.

Gregor realized that he must not under any circumstances allow the manager to go away in this frame of mind, especially if his position in the firm was not to be placed in the greatest danger. His parents did not understand all this very well. Over the long years, they had developed the conviction that Gregor was set up for life in his firm and, in addition, they had so much to do nowadays with their present troubles that all foresight was foreign to them. But Gregor had this foresight. The manager must be held back, calmed down, convinced, and finally won over. The future of Gregor and his family really depended on it! If only the sister had been there! She was clever. She had already cried while Gregor was still lying quietly on his back. And the manager, this friend of the ladies, would certainly let himself be guided by her. She would have closed the door to the apartment and talked him out of his fright in the hall. But the sister was not even there. Gregor must deal with it himself.

Without thinking that as yet he didn't know anything about his present ability to move and without thinking that his speech possibly (indeed probably) had once again not been understood, he left the wing of the door, pushed himself through the opening, and wanted to go over to the manager, who was already holding tight onto the handrail with both hands on the landing in a ridiculous way. But as he looked for something to hold onto, with a small scream Gregor immediately fell down onto his numerous little legs. Scarcely had this happened, when he felt for the first time that morning a general physical well being. The small limbs had firm floor under them; they obeyed perfectly, as he noticed to his joy, and strove to carry him forward in the direction he wanted. Right away he believed that the final amelioration of all his suffering was immediately at hand. But at the very moment when he lay on the floor rocking in a restrained manner quite close and directly across from his mother (apparently totally sunk into herself) she suddenly sprang right up with her arms spread far apart and her fingers extended and cried out, "Help, for God's sake, help!" She held her head bowed down, as if she wanted to view Gregor better, but ran senselessly back, contradicting that gesture, forgetting that behind her stood the table with all the dishes on it. When she reached the table, she sat down heavily on it, as if absent-mindedly, and did not appear to notice at all that next to her coffee was pouring out onto the carpet in a full stream from the large overturned container.

"Mother, mother," said Gregor quietly, and looked over towards her. The manager momentarily had disappeared completely from his mind; by contrast, at the sight of the flowing coffee he couldn't stop himself snapping his jaws in the air a few times . At that his mother screamed all over again, hurried from the table, and collapsed into the arms of his father, who was rushing towards her. But Gregor had no time right now for his parents: the manager was already on the staircase. His chin level with the banister, the manager looked back for the last time. Gregor took an initial movement to catch up to him if possible. But the manager must have suspected something, because he made a leap down over a few stairs and disappeared, still shouting "Huh!" The sound echoed throughout the entire stairwell.

Now, unfortunately this flight of the manager also seemed completely to bewilder his father, who earlier had been relatively calm, for instead of running after the manager himself or at least not hindering Gregor from his pursuit, with his right hand he grabbed hold of the manager's cane, which he had left behind with his hat and overcoat on a chair. With his left hand, his father picked up a large newspaper from the table and, stamping his feet on the floor, he set out to drive Gregor back into his room by waving the cane and the newspaper. No request of Gregor's was of any use; no request would even be understood. No matter how willing he was to turn his head respectfully, his father just stomped all the harder with his feet.

Across the room from him his mother had pulled open a window, in spite of the cool weather, and leaning out with her hands on her cheeks, she pushed her face far outside the window. Between the alley and the stair well a strong draught came up, the curtains on the window flew around, the newspapers on the table swished, and individual sheets fluttered down over the floor. The father relentlessly pressed forward pushing out sibilants, like a wild man. Now, Gregor had no practice at all in going backwards; it was really going very slowly. If Gregor only had been allowed to turn himself around, he would have been in his room right away, but he was afraid to make his father impatient by the time-consuming process of turning around, and each moment he faced the threat of a mortal blow on his back or his head from the cane in his father's hand. Finally Gregor had no other option, for he noticed with horror that he did not understand yet how to maintain his direction going backwards. And so he began, amid constantly anxious sideways glances in his father's direction, to turn himself around as quickly as possible (although in truth this was only very slowly). Perhaps his father noticed his good intentions, for he did not disrupt Gregor in this motion, but with the tip of the cane from a distance he even directed here and there Gregor's rotating movement.

If only there hadn't been his father's unbearable hissing! Because of that Gregor totally lost his head. He was already almost totally turned around, when, always with this hissing in his ear, he just made a mistake and turned himself back a little. But when he finally was successful in getting his head in front of the door opening, it became clear that his body was too wide to go through any further. Naturally his father, in his present mental state, had no idea of opening the other wing of the door a bit to create a suitable passage for Gregor to get through. His single fixed thought was that Gregor must get into his room as quickly as possible. He would never have allowed the elaborate preparations that Gregor required to orient himself and thus perhaps get through the door. On the contrary, as if there were no obstacle and with a peculiar noise, he now drove Gregor forwards. Behind Gregor the sound was at this point no longer like the voice of only a single father. Now it was really no longer a joke, and Gregor forced himself, come what might, into the door. One side of his body was lifted up. He lay at an angle in the door opening. His one flank was sore with the scraping. On the white door ugly blotches were left. Soon he was stuck fast and would have not been able to move any more on his own. The tiny legs on one side hung twitching in the air above, the ones on the other side were pushed painfully into the floor. Then his father gave him one really strong liberating push from behind, and he scurried, bleeding severely, far into the interior of his room. The door was slammed shut with the cane, and finally it was quiet.















 

 

                                                I

     一天早晨,格里高.萨姆沙从不安的睡梦中醒来,发 现自己躺在床上变成了一只巨大的甲虫。他仰卧着,那坚硬 的像铁甲一般的背贴着床,他稍稍抬了抬头,便看见自己那 穹顶似的棕色肚子分成了好多块弧形的硬片,被子几乎盖不 住肚子尖,都快滑下来了。比起偌大的身驱来,他那许多只 腿真是细得可怜,都在他眼前无可奈何地舞动着。

“我出了什么事啦?”他想。这可不是梦。他的房间, 虽是嫌小了些,的确是普普通通人住的房间,仍然安静地躺 在四堵熟悉的墙壁当中。在摊放着打开的衣料样品--萨姆 沙是个旅行推销员--的桌子上面,还是挂着那幅画,这是 他最近从一本画报上剪下来装在漂亮的金色镜框里的。画的 是一位戴皮帽子围皮围巾的贵妇人,她挺直身子坐着,把一 只套没了整个前臂的厚重的皮手筒递给看画的人。

格里高的眼睛接着又朝窗口望去,天空很阴暗——可 以听到雨点敲打在窗槛上的声音——他的心情也变得忧郁了。 “要是再睡一会儿,把这一切晦气事统统忘掉那该多好。” 他想。但是完全办不到,平时他习惯于向右边睡,可是在目 前的情况下,再也不能采取那样的姿态了。无论怎样用力向 右转,他仍旧滚了回来,肚子朝天。他试了至少一百次,还 闭上眼睛免得看到那些拼命挣扎的腿,到后来他的腰部感到 一种从未体味过的隐痛,才不得不罢休。

“啊,天哪,”他想,“我怎么单单挑上这么一个累人 的差使呢!长年累月到处奔波,比坐办公室辛苦多了。再加 上还有经常出门的烦恼,担心各次火车的倒换,不定时而且 低劣的饮食,而萍水相逢的人也总是些泛泛之交,不可能有 深厚的交情,永远不会变成知己朋友。让这一切都见鬼去吧! ”他觉得肚子上有点儿痒,就慢慢地挪动身子,靠近床头, 好让自己头抬起来更容易些;他看清了发痒的地方,那儿布 满着白色的小斑点,他不明白这是怎么回事,想用一条腿去 搔一搔,可是马上又缩了回来,因为这一碰使他浑身起了一 阵寒颤。

他又滑下来恢复到原来的姿势。“起床这么早,”他想, “会使人变傻的。人是需要睡觉的。别的推销员生活得像贵 妇人。比如,我有一天上午赶回旅馆登记取回定货单时,别 的人才坐下来吃早餐。我若是跟我的老板也来这一手,准定 当场就给开除。也许开除了倒更好一些,谁说得准呢。如果 不是为了父母亲而总是谨小慎微,我早就辞职不干了,我早 就会跑到老板面前,把肚子里的气出个痛快。那个家伙准会 从写字桌后面直蹦起来!他的工作方式也真奇怪,总是那样 居高临下坐在桌子上面对职员发号施令,再加上他的耳朵又 偏偏重听,大家不得不走到他跟前去。但是事情也未必毫无 转机;只要等我攒够了钱还清了父母欠他的债——也许还得 五六年——可是我一定能做到。到那时我就会时来运转了。 不过眼下我还是起床为妙,因为火车五点钟就要开了。 ”

他看了看柜子上滴滴嗒嗒响着的闹钟。天哪!他想到。 已经六点半了,而时针还在悠悠然向前移动,连六点半也过 了,马上就要七点差一刻了。闹钟难道没有响过吗?从床上 可以看到闹钟明明是拨到四点钟的;显然它已经响过了。是 的,不过在那震耳欲聋的响声里,难道真的能安宁地睡着吗? 嗯,他睡得并不安宁,可是却正说明他睡得不坏。那么他现 在该干什么呢?下一班车七点钟开;要搭这一班车他得发疯 似的赶才行,可是他的样品都还没有包好,他也觉得自己的 精神不甚佳。而且即使他赶上这班车,还是逃不过上司的一 顿申斥,因为公司的听差一定是在等候五点钟那班火车,这 时早已回去报告他没有赶上了。那听差是老板的心腹,既无 骨气又愚蠢不堪。那么,说自己病了行不行呢?不过这将是 最不愉快的事,而且也显得很可疑,因为他服务五年以来没 有害过一次病。老板一定会亲自带了医药顾问一起来,一定 会责怪他的父母怎么养出这样懒惰的儿子,他还会引证医药 顾问的话,粗暴地把所有的理由都驳掉,在那个大夫看来, 世界上除了健康之至的假病号,再也没有第二种人了。再说 今天这种情况,大夫的话是不是真的不对呢?格里高觉得 身体挺不错,只除了有些困乏,这在如此长久的一次睡眠以 后实在有些多余,另外,他甚至觉得特别饿。

这一切都飞快地在他脑子里闪过,他还是没有下决心起 床——闹钟敲六点三刻了——这时,他床头后面的门上传来 了轻轻的一下叩门声。“格里高,”一个声音说,——这 是他母亲的声音——“已经七点差一刻了。你不是还要赶火 车吗?”好温和的声音!格里高听到自己的回答声时不免 大吃一惊。没错,这分明是他自己的声音,可是却有另一种 可怕的叽叽喳喳的尖叫声同时发了出来,仿佛是伴音似的, 使他的话只有最初几个字才是清清楚楚的,接着马上就受到 了干扰,弄得意义含混,使人家说不上到底听清楚没有。格 里高尔本想回答得详细些,好把一切解释清楚,可是在这样 的情形下他只得简单地说:“是的,是的,谢谢你,妈妈, 我这会儿正在起床呢。”隔着木门,外面一定听不到格里高 尔声音的变化,因为他母亲听到这些话也满意了,就拖着步 子走了开去。然而这场简短的对话使家里人都知道格里高 还在屋子里,这是出乎他们意料之外的,于是在侧边的一扇 门上立刻就响起了他父亲的叩门声,很轻,不过用的却是拳 头。“格里高,格里高,”他喊到,“你怎么啦?”过 了一小会儿他又用更低沉的声音催促道:“格里高!格里 高尔!”在另一侧的门上他的妹妹也用轻轻的悲哀的声音问: “格里高,你不舒服吗?要不要什么东西?”他同时回答 了他们两个人:“我马上就好了。”他把声音发得更清晰, 说完一个字过一会儿才说另一个字,竭力使他的声音显得正 常。于是他父亲走回去吃他的早饭了,他妹妹却低声地说: “格里高,开开门吧,求求你。”可是他并不想开门,所 以暗自庆幸自己由于时常旅行,他养成了晚上锁住所有门的 习惯。即使回到家里也是这样。

首先他要静悄悄地不受打扰地起床,穿好衣服,最要紧 的是吃饱早饭,再考虑下一步该怎么办,因为他非常明白, 躺在床上瞎想一气是想不出什么名堂来的。他还记得过去也 许是因为睡觉姿势不好,躺在床上时往往会觉得这儿那儿隐 隐作痛,及至起来,就知道纯属心理作用,所以他殷切地盼 望今天早晨的幻觉会逐渐消逝。他也深信,他之所以变声音 不是因为别的而仅仅是重感冒的朕兆,这是旅行推销员的职 业病。

要掀掉被子很容易,他只需把身子稍稍一抬被子就自己 滑下来了。可是下一个动作就非常之困难,特别是因为他的 身子宽得出奇。他得要有手和胳臂才能让自己坐起来;可是 他有的只是无数细小的腿,它们一刻不停地向四面八方挥动, 而他自己却完全无法控制。他想屈起其中的一条腿,可是他 偏偏伸得笔直;等他终于让它听从自己的指挥时,所有别的 腿却莫名其妙地乱动不已。“总是呆在床上有什么意思呢。” 格里高自言自语地说。

他想,下身先下去一定可以使自己离床,可是他还没有 见过自己的下身,脑子里根本没有概念,不知道要移动下身 真是难上加难,挪动起来是那样的迟缓;所以到最后,他烦 死了,就用尽全力鲁莽地把身子一甩,不料方向算错,重重 地撞在床脚上,一阵彻骨的痛楚使他明白,如今他身上最敏 感的地方也许正是他的下身。

于是他就打算先让上身离床,他小心翼翼地把头部一点 点挪向床沿。这却毫不困难,他的身驱虽然又宽又大,也终 于跟着头部移动了。可是,等到头部终于悬在床边上,他又 害怕起来,不敢再前进了,因为,老实说,如果他就这样让 自己掉下去,不摔坏脑袋才怪呢。他现在最要紧的是保持清 醒,特别是现在;他宁愿继续待在床上。

可是重复了几遍同样的努力以后,他深深地叹了一口气, 还是恢复了原来的姿势躺着,一面瞧他那些细腿在难以置信 地更疯狂地挣扎;格里高不知道如何才能摆脱这种荒唐的 混乱处境,他就再一次告诉自己,待在床上是不行的,最最 合理的做法还是冒一切危险来实现离床这个极渺茫的希望。 可是同时他也没有忘记提醒自己,冷静地,极其冷静地考虑 到最最微小的可能性还是比不顾一切地蛮干强得多。这时节, 他竭力集中眼光望向窗外,可是不幸得很,早晨的浓雾把狭 街对面的房子也都裹上了,看来天气一时不会好转,这就使 他更加得不到鼓励和安慰。“已经七点钟了,”闹钟再度敲 响时,他对自己说,“已经七点钟了,可是雾还这么重。” 有片刻工夫,他静静地躺着,轻轻地呼吸着,仿佛这样一养 神什么都会恢复正常似的。

可是接着他又对自己说:“七点一刻前我无论如何非得 离开床不可。到那时一定会有人从公司里来找我,因为不到 七点公司就开门了。”于是他开始有节奏地来回晃动自己的 整个身子,想把自己甩出床去。倘若他这样翻下床去,可以 昂起脑袋,头部不至于受伤。他的背似乎很硬,看来跌在地 毯上并不打紧。他最担心的还是自己控制不了的巨大响声, 这声音一定会在所有的房间里引起焦虑,即使不是恐惧。可 是,他还是得冒这个险。

当他已经半个身子探到床外的时候——这个新方法与其 说是苦事,不如说是游戏,因为他只需来回晃动,逐渐挪过 去就行了——他忽然想起如果有人帮忙,这件事该是多么简 单。两个身强力壮的人——他想到了他的父亲和那个使女— —就足够了;他们只需把胳臂伸到他那圆鼓鼓的背后,抬他 下床,放下他们的负担,然后耐心地等他在地板上翻过身来 就行了,一碰到地板他的腿自然会发挥作用的。那么,姑且 不管所有的门都是锁着的,他是否真的应该叫人帮忙呢?尽 管处境非常困难,想到这一层,他却禁不住透出一丝微笑。

他使劲地摇动着,身子已经探出不少,快要失去平衡了, 他非得鼓足勇气采取决定性的步骤了,因为再过五分钟就是 七点一刻——正在这时,前门的门铃响了起来。“是公司里 派什么人来了。”他这么想,身子就随之而发僵,可是那些 细小的腿却动弹得更快了。一时之间周围一片静默。“他们 不愿开门。”格里高怀着不合常情的希望自言自语道。可 是使女当然还是跟往常一样踏着沉重的步子去开门了。格里 高尔听到客人的第一声招呼就马上知道这是谁——是秘书主 任亲自出马了。真不知自己生就什么命,竟落到给这样一家 公司当差,只要有一点小小的差错,马上就会招来最大的怀 疑!在这一个所有的职员全是无赖的公司里,岂不是只有他 一个人忠心耿耿吗?他早晨只占用公司两三个小时,不是就 给良心折磨得几乎要发疯,真的下不了床吗?如果确有必要 来打听他出了什么事,派个学徒来不也够了吗——难道秘书 主任非得亲自出马,以便向全家人,完全无辜的一家人表示, 这个可疑的情况只有他自己那样的内行来调查才行吗?与其 说格里高下了决心,倒不如说他因为想到这些事非常激动, 因而用尽全力把自己甩出了床外。砰的一声很响,但总算没 有响得吓人。地毯把他坠落的声音减弱了几分,他的背也不 如他所想象的那么毫无弹性,所以声音很闷,不惊动人。只 是他不够小心,头翘得不够高,还是在地板上撞了一下;他 扭了扭脑袋,痛苦而忿懑地把头挨在地板上磨蹭着。

“那里有什么东西掉下来了。”秘书主任在左面房间里 说。格里高试图设想,今天他身上发生的事有一天也让秘 书主任碰上了;谁也不敢担保不会出这样的事。可是仿佛给 他的设想一个粗暴的回答似的,秘书主任在隔壁的房间里坚 定地走了几步,他那漆皮鞋子发出了吱嘎吱嘎的声音。从右 面的房间里,他妹妹用耳语向他通报消息:“格里高,秘 书主任来了。”“我知道了。”格里高低声嘟哝道;但是 没有勇气提高嗓门让妹妹听到他的声音。

“格里高,”这时候,父亲在左边房间里说话了,“ 秘书主任来了,他要知道为什么你没能赶上早晨的火车。我 们也不知道怎么跟他说。另外,他还要亲自和你谈话。所以, 请你开门吧。他度量大,对你房间里的凌乱不会见怪的。” “早上好,萨姆沙先生,”与此同时,秘书主任和蔼地招呼 道。“他不舒服呢,”母亲对客人说,这时他父亲继续隔着 门在说话,“他不舒服,先生,相信我吧。他还能为了什么 原因误车呢!这孩子只知道操心公事。他晚上从来不出去, 连我瞧着都要生气了;这几天来他没有出差,可他天天晚上 都守在家里。他只是安安静静地坐在桌子旁边,看看报,或 是把火车时刻表翻来覆去地看。他唯一的消遣就是做木工活 儿。比如说,他花了两三个晚上刻了一个小镜框;您看到它 那么漂亮一定会感到惊奇;这镜框挂在他房间里;再过一分 钟等格里高打开门您就会看到了。您的光临真叫我高兴, 先生;我们怎么也没法使他开门;他真是固执;我敢说他一 定是病了,虽然他早晨硬说没病。”——“我马上来了,” 格里高慢吞吞地小心翼翼地说,可是却寸步也没有移动, 生怕漏过他们谈话中的每一个字。“我也想不出有什么别的 原因,太太,”秘书主任说,“我希望不是什么大病。虽然 另一方面我不得不说,不知该算福气还是晦气,我们这些做 买卖的往往就得不把这些小毛病当作一回事,因为买卖嘛总 是要做的。”——“喂,秘书主任现在能进来了吗?”格里 高尔的父亲不耐烦地问,又敲起门来了。“不行。”格里高 尔回答。这声拒绝以后,在左面房间里是一阵令人痛苦的寂 静;右面房间里他妹妹啜泣起来了。

他妹妹为什么不和别的人在一起呢?她也许是刚刚起床, 还没有穿衣服吧。那么,她为什么哭呢?是因为他不起床让 秘书主任进来吗,是因为他有丢掉差使的危险吗,是因为老 板又要开口向他的父母讨还旧债吗?这些显然都是眼前不用 担心的事情。格里高仍旧在家里,丝毫没有弃家出走的念 头。的确,他现在暂时还躺在地毯上,知道他的处境的人当 然不会盼望他让秘书主任走进来。可是这点小小的失礼以后 尽可以用几句漂亮的辞令解释过去,格里高不见得马上就 给辞退。格里高觉得,就目前来说,他们与其对他抹鼻子 流泪苦苦哀求,还不如别打扰他的好。可是,当然啦,他们 的不明情况使他们大惑不解,也说明了他们为什么有这样的 举动。

“萨姆沙先生,”秘书主任现在提高了嗓门说,“您这 是怎么回事?您这样把自己关在房间里,光是回答‘是’和 ‘不是’,毫无必要地引起您父母极大的忧虑,又极严重地 疏忽了——这我只不过顺便提一句——疏忽了公事方面的职 责。我现在以您父母和您经理的名义和您说话,我正式要求 您立刻给我一个明确的解释。我真没想到,我真没想到。我 原来还认为您是个安分守己、稳妥可靠的人,可您现在却突 然决心想让自己丢丑。经理今天早晨还对我暗示您不露面的 原因可能是什么——他提到了最近交给您管的现款——我还 几乎要以自己的名誉向他担保这根本不可能呢。可是现在我 才知道您真是执拗得可以,从现在起,我丝毫也不想袒护您 了。您在公司里的地位并不是那么稳固的。这些话我本来想 私下里对您说的,可是既然您这样白白糟蹋我的时间,我就 不懂为什么您的父母不应该听到这些话了。近来您的工作叫 人很不满意;当然,目前买卖并不是旺季,这我们也承认, 可是一年里整整一个季度一点儿买卖也不做,这是不行的, 萨姆沙先生,这是完全不应该的。”

“可是,先生,”格里高喊道,他控制不住了,激动得忘记了一切,“我这会儿正要来开门。一点儿小小的不舒 服,一阵头晕使我起不了床。我现在还躺在床上呢。不过我 已经好了。我现在正要下床。再等我一两分钟吧!我不像自 己所想的那样健康。不过我已经好了,真的。这种小毛病难 道就能打垮我不成!我昨天晚上还好好儿的,这我父亲母亲 也可以告诉您,不,应该说我昨天晚上就感觉到了一些预兆。 我的样子想必已经不对劲了。您要问为什么我不向办公室报 告!可是人总以为一点点不舒服一定能顶过去,用不着请假 在家休息。哦,先生,别伤我父母的心吧!您刚才怪罪于我 的事都是没有根据的;从来没有谁这样说过我。也许您还没 有看到我最近兜来的定单吧。至少,我还能赶上八点钟的火 车呢,休息了这几个钟点我已经好多了。千万不要因为我而 把您耽搁在这儿,先生;我马上就会开始工作的,这有劳您 转告经理,在他面前还得请您多替我美言几句呢!”

格里高一口气说着,自己也搞不清楚自己说了些什么, 也许是因为有了床上的那些锻炼,格里高没费多大气力就 来到柜子旁边,打算依靠柜子使自己直立起来。他的确是想 开门,的确是想出去和秘书主任谈话的;他很想知道,大家 这么坚持以后,看到了他又会说些什么。要是他们都大吃一 惊,那么责任就再也不在他身上,他可以得到安静了。如果 他们完全不在意,那么他也根本不必不安,只要真的赶紧上 车站去搭八点钟的车就行了。

起先,他好几次从光滑的柜面 上滑下来,可是最后,在一使劲之后,他终于站直了;现在 他也不管下身疼得像火烧一般了。接着他让自己靠向附近一 张椅子的背部,用他那些细小的腿抓住了椅背的边。这使他 得以控制自己的身体,他不再说话,因为这时候他听见秘书 主任又开口了。

“你们听得懂哪个字吗?”秘书主任问,“他不见得在 开我们的玩笑吧?”“哦,天哪,”他母亲声泪俱下地喊道, “也许他病害得不轻,倒是我们在折磨他呢。葛蕾特!葛蕾 特!”接着她嚷道。“什么事,妈妈?”他妹妹打那一边的 房间里喊道。她们就这样隔着格里高的房间对嚷起来。“ 你得马上去请医生。格里高病了。去请医生,快点儿。你 没听见他说话的声音吗?”“这不是人的声音。”秘书主任 说,跟母亲的尖叫声一比他的嗓音显得格外低沉。

“安娜! 安娜!”他父亲从客厅向厨房里喊道,一面还拍着手,“马 上去找个锁匠来!”于是两个姑娘奔跑得裙子飕飕响地穿过 了客厅——他妹妹怎能这么快就穿好衣服的呢?——接着又 猛然大开了前门,没有听见门重新关上的声音;她们显然听 任它洞开着,什么人家出了不幸的事情就总是这样。

格里高现在倒镇静多了。显然,他发出来的声音人家 再也听不懂了,虽然他自己听来很清楚,甚至比以前更清楚, 这也许是因为他的耳朵变得能适应这种声音了。不过至少现在 大家相信他有什么地方不太妙,都准备来帮助他了。这些初 步措施将带来的积极效果使他感到安慰。他觉得自己又重新 进入人类的圈子,对大夫和锁匠都寄于了莫大的希望,却没 有怎样分清两者之间的区别。为了使自己在即将到来的重要 谈话中声音尽可能清晰些,他稍微嗽了嗽嗓子,他当然尽量 压低声音,因为就连他自己听起来,这声音也不像人的咳嗽。 这时候,隔壁房间里一片寂静。也许他的父母正陪了秘书主 任坐在桌旁,在低声商谈,也许他们都靠在门上细细谛听呢。

格里高慢慢地把椅子推向门边,接着便放开椅子,抓 住了门来支撑自己--他那些细腿的脚底上倒是颇有粘性的 --他在门上靠了一会儿,喘过一口气来。接着他开始用嘴 巴来转动插在锁孔里的钥匙。不幸的是,他并没有什么牙齿 --他得用什么来咬住钥匙呢?--不过他的下颚倒好像非 常结实;靠着这下颚总算转动了钥匙,他准是不小心弄伤了 什么地方,因为有一股棕色的液体从他嘴里流出来,淌过钥 匙,滴到地上。

“你们听,”门后的秘书主任说,“他在转 动钥匙了。”这对格里高是个很大的鼓励;不过他们应该 都来给他打气,他的父亲母亲都应该喊:“加油,格里高。 ”他们应该大声喊道:“坚持下去,咬紧钥匙!”他相信他 们都在全神贯注地关心自己的努力,就集中全力死命咬住钥 匙。钥匙需要转动时,他便用嘴巴衔着它,自己也绕着锁孔 转了一圈,好把钥匙扭过去,或者不如说,用全身的重量使 它转动。终于屈服的锁发出响亮的卡嗒一声,使格里高大 为高兴。他深深地舒了一口气,对自己说:“这样一来我就 不用锁匠了。”接着就把头搁在门柄上,想把门整个打开。

门是向他自己这边拉的,所以虽然已经打开,人家还是 瞧不见他。他得慢慢地从对开的那半扇门后面把身子挪出来, 而且得非常小心,以免背脊直挺挺地跌倒在房间里。他正在 困难地挪动自己,顾不上作任何观察,却听到秘书主任“哦! ”的一声大叫--发出来的声音像一股猛风--现在他可以 看见那个人了,他站得靠近门口,一只手遮在张大的嘴上, 慢慢地往后退去,仿佛有什么无形的强大压力在驱逐他似的。 格里高的母亲--虽然秘书主任在场,她的头发仍然没有 梳好,还是乱七八糟地竖着--她先是双手合掌瞧瞧他父亲, 接着向格里高走了两步,随即倒在地上,裙子摊了开来, 脸垂到胸前,完全看不见了。他父亲握紧拳头,一副恶狠狠 的样子,仿佛要把格里高打回到房间里去,接着他又犹豫 不定地向起坐室扫了一眼,然后把双手遮住眼睛,哭泣起来, 连他那宽阔的胸膛都在起伏不定

格里高根本没有出房间,而是靠在门扇上,这样就只能看到格里高一半的身子和上面侧偏的头部。他也就这样看着其他的人。这时屋里屋外已经明亮得多了,街道对面,立着无穷无尽的,灰黑色的房子的一部分——那是一座医院——这一部分房子上有规则地排列着坚实的、已经打开了的窗户,雨还在下,下得很大。每一个雨点,很明显的,是一滴一滴地落到地上。早餐的餐具数量很多,摆在桌子上,因为对父亲来说,早餐是一日之中最重要的一顿,他吃饭时要看各式各样的报纸,早餐要延续一个小时,对面墙上挂的是格里高在军队服役的照片,当时他是少尉,照片上的格里高手扶佩剑,脸上挂着无忧无虑的笑容,他的制服,仪表令人起敬,通向前房的门是开着的,由此望去,住宅的大门也是开着的,一直可以看到前院,看到前院的楼梯向侧面拐过去。


  “现在,”格里高说,他也有自知之明,知道自己是这些人中唯一能保持安静的人。“我马上穿衣,包好货样,然后出发。你们让不让,你们让不让我走呀?现在,代表先生,您看到了,我不是一个固执的人,我喜欢工作。旅行是很不容易,但是我不旅行就不能生活。您到哪里去,代表先生?是到公司吗?对吧?您会将这一切真实地汇报吗?有人现在不能工作,那就应该回忆和思量一下他过去的业绩,以便他以后轻装前进,更努力集中精力的工作。我对于上司是非常忠于职守的,这您很清楚,一方面,我的父母和妹妹也需要我尽孝悌。我很为难。我是以工偿债,只有工作才有出路。不过,请您不要过分为难我。在公司里请您要为我说话。有人不喜欢我们这种出差的人,我知道。他们以为出差的人在外面赚大钱,过美好的生活。他们没有特别的理由深入思考这种偏见。但是您,代表先生,比起其他人来,您对于这种情况看得清楚一些。推心置腹地讲,您甚至比上司本人要看得更清楚。上司作为一个企业家,他对职员判断容易失误,总是循着不利于职员的思路判断。您也很了解,出差的人成年在公司外面,他很容易成为流言蜚语、偶发事件和莫名其妙的病痛的牺牲者。他也无法与之抗衡,因为他多半不了解他们的情况,而一旦他精疲力尽不能完成出差任务,在家又身患重病,他自己也不明白这是什么病,在这种情况下,他只有当牺牲品了。代表先生,您不给我一个说法,就不要走,我至少总是有一小部分是对的吧。”


  但是就在格里高说头几句话时,代表就转过身子,他努着嘴,肩膀抖动着,回过头来盯着格里高;格里高接着讲下去,代表站在那儿没有一刻的安静,但始终盯着格里高。他非常缓慢地朝门走去,好像冥冥之中他不得不离开这个房间,而且事实上他已经到了前房,一个突然的动作之后,他的脚已最后迈出了客厅。可以认为他现在急于要有别的行动了。不过在前房时,他的右手远远地伸向了楼梯那儿,似乎存在着一种精神上的解脱。


  格里高明白,如果他在公司的职位不会因此遭受特别打击的话,那么在这种情况下,他不能让代表走掉。父母对此并不十分理解,在长年累月之中,他们形成了一个这样的想法,即格里高在公司里能自食其力。此外,只知道目前要帮格里高多做解围的工作,以致缺乏先见之明。而格里高就不一样了,他认为代表可能会留下来,被安抚,被说服,最终被战败。格里高和他家里的前途就有赖于此了!妹妹刚才在这儿,那多好啊,她很聪明,当格里高安静地躺在地上的时候,她还哭过。这个代表,这个女人迷,肯定会被她控制,她可以把大门关了,在前房对他说些吓唬人的话,但妹妹现在不在这里,格里高必须自己应付了。

但他并没有想到,他现在根本连行动的能力都没有。他也没有考虑到,他现在说的话,人家根本不可能听懂,或者有可能人家听不懂。他离开门扇,通过出口移动身子,他要朝代表走去。代表微笑着,已经用双手牢牢抓住前厅的栏杆。格里高马上就要落下去,他停了一会,像找什么东西,小声一叫,那许多小腿就落到了地上。几乎没有发生什么事情,今天早晨他才第一次感到身子的舒畅,那许多小腿之下是坚实的地板,格里高注意到小腿们完全顺从地听指挥,落到地板之后甚至正在努力负载他前进,去他想去的任何地方。看到这种情况格里高很愉快,他相信身上的各种病痛终于彻底痊愈了。他的动作缓慢了,他摇晃着身子,在离他母亲不远的地方,正对着他似乎在沉思的母亲,他就躺在这儿。这时他母亲突然伸开手臂,撑开手指跳了起来,并且叫道:“救命呀,我的天哪!救命啊!”她低了头,好像要仔细看看格里高,可与此相反,下意识地倒退了几步。忘记了她背后就是桌子,当她来到他跟前时,她坐下来了。由于分神,她根本没有注意到她旁边的咖啡壶打翻了,咖啡大量地流到了地毯上。


  “母亲,母亲,”格里高轻声地说,向上看着她。他此时此刻忘记了向代表走去,他不能眼看着流着咖啡的壶不管,他用下颔向空处咬着。对此母亲再次喊叫起来并且迅速逃离了桌子,扑向正朝她走来的父亲的怀里,但格里高现在没有顾及他的父母,代表已经到了楼梯,他的下巴搁在栏杆上,正回过头来看最后的一眼,格里高加快步伐,以便尽可能赶上代表。代表已经有所察觉,于是三步并作两步走,他消失了。 “啊!”他还在喊,叫声响彻整个楼房。

父亲在此以前,一直还是很冷静的;可惜代表的逃走却使他糊涂了。父亲本人不但不追赶代表,而且还阻止格里高追赶。他左手拿着代表的手杖顺便说一句,代表戴着帽子,披着外衣曾经坐在单人沙发上,将手杖搁在那里,父亲左手拿着手杖,右手从桌子拿了一张报纸。蹬着脚,扬着手杖和报纸将格里高往他的房间里赶。格里高请求父亲不要这样,但无济于事。父亲也听不懂他的请求,格里高顺从地摇着头,父亲一个劲地蹬脚蹬得更欢。

在那边,母亲不顾天气寒冷打开了窗户,将头伸向窗外,用双手捂着脸,在街道和楼房之间有一股过堂风,风将窗帘吹起,桌上的报纸被吹得呼呼作响,有的报纸还吹到地板上。父亲像个野人一样,毫不留情地挤出了嘘嘘之声。格里高虽已能走动,但未训练过后腿,如果他能拐弯,就立刻到了他的房里。但他担心拐弯,要花很多时间,这会使父亲不耐烦。每时每刻父亲都可能用手里的手杖将他往死里打,或者打在背上,或者往头上打。格里高此时终于走投无路,因为使他惊奇的是他后退时连方向都掌握不好,所以他胆怯了。开始不停地从侧面看着他父亲,心里想尽可能快地拐弯,但事实上很慢。也许父亲注意到了他这种可怜的用意,这其间并没有打扰他,而是用他的手杖尖,远远地指挥朝这里朝那里。

要是没有父亲的这种不可忍受的嘘嘘之声那该多好啊!脑子一时间不管用了,他差不多已经完成了拐弯的动作,因为老是听那种嘘嘘之声,他糊里糊涂地又拐回来一段,当他的头终于幸运地处于门口时,发觉身子太宽,根本不可能通过入口,当然,以他父亲目前的心境也决不可能想到打开另外一扇门,让他有一个可行的通道。父亲,原本想到的只是,格里高应该尽可能快地回到他的房间里去。根本就没有想到要费心为格里高的需要作些准备,以便他能直立起来,就能直接进入:更多想到的是将格里高在这样吵闹的情况下往前赶,这时格里高背后有一种响声,那不是父亲的声音,这可不是玩笑。格里高加紧行动,——好像要发生什么事情了——赶快进入门里,他将身子一侧抬高,斜着通过入口,他的胁下已经受伤,白色的房门留下了脏的痕迹,他马上擦身而过,终于不再能动弹了。一侧的腿在空中抖动,另一侧的腿落在地上疼痛不已,这时父亲从后面给了他真正解除痛苦的一击,这一击是沉重。他猛烈地一跃,跃进房间很远,父亲还在用手杖敲门,最后一切都沉寂了。

            Part1  of  3         

 

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