Solo all'imbrunire Gregorio si svegliò dal suo sonno pesante,simile a uno svenimento. Si sarebbe svegliato di lì a poco anchesenza rumori, si sentiva abbastanza riposato e in forze; ebbel'impressione di essere stato svegliato da un passo furtivo e daun cauto richiudersi della porta dell'anticamera. La luce dellelampade elettriche della strada rischiarava qualche punto delsoffitto e le parti superiori dei mobili, ma il pavimento restavaal buio. Agitando goffamente le antenne, che a questo puntocominciò ad apprezzare, si trascinò fino alla porta, per rendersiconto di quanto era successo dall'altra parte. Il fianco sinistrogli dava l'impressione di essere un'unica, dolorosa cicatrice, euna fila di zampine non lo reggeva. Un arto era rimasto gravementeferito negli incidenti della mattinata -era già un miracolo chefosse solo uno -e si trascinava inerte.
Gregor first woke up from his heavy swoon-like sleep in the evening twilight. He would certainly have woken up soon afterwards without any disturbance, for he felt himself sufficiently rested and wide awake, although it appeared to him as if a hurried step and a cautious closing of the door to the hall had aroused him. The shine of the electric streetlights lay pale here and there on the ceiling and on the higher parts of the furniture, but underneath around Gregor it was dark. He pushed himself slowly toward the door, still groping awkwardly with his feelers, which he now learned to value for the first time, to check what was happening there. His left side seemed one single long unpleasantly stretched scar, and he really had to hobble on his two rows of legs. In addition, one small leg had been seriously wounded in the course of the morning incident (it was almost a miracle that only one had been hurt) and dragged lifelessly behind.
Solo quando fu arrivato davanti alla porta, capì che cosa lo avevaattirato fin là: un odore di cibi. C'era una ciotola piena dilatte zuccherato, su cui galleggiavano fettine di pane bianco. Avrebbe quasi riso di gioia, tanto la sua fame era aumentata dalmattino. Immerse avido la testa nel latte, ma subito la ritrassedeluso: non solo provava difficoltà a mangiare per la ferita alfianco -per mangiare doveva comprimere e dilatare tutto il corpo-ma il latte, che la sorella sapeva essere la sua bevandapreferita e per questo glielo aveva portato, ora non gli piacevapiù. Quasi con disgusto, girò la schiena alla ciotola e,strisciando, tornò in mezzo alla camera.
By the door he first noticed what had really lured him there: it was the smell of something to eat. For there stood a bowl filled with sweetened milk, in which swam tiny pieces of white bread. He almost laughed with joy, for he now had a much greater hunger than in the morning, and he immediately dipped his head almost up to and over his eyes down into the milk. But he soon drew it back again in disappointment, not just because it was difficult for him to eat on account of his delicate left side (he could eat only if his entire panting body worked in a coordinated way), but also because the milk, which otherwise was his favorite drink and which his sister had certainly placed there for that reason, did not appeal to him at all. He turned away from the bowl almost with aversion and crept back into the middle of the room.
Attraverso le fessure della porta, Gregorio vide che in sala eraacceso il gas; ma mentre a quell'ora, di solito, il padre leggevail giornale del pomeriggio alla madre e, a volte, anche allasorella, in quel momento non si sentiva nulla. Forse questalettura, della quale la sorella gli parlava tanto spesso nelle sueconversazioni e nelle sue lettere, negli ultimi tempi non venivapiù fatta. Ma nemmeno nelle altre stanze si sentiva nulla, e lacasa non poteva essere vuota. "Che vita tranquilla faceva la miafamiglia", si disse Gregorio, fissando il buio, orgogliosoall'idea di avere potuto permettere ai genitori e alla sorella unavita simile, in una casa così bella. E se quiete, benessere,soddisfazione fossero finiti nello spavento? Per non smarrirsi insimili pensieri, Gregorio volle muoversi, e si trascinò in su e ingiù per la camera.
In the living room, as Gregor saw through the crack in the door, the gas was lit, but where on other occasions at this time of day the father was accustomed to read the afternoon newspaper in a loud voice to his mother and sometimes also to his sister, at the moment not a sound was audible. Now, perhaps this reading aloud, about which his sister always spoken and written to him, had recently fallen out of their general routine. But it was so still all around, in spite of the fact that the apartment was certainly not empty. "What a quiet life the family leads", said Gregor to himself and, as he stared fixedly out in front of him into the darkness, he felt a great pride that he had been able to provide such a life in a beautiful apartment like this for his parents and his sister. But how would things go if now all tranquility, all prosperity, all contentment should come to a horrible end? In order not to lose himself in such thoughts, Gregor preferred to set himself moving and crawled up and down in his room.
Durante la lunga serata, vide schiudersi prima una, poi l'altradelle porte laterali: qualcuno avrebbe voluto entrare, ma sitratteneva, esitante. Gregorio si fermò davanti alla porta dellasala, deciso a fare entrare, in un modo o nell'altro, ilvisitatore esitante o almeno a vedere chi fosse; ma la porta nonvenne più aperta e Gregorio attese invano. Al mattino, quando leporte erano chiuse, tutti volevano entrare, ora che una porta eraaperta e le altre, evidentemente, erano state aperte durante ilgiorno, nessuno entrava più, mentre le chiavi erano state infilateall'esterno.
Once during the long evening one side door and then the other door was opened just a tiny crack and quickly closed again. Someone presumably needed to come in but had then thought better of it. Gregor immediately took up a position by the living room door, determined to bring in the hesitant visitor somehow or other or at least to find out who it might be. But now the door was not opened any more, and Gregor waited in vain. Earlier, when the door had been barred, they had all wanted to come in to him; now, when he had opened one door and when the others had obviously been opened during the day, no one came any more, and the keys were stuck in the locks on the outside.
La luce fu spenta, in sala, molto tardi: i genitori e la sorellaerano dunque rimasti alzati fino a quel momento, perché Gregorioli sentì allontanarsi tutti e tre in punta di piedi. Prima delmattino, nessuno sarebbe più venuto da lui; aveva dunque tempo perriflettere sul modo di riorganizzare la propria vita. Ma l'ampiastanza, dall'alto soffitto, in cui era costretto a strisciare, glifaceva paura, senza che potesse spiegarsene la ragione, visto checi abitava da cinque anni. Seguendo un oscuro impulso, che glisuscitò un po' di vergogna, corse a infilarsi sotto il divano equi, anche se aveva la schiena un po' compressa e non potevaalzare la testa, si sentì subito a suo agio; gli dispiacque solodi essere tanto grosso da non potere scivolare sotto tutto intero.
The light in the living room was turned off only late at night, and now it was easy to establish that his parents and his sister had stayed awake all this time, for one could hear clearly as all three moved away on tiptoe. Now it was certain that no one would come into Gregor any more until the morning. Thus, he had a long time to think undisturbed about how he should reorganize his life from scratch. But the high, open room, in which he was compelled to lie flat on the floor, made him anxious, without his being able to figure out the reason, for he had lived in the room for five years. With a half unconscious turn and not without a slight shame he scurried under the couch, where, in spite of the fact that his back was a little cramped and he could no longer lift up his head, he felt very comfortable and was sorry only that his body was too wide to fit completely under it.
Lì sotto rimase tutta la notte, in un dormiveglia dal quale uscivadi soprassalto sotto gli stimoli della fame, per abbandonarsi apaure e a incerte speranze. Per il momento, questa era la suaconclusione, doveva rimanere buono e tranquillo, per alleviarealla famiglia il disagio che lui le procurava.
There he remained the entire night, which he spent partly in a state of semi-sleep, out of which his hunger constantly woke him with a start, but partly in a state of worry and murky hopes, which all led to the conclusion that for the time being he would have to keep calm and with patience and the greatest consideration for his family tolerate the troubles which in his present condition he was now forced to cause them.
L'occasione di verificare i suoi propositi si presentò a Gregorioancora prima di giorno, quando la sorella, quasi vestita, aprì laporta dell'anticamera e guardò dentro con ansia. Non lo trovòsubito, ma quando lo vide sotto il divano -Dio mio, doveva puressere da qualche parte, non poteva essere volato via -ne ebbe untale spavento che, incapace di dominarsi, richiuse la porta discatto. Poi, quasi pentita del gesto, la riaprì e avanzò in puntadi piedi, come se fosse nella camera di un malato grave o di unestraneo. Gregorio, spinta la testa fino all'orlo del divano, laosservava. Si sarebbe accorta che non aveva toccato il latte, manon per mancanza di appetito? Gli avrebbe portato qualche altracosa più adatta? Se non l'avesse indovinato da sola, lui avrebbepreferito morire di fame, piuttosto che farglielo notare, anche sebruciava dalla voglia di uscire dal divano, per gettarsi ai piedidella ragazza, supplicandola di dargli qualche cosa di buono damangiare. Ma la sorella si accorse subito, con stupore, dellaciotola ancora piena, intorno alla quale erano cadute alcune goccedi latte: la prese, utilizzando di un pezzo di carta, e la portòvia. Gregorio era curioso di vedere che cosa gli avrebbe portatoin cambio: ma, per quanto fantasticasse, non avrebbe maiindovinato fino a che punto poteva spingersi la bontà dellasorella. Per conoscere i suoi gusti, questa portò una quantità diroba, su un vecchio giornale. Verdura quasi marcia, ossa avanzatela sera prima, rivestite di salsa bianca rappresa, uva passa,mandorle, un formaggio che Gregorio due giorni prima avevadichiarato immangiabile, un pane secco, un pezzo di pane imburratocol sale e un altro senza sale. Accanto al giornale posò laciotola della sera prima, destinata, ormai, a lui, questa voltapiena d'acqua. Prevedendo che Gregorio in sua presenza, nonavrebbe mangiato, spinse la sua delicatezza a lasciare la camera,chiudendo la porta a chiave, facendogli così capire che potevafare il suo comodo. Ora che il pasto era pronto, le zampine diGregorio erano in grande agitazione. Le sue ferite dovevano essereguarite, perché non sentiva più nessun fastidio; ne fu stupito eripensò a un piccolo taglio in un dito che si era procurato unmese prima, e che faceva male ancora due giorni fa.
Already early in the morning (it was still almost night) Gregor had an opportunity to test the power of the decisions he had just made, for his sister, almost fully dressed, opened the door from the hall into his room and looked eagerly inside. She did not find him immediately, but when she noticed him under the couch (God, he had to be somewhere or other; for he could hardly fly away) she got such a shock that, without being able to control herself, she slammed the door shut once again from the outside. However, as if she was sorry for her behaviour, she immediately opened the door again and walked in on her tiptoes, as if she was in the presence of a serious invalid or a total stranger. Gregor had pushed his head forward just to the edge of the couch and was observing her. Would she really notice that he had left the milk standing, not indeed from any lack of hunger, and would she bring in something else to eat more suitable for him? If she did not do it on her own, he would sooner starve to death than call her attention to the fact, although he had a really powerful urge to move beyond the couch, throw himself at his sister's feet, and beg her for something or other good to eat. But his sister noticed right away with astonishment that the bowl was still full, with only a little milk spilled around it. She picked it up immediately (although not with her bare hands but with a rag), and took it out of the room. Gregor was extremely curious what she would bring as a substitute, and he pictured to himself different ideas about that. But he never could have guessed what his sister out of the goodness of her heart in fact did. She brought him, to test his taste, an entire selection, all spread out on an old newspaper. There were old half-rotten vegetables, bones from the evening meal, covered with a white sauce which had almost solidified, some raisins and almonds, cheese, which Gregor had declared inedible two days earlier, a slice of dry bread, a slice of salted bread smeared with butter. In addition to all this, she put down a bowl (probably designated once and for all as Gregor's) into which she had poured some water. And out of her delicacy of feeling, since she knew that Gregor would not eat in front of her, she went away very quickly and even turned the key in the lock, so that Gregor could now observe that he could make himself as comfortable as he wished. Gregor's small limbs buzzed as the time for eating had come. His wounds must, in any case, have already healed completely. He felt no handicap on that score. He was astonished at that and thought about it, how more than a month ago he had cut his finger slightly with a knife and how this wound had hurt enough even the day before yesterday.
"Che abbia orameno sensibilità?" pensò succhiando avidamente il formaggio, che,fra i cibi, lo aveva immediatamente e imperiosamente attirato. Conun gusto che lo faceva lacrimare, divorò, uno dopo l'altro,formaggio, verdura, salsa; i cibi freschi non gli piacevano, nonpoteva sopportarne neppure l'odore, e li scansò dal resto. Avevafinito da un pezzo, e se ne stava disteso pigramente, quando lasorella, per fargli capire di ritirarsi, cominciò a girare lachiave. Sebbene sonnecchiasse, il rumore lo mise subito inallarme, e si affrettò a raggiungere il divano. Non fu sacrificioda poco, rimanere là sotto nel poco tempo che la sorella restò incamera: il pasto abbondante aveva dilatato il suo corpo, efaticava a respirare. Con gli occhi pieni di lacrime e breviaccessi di soffocazione, vide la sorella spazzare via, convinta difar bene, insieme con gli avanzi, i cibi non toccati, come sefossero, ormai, inservibili. Tutto finì in un secchio, che vennechiuso con un coperchio di legno e portato via. Si era appenagirata, che Gregorio uscì di sotto il divano, si stirò e ripresefiato.
"Am I now going to be less sensitive," he thought, already sucking greedily on the cheese, which had strongly attracted him right away, more than all the other foods. Quickly and with his eyes watering with satisfaction, he ate one after the other the cheese, the vegetables, and the sauce; the fresh food, by contrast, didn't taste good to him. He couldn't bear the smell and even carried the things he wanted to eat a little distance away. By the time his sister slowly turned the key as a sign that he should withdraw, he was long finished and now lay lazily in the same spot. The noise immediately startled him, in spite of the fact that he was already almost asleep, and he scurried back again under the couch. But it cost him great self-control to remain under the couch, even for the short time his sister was in the room, because his body had filled out somewhat on account of the rich meal and in the narrow space there he could scarcely breathe. In the midst of minor attacks of asphyxiation, he looked at her with somewhat protruding eyes, as his unsuspecting sister swept up with a broom, not just the remnants, but even the foods which Gregor had not touched at all, as if these were also now useless, and as she dumped everything quickly into a bucket, which she closed with a wooden lid, and then carried all of it out of the room. She had hardly turned around before Gregor had already dragged himself out from the couch, stretched out, and let his body expand.
In questo modo Gregorio ricevette, ogni giorno, i suoi pasti: lamattina, quando i genitori e la domestica ancora dormivano, e dopopranzo, quando i genitori facevano un sonnellino e la domesticaveniva allontanata, con qualche incarico, dalla sorella. Neanche igenitori volevano che Gregorio morisse di fame, ma incapaci diassistere ai suoi pasti, preferivano esserne informati da unaterza persona. O, forse, a decidere così era stata la sorella, perrisparmiare ai vecchi, già tanto provati, anche questo piccolodolore.
In this way Gregor got his food every day, once in the morning, when his parents and the servant girl were still asleep, and a second time after the common noon meal, for his parents were, as before, asleep then for a little while, and the servant girl was sent off by his sister on some errand or other. Certainly they would not have wanted Gregor to starve to death, but perhaps they could not have endured finding out what he ate other than by hearsay. Perhaps his sister wanted to spare them what was possibly only a small grief, for they were really suffering quite enough already.
Gregorio non poté mai sapere con quali pretesti, la prima mattina,erano stati allontanati il medico e il fabbro: dato che nessunoriusciva a capirlo, nessuno, nemmeno la sorella, pensava che luipoteva capire gli altri; quando la ragazza era in camera, tuttoquello che lui sentiva erano sospiri e invocazioni ai santi. Solopiù tardi, quando si fu un po' adattata alla situazione -deltutto, non si adattò mai -Gregorio sentì qualche considerazioneche denotava o poteva denotare affetto. "Oggi ha mangiato digusto", diceva, quando lui aveva fatto piazza pulita del cibo;altre volte, quando non aveva mostrato appetito, cosa che diventòsempre più frequente, diceva in tono di rammarico: "Anche questavolta ha lasciato tutto lì".
What sorts of excuses people had used on that first morning to get the doctor and the locksmith out of the house Gregor was completely unable to ascertain. Since he was not comprehensible, no one, not even his sister, thought that he might be able to understand others, and thus, when his sister was in her room, he had to be content with listening now and then to her sighs and invocations to the saints. Only later, when she had grown somewhat accustomed to everything (naturally there could never be any talk of her growing completely accustomed to it) Gregor sometimes caught a comment which was intended to be friendly or could be interpreted as such. "Well, today it tasted good to him," she said, if Gregor had really cleaned up what he had to eat; whereas, in the reverse situation, which gradually repeated itself more and more frequently, she used to say sadly, "Now everything has stopped again."
Ma se Gregorio non poteva sapere direttamente nessuna notizia,qualche cosa riusciva a sentire dalle stanze vicine: quandosentiva una voce, correva alla porta più adatta e vi aderivacontro con tutto il corpo. Specialmente nei primi tempi non c'eradiscorso in cui non si parlasse, magari in maniera velata, di lui. I primi due giorni, durante i pasti, si tenne consiglio sul dafare; ma la faccenda era discussa anche negli intervalli, perchénessuno voleva rimanere solo in casa né abbandonare questa senzasorveglianza. Quanto alla domestica, subito il primo giornosupplicò la madre, in ginocchio, di licenziarla, senza che nessunocapisse cosa e quanto avesse capito dell'incidente. Nelcongedarsi, un quarto d'ora dopo, ringraziò, tra le lacrime, peril permesso ottenuto come se fosse il maggiore favore che mai lefosse stato accordato, e aveva promesso, senza che nessuno glieloavesse chiesto, con un terribile giuramento, di non rivelarenulla, assolutamente nulla, a nessuno.
But while Gregor could get no new information directly, he did hear a good deal from the room next door, and as soon as he heard voices, he scurried right away to the relevant door and pressed his entire body against it. In the early days especially, there was no conversation which was not concerned with him in some way or other, even if only in secret. For two days at all meal times discussions on that subject could be heard on how people should now behave; but they also talked about the same subject in the times between meals, for there were always at least two family members at home, since no one really wanted to remain in the house alone and people could not under any circumstances leave the apartment completely empty. In addition, on the very first day the servant girl (it was not completely clear what and how much she knew about what had happened) on her knees had begged his mother to let her go immediately, and when she said good bye about fifteen minutes later, she thanked them for the dismissal with tears in her eyes, as if she was receiving the greatest favour which people had shown her there, and, without anyone demanding it from her, she swore a fearful oath not to betray anyone, not even the slightest bit.
Da allora la sorella e con la madre dovettero badare alla cucina;un lavoro, va detto, non troppo faticoso, perché in casa simangiava poco. Gregorio sentiva le esortazioni che a tavola unarivolgeva all'altro e la risposta immancabile: "Grazie, non ho piùfame" o qualcosa di simile. Forse non bevevano neanche più. Spessola sorella chiedeva al padre se voleva della birra, offrendosi diandare lei stessa a prenderla; al silenzio del padre, pertogliergli ogni scrupolo, aggiungeva che poteva incaricaredell'acquisto la portinaia. L'offerta veniva allora rifiutata daun energico definitivo "No", e il discorso cadeva.
Now his sister had to team up with his mother to do the cooking, although that didn't create much trouble because people were eating almost nothing. Again and again Gregor listened as one of them vainly invited another one to eat and received no answer other than "Thank you. I have enough" or something like that. And perhaps they had stopped having anything to drink, too. His sister often asked his father whether he wanted to have a beer and gladly offered to fetch it herself, and when his father was silent, she said, in order to remove any reservations he might have, that she could send the caretaker's wife to get it. But then his father finally said a resounding "No," and nothing more would be spoken about it.
Già dal primo giorno, il padre espose alla madre e alla sorella lasituazione finanziaria e le prospettive della famiglia. Ogni tantosi alzava da tavola e toglieva dalla piccola cassaforte, salvatacinque anni prima dal fallimento della sua azienda, un documento eun libro di appunti. Gregorio lo sentiva aprire la complicataserratura e richiuderla dopo aver preso quello che cercava. Questidiscorsi del padre furono la prima consolazione che Gregorio provònella sua prigionia. Gregorio pensava che suo padre non avessesalvato nulla; almeno, questi non gli aveva mai lasciato crederediversamente, e lui non aveva mai fatto domande. A quell'epoca,l'unico pensiero di Gregorio era stato di far dimenticare allafamiglia il rovescio che li aveva portati alla disperazione. Siera buttato, pieno di foga, nel lavoro, diventando subito, dapiccolo impiegato, un commesso viaggiatore: un'ottima posizione,grazie alla quale i successi si trasformavano in denaro sonante,sotto forma di provvigione: denaro che si poteva spargere sultavolo, davanti alla famiglia stupita e felice. Bei tempi, che nontornarono più con quello splendore, anche se Gregorio guadagnavatanto da mantenere la famiglia e da mantenerla per davvero. Ormaisi erano tutti abituati a quel regime di vita: i suoi accettavanocon gratitudine il denaro, e lui lo dava volentieri, ma ciòavveniva senza grandi effusioni. La sorella gli era, più deglialtri, vicina, e Gregorio si era proposto in segreto di farlaentrare, l'anno successivo, in conservatorio, sperando difronteggiare in qualche modo la spesa considerevole, per farfelice la ragazza che, contrariamente a lui, adorava la musica eamava suonare il violino. Fratello e sorella parlavano spesso delconservatorio, durante le brevi apparizioni che Gregorio faceva infamiglia, ma sempre come di un sogno irrealizzabile. I genitorinon volevano sentire neppure quelle innocenti allusioni, maGregorio pensava seriamente alla cosa e si riprometteva diannunciarla con solennità la sera di Natale.
Already during the first day his father laid out all the financial circumstances and prospects to his mother and to his sister as well. From time to time he stood up from the table and pulled out of the small lockbox salvaged from his business, which had collapsed five years previously, some document or other or some notebook. The sound was audible as he opened up the complicated lock and, after removing what he was looking for, locked it up again. These explanations by his father were, in part, the first enjoyable thing that Gregor had the chance to listen to since his imprisonment. He had thought that nothing at all was left over for his father from that business; at least his father had told him nothing to the contradict that view, and Gregor in any case hadn't asked him about it. At the time Gregor's only concern had been to devote everything he had in order to allow his family to forget as quickly as possible the business misfortune which had brought them all into a state of complete hopelessness. And so at that point he'd started to work with a special intensity and from an assistant had become, almost overnight, a traveling salesman, who naturally had entirely different possibilities for earning money and whose successes at work at once were converted into the form of cash commissions, which could be set out on the table at home in front of his astonished and delighted family. Those had been beautiful days, and they had never come back afterwards, at least not with the same splendour, in spite of the fact that Gregor later earned so much money that he was in a position to bear the expenses of the entire family, expenses which he, in fact, did bear. They had become quite accustomed to it, both the family and Gregor as well. They took the money with thanks, and he happily surrendered it, but the special warmth was no longer present. Only the sister had remained still close to Gregor, and it was his secret plan to send her (in contrast to Gregor she loved music very much and knew how to play the violin charmingly) next year to the conservatory, regardless of the great expense which that must necessitate and which would be made up in other ways. Now and then during Gregor's short stays in the city the conservatory was mentioned in conversations with his sister, but always only as a beautiful dream, whose realization was unimaginable, and their parents never listened to these innocent expectations with pleasure. But Gregor thought about them with scrupulous consideration and intended to explain the matter ceremoniously on Christmas Eve.
Questi pensieri, proprio fuori posto nella sua attuale situazione,gli passavano per la testa mentre stava a origliare, appoggiatocontro una porta. A volte la stanchezza lo vinceva e non sentivapiù nulla; la testa abbandonata picchiava contro la porta, ma luila rialzava subito, perché il piccolo rumore era stato notatonell'altra stanza e aveva fatto tacere tutti. "Chi sa che combina", diceva il padre dopo un momento, girandosidi sicuro verso la camera; e la conversazione interrotta faticavaa riprendere.
In his present situation, such futile ideas went through his head, while he pushed himself right up against the door and listened. Sometimes in his general exhaustion he couldn't listen any more and let his head bang listlessly against the door, but he immediately pulled himself together, for even the small sound which he made by this motion was heard near by and silenced everyone. " There he goes on again," said his father after a while, clearly turning towards the door, and only then would the interrupted conversation gradually be resumed again.
Il padre aveva preso l'abitudine di ripetere i suoi discorsi, siaperché da un pezzo non si occupava più di quelle faccende, siaperché la moglie non capiva subito. Gregorio ebbe così modo disentire diverse volte che, nonostante tutte le disgrazie, igenitori disponevano di una certa somma, esigua ma arrotondata,con il tempo, dagli interessi non riscossi. Inoltre non era statospeso tutto il denaro che Gregorio, tenendo per sé solo qualchefiorino, portava ogni mese a casa; e anche questo aveva finito colformare un piccolo capitale. Gregorio, dietro l'uscio, facevaapprovava energicamente con la testa, felice di quell'inaspettataprevidenza. Con questo denaro si sarebbe potuto ridurre ancora ildebito del padre verso il principale, avvicinando così il giornodella sua liberazione; ma, per il momento, era meglio lasciare lecose come il padre le aveva disposte.
Gregor found out clearly enough (for his father tended to repeat himself often in his explanations, partly because he had not personally concerned himself with these matters for a long time now, and partly also because his mother did not understand everything right away the first time) that, in spite all bad luck, a fortune, although a very small one, was available from the old times, which the interest (which had not been touched) had in the intervening time gradually allowed to increase a little. Furthermore, in addition to this, the money which Gregor had brought home every month (he had kept only a few florins for himself) had not been completely spent and had grown into a small capital amount. Gregor, behind his door, nodded eagerly, rejoicing over this unanticipated foresight and frugality. True, with this excess money, he could have paid off more of his father's debt to his employer and the day on which he could be rid of this position would have been a lot closer, but now things were doubtless better the way his father had arranged them.
Il denaro messo da parte non bastava a far vivere la famigliad'interessi; sarebbe durato un anno, due al massimo. I risparmi,dunque, non si dovevano toccare, ma erano da tenere come riservain caso di necessità; e intanto bisognava guadagnarsi il denaroper vivere. Il padre era sano, ma ormai avanti con l'età, nonlavorava più da cinque anni e non poteva quindi sperare troppo: durante quei cinque anni, prima vacanza di una vita consacrata allavoro e all'insuccesso, era ingrassato e appesantito. Dovevaforse lavorare la vecchia mamma, che soffriva di asma e faticavasolo a attraversare la casa, costretta a trascorrere metà dellesue giornate sul divano accanto alla finestra, fra crisi disoffocazione? Oppure avrebbe dovuto lavorare, coi suoi diciassetteanni, la sorella, ancora una bambina? Non avrebbe dovutocontinuare a vivere come aveva sempre fatto, con abitini eleganti,lunghi sonni, aiutando in casa, concedendosi qualche modestodivertimento e, soprattutto, suonando il violino? Quando parlavadella necessità di guadagnare denaro, Gregorio abbandonava laporta e si buttava sopra il fresco cuoio del divano, bruciando divergogna e di tristezza.
At the moment, however, this money was nowhere near sufficient to permit the family to live on the interest payments. Perhaps it would be enough to maintain the family for one or at most two years, that's all. Thus it came only to an amount which one should not really take out and which must be set aside for an emergency. But the money to live on must be earned. Now, his father was a healthy man, although he was old, who had not worked at all for five years now and thus could not be counted on for very much. He had in these five years, the first holidays of his trouble-filled but unsuccessful life, put on a good deal of fat and thus had become really heavy. And should his old mother now maybe work for money, a woman who suffered from asthma, for whom wandering through the apartment even now was a great strain and who spent every second day on the sofa by the open window labouring for breath? Should his sister earn money, a girl who was still a seventeen-year-old child, whose earlier life style had been so very delightful that it had consisted of dressing herself nicely, sleeping in late, helping around the house, taking part in a few modest enjoyments and, above all, playing the violin? When it came to talking about this need to earn money, at first Gregor went away from the door and threw himself on the cool leather sofa beside the door, for he was quite hot from shame and sorrow.
Spesso rimaneva sdraiato sul divano tutta la notte, senza chiudereocchio, grattando il cuoio per ore e ore. Oppure si sobbarcava lafatica di spingere una poltrona fino alla finestra, si aggrappavaal davanzale, quindi, puntellandosi contro la poltrona, rimanevaappoggiato ai vetri, quasi volesse provare ancora un senso diliberazione che una volta gli veniva dal guardare fuori. La vistagli si abbassava, ora, di giorno in giorno: non riusciva più avedere, per esempio, l'ospedale di fronte, mentre una volta loaveva, con suo gran disappunto, sempre davanti agli occhi; se nonfosse stato sicuro di abitare nella Charlottenstrasse, una viatranquilla ma centrale, avrebbe potuto credere che la sua finestrasi apriva su un deserto, in cui il grigio della terra e del cielosi riunivano senza lasciarsi distinguere. Bastò che la sorella,sempre attenta, vedesse due volte la poltrona vicino alla finestraperché, pulita la stanza, rimettesse la poltrona nello stessoposto, avendo cura di aprire anche le imposte interne.
Often he lay there all night long. He didn't sleep a moment and just scratched on the leather for hours at a time. He undertook the very difficult task of shoving a chair over to the window. Then he crept up on the window sill and, braced in the chair, leaned against the window to look out, obviously with some memory or other of the satisfaction which that used to bring him in earlier times. Actually from day to day he perceived things with less and less clarity, even those a short distance away: the hospital across the street, the all too frequent sight of which he had previously cursed, was not visible at all any more, and if he had not been precisely aware that he lived in the quiet but completely urban Charlotte Street, he could have believed that from his window he was peering out at a featureless wasteland, in which the gray heaven and the gray earth had merged and were indistinguishable. His attentive sister must have observed a couple of times that the chair stood by the window; then, after cleaning up the room, each time she pushed the chair back right against the window and from now on she even left the inner casement open.
Se Gregorio avesse potuto parlare con la sorella, ringraziarla perquanto faceva per lui, queste premure non gli avrebbero pesato;ma, così condannato al silenzio, ne soffriva. La ragazza facevadel suo meglio per rendere la situazione meno penosa, e via via,in effetti, ci riusciva; con l'andare del tempo, Gregorio, a suavolta, acquistava sempre più coscienza del suo stato. Già il mododi entrare della sorella era per lui terribile. Appena entrata,sebbene stesse sempre attenta a risparmiare ad altri la vistadella camera, senza richiudere la porta correva alla finestra e laspalancava di colpo, con mani impazienti, come se soffocasse;restava poi al davanzale, respirando profondamente, anche sefaceva molto freddo. La corsa e il fracasso spaventavano Gregoriodue volte al giorno; per il tempo che la sorella si affaccendavanella stanza, lui rimaneva, tremante, sotto il divano, pur sapendoche la ragazza gli avrebbe risparmiato tante angosce se fossepotuta restare, con la finestra chiusa, in una stanza dove eralui.
If Gregor had only been able to speak to his sister and thank her for everything that she had to do for him, he would have tolerated her service more easily. As it was he suffered under it. The sister admittedly sought to cover up the awkwardness of everything as much as possible, and, as time went by, she naturally got more successful at it. But with the passing of time Gregor also came to understand everything more precisely. Even her entrance was terrible for him. As soon as she entered, she ran straight to the window, without taking the time to shut the door (in spite of the fact that she was otherwise very considerate in sparing anyone the sight of Gregor's room), and yanked the window open with eager hands, as if she was almost suffocating, and remained for a while by the window breathing deeply, even when it was still so cold. With this running and noise she frightened Gregor twice every day. The entire time he trembled under the couch, and yet he knew very well that she would certainly have spared him gladly if it had only been possible to remain with the window closed in a room where Gregor lived.
Una volta -era passato un mese dalla metamorfosi di Gregorio, ela sorella non aveva più motivo di spaventarsi alla sua vista -nell'arrivare un po' prima del solito, la ragazza sorpreseGregorio mentre guardava fuori dalla finestra, immobile, in unatteggiamento terrificante. Se si fosse limitata a non entrare,Gregorio non si sarebbe meravigliato, perché sapeva che, in quellaposizione, le impediva di aprire la finestra; ma lei non solo nonentrò, ma si ritrasse con un salto e chiuse la porta a chiave: unestraneo avrebbe potuto pensare che Gregorio fosse in agguato permorderla. Naturalmente Gregorio si nascose subito sotto il divano,ma dovette aspettare fino a mezzogiorno, prima che la sorellatornasse, molto più inquieta del solito. Egli capì che la suavista le era intollerabile, che sarebbe stato sempre così anche infuturo, che la ragazza, anzi, doveva fare un grande sforzo per nonfuggire alla vista delle parti rimaste fuori dal divano. Perrisparmiarle anche questo, un giorno Gregorio trasportò sullaschiena un lenzuolo dal letto al divano, e lo sistemò in modo dacoprire il mobile fino a terra: l'impresa gli costò quattro ore difatica. Se la sorella avesse pensato che il lenzuolo era inutile,avrebbe potuto toglierlo, perché per Gregorio, chiaramente, nonera gradevole quella segregazione; ma il lenzuolo rimase al suoposto, e quando Gregorio, scansato con cautela un lembo deldrappo, volle vedere come la sorella accoglieva l'innovazione,credette di vedere nei suoi occhi un lampo di gratitudine.
On one occasion (about one month had already gone by since Gregor's transformation, and there was now no particular reason any more for his sister to be startled at Gregor's appearance) she came a little earlier than usual and came upon Gregor as he was still looking out the window, immobile and well positioned to frighten someone. It would not have come as a surprise to Gregor if she had not come in, since his position was preventing her from opening the window immediately. But she not only did not step inside; she even retreated and shut the door. A stranger really could have concluded from this that Gregor had been lying in wait for her and wanted to bite her. Of course, Gregor immediately concealed himself under the couch, but he had to wait until the noon meal before his sister returned, and she seemed much less calm than usual. From this he realized that his appearance was still constantly intolerable to her and must remain intolerable in future, and that she really had to exert a lot of self-control not to run away from a glimpse of only the small part of his body which stuck out from under the couch. In order to spare her even this sight, one day he dragged the sheet on his back onto the couch (this task took him four hours) and arranged it in such a way that he was now completely concealed and his sister, even if she bent down, could not see him. If this sheet was not necessary as far as she was concerned, then she could remove it, for it was clear enough that Gregor could not derive any pleasure from isolating himself away so completely. But she left the sheet just as it was, and Gregor believed he even caught a look of gratitude when on one occasion he carefully lifted up the sheet a little with his head to check as his sister took stock of the new arrangement.
Nelle prime due settimane, i genitori non poterono decidersi aentrare da lui; li sentiva spesso elogiare la sorella, alla qualeprima rimproveravano di essere una buona a nulla. Il padre e lamadre, a volte, aspettavano fuori della camera di Gregorio mentrela sorella finiva le pulizie, per farsi poi raccontaredettagliatamente come era la camera, cosa aveva mangiato Gregorio,come si era comportato quella volta, se non aveva notato, percaso, un lieve miglioramento. Non passò troppo tempo perché lamadre manifestasse il desiderio di visitare Gregorio; ma il padree la sorella la trattennero, adducendo ragioni che Gregorioascoltò attentamente, approvandole in pieno. In seguito, dovetterotrattenerla con la forza, e nel sentirla gridare: "Lasciatemiandare da Gregorio, dal povero figlio mio infelice! Non voletecapire capire che devo vederlo?", Gregorio pensò che forse sarebbestato bene che la mamma fosse entrata da lui non tutti i giornima, mettiamo, una volta la settimana; lei capiva le cose moltomeglio della sorella che, con tutto il suo coraggio, era solo unabambina, e si era forse assunta un compito tanto pesante solo perleggerezza infantile.
In the first two weeks his parents could not bring themselves to visit him, and he often heard how they fully acknowledged his sister's present work; whereas, earlier they had often got annoyed at his sister because she had seemed to them a somewhat useless young woman. However, now both his father and his mother often waited in front of Gregor's door while his sister cleaned up inside, and as soon as she came out she had to explain in detail how things looked in the room, what Gregor had eaten, how he had behaved this time, and whether perhaps a slight improvement was perceptible. In any event, his mother comparatively soon wanted to visit Gregor, but his father and his sister restrained her, at first with reasons which Gregor listened to very attentively and which he completely endorsed. Later, however, they had to hold her back forcefully, and when she then cried "Let me go to Gregor. He's my unlucky son! Don't you understand that I have to go to him?" Gregor then thought that perhaps it would be a good thing if his mother came in, not every day, of course, but maybe once a week. She understood everything much better than his sister, who in spite of all her courage was still a child and, in the last analysis, had perhaps undertaken such a difficult task only out of childish recklessness.
Il desiderio che Gregorio aveva di rivedere la madre, diventòpresto realtà. Durante il giorno, per riguardo ai genitori,Gregorio evitava di mostrarsi alla finestra, ma i pochi metriquadrati del pavimento non gli consentivano lunghe passeggiate;rimanere disteso, senza muoversi, gli era già di sacrificiodurante la notte; il cibo non gli dava più nessun piacere: così,per distrarsi, prese l'abitudine di strisciare in lungo e inlargo, per il soffitto e le pareti. In modo particolare, godeva asospendersi al soffitto: non era come sul pavimento, si respiravameglio, il corpo si abbandonava a una leggera oscillazione, e,nella beata smemoratezza che lo prendeva, poteva capitargli, consua sorpresa, di lasciarsi cadere a terra. Ma ora aveva acquistatouna padronanza del suo corpo in modo assai diverso da prima, e lacaduta non aveva nessuna conseguenza. La sorella si accorse subitodel nuovo diversivo di Gregorio -sui muri rimanevano traccevischiose del suo passaggio -e si mise in testa di favorirgli imovimenti portando via i mobili, e cioè, prima di tutto, ilcassettone e la scrivania.
Gregor's wish to see his mother was soon realized. While during the day Gregor, out of consideration for his parents, did not want to show himself by the window, he couldn't crawl around very much on the few square metres of the floor. He found it difficult to bear lying quietly during the night, and soon eating no longer gave him the slightest pleasure. So for diversion he acquired the habit of crawling back and forth across the walls and ceiling. He was especially fond of hanging from the ceiling. The experience was quite different from lying on the floor. It was easier to breathe, a slight vibration went through his body, and in the midst of the almost happy amusement which Gregor found up there, it could happen that, to his own surprise, he let go and hit the floor. However, now he naturally controlled his body quite differently, and he did not injure himself in such a great fall. His sister noticed immediately the new amusement which Gregor had found for himself (for as he crept around he left behind here and there traces of his sticky stuff), and so she got the idea of making Gregor's creeping around as easy as possible and thus of removing the furniture which got in the way, especially the chest of drawers and the writing desk.
Da sola non era in grado di farlo, alpadre non osava chiedere aiuto né poteva rivolgersi alladomestica, una ragazza di sedici anni che, dopo il licenziamentodella cuoca, resisteva, a patto di rimanere chiusa in cucina,aprendo solo quando era chiamata. L'unica soluzione, era ricorrerealla madre, un giorno che il padre fosse stato fuori di casa. Lamadre arrivò con esclamazioni di gioia, ma ammutolì sulla sogliadella camera di Gregorio. La sorella guardò che tutto fosse inordine, poi lasciò entrare la mamma. Gregorio aveva in frettaabbassato ancora di più il lenzuolo, tutto piegato in modo chesembrasse veramente gettato per caso sul divano. Per questa voltarinunciò a spiare: non avrebbe visto la mamma, ma era felice giàsolo per il fatto che fosse venuta. "Vieni, tanto non si vede", disse la sorella tenendo la madre permano. Poi Gregorio sentì le due deboli donne smuovere il pesantecassettone; la sorella si riservava la parte più pesante dellavoro, mentre la madre l'ammoniva a stare attenta a non farsimale. L'operazione richiese molto tempo. Dopo un quarto d'ora, lamamma disse che era meglio lasciare il cassettone dov'era, primadi tutto perché era troppo pesante, non avrebbero finito prima delritorno del babbo, e con il mobile in mezzo alla camera avrebberointralciato in ogni senso i movimenti di Gregorio, in secondoluogo, Gregorio poteva non essere contento che gli portassero viail mobile. Lei pensava che gli sarebbe dispiaciuto: la vista dellaparete spoglia le stringeva il cuore, perché non avrebbe dovutoprovare la stessa impressione anche Gregorio, abituato da tempo aimobili della sua stanza? Nella stanza vuota, si sarebbe sentitoabbandonato.
But she was in no position to do this by herself. She did not dare to ask her father to help, and the servant girl would certainly not have assisted her, for although this girl, about sixteen years old, had courageously remained since the dismissal of the previous cook, she had begged for the privilege of being allowed to stay permanently confined to the kitchen and of having to open the door only in answer to a special summons. Thus, his sister had no other choice but to involve his mother while his father was absent. His mother approached Gregor's room with cries of excited joy, but she fell silent at the door. Of course, his sister first checked whether everything in the room was in order. Only then did she let his mother walk in. In great haste Gregor had drawn the sheet down even further and wrinkled it more. The whole thing really looked just like a coverlet thrown carelessly over the couch. On this occasion, Gregor held back from spying out from under the sheet. Thus, he refrained from looking at his mother this time and was just happy that she had come. "Come on; he is not visible," said his sister, and evidently led his mother by the hand. Now Gregor listened as these two weak women shifted the still heavy old chest of drawers from its position, and as his sister constantly took on herself the greatest part of the work, without listening to the warnings of his mother who was afraid that she would strain herself. The work lasted a long time. After about a quarter of an hour had already gone by his mother said that it would be better if they left the chest of drawers where it was, because, in the first place, it was too heavy: they would not be finished before his father's arrival, and with the chest of drawers in the middle of the room it would block all Gregor's pathways, but, in the second place, it might not be certain that Gregor would be pleased with the removal of the furniture. To her the reverse seemed to be true; the sight of the empty walls pierced her right to the heart, and why should Gregor not feel the same, since he had been accustomed to the room furnishings for a long time and in an empty room would thus feel himself abandoned.
"E poi", concluse pianissimo, addiritturabisbigliando, quasi volesse evitare che Gregorio, del qualeignorava il rifugio, sentisse il suono delle parole -il senso,era sicura che non lo afferrasse -"e poi, togliere i mobili nonvorrà dire che rinunciamo a ogni speranza di miglioramento, che loabbandoniamo a se stesso? Io credo che la cosa migliore è lasciarealla camera l'aspetto che aveva prima, perché Gregorio, quandotornerà da noi, trovi tutto intatto, e possa dimenticare piùfacilmente questo periodo".
"And is it not the case," his mother concluded very quietly, almost whispering as if she wished to prevent Gregor, whose exact location she really didn't know, from hearing even the sound of her voice (for she was convinced that he did not understand her words), "and isn't it a fact that by removing the furniture we're showing that we're giving up all hope of an improvement and are leaving him to his own resources without any consideration? I think it would be best if we tried to keep the room exactly in the condition in which it was before, so that, when Gregor returns to us, he finds everything unchanged and can forget the intervening time all the more easily."
Nel sentire queste parole della madre, Gregorio si rese conto chela vita monotona di quei due mesi, priva di immediati contattiumani, doveva avergli turbato la mente: come spiegarsi,altrimenti, il suo desiderio di abitare in una camera vuota? Voleva davvero che quella stanza calda e comoda, arredata conmobili di famiglia, fosse trasformata in una tana, nella qualeavrebbe potuto strisciare in ogni direzione, in un rapido eassoluto oblio del suo passato umano? Così vicino era aquell'oblio, che soltanto la voce della mamma, non sentita da unpezzo, era riuscita a farlo tornare in sé? No, non doveva essereportato via niente, tutto doveva rimanere al suo posto, lui nonpoteva rinunciare all'influenza benefica dei mobili, e se questigli impedivano di continuare nei suoi giri insensati, era più beneche male.
As he heard his mother's words Gregor realized that the lack of all immediate human contact, together with the monotonous life surrounded by the family over the course of these two months must have confused his understanding, because otherwise he couldn't explain to himself that he in all seriousness could've been so keen to have his room emptied. Was he really eager to let the warm room, comfortably furnished with pieces he had inherited, be turned into a cavern in which he would, of course, then be able to crawl about in all directions without disturbance, but at the same time with a quick and complete forgetting of his human past as well? Was he then at this point already on the verge of forgetting and was it only the voice of his mother, which he had not heard for along time, that had aroused him? Nothing was to be removed; everything must remain. In his condition he couldn't function without the beneficial influences of his furniture. And if the furniture prevented him from carrying out his senseless crawling about all over the place, then there was no harm in that, but rather a great benefit.
Purtroppo, la sorella non fu dello stesso parere. Con i genitori,quando c'era da discutere qualche cosa che riguardava Gregorio, siriservava, non a torto, l'ultima parola: bastò il consiglio dellamamma perché insistesse a portare fuori non solo il cassettone ela scrivania, ai quali aveva pensato in un primo momento, ma tuttii mobili, escluso l'indispensabile divano. Questa decisione nonera dovuta soltanto a una forma di orgoglio infantile o al sensodi sicurezza che aveva acquistato in modo tanto imprevisto edoloroso in quegli ultimi tempi: aveva, in realtà, osservato comeGregorio aveva bisogno di molto spazio per i suoi giri, e che imobili, a quanto pareva, non gli servivano a nulla.
But his sister unfortunately thought otherwise. She had grown accustomed, certainly not without justification, so far as the discussion of matters concerning Gregor was concerned, to act as an special expert with respect to their parents, and so now the mother's advice was for his sister sufficient reason to insist on the removal, not only of the chest of drawers and the writing desk, which were the only items she had thought about at first, but also of all the furniture, with the exception of the indispensable couch. Of course, it was not only childish defiance and her recent very unexpected and hard won self-confidence which led her to this demand. She had also actually observed that Gregor needed a great deal of room to creep about; the furniture, on the other hand, as far as one could see, was not of the slightest use.
Bisogneràinfine ricordare l'esuberanza sentimentale e fantastica propriadella sua età; forse Grete tendeva a vedere ancora più tragica lasituazione del fratello, per diventargli ancora piùindispensabile: nessuno infatti, tranne lei, avrebbe avuto ilcoraggio di entrare in una stanza dove Gregorio regnasse solo,sulle nude pareti. Così non si lasciò distogliere, nella sua decisione, dalla madre;e inquieta, incerta, questa si applicò, come meglio poté, asmuovere il cassettone. Gregorio, in fondo, poteva fare a meno delcassettone, ma la scrivania poteva restare al suo posto. Appena ledonne ebbero spinto, ansimando, il cassettone fuori dalla stanza,sporse il capo di sotto il divano per vedere come potevaintervenire, senza far nascere guai. Purtroppo, fu la madre arientrare per prima, mentre Grete, nella stanza vicina, siaffaccendava intorno al cassettone, che scuoteva senza riuscire asmuovere. La madre non era abituata a Gregorio, avrebbe potutosentirsi male; quello, spaventato, indietreggiò rapido sinoall'estremità opposta del divano, provocando un leggero movimentodel lenzuolo. Bastò questo a richiamare l'attenzione della donna,che si fermò, rimase un istante immobile, quindi tornò da Grete.
But perhaps the enthusiastic sensibility of young women of her age also played a role. This feeling sought release at every opportunity, and with it Grete now felt tempted to want to make Gregor's situation even more terrifying, so that then she would be able to do even more for him than now. For surely no one except Grete would ever trust themselves to enter a room in which Gregor ruled the empty walls all by himself. And so she did not let herself be dissuaded from her decision by her mother, who in this room seemed uncertain of herself in her sheer agitation and soon kept quiet, helping his sister with all her energy to get the chest of drawers out of the room. Now, Gregor could still do without the chest of drawers if need be, but the writing desk really had to stay. And scarcely had the women left the room with the chest of drawers, groaning as they pushed it, when Gregor stuck his head out from under the sofa to take a look how he could intervene cautiously and with as much consideration as possible. But unfortunately it was his mother who came back into the room first, while Grete had her arms wrapped around the chest of drawers in the next room and was rocking it back and forth by herself, without moving it from its position. His mother was not used to the sight of Gregor; he could have made her ill, and so, frightened, Gregor scurried backwards right to the other end of the sofa, but he could no longer prevent the sheet from moving forward a little. That was enough to catch his mother's attention. She came to a halt, stood still for a moment, and then went back to Grete.
Benché Gregorio si ripetesse che non accadeva niente distraordinario, che tutto si riduceva allo spostamento di qualchemobile, dovette presto confessarsi che i movimenti delle donne, leloro brevi esclamazioni, il rumore dei mobili sul pavimento, losconvolgevano: per quanto rientrasse testa e gambe, schiacciandosicontro il pavimento, non avrebbe potuto sopportarlo a lungo. Glivuotavano la sua camera, gli prendevano tutte le cose alle qualiera affezionato: il cassettone, dove era conservato il traforo congli altri arnesi, lo avevano già portato fuori; ora tentavano dismuovere la scrivania, sulla quale aveva scritto i compitidell'accademia di commercio, delle medie, perfino delleelementari... No, non poteva più apprezzare le buone intenzionidelle donne, le quali, del resto, mute per la fatica, avevanofatto dimenticare la loro esistenza. Si sentivano solo i loropassi pesanti.
Although Gregor kept repeating to himself over and over that really nothing unusual was going on, that only a few pieces of furniture were being rearranged, he soon had to admit to himself that the movements of the women to and fro, their quiet conversations, the scratching of the furniture on the floor affected him like a great swollen commotion on all sides, and, so firmly was he pulling in his head and legs and pressing his body into the floor, he had to tell himself unequivocally that he wouldn't be able to endure all this much longer. They were cleaning out his room, taking away from him everything he cherished; they had already dragged out the chest of drawers in which the fret saw and other tools were kept, and they were now loosening the writing desk which was fixed tight to the floor, the desk on which he, as a business student, a school student, indeed even as an elementary school student, had written out his assignments. At that moment he really didn't have any more time to check the good intentions of the two women, whose existence he had in any case almost forgotten, because in their exhaustion they were working really silently, and the heavy stumbling of their feet was the only sound to be heard.
Mentre la madre e la sorella, nella stanza accanto, riprendevanofiato, appoggiandosi alla scrivania, lui uscì fuori, tantodisorientato da cambiare direzione quattro volte; perplesso, stavapensando cosa doveva salvare per prima, quando sulla parete ormaispoglia vide il ritratto della signora in pelliccia. Rapidoraggiunse il quadro e si appoggiò al vetro, che aderì contro ilsuo ventre bruciante, dandogli un senso di sollievo. Almeno quelritratto, che copriva col suo corpo, nessuno glielo avrebbe tolto. Con la testa girata verso la porta della sala, aspettò che ledonne rientrassero.
And so he scuttled out (the women were just propping themselves up on the writing desk in the next room in order to take a breather) changing the direction of his path four times. He really didn't know what he should rescue first. Then he saw hanging conspicuously on the wall, which was otherwise already empty, the picture of the woman dressed in nothing but fur. He quickly scurried up over it and pressed himself against the glass that held it in place and which made his hot abdomen feel good. At least this picture, which Gregor at the moment completely concealed, surely no one would now take away. He twisted his head towards the door of the living room to observe the women as they came back in.
Queste, che non si erano concesse troppo riposo, tornarono subito. Grete teneva un braccio intorno alla vita della mamma, quasisorreggendola. "E ora, cosa prendiamo?" disse Grete, guardandosiintorno; e in quel momento il suo sguardo incontrò quello diGregorio sulla parete. Se conservò il suo sangue freddo, fu per lamamma. Tremando tutta e cercando di coprire, con la testa, lavista del muro, disse alla donna: "Vieni, forse è meglio chetorniamo un momento in sala". Gregorio capì che Grete volevamettere al sicuro la mamma, per poi cacciarlo dal muro. Ci siprovasse! Lui non si sarebbe mosso dal suo quadro: piuttosto lesarebbe saltato in faccia.
They had not allowed themselves very much rest and were coming back right away. Grete had placed her arm around her mother and held her tightly. "So what shall we take now?" said Grete and looked around her. Then her glance crossed with Gregor's from the wall. She kept her composure only because her mother was there. She bent her face towards her mother in order to prevent her from looking around, and said, although in a trembling voice and too quickly, "Come, wouldn't it be better to go back to the living room for just another moment?" Grete's purpose was clear to Gregor: she wanted to bring his mother to a safe place and then chase him down from the wall. Well, let her just attempt that! He squatted on his picture and did not hand it over. He would sooner spring into Grete's face.
Ma le parole di Grete servirono a rendere ancora più inquieta lamadre, che si scansò e vide l'enorme macchia bruna sulla carta afiori della tappezzeria. Prima ancora di aver identificato quellamacchia con Gregorio, gridò con voce rauca: "Oh Dio, oh Dio!" ecadde sul divano con le braccia spalancate, come in un gesto disuprema rinuncia, e non si mosse più. "Ah, Gregorio!" gridò la sorella, alzando il pugno e trafiggendolocon lo sguardo. Erano le prime parole che gli rivolgevadirettamente, dal momento della metamorfosi. Corse nella stanzavicina a prendere qualche cosa per far rinvenire l'esanime;Gregorio volle seguirla, a salvare il ritratto c'era ancora tempo,ma era rimasto attaccato al vetro, e dovette fare uno sforzo perliberarsi. Quindi anche lui si affrettò in sala, quasi fosseancora in grado di consigliare la sorella, seguendolapassivamente, mentre frugava tra flaconi e boccette, espaventandola quando si girò. Una boccetta cadde a terra e andò infrantumi, una scheggia ferì Gregorio in faccia, mentre intorno alui si spandeva un liquido corrosivo. Grete, senza indugiare,afferrò quante più boccette poté e corse dalla mamma, chiudendosidietro la porta con un calcio. Ora Gregorio era separato dallamadre, forse vicina a morire per colpa sua; non poteva aprire laporta, se non voleva fare fuggire la sorella, che doveva rimanereaccanto alla mamma: non gli restava dunque che aspettare e, pienodi rimorsi e di angoscia, cominciò a strisciare sulle pareti, suimobili, sul soffitto, finché non ebbe l'impressione che tutta lastanza gli girasse intorno: a questo punto, disperato, cadde inmezzo al grande tavolo.
But Grete's words had immediately made the mother very uneasy. She walked to the side, caught sight of the enormous brown splotch on the flowered wallpaper, and, before she became truly aware that what she was looking at was Gregor, screamed out in a high pitched raw voice "Oh God, oh God" and fell with outstretched arms, as if she was surrendering everything, down onto the couch and lay there motionless. "Gregor, you. . .," cried out his sister with a raised fist and an urgent glare. Since his transformation those were the first words which she had directed right at him. She ran into the room next door to bring some spirits or other with which she could revive her mother from her fainting spell. Gregor wanted to help as well (there was time enough to save the picture), but he was stuck fast on the glass and had to tear himself loose forcefully. Then he also scurried into the next room, as if he could give his sister some advice, as in earlier times, but then he had to stand there idly behind her, while she rummaged about among various small bottles. Still, she was frightened when she turned around. A bottle fell onto the floor and shattered. A splinter of glass wounded Gregor in the face, some corrosive medicine or other dripped over him. Now, without lingering any longer, Grete took as many small bottles as she could hold and ran with them into her mother. She slammed the door shut with her foot. Gregor was now shut off from his mother, who was perhaps near death, thanks to him. He could not open the door, and he did not want to chase away his sister who had to remain with her mother. At this point he had nothing to do but wait, and overwhelmed with self-reproach and worry, he began to creep and crawl over everything: walls, furniture, and ceiling,. Finally, in his despair, as the entire room started to spin around him, he fell onto the middle of the large table.
Passò qualche minuto. Gregorio giaceva, stremato, sul tavolo;intorno non si sentiva nulla, forse questo era un buon segno. Adun tratto, suonò il campanello. La domestica era, naturalmente,chiusa in cucina, e Grete dovette andare ad aprire. Era arrivatoil padre. "Che è successo?" furono le sue prime parole: l'aspetto di Gretegli aveva rivelato ogni cosa. Grete rispose con voce soffocata -forse appoggiava il viso contro il suo petto -: "La mamma èsvenuta, ma ora va meglio. Gregorio è scappato". "Me l'aspettavo",disse il padre. "Ve l'ho sempre detto, ma voi donne non voletestarmi a sentire".
A short time elapsed. Gregor lay there limply. All around was still. Perhaps that was a good sign. Then there was ring at the door. The servant girl was naturally shut up in her kitchen, and Grete must therefore go to open the door. The father had arrived. "What's happened," were his first words. Grete's appearance had told him everything. Grete replied with a dull voice; evidently she was pressing her face into her father's chest: "Mother fainted, but she's getting better now. Gregor has broken loose." "Yes, I have expected that," said his father, "I always told you that, but you women don't want to listen."
Gregorio capì che il padre aveva interpretatomale le parole di Grete, che lo immaginava colpevole di qualcheviolenza. Bisognava cercare di placarlo, perché mancavano tempo emodi per spiegargli le cose. Corse verso la porta della camera esi strinse ad essa, affinché il babbo, entrando nell'anticamera,vedesse che lui aveva l'intenzione di rientrare subito nella suastanza, e che non era necessario spingerlo: sarebbe sparito, nonappena gli avessero aperto la porta.
It was clear to Gregor that his father had badly misunderstood Grete's short message and was assuming that Gregor had committed some violent crime or other. Thus, Gregor now had to find his father to calm him down, for he had neither the time nor the opportunity to clarify things for him. And so he rushed away to the door of his room and pushed himself against it, so that his father could see right away as he entered from the hall that Gregor fully intended to return at once to his room, that it was not necessary to drive him back, but that one only needed to open the door and he would disappear immediately.
Ma il padre non era in un umore tale da apprezzare simili finezze: "Ah!" gridò entrando, con una specie di feroce allegria. Gregoriodistolse la testa dalla porta, e la alzò verso il padre. Non se loimmaginava davvero, in quel modo. Negli ultimi tempi, tutto presodalla novità delle sue passeggiate lungo le pareti, avevatrascurato di seguire gli avvenimenti domestici; non doveva quindistupirsi di qualche cambiamento. Ma, ma... quell'uomo era propriosuo padre? Lo stesso uomo stanco, che rimaneva sprofondato nelletto quando Gregorio partiva per un viaggio d'affari? Che, quandotornava, lo riceveva senza alzarsi dalla poltrona, limitandosi adalzare le braccia in segno di gioia? Che in occasione delle rarepasseggiate familiari -qualche domenica, qualche grande festa -si trascinava tra Gregorio e la moglie, avanzanti piano piano? L'uomo infagottato in un vecchio cappotto, col bastoneprudentemente puntato in avanti, che si fermava ogni dieci passi,facendo fermare gli altri per dire qualche cosa?
But his father was not in the mood to observe such niceties. "Ah," he yelled as soon as he entered, with a tone as if he were all at once angry and pleased. Gregor pulled his head back from the door and raised it in the direction of his father. He had not really pictured his father as he now stood there. Of course, what with his new style of creeping all around, he had in the past while neglected to pay attention to what was going on in the rest of the apartment, as he had done before, and really should have grasped the fact that he would encounter different conditions. Nevertheless, nevertheless, was that still his father? Was that the same man who had lain exhausted and buried in bed in earlier days when Gregor was setting out on a business trip, who had received him on the evenings of his return in a sleeping gown and arm chair, totally incapable of standing up, who had only lifted his arm as a sign of happiness, and who in their rare strolls together a few Sundays a year and on the important holidays made his way slowly forwards between Gregor and his mother (who themselves moved slowly), always a bit more slowly than them, bundled up in his old coat, all the time setting down his walking stick carefully, and who, when he had wanted to say something, almost always stood still and gathered his entourage around him?
Eccolo lìimpettito, in un'impeccabile uniforme blu coi bottoni d'oro, dacommesso di banca; sopra il colletto alto e duro della giubbatraboccava il suo pesante doppio mento; gli occhi neri brillavano,vivaci e attenti, al di sotto delle folte sopracciglia; i capellibianchi, di solito in disordine, erano accuratamente pettinati,lucidi e divisi da una esatta scriminatura. Per prima cosa buttòsul divano il berretto col monogramma dorato, probabilmente di unabanca, facendolo volare attraverso la stanza, quindi, gettateindietro le falde della lunga giacca, con le mani in tasca, avanzòminaccioso verso Gregorio.
But now he was standing up really straight, dressed in a tight fitting blue uniform with gold buttons, like the ones servants wear in a banking company. Above the high stiff collar of his jacket his firm double chin stuck out prominently, beneath his bushy eyebrows the glance of his black eyes was freshly penetrating and alert, his otherwise disheveled white hair was combed down into a carefully exact shining part. He threw his cap, on which a gold monogram (apparently the symbol of the bank) was affixed, in an arc across the entire room onto the sofa and moved, throwing back the edge of the long coat of his uniform, with his hands in his trouser pockets and a grim face, right up to Gregor.
Neppure lui doveva sapere precisamentecosa fare; avanzava sollevando i piedi più di quanto normalmentesi faccia, e Gregorio si stupì per la lunghezza delle sue scarpe. Ma non si soffermò a riflettere su questo punto: fino dal primogiorno della sua nuova vita sapeva bene che il padre consideravaopportuna, nei suoi confronti, solo la più grande severità, e sidiede alla fuga. Si fermava quando quello si fermava, e riprendevaa correre appena l'altro accennava a muoversi. In questo modofecero diverse volte il giro della stanza, senza che succedesseniente; il ritmo dei loro movimenti era, anzi, tanto lento, da nonavere neppure l'apparenza di un inseguimento. Gregorio, temendoche il padre considerasse una fuga sulle pareti o sul soffittocome una beffa, restava sul pavimento. Ma presto dovetteconvincersi che non avrebbe retto a lungo quella corsa continua: un solo passo del padre gli costava un'infinità di movimenti e giàlo opprimeva l'affanno, non aveva mai avuto polmoni robusti.
Avanzava barcollando, con tanto sforzo da non riuscire a teneregli occhi aperti, nell'assurda speranza che la fuga rappresentassela salvezza, senza neppure pensare alle pareti pur sempreaccessibili, anche se piene di mobili finemente intagliati, pienidi angoli e di punte... D'improvviso qualcosa gli cadde vicino erotolò via adagio. Era una mela, subito seguita da un'altra. Gregorio rimase paralizzato dalla paura: inutile continuare acorrere, se il padre aveva deciso di bombardarlo.
He really didn't know what he had in mind, but he raised his foot uncommonly high anyway, and Gregor was astonished at the gigantic size of his sole of his boot. However, he did not linger on that point. For he knew from the first day of his new life that as far as he was concerned his father considered the greatest force the only appropriate response. And so he scurried away from his father, stopped when his father remained standing, and scampered forward again when his father merely stirred. In this way they made their way around the room repeatedly, without anything decisive taking place; indeed because of the slow pace it didn't look like a chase. Gregor remained on the floor for the time being, especially as he was afraid that his father could take a flight up onto the wall or the ceiling as an act of real malice. At any event Gregor had to tell himself that he couldn't keep up this running around for a long time, because whenever his father took a single step, he had to go through an enormous number of movements. Already he was starting to suffer from a shortage of breath, just as in his earlier days his lungs had been quite unreliable. As he now staggered around in this way in order to gather all his energies for running, hardly keeping his eyes open, in his listlessness he had no notion at all of any escape other than by running and had almost already forgotten that the walls were available to him, although they were obstructed by carefully carved furniture full of sharp points and spikes--at that moment something or other thrown casually flew down close by and rolled in front of him. It was an apple; immediately a second one flew after it. Gregor stood still in fright. Further flight was useless, for his father had decided to bombard him.
Si era riempitole tasche dalla fruttiera sulla credenza, e lanciava una mela dopol'altra, senza badare troppo alla mira. Le mele, piccole e rosse,rotolavano sul pavimento, urtandosi come elettrizzate. Una losfiorò e scivolò via senza fargli male; ma un'altra affondòaddirittura nella sua schiena. Gregorio volle trascinarsi ancoraavanti, come se il movimento potesse lenire l'incredibile doloreche lo aveva sorpreso: ma rimase inchiodato al pavimento,sentendosi venir meno. Riuscì ancora a vedere la porta della suacamera che si spalancava, facendo passare la sorella che urlava ela mamma discinta, perché Grete l'aveva svestita per farlariavere, la madre correre verso il padre, inciampando nellesottane che cadevano una dopo l'altra, slanciarsi su di lui,abbracciarlo e tenendolo stretto a sé, con le mani intrecciatedietro la nuca, chiedergli di risparmiare la vita del lorofigliolo. A questo punto, Gregorio non vide più nulla.
From the fruit bowl on the sideboard his father had filled his pockets, and now, without for the moment taking accurate aim, was throwing apple after apple. These small red apples rolled as if electrified around on the floor and collided with each other. A weakly thrown apple grazed Gregor's back but skidded off harmlessly. However another thrown immediately after that one drove into Gregor's back really hard. Gregor wanted to drag himself off, as if the unexpected and incredible pain would go away if he changed his position. But he felt as if he was nailed in place and lay stretched out completely confused in all his senses. Only with his final glance did he notice how the door of his room was pulled open and how, right in front of his sister (who was yelling), his mother ran out in her undergarments, for his sister had undressed her in order to give her some freedom to breathe in her fainting spell, and how his mother then ran up to his father, on the way her tied up skirts one after the other slipped toward the floor, and how, tripping over her skirts, she hurled herself onto his father and, throwing her arms around him, in complete union with him--but at this moment Gregor's powers of sight gave way--as her hands reached to the back of his father's head and she begged him to spare Gregor's life.