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The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Trial by Franz Kafka

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The Trial by Franz Kafka
The Trial by Franz Kafka

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Trial, by Franz KafkaTranslated by David Wyllie.** This is a COPYRIGHTED Project Gutenberg eBook, Details Below **** Please follow the copyright guidelines in this file. **Copyright (C) 2003 by David Wyllie.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this ProjectGutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do not change or edit theheader without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about theeBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights and restrictions inhow the file may be used. You can also find out about how to make adonation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: The TrialAuthor: Franz KafkaRelease Date: April, 2005 [EBook #7849][Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule][This file was first posted on May 16, 2003][Updated March 28, 2004][Most recently updated on April 18, 2007]Edition: 11Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-8859-1*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, THE TRIAL ***The TrialFranz KafkaTranslation Copyright (C) by David WyllieTranslator contact email: dandelion@post.czChapter OneArrest - Conversation with Mrs. Grubach - Then Miss Brstner
 
Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he haddone nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested. Every day ateight in the morning he was brought his breakfast by Mrs. Grubach'scook - Mrs. Grubach was his landlady - but today she didn't come. Thathad never happened before. K. waited a little while, looked from hispillow at the old woman who lived opposite and who was watching him withan inquisitiveness quite unusual for her, and finally, both hungry anddisconcerted, rang the bell. There was immediately a knock at the doorand a man entered. He had never seen the man in this house before. Hewas slim but firmly built, his clothes were black and close-fitting,with many folds and pockets, buckles and buttons and a belt, all ofwhich gave the impression of being very practical but without making itvery clear what they were actually for. "Who are you?" asked K.,sitting half upright in his bed. The man, however, ignored the questionas if his arrival simply had to be accepted, and merely replied, "Yourang?" "Anna should have brought me my breakfast," said K. He tried towork out who the man actually was, first in silence, just throughobservation and by thinking about it, but the man didn't stay still tobe looked at for very long. Instead he went over to the door, opened itslightly, and said to someone who was clearly standing immediatelybehind it, "He wants Anna to bring him his breakfast." There was alittle laughter in the neighbouring room, it was not clear from thesound of it whether there were several people laughing. The strange mancould not have learned anything from it that he hadn't known already,but now he said to K., as if making his report "It is not possible.""It would be the first time that's happened," said K., as he jumped outof bed and quickly pulled on his trousers. "I want to see who that isin the next room, and why it is that Mrs. Grubach has let me bedisturbed in this way." It immediately occurred to him that he needn'thave said this out loud, and that he must to some extent haveacknowledged their authority by doing so, but that didn't seem importantto him at the time. That, at least, is how the stranger took it, as hesaid, "Don't you think you'd better stay where you are?" "I wantneither to stay here nor to be spoken to by you until you've introducedyourself." "I meant it for your own good," said the stranger and openedthe door, this time without being asked. The next room, which K.entered more slowly than he had intended, looked at first glance exactlythe same as it had the previous evening. It was Mrs. Grubach's livingroom, over-filled with furniture, tablecloths, porcelain andphotographs. Perhaps there was a little more space in there than usualtoday, but if so it was not immediately obvious, especially as the maindifference was the presence of a man sitting by the open window with abook from which he now looked up. "You should have stayed in your room!Didn't Franz tell you?" "And what is it you want, then?" said K.,looking back and forth between this new acquaintance and the one namedFranz, who had remained in the doorway. Through the open window henoticed the old woman again, who had come close to the window oppositeso that she could continue to see everything. She was showing aninquisitiveness that really made it seem like she was going senile. "Iwant to see Mrs. Grubach ...," said K., making a movement as if tearinghimself away from the two men - even though they were standing well awayfrom him - and wanted to go. "No," said the man at the window, whothrew his book down on a coffee table and stood up. "You can't go awaywhen you're under arrest." "That's how it seems," said K. "And why amI under arrest?" he then asked. "That's something we're not allowed totell you. Go into your room and wait there. Proceedings are underwayand you'll learn about everything all in good time. It's not really
 
part of my job to be friendly towards you like this, but I hope no-one,apart from Franz, will hear about it, and he's been more friendlytowards you than he should have been, under the rules, himself. If youcarry on having as much good luck as you have been with your arrestingofficers then you can reckon on things going well with you." K. wantedto sit down, but then he saw that, apart from the chair by the window,there was nowhere anywhere in the room where he could sit. "You'll getthe chance to see for yourself how true all this is," said Franz andboth men then walked up to K. They were significantly bigger than him,especially the second man, who frequently slapped him on the shoulder.The two of them felt K.'s nightshirt, and said he would now have to wearone that was of much lower quality, but that they would keep thenightshirt along with his other underclothes and return them to him ifhis case turned out well. "It's better for you if you give us thethings than if you leave them in the storeroom," they said. "Thingshave a tendency to go missing in the storeroom, and after a certainamount of time they sell things off, whether the case involved has cometo an end or not. And cases like this can last a long time, especiallythe ones that have been coming up lately. They'd give you the moneythey got for them, but it wouldn't be very much as it's not what they'reoffered for them when they sell them that counts, it's how much they getslipped on the side, and things like that lose their value anyway whenthey get passed on from hand to hand, year after year." K. paid hardlyany attention to what they were saying, he did not place much value onwhat he may have still possessed or on who decided what happened tothem. It was much more important to him to get a clear understanding ofhis position, but he could not think clearly while these people werehere, the second policeman's belly - and they could only be policemen -looked friendly enough, sticking out towards him, but when K. looked upand saw his dry, boney face it did not seem to fit with the body. Hisstrong nose twisted to one side as if ignoring K. and sharing anunderstanding with the other policeman. What sort of people were these?What were they talking about? What office did they belong to? K. wasliving in a free country, after all, everywhere was at peace, all lawswere decent and were upheld, who was it who dared accost him in his ownhome? He was always inclined to take life as lightly as he could, tocross bridges when he came to them, pay no heed for the future, evenwhen everything seemed under threat. But here that did not seem theright thing to do. He could have taken it all as a joke, a big joke setup by his colleagues at the bank for some unknown reason, or alsoperhaps because today was his thirtieth birthday, it was all possible ofcourse, maybe all he had to do was laugh in the policemen's face in someway and they would laugh with him, maybe they were tradesmen from thecorner of the street, they looked like they might be - but he wasnonetheless determined, ever since he first caught sight of the onecalled Franz, not to lose any slight advantage he might have had overthese people. There was a very slight risk that people would later sayhe couldn't understand a joke, but - although he wasn't normally in thehabit of learning from experience - he might also have had a fewunimportant occasions in mind when, unlike his more cautious friends, hehad acted with no thought at all for what might follow and had been madeto suffer for it. He didn't want that to happen again, not this time atleast; if they were play-acting he would act along with them.He still had time. "Allow me," he said, and hurried between thetwo policemen through into his room. "He seems sensible enough," heheard them say behind him. Once in his room, he quickly pulled open thedrawer of his writing desk, everything in it was very tidy but in his

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