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 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 a 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.