1 The flight of the chief clerk seemed, unfortunately, to put Gregor's father into a panic as well.
2 By now he had also calmed down, and kept quiet so that he could listen to what the chief clerk was saying.
3 Gregor's mother, her hair still dishevelled from bed despite the chief clerk's being there, looked at his father.
4 Gregor only needed to hear the visitor's first words of greeting and he knew who it was - the chief clerk himself.
5 Perhaps his parents were sat at the table whispering with the chief clerk, or perhaps they were all pressed against the door and listening.
6 But as if in gruff reply to this question, the chief clerk's firm footsteps in his highly polished boots could now be heard in the adjoining room.
7 For the time being he just lay there on the carpet, and no-one who knew the condition he was in would seriously have expected him to let the chief clerk in.
8 He had completely forgotten the chief clerk for the moment, but could not help himself snapping in the air with his jaws at the sight of the flow of coffee.
9 Gregor realised that it was out of the question to let the chief clerk go away in this mood if his position in the firm was not to be put into extreme danger.
10 And the chief clerk was a lover of women, surely she could persuade him; she would close the front door in the entrance hall and talk him out of his shocked state.
11 Gregor tried to imagine whether something of the sort that had happened to him today could ever happen to the chief clerk too; you had to concede that it was possible.
12 But the chief clerk had turned away as soon as Gregor had started to speak, and, with protruding lips, only stared back at him over his trembling shoulders as he left.
13 Gregor, though, had no time to spare for his parents now; the chief clerk had already reached the stairs; with his chin on the banister, he looked back for the last time.
14 Gregor made a run for him; he wanted to be sure of reaching him; the chief clerk must have expected something, as he leapt down several steps at once and disappeared; his shouts resounding all around the staircase.
15 He really did want to open the door, really did want to let them see him and to speak with the chief clerk; the others were being so insistent, and he was curious to learn what they would say when they caught sight of him.