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Chapter 7

Lawyer - Manufacturer - Painter

One winter morning - snow was falling in the dull light outside -
K. was sitting in his office, already extremely tired despite the early
hour. He had told the servitor he was engaged in a major piece of work
and none of the junior staff should be allowed in to see him, so he
would not be disturbed by them at least. But instead of working he
turned round in his chair, slowly moved various items around his desk,
but then, without being aware of it, he lay his arm stretched out on the
desk top and sat there immobile with his head sunk down on his chest.

He was no longer able to get the thought of the trial out of his
head. He had often wondered whether it might not be a good idea to work
out a written defence and hand it in to the court. It would contain a
short description of his life and explain why he had acted the way he
had at each event that was in any way important, whether he now
considered he had acted well or ill, and his reasons for each. There
was no doubt of the advantages a written defence of this sort would have
over relying on the lawyer, who was anyway not without his shortcomings.
K. had no idea what actions the lawyer was taking; it was certainly not
a lot, it was more than a month since the lawyer had summoned him, and
none of the previous discussions had given K. the impression that this
man would be able to do much for him. Most importantly, he had asked
him hardly any questions. And there were so many questions here to be
asked. Asking questions were the most important thing. K. had the
feeling that he would be able to ask all the questions needed here
himself. The lawyer, in contrast, did not ask questions but did all the
talking himself or sat silently facing him, leant forward slightly over
the desk, probably because he was hard of hearing, pulled on a strand of
hair in the middle of his beard and looked down at the carpet, perhaps
at the very spot where K. had lain with Leni. Now and then he would
give K. some vague warning of the sort you give to children. His
speeches were as pointless as they were boring, and K. decided that when
the final bill came he would pay not a penny for them. Once the lawyer
thought he had humiliated K. sufficiently, he usually started something
that would raise his spirits again. He had already, he would then say,
won many such cases, partly or in whole, cases which may not really have
been as difficult as this one but which, on the face of it, had even
less hope of success. He had a list of these cases here in the drawer -
here he would tap on one or other of the drawers in his desk - but
could, unfortunately, not show them to K. as they dealt with official
secrets. Nonetheless, the great experience he had acquired through all
these cases would, of course, be of benefit to K. He had, of course,
begun work straight away and was nearly ready to submit the first
documents. They would be very important because the first impression
made by the defence will often determine the whole course of the
proceedings. Unfortunately, though, he would still have to make it
clear to K. that the first documents submitted are sometimes not even
read by the court. They simply put them with the other documents and
point out that, for the time being, questioning and observing the
accused are much more important than anything written. If the applicant
becomes insistent, then they add that before they come to any decision,
as soon as all the material has been brought together, with due regard,
of course, to all the documents, then these first documents to have been
submitted will also be checked over. But unfortunately, even this is
not usually true, the first documents submitted are usually mislaid or
lost completely, and even if they do keep them right to the end they are
hardly read, although the lawyer only knew about this from rumour. This
is all very regrettable, but not entirely without its justifications.
But K. should not forget that the trial would not be public, if the
court deems it necessary it can be made public but there is no law that
says it has to be. As a result, the accused and his defence don't have
access even to the court records, and especially not to the indictment,
and that means we generally don't know - or at least not precisely -
what the first documents need to be about, which means that if they do
contain anything of relevance to the case it's only by a lucky
coincidence. If anything about the individual charges and the reasons
for them comes out clearly or can be guessed at while the accused is
being questioned, then it's possible to work out and submit documents
that really direct the issue and present proof, but not before.
Conditions like this, of course, place the defence in a very
unfavourable and difficult position. But that is what they intend. In
fact, defence is not really allowed under the law, it's only tolerated,
and there is even some dispute about whether the relevant parts of the
law imply even that. So strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a
counsel acknowledged by the court, and anyone who comes before this
court as counsel is basically no more than a barrack room lawyer. The
effect of all this, of course, is to remove the dignity of the whole
procedure, the next time K. is in the court offices he might like to
have a look in at the lawyers' room, just so that he's seen it. He
might well be quite shocked by the people he sees assembled there. The
room they've been allocated, with its narrow space and low ceiling, will
be enough to show what contempt the court has for these people. The
only light in the room comes through a little window that is so high up
that, if you want to look out of it, you first have to get one of your
colleagues to support you on his back, and even then the smoke from the
chimney just in front of it will go up your nose and make your face
black. In the floor of this room - to give yet another example of the
conditions there - there is a hole that's been there for more than a
year, it's not so big that a man could fall through, but it is big
enough for your foot to disappear through it. The lawyers' room is on
the second floor of the attic; if your foot does go through it will hang
down into the first floor of the attic underneath it, and right in the
corridor where the litigants are waiting. It's no exaggeration when
lawyers say that conditions like that are a disgrace. Complaints to the
management don't have the slightest effect, but the lawyers are strictly
forbidden to alter anything in the room at their own expense. But even
treating the lawyers in this way has its reasons. They want, as far as
possible, to prevent any kind of defence, everything should be made the
responsibility of the accused. Not a bad point of view, basically, but
nothing could be more mistaken than to think from that that lawyers are
not necessary for the accused in this court. On the contrary, there is
no court where they are less needed than here. This is because
proceedings are generally kept secret not only from the public but also
from the accused. Only as far as that is possible, of course, but it is
possible to a very large extent. And the accused doesn't get to see the
court records either, and it's very difficult to infer what's in the
court records from what's been said during questioning based on them,
especially for the accused who is in a difficult situation and is faced
with every possible worry to distract him. This is when the defence
begins. Counsel for the defence are not normally allowed to be present
while the accused is being questioned, so afterwards, and if possible
still at the door of the interview room, he has to learn what he can
about it from him and extract whatever he can that might be of use, even
though what the accused has to report is often very confused. But that
is not the most important thing, as there's really not a lot that can be
learned in this way, although in this, as with anything else, a
competent man will learn more than another. Nonetheless, the most
important thing is the lawyer's personal connections, that's where the
real value of taking counsel lies. Now K. will most likely have already
learned from his own experience that, among its very lowest orders, the
court organisation does have its imperfections, the court is strictly
closed to the public, but staff who forget their duty or who take bribes
do, to some extent, show where the gaps are. This is where most lawyers
will push their way in, this is where bribes are paid and information
extracted, there have even, in earlier times at least, been incidents
where documents have been stolen. There's no denying that some
surprisingly favourable results have been attained for the accused in
this way, for a limited time, and these petty advocates then strut to
and fro on the basis of them and attract new clients, but for the
further course of the proceedings it signifies either nothing or nothing
good. The only things of real value are honest personal contacts,
contacts with higher officials, albeit higher officials of the lower
grades, you understand. That is the only way the progress of the trial
can be influenced, hardly noticeable at first, it's true, but from then
on it becomes more and more visible. There are, of course, not many
lawyers who can do this, and K. has made a very good choice in this
matter. There were probably no more than one or two who had as many
contacts as Dr. Huld, but they don't bother with the company of the
lawyers' room and have nothing to do with it. This means they have all
the less contact with the court officials. It is not at all necessary
for Dr. Huld to go to the court, wait in the ante-rooms for the
examining judges to turn up, if they turn up, and try to achieve
something which, according to the judges' mood is usually more apparent
than real and most often not even that. No, K. has seen for himself
that the court officials, including some who are quite high up, come
forward without being asked, are glad to give information which is fully
open or at least easy to understand, they discuss the next stages in the
proceedings, in fact in some cases they can be won over and are quite
willing to adopt the other person's point of view. However, when this
happens, you should never trust them too far, as however firmly they may
have declared this new point of view in favour of the defendant they
might well go straight back to their offices and write a report for the
court that says just the opposite, and might well be even harder on the
defendant than the original view, the one they insist they've been fully
dissuaded from. And, of course, there's no way of defending yourself
from this, something said in private is indeed in private and cannot
then be used in public, it's not something that makes it easy for the
defence to keep those gentlemen's favour. On the other hand, it's also
true that the gentlemen don't become involved with the defence - which
will of course be done with great expertise - just for philanthropic
reasons or in order to be friendly, in some respects it would be truer
to say that they, too, have it allocated to them. This is where the
disadvantages of a court structure that, right from the start,
stipulates that all proceedings take place in private, come into force.
In normal, mediocre trials its officials have contact with the public,
and they're very well equipped for it, but here they don't; normal
trials run their course all by themselves, almost, and just need a nudge
here and there; but when they're faced with cases that are especially
difficult they're as lost as they often are with ones that are very
simple; they're forced to spend all their time, day and night, with
their laws, and so they don't have the right feel for human
relationships, and that's a serious shortcoming in cases like this.
That's when they come for advice to the lawyer, with a servant behind
them carrying the documents which normally are kept so secret. You
could have seen many gentlemen at this window, gentlemen of whom you
would least expect it, staring out this window in despair on the street
below while the lawyer is at his desk studying the documents so that he
can give them good advice. And at times like that it's also possible to
see how exceptionally seriously these gentlemen take their professions
and how they are thrown into great confusion by difficulties which it's
just not in their natures to overcome. But they're not in an easy
position, to regard their positions as easy would be to do them an
injustice. The different ranks and hierarchies of the court are
endless, and even someone who knows his way around them cannot always
tell what's going to happen. But even for the junior officials, the
proceedings in the courtrooms are usually kept secret, so they are
hardly able to see how the cases they work with proceed, court affairs
appear in their range of vision often without their knowing where they
come from and they move on further without their learning where they go.
So civil servants like this are not able to learn the things you can
learn from studying the successive stages that individual trials go
through, the final verdict or the reasons for it. They're only allowed
to deal with that part of the trial which the law allocates them, and
they usually know less about the results of their work after it's left
them than the defence does, even though the defence will usually stay in
contact with the accused until the trial is nearly at its end, so that
the court officials can learn many useful things from the defence.
Bearing all this in mind, does it still surprise K. that the officials
are irritated and often express themselves about the litigants in
unflattering ways - which is an experience shared by everyone. All the
officials are irritated, even when they appear calm. This causes many
difficulties for the junior advocates, of course. There is a story, for
instance, that has very much the ring of truth about it. It goes like
this: One of the older officials, a good and peaceful man, was dealing
with a difficult matter for the court which had become very confused,
especially thanks to the contributions from the lawyers. He had been
studying it for a day and a night without a break - as these officials
are indeed hard working, no-one works as hard as they do. When it was
nearly morning, and he had been working for twenty-four hours with
probably very little result, he went to the front entrance, waited there
in ambush, and every time a lawyer tried to enter the building he would
throw him down the steps. The lawyers gathered together down in front
of the steps and discussed with each other what they should do; on the
one hand they had actually no right to be allowed into the building so
that there was hardly anything that they could legally do to the
official and, as I've already mentioned, they would have to be careful
not to set all the officials against them. On the other hand, any day
not spent in court is a day lost for them and it was a matter of some
importance to force their way inside. In the end, they agreed that they
would try to tire the old man out. One lawyer after another was sent
out to run up the steps and let himself be thrown down again, offering
what resistance he could as long as it was passive resistance, and his
colleagues would catch him at the bottom of the steps. That went on for
about an hour until the old gentleman, who was already exhausted from
working all night, was very tired and went back to his office. Those
who were at the bottom of the steps could not believe it at first, so
they sent somebody out to go and look behind the door to see if there
really was no-one there, and only then did they all gather together and
probably didn't even dare to complain, as it's far from being the
lawyers' job to introduce any improvements in the court system, or even
to want to. Even the most junior lawyer can understand the relationship
there to some extent, but one significant point is that almost every
defendant, even very simple people, begins to think of suggestions for
improving the court as soon as his proceedings have begun, many of them
often even spend time and energy on the matter that could be spent far
better elsewhere. The only right thing to do is to learn how to deal
with the situation as it is. Even if it were possible to improve any
detail of it - which is anyway no more than superstitious nonsense - the
best that they could achieve, although doing themselves incalculable
harm in the process, is that they will have attracted the special
attention of the officials for any case that comes up in the future, and
the officials are always ready to seek revenge. Never attract attention
to yourself! Stay calm, however much it goes against your character!
Try to gain some insight into the size of the court organism and how, to
some extent, it remains in a state of suspension, and that even if you
alter something in one place you'll draw the ground out from under your
feet and might fall, whereas if an enormous organism like the court is
disrupted in any one place it finds it easy to provide a substitute for
itself somewhere else. Everything is connected with everything else and
will continue without any change or else, which is quite probable, even
more closed, more attentive, more strict, more malevolent. So it's best
to leave the work to the lawyers and not to keep disturbing them. It
doesn't do much good to make accusations, especially if you can't make
it clear what they're based on and their full significance, but it must
be said that K. caused a great deal of harm to his own case by his
behaviour towards the office director, he was a very influential man but
now he might as well be struck off the list of those who might do
anything for K. If the trial is mentioned, even just in passing, it's
quite obvious that he's ignoring it. These officials are in many ways
just like children. Often, something quite harmless - although K.'s
behaviour could unfortunately not be called harmless - will leave them
feeling so offended that they will even stop talking with good friends
of theirs, they turn away when they see them and do everything they can
to oppose them. But then, with no particular reason, surprisingly
enough, some little joke that was only ever attempted because everything
seemed so hopeless will make them laugh and they'll be reconciled.
It's both difficult and hard at the same time to deal with them, and
there's hardly any reason for it. It's sometimes quite astonishing that
a single, average life is enough to encompass so much that it's at all
possible ever to have any success in one's work here. On the other
hand, there are also dark moments, such as everyone has, when you think
you've achieved nothing at all, when it seems that the only trials to
come to a good end are those that were determined to have a good end
from the start and would do so without any help, while all the others
are lost despite all the running to and fro, all the effort, all the
little, apparent successes that gave such joy. Then you no longer feel
very sure of anything and, if asked about a trial that was doing well by
its own nature but which was turned for the worse because you assisted
in it, would not even dare deny that. And even that is a kind of self-
confidence, but then it's the only one that's left. Lawyers are
especially vulnerable to fits of depression of that sort - and they are
no more than fits of depression of course - when a case is suddenly
taken out of their hands after they've been conducting it satisfactorily
for some time. That's probably the worst that can happen to a lawyer.
It's not that the accused takes the case away from him, that hardly ever
happens, once a defendant has taken on a certain lawyer he has to stay
with him whatever happens. How could he ever carry on by himself after
he's taken on help from a lawyer? No, that just doesn't happen, but
what does sometimes happen is that the trial takes on a course where the
lawyer may not go along with it. Client and trial are both simply taken
away from the lawyer; and then even contact with the court officials
won't help, however good they are, as they don't know anything
themselves. The trial will have entered a stage where no more help can
be given, where it's being processed in courts to which no-one has any
access, where the defendant cannot even be contacted by his lawyer. You
come home one day and find all the documents you've submitted, which
you've worked hard to create and which you had the best hopes for, lying
on the desk, they've been sent back as they can't be carried through to
the next stage in the trial, they're just worthless scraps of paper. It
doesn't mean that the case has been lost, not at all, or at least there
is no decisive reason for supposing so, it's just that you don't know
anything more about the case and won't be told anything of what's
happening. Well, cases like that are the exceptions, I'm glad to say,
and even if K.'s trial is one of them, it's still, for the time being, a
long way off. But there was still plenty of opportunity for lawyers to
get to work, and K. could be sure they would be made use of. As he had
said, the time for submitting documents was still in the future and
there was no rush to prepare them, it was much more important to start
the initial discussions with the appropriate officials, and they had
already taken place. With varying degrees of success, it must be said.
It was much better not to give away any details before their time, as in
that way K. could only be influenced unfavourably and his hopes might be
raised or he might be made too anxious, better just to say that some
individuals have spoken very favourably and shown themselves very
willing to help, although others have spoken less favourably, but even
they have not in any way refused to help. So all in all, the results
are very encouraging, only you should certainly not draw any particular
conclusions as all preliminary proceedings begin in the same way and it
was only the way they developed further that would show what the value
of these preliminary proceedings has been. Anyway, nothing has been
lost yet, and if we can succeed in getting the office director, despite
everything, on our side - and several actions have been undertaken to
this end - then everything is a clean wound, as a surgeon would say, and
we can wait for the results with some comfort.

When he started talking on in this way the lawyer was quite
tireless. He went through it all again every time K. went to see him.
There was always some progress, but he could never be told what sort of
progress it was. The first set of documents to be submitted were being
worked on but still not ready, which usually turned out to be a great
advantage the next time K. went to see him as the earlier occasion would
have been a very bad time to put them in, which they could not then have
known. If K., stupefied from all this talking, ever pointed out that
even considering all these difficulties progress was very slow, the
lawyer would object that progress was not slow at all, but that they
might have progressed far further if K. had come to him at the right
time. But he had come to him late and that lateness would bring still
further difficulties, and not only where time was concerned. The only
welcome interruption during these visits was always when Leni contrived
to bring the lawyer his tea while K. was there. Then she would stand
behind K. - pretending to watch the lawyer as he bent greedily over his
cup, poured the tea in and drank - and secretly let K. hold her hand.
There was always complete silence. The lawyer drank. K. squeezed
Leni's hand and Leni would sometimes dare to gently stroke K.'s hair.
"Still here, are you?" the lawyer would ask when he was ready. "I
wanted to take the dishes away," said Leni, they would give each other's
hands a final squeeze, the lawyer would wipe his mouth and then start
talking at K. again with renewed energy.

Was the lawyer trying to comfort K. or to confuse him? K. could
not tell, but it seemed clear to him that his defence was not in good
hands. Maybe everything the lawyer said was quite right, even though he
obviously wanted to make himself as conspicuous as possible and probably
had never even taken on a case as important as he said K.'s was. But it
was still suspicious how he continually mentioned his personal contacts
with the civil servants. Were they to be exploited solely for K.'s
benefit? The lawyer never forgot to mention that they were dealing only
with junior officials, which meant officials who were dependent on
others, and the direction taken in each trial could be important for
their own furtherment. Could it be that they were making use of the
lawyer to turn trials in a certain direction, which would, of course,
always be at the cost of the defendant? It certainly did not mean that
they would do that in every trial, that was not likely at all, and there
were probably also trials where they gave the lawyer advantages and all
the room he needed to turn it in the direction he wanted, as it would
also be to their advantage to keep his reputation intact. If that
really was their relationship, how would they direct K.'s trial which,
as the lawyer had explained, was especially difficult and therefore
important enough to attract great attention from the very first time it
came to court? There could not be much doubt about what they would do.
The first signs of it could already be seen in the fact that the first
documents still had not been submitted even though the trial had already
lasted several months, and that, according to the lawyer, everything was
still in its initial stages, which was very effective, of course, in
making the defendant passive and keeping him helpless. Then he could be
suddenly surprised with the verdict, or at least with a notification
that the hearing had not decided in his favour and the matter would be
passed on to a higher office.

It was essential that K. take a hand in it himself. On winter's
mornings such as this, when he was very tired and everything dragged
itself lethargically through his head, this belief of his seemed
irrefutable. He no longer felt the contempt for the trial that he had
had earlier. If he had been alone in the world it would have been easy
for him to ignore it, although it was also certain that, in that case,
the trial would never have arisen in the first place. But now, his
uncle had already dragged him to see the lawyer, he had to take account
of his family; his job was no longer totally separate from the progress
of the trial, he himself had carelessly - with a certain, inexplicable
complacency - mentioned it to acquaintances and others had learned about
it in ways he did not know, his relationship with Miss Bürstner seemed
to be in trouble because of it. In short, he no longer had any choice
whether he would accept the trial or turn it down, he was in the middle
of it and had to defend himself. If he was tired, then that was bad.

But there was no reason to worry too much before he needed to. He
had been capable of working himself up to his high position in the bank
in a relatively short time and to retain it with respect from everyone,
now he simply had to apply some of the talents that had made that
possible for him to the trial, and there was no doubt that it had to
turn out well. The most important thing, if something was to be
achieved, was to reject in advance any idea that he might be in any way
guilty. There was no guilt. The trial was nothing but a big piece of
business, just like he had already concluded to the benefit of the bank
many times, a piece of business that concealed many lurking dangers
waiting in ambush for him, as they usually did, and these dangers would
need to be defended against. If that was to be achieved then he must
not entertain any idea of guilt, whatever he did, he would need to look
after his own interests as closely as he could. Seen in this way, there
was no choice but to take his representation away from the lawyer very
soon, at best that very evening. The lawyer had told him, as he talked
to him, that that was something unheard of and would probably do him a
great deal of harm, but K. could not tolerate any impediment to his
efforts where his trial was concerned, and these impediments were
probably caused by the lawyer himself. But once he had shaken off the
lawyer the documents would need to be submitted straight away and, if
possible, he would need to see to it that they were being dealt with
every day. It would of course not be enough, if that was to be done,
for K. to sit in the corridor with his hat under the bench like the
others. Day after day, he himself, or one of the women or somebody else
on his behalf, would have to run after the officials and force them to
sit at their desks and study K.'s documents instead of looking out on
the corridor through the grating. There could be no let-up in these
efforts, everything would need to be organised and supervised, it was
about time that the court came up against a defendant who knew how to
defend and make use of his rights.

But when K. had the confidence to try and do all this the
difficulty of composing the documents was too much for him. Earlier,
just a week or so before, he could only have felt shame at the thought
of being made to write out such documents himself; it had never entered
his head that the task could also be difficult. He remembered one
morning when, already piled up with work, he suddenly shoved everything
to one side and took a pad of paper on which he sketched out some of his
thoughts on how documents of this sort should proceed. Perhaps he would
offer them to that slow-witted lawyer, but just then the door of the
manager's office opened and the deputy-director entered the room with a
loud laugh. K. was very embarrassed, although the deputy-director, of
course, was not laughing at K.'s documents, which he knew nothing about,
but at a joke he had just heard about the stock-exchange, a joke which
needed an illustration if it was to be understood, and now the deputy-
director leant over K.'s desk, took his pencil from his hand, and drew
the illustration on the writing pad that K. had intended for his ideas
about his case.

K. now had no more thoughts of shame, the documents had to be
prepared and submitted. If, as was very likely, he could find no time
to do it in the office he would have to do it at home at night. If the
nights weren't enough he would have to take a holiday. Above all, he could
not stop half way, that was nonsense not only in business but always and
everywhere. Needless to say, the documents would mean an almost endless
amount of work. It was easy to come to the belief, not only for those
of an anxious disposition, that it was impossible ever to finish it.
This was not because of laziness or deceit, which were the only things
that might have hindered the lawyer in preparing it, but because he did
not know what the charge was or even what consequences it might bring,
so that he had to remember every tiny action and event from the whole of
his life, looking at them from all sides and checking and reconsidering
them. It was also a very disheartening job. It would have been more
suitable as a way of passing the long days after he had retired and
become senile. But now, just when K. needed to apply all his thoughts
to his work, when he was still rising and already posed a threat to the
deputy-director, when every hour passed so quickly and he wanted to
enjoy the brief evenings and nights as a young man, this was the time he
had to start working out these documents. Once more, he began to feel
resentment. Almost involuntarily, only to put an end to it, his finger
felt for the button of the electric bell in the ante-room. As he
pressed it he glanced up to the clock. It was eleven o'clock, two
hours, he had spent a great deal of his costly time just dreaming and
his wits were, of course, even more dulled than they had been before.
But the time had, nonetheless, not been wasted, he had come to some
decisions that could be of value. As well as various pieces of mail,
the servitors brought two visiting cards from gentlemen who had already
been waiting for K. for some time. They were actually very important
clients of the bank who should not really have been kept waiting under
any circumstances. Why had they come at such an awkward time, and why,
the gentlemen on the other side of the closed door seemed to be asking,
was the industrious K. using up the best business time for his private
affairs? Tired from what had gone before, and tired in anticipation of
what was to follow, K. stood up to receive the first of them.

He was a short, jolly man, a manufacturer who K. knew well. He
apologised for disturbing K. at some important work, and K., for his
part, apologised for having kept the manufacturer waiting for so long.
But even this apology was spoken in such a mechanical way and with such
false intonation that the manufacturer would certainly have noticed if
he had not been fully preoccupied with his business affairs. Instead,
he hurriedly pulled calculations and tables out from all his pockets,
spread them out in front of K., explained several items, corrected a
little mistake in the arithmetic that he noticed as he quickly glanced
over it all, and reminded K. of a similar piece of business he'd
concluded with him about a year before, mentioning in passing that this
time there was another bank spending great effort to get his business,
and finally stopped speaking in order to learn K.'s opinion on the
matter. And K. had indeed, at first, been closely following what the
manufacturer was saying, he too was aware of how important the deal was,
but unfortunately it did not last, he soon stopped listening, nodded at
each of the manufacturer's louder exclamations for a short while, but
eventually he stopped doing even that and did no more than stare at the
bald head bent over the papers, asking himself when the manufacturer
would finally realise that everything he was saying was useless. When
he did stop talking, K. really thought at first that this was so that he
would have the chance to confess that he was incapable of listening.
Instead, seeing the anticipation on the manufacturer's face, obviously
ready to counter any objections made, he was sorry to realise that the
business discussion had to be continued. So he bent his head as if he'd
been given an order and began slowly to move his pencil over the papers,
now and then he would stop and stare at one of the figures. The
manufacturer thought there must be some objection, perhaps his figures
weren't really sound, perhaps they weren't the decisive issue, whatever
he thought, the manufacturer covered the papers with his hand and began
once again, moving very close to K., to explain what the deal was all
about. "It is difficult," said K., pursing his lips. The only thing
that could offer him any guidance were the papers, and the manufacturer
had covered them from his view, so he just sank back against the arm of
the chair. Even when the door of the manager's office opened and
revealed not very clearly, as if through a veil, the deputy director, he
did no more than look up weakly. K. thought no more about the matter,
he merely watched the immediate effect of the deputy director's
appearance and, for him, the effect was very pleasing; the manufacturer
immediately jumped up from his seat and hurried over to meet the deputy
director, although K. would have liked to make him ten times livelier as
he feared the deputy director might disappear again. He need not have
worried, the two gentlemen met each other, shook each other's hand and
went together over to K.'s desk. The manufacturer said he was sorry to
find the chief clerk so little inclined to do business, pointing to K.
who, under the view of the deputy director, had bent back down over the
papers. As the two men leant over the desk and the manufacturer made
some effort to gain and keep the deputy director's attention, K. felt as
if they were much bigger than they really were and that their
negotiations were about him. Carefully and slowly turning his eyes
upwards, he tried to learn what was taking place above him, took one of
the papers from his desk without looking to see what it was, lay it on
the flat of his hand and raised it slowly up as he rose up to the level
of the two men himself. He had no particular plan in mind as he did
this, but merely felt this was how he would act if only he had finished
preparing that great document that was to remove his burden entirely.
The deputy director had been paying all his attention to the
conversation and did no more than glance at the paper, he did not read
what was written on it at all as what was important for the chief clerk
was not important for him, he took it from K.'s hand saying, "Thank you,
I'm already familiar with everything", and lay it calmly back on the
desk. K. gave him a bitter, sideways look. But the deputy director did
not notice this at all, or if he did notice it it only raised his
spirits, he frequently laughed out loud, one time he clearly embarrassed
the manufacturer when he raised an objection in a witty way but drew him
immediately back out of his embarrassment by commenting adversely on
himself, and finally invited him into his office where they could bring
the matter to its conclusion. "It's a very important matter," said the
manufacturer. "I understand that completely. And I'm sure the chief
clerk ..." - even as he said this he was actually speaking only to the
manufacturer - "will be very glad to have us take it off his hands.
This is something that needs calm consideration. But he seems to be
over-burdened today, there are even some people in the room outside
who've been waiting there for hours for him." K. still had enough
control of himself to turn away from the deputy director and direct his
friendly, albeit stiff, smile only at the manufacturer, he made no other
retaliation, bent down slightly and supported himself with both hands on
his desk like a clerk, and watched as the two gentlemen, still talking,
took the papers from his desk and disappeared into the manager's office.
In the doorway, the manufacturer turned and said he wouldn't make his
farewell with K. just yet, he would of course let the chief clerk know
about the success of his discussions but he also had a little something
to tell him about.

At last, K. was by himself. It did not enter his head to show
anyone else into his office and only became vaguely aware of how nice it
was that the people outside thought he was still negotiating with the
manufacturer and, for this reason, he could not let anyone in to see
him, not even the servitor. He went over to the window, sat down on the
ledge beside it, held firmly on to the handle and looked down onto the
square outside. The snow was still falling, the weather still had not
brightened up at all.

He remained a long time sitting in this way, not knowing what it
actually was that made him so anxious, only occasionally did he glance,
slightly startled, over his shoulder at the door to the outer room
where, mistakenly, he thought he'd heard some noise. No-one came, and
that made him feel calmer, he went over to the wash stand, rinsed his
face with cold water and, his head somewhat clearer, went back to his
place by the window. The decision to take his defence into his own
hands now seemed more of a burden than he had originally assumed. All
the while he had left his defence up to the lawyer his trial had had
little basic affect on him, he had observed it from afar as something
that was scarcely able to reach him directly, when it suited him he
looked to see how things stood but he was also able to draw his head
back again whenever he wanted. Now, in contrast, if he was to conduct
his defence himself, he would have to devote himself entirely to the
court - for the time being, at least - success would mean, later on, his
complete and conclusive liberation, but if he was to achieve this he
would have to place himself, to start with, in far greater danger than
he had been in so far. If he ever felt tempted to doubt this, then his
experience with the deputy director and the manufacturer that day would
be quite enough to convince him of it. How could he have sat there
totally convinced of the need to do his own defence? How would it be
later? What would his life be like in the days ahead? Would he find
the way through it all to a happy conclusion? Did a carefully worked
out defence - and any other sort would have made no sense - did a
carefully worked out defence not also mean he would need to shut himself
off from everything else as much as he could? Would he survive that?
And how was he to succeed in conducting all this at the bank? It
involved much more than just submitting some documents that he could
probably prepare in a few days' leave, although it would have been great
temerity to ask for time off from the bank just at that time, it was a
whole trial and there was no way of seeing how long it might last. This
was an enormous difficulty that had suddenly been thrown into K.'s life!

And was he supposed to be doing the bank's work at a time like
this? He looked down at his desk. Was he supposed to let people in to
see him and go into negotiations with them at a time like this? While
his trial trundled on, while the court officials upstairs in the attic
room sat looking at the papers for this trial, should he be worrying
about the business of the bank? Did this not seem like a kind of
torture, acknowledged by the court, connected with the trial and which
followed him around? And is it likely that anyone in the bank, when
judging his work, would take any account of his peculiar situation? No-
one and never. There were those who knew about his trial, although it
was not quite clear who knew about it or how much. But he hoped rumours
had not reached as far as the deputy director, otherwise he would
obviously soon find a way of making use of it to harm K., he would show
neither comradeship nor humaneness. And what about the director? It
was true that he was well disposed towards K., and as soon as he heard
about the trial he would probably try to do everything he could to make
it easier for him, but he would certainly not devote himself to it. K.
at one time had provided the counter-balance to what the deputy director
said but the director was now coming more and more under his influence,
and the deputy director would also exploit the weakened condition of the
director to strengthen his own power. So what could K. hope for? Maybe
considerations of this sort weakened his power of resistance, but it was
still necessary not to deceive oneself and to see everything as clearly
as it could be seen at that moment.

For no particular reason, just to avoiding returning to his desk
for a while, he opened the window. It was difficult to open and he had
to turn the handle with both his hands. Then, through the whole height
and breadth of the window, the mixture of fog and smoke was drawn into
the room, filling it with a slight smell of burning. A few flakes of
snow were blown in with it. "It's a horrible autumn," said the
manufacturer, who had come into the room unnoticed after seeing the
deputy director and now stood behind K. K. nodded and looked uneasily
at the manufacturer's briefcase, from which he would now probably take
the papers and inform K. of the result of his negotiations with the
deputy director. However, the manufacturer saw where K. was looking,
knocked on his briefcase and without opening it said, "You'll be wanting
to hear how things turned out. I've already got the contract in my
pocket, almost. He's a charming man, your deputy director - he's got
his dangers, though." He laughed as he shook K.'s hand and wanted to
make him laugh with him. But to K., it once more seemed suspicious that
the manufacturer did not want to show him the papers and saw nothing
about his comments to laugh at. "Chief clerk," said the manufacturer,
"I expect the weather's been affecting your mood, has it? You're looking
so worried today." "Yes," said K., raising his hand and holding the
temple of his head, "headaches, worries in the family." "Quite right,"
said the manufacturer, who was always in a hurry and could never listen
to anyone for very long, "everyone has his cross to bear." K. had
unconsciously made a step towards the door as if wanting to show the
manufacturer out, but the manufacturer said, "Chief clerk, there's
something else I'd like to mention to you. I'm very sorry if it's
something that'll be a burden to you today of all days but I've been to
see you twice already, lately, and each time I forgot all about it. If
I delay it any longer it might well lose its point altogether. That
would be a pity, as I think what I've got to say does have some value."
Before K. had had the time to answer, the manufacturer came up close to
him, tapped his knuckle lightly on his chest and said quietly, "You've
got a trial going on, haven't you?" K. stepped back and immediately
exclaimed, "That's what the deputy director's been telling you!" "No,
no," said the manufacturer, "how would the deputy director know about
it?" "And what about you?" asked K., already more in control of
himself. "I hear things about the court here and there," said the
manufacturer, "and that even applies to what it is that I wanted to tell
you about." "There are so many people who have connections with the
court!" said K. with lowered head, and he led the manufacturer over to
his desk. They sat down where they had been before, and the

manufacturer said, "I'm afraid it's not very much that I've got to tell
you about. Only, in matters like this, it's best not to overlook the
tiniest details. Besides, I really want to help you in some way,
however modest my help might be. We've been good business partners up
till now, haven't we? Well then." K. wanted to apologise for his
behaviour in the conversation earlier that day, but the manufacturer
would tolerate no interruption, shoved his briefcase up high in his
armpit to show that he was in a hurry, and carried on. "I know about
your case through a certain Titorelli. He's a painter, Titorelli's just
his artistic name, I don't even know what his real name is. He's been
coming to me in my office for years from time to time, and brings little
pictures with him which I buy more or less just for the sake of charity
as he's hardly more than a beggar. And they're nice pictures, too,
moorland landscapes and that sort of thing. We'd both got used to doing
business in this way and it always went smoothly. Only, one time these
visits became a bit too frequent, I began to tell him off for it, we
started talking and I became interested how it was that he could earn a
living just by painting, and then I learned to my amazement that his
main source of income was painting portraits. 'I work for the court,'
he said, 'what court?' said I. And that's when he told me about the
court. I'm sure you can imagine how amazed I was at being told all
this. Ever since then I learn something new about the court every time
he comes to visit, and so little by little I get to understand something
of how it works. Anyway, Titorelli talks a lot and I often have to push
him away, not only because he's bound to be lying but also, most of all,
because a businessman like me who's already close to breaking point
under the weight of his own business worries can't pay too much
attention to other people's. But all that's just by the by. Perhaps -
this is what I've been thinking - perhaps Titorelli might be able to
help you in some small way, he knows lots of judges and even if he can't
have much influence himself he can give you some advice about how to get
some influential people on your side. And even if this advice doesn't
turn out to make all the difference I still think it'll be very
important once you've got it. You're nearly a lawyer yourself. That's
what I always say, Mr. K. the chief clerk is nearly a lawyer. Oh I'm
sure this trial of yours will turn out all right. So do you want to go
and see Titorelli, then? If I ask him to he'll certainly do everything
he possibly can. I really do think you ought to go. It needn't be
today, of course, just some time, when you get the chance. And anyway -
I want to tell you this too - you don't actually have to go and see
Titorelli, this advice from me doesn't place you under any obligation at
all. No, if you think you can get by without Titorelli it'll certainly
be better to leave him completely out of it. Maybe you've already got a
clear idea of what you're doing and Titorelli could upset your plans.
No, if that's the case then of course you shouldn't go there under any
circumstances! And it certainly won't be easy to take advice from a lad
like that. Still, it's up to you. Here's the letter of recommendation
and here's the address."

Disappointed, K. took the letter and put it in his pocket. Even
at best, the advantage he might derive from this recommendation was
incomparably smaller than the damage that lay in the fact of the
manufacturer knowing about his trial, and that the painter was spreading
the news about. It was all he could mange to give the manufacturer, who
was already on his way to the door, a few words of thanks. "I'll go
there," he said as he took his leave of the manufacturer at the door,
"or, as I'm very busy at present, I'll write to him, perhaps he would
like to come to me in my office some time." "I was sure you'd find the
best solution," said the manufacturer. "Although I had thought you'd
prefer to avoid inviting people like this Titorelli to the bank and
talking about the trial here. And it's not always a good idea to send
letters to people like Titorelli, you don't know what might happen to
them. But you're bound to have thought everything through and you know
what you can and can't do." K. nodded and accompanied the manufacturer
on through the ante-room. But despite seeming calm on the outside he
was actually very shocked; he had told the manufacturer he would write
to Titorelli only to show him in some way that he valued his
recommendations and would consider the opportunity to speak with
Titorelli without delay, but if he had thought Titorelli could offer any
worthwhile assistance he would not have delayed. But it was only the
manufacturer's comment that made K. realise what dangers that could lead
to. Was he really able to rely on his own understanding so little? If
it was possible that he might invite a questionable character into the
bank with a clear letter, and ask advice from him about his trial,
separated from the deputy director by no more than a door, was it not
possible or even very likely that there were also other dangers he had
failed to see or that he was even running towards? There was not always
someone beside him to warn him. And just now, just when he would have
to act with all the strength he could muster, now a number of doubts of
a sort he had never before known had presented themselves and affected
his own vigilance! The difficulties he had been feeling in carrying out
his office work; were they now going to affect the trial too? Now, at
least, he found himself quite unable to understand how he could have
intended to write to Titorelli and invite him into the bank.

He shook his head at the thought of it once more as the servitor
came up beside him and drew his attention to the three gentlemen who
were waiting on a bench in the ante-room. They had already been waiting
to see K. for a long time. Now that the servitor was speaking with K.
they had stood up and each of them wanted to make use of the opportunity
to see K. before the others. It had been negligent of the bank to let
them waste their time here in the waiting room, but none of them wanted
to draw attention to this. "Mr. K., ..." one of them was saying, but K.
had told the servitor to fetch his winter coat and said to the three of
them, as the servitor helped him to put it on, "Please forgive me,
gentlemen, I'm afraid I have no time to see you at present. Please do
forgive me but I have some urgent business to settle and have to leave
straight away. You've already seen yourselves how long I've been
delayed. Would you be so kind as to come back tomorrow or some time?
Or perhaps we could settle your affairs by telephone? Or perhaps you
would like to tell me now, briefly, what it's about and I can then give
you a full answer in writing. Whatever, the best thing will be for you
to come here again." The gentlemen now saw that their wait had been
totally pointless, and these suggestions of K.'s left them so astounded
that they looked at each other without a word. "That's agreed then, is
it?" asked K., who had turned toward the servitor bringing him his hat.
Through the open door of K.'s office they could see that the snowfall
outside had become much heavier. So K. turned the collar of his coat up
and buttoned it up high under his chin. Just then the deputy director
came out of the adjoining room, smiled as he saw K. negotiating with the
gentlemen in his winter coat, and asked, "Are you about to go out?"
"Yes," said K., standing more upright, "I have to go out on some
business." But the deputy director had already turned towards the
gentlemen. "And what about these gentlemen?" he asked. "I think
they've already been waiting quite a long time." "We've already come to
an understanding," said K. But now the gentlemen could be held back no
longer, they surrounded K. and explained that they would not have been
waiting for hours if it had not been about something important that had
to be discussed now, at length and in private. The deputy director
listened to them for a short while, he also looked at K. as he held his
hat in his hand cleaning the dust off it here and there, and then he
said, "Gentlemen, there is a very simple way to solve this. If you
would prefer it, I'll be very glad to take over these negotiations
instead of the chief clerk. Your business does, of course, need to be
discussed without delay. We are businessmen like yourselves and know
the value of a businessman's time. Would you like to come this way?"
And he opened the door leading to the ante-room of his own office.

The deputy director seemed very good at appropriating everything
that K. was now forced to give up! But was K. not giving up more than
he absolutely had to? By running off to some unknown painter, with, as
he had to admit, very little hope of any vague benefit, his renown was
suffering damage that could not me repaired. It would probably be much
better to take off his winter coat again and, at the very least, try to
win back the two gentlemen who were certainly still waiting in the next
room. If K. had not then glimpsed the deputy director in his office,
looking for something from his bookshelves as if they were his own, he
would probably even have made the attempt. As K., somewhat agitated,
approached the door the deputy director called out, "Oh, you've still
not left!" He turned his face toward him - its many deep folds seemed
to show strength rather than age - and immediately began once more to
search. "I'm looking for a copy of a contract," he said, "which this
gentleman insists you must have. Could you help me look for it, do you
think?" K. made a step forward, but the deputy director said, "thank
you, I've already found it," and with a big package of papers, which
certainly must have included many more documents than just the copy of
the contract, he turned and went back into his own office.

"I can't deal with him right now," K. said to himself, "but once
my personal difficulties have been settled, then he'll certainly be the
first to get the effect of it, and he certainly won't like it."
Slightly calmed by these thoughts, K. gave the servitor, who had already
long been holding the door to the corridor open for him, the task of
telling the director, when he was able, that K. was going out of the
bank on a business matter. As he left the bank he felt almost happy at
the thought of being able to devote more of himself to his own business
for a while.

He went straight to the painter, who lived in an outlying part of
town which was very near to the court offices, although this area was
even poorer, the houses were darker, the streets were full of dirt that
slowly blew about over the half-melted snow. In the great gateway to
the building where the painter lived only one of the two doors was open,
a hole had been broken open in the wall by the other door, and as K.
approached it a repulsive, yellow, steaming liquid shot out causing some
rats to scurry away into the nearby canal. Down by the staircase there
was a small child lying on its belly crying, but it could hardly be
heard because of the noise from a metal-workshop on the other side of
the entrance hall, drowning out any other sound. The door to the
workshop was open, three workers stood in a circle around some piece of
work that they were beating with hammers. A large tin plate hung on the
wall, casting a pale light that pushed its way in between two of the
workers, lighting up their faces and their work-aprons. K. did no more
than glance at any of these things, he wanted to get things over with
here as soon as possible, to exchange just a few words to find out how
things stood with the painter and go straight back to the bank. Even if
he had just some tiny success here it would still have a good effect on
his work at the bank for that day. On the third floor he had to slow
down his pace, he was quite out of breath - the steps, just like the
height of each floor, were much higher than they needed to be and he'd
been told that the painter lived right up in the attic. The air was
also quite oppressive, there was no proper stairwell and the narrow
steps were closed in by walls on both sides with no more than a small,
high window here and there. Just as K. paused for a while some young
girls ran out of one of the flats and rushed higher up the stairs,
laughing. K. followed them slowly, caught up with one of the girls who
had stumbled and been left behind by the others, and asked her as they
went up side by side, "Is there a painter, Titorelli, who lives here?"
The girl, hardly thirteen years old and somewhat hunchbacked, jabbed him
with her elbow and looked at him sideways. Her youth and her bodily
defects had done nothing to stop her being already quite depraved. She
did not smile once, but looked at K. earnestly, with sharp, acquisitive
eyes. K. pretended not to notice her behaviour and asked, "Do you know
Titorelli, the painter?" She nodded and asked in reply, "What d'you
want to see him for?" K. thought it would be to his advantage quickly
to find out something more about Titorelli. "I want to have him paint
my portrait," he said. "Paint your portrait?" she asked, opening her
mouth too wide and lightly hitting K. with her hand as if he had said
something extraordinarily surprising or clumsy, with both hands she
lifted her skirt, which was already very short, and, as fast as she
could, she ran off after the other girls whose indistinct shouts lost
themselves in the heights. At the next turn of the stairs, however, K.
encountered all the girls once more. The hunchbacked girl had clearly
told them about K.'s intentions and they were waiting for him. They
stood on both sides of the stairs, pressing themselves against the wall
so that K. could get through between them, and smoothed their aprons
down with their hands. All their faces, even in this guard of honour,
showed a mixture of childishness and depravity. Up at the head of the
line of girls, who now, laughing, began to close in around K., was the
hunchback who had taken on the role of leader. It was thanks to her
that K. found the right direction without delay - he would have
continued up the stairs straight in front of him, but she showed him
that to reach Titorelli he would need to turn off to one side.
The steps that led up to the painter were especially narrow, very long
without any turning, the whole length could be seen in one glance and,
at the top, at Titorelli's closed door, it came to its end. This door
was much better illuminated than the rest of the stairway by the light
from a small skylight set obliquely above it, it had been put together
from unpainted planks of wood and the name 'Titorelli' was painted on it
in broad, red brushstrokes. K. was no more than half way up the steps,
accompanied by his retinue of girls, when, clearly the result of the
noise of all those footsteps, the door opened slightly and in the crack
a man who seemed to be dressed in just his nightshirt appeared. "Oh!"
he cried, when he saw the approaching crowd, and vanished. The
hunchbacked girl clapped her hands in glee and the other girls crowded
in behind K. to push him faster forward.

They still had not arrived at the top, however, when the painter
up above them suddenly pulled the door wide open and, with a deep bow,
invited K. to enter. The girls, on the other hand, he tried to keep
away, he did not want to let any of them in however much they begged him
and however much they tried to get in - if they could not get in with
his permission they would try to force their way in against his will.
The only one to succeed was the hunchback when she slipped through under
his outstretched arm, but the painter chased after her, grabbed her by
the skirt, span her once round and set her down again by the door with
the other girls who, unlike the first, had not dared to cross the
doorstep while the painter had left his post. K. did not know what he
was to make of all this, as they all seemed to be having fun. One
behind the other, the girls by the door stretched their necks up high
and called out various words to the painter which were meant in jest but
which K. did not understand, and even the painter laughed as the
hunchback whirled round in his hand. Then he shut the door, bowed once
more to K., offered him his hand and introduced himself, saying,
"Titorelli, painter". K. pointed to the door, behind which the girls
were whispering, and said, "You seem to be very popular in this
building." "Ach, those brats!" said the painter, trying in vain to
fasten his nightshirt at the neck. He was also bare-footed and, apart
from that, was wearing nothing more than a loose pair of yellowish linen
trousers held up with a belt whose free end whipped to and fro. "Those
kids are a real burden for me," he continued. The top button of his
nightshirt came off and he gave up trying to fasten it, fetched a chair
for K. and made him sit down on it. "I painted one of them once - she's
not here today - and ever since then they've been following me about.
If I'm here they only come in when I allow it, but as soon as I've gone
out there's always at least one of them in here. They had a key made to
my door and lend it round to each other. It's hard to imagine what a
pain that is. Suppose I come back home with a lady I'm going to paint,
I open the door with my own key and find the hunchback there or
something, by the table painting her lips red with my paintbrush, and
meanwhile her little sisters will be keeping guard for her, moving about
and causing chaos in every corner of the room. Or else, like happened
yesterday, I might come back home late in the evening - please forgive
my appearance and the room being in a mess, it is to do with them - so,
I might come home late in the evening and want to go to bed, then I feel
something pinching my leg, look under the bed and pull another of them
out from under it. I don't know why it is they bother me like this, I
expect you've just seen that I do nothing to encourage them to come near
me. And they make it hard for me to do my work too, of course. If I
didn't get this studio for nothing I'd have moved out a long time ago."
Just then, a little voice, tender and anxious, called out from under the
door, "Titorelli, can we come in now?" "No," answered the painter.
"Not even just me, by myself?" the voice asked again. "Not even just
you," said the painter, as he went to the door and locked it.

Meanwhile, K. had been looking round the room, if it had not been
pointed out it would never have occurred to him that this wretched
little room could be called a studio. It was hardly long enough or
broad enough to make two steps. Everything, floor, walls and ceiling,
was made of wood, between the planks narrow gaps could be seen. Across
from where K. was, the bed stood against the wall under a covering of
many different colours. In the middle of the room a picture stood on an
easel, covered over with a shirt whose arms dangled down to the ground.
Behind K. was the window through which the fog made it impossible to see
further than the snow covered roof of the neighbouring building.

The turning of the key in the lock reminded K. that he had not
wanted to stay too long. So he drew the manufacturer's letter out from
his pocket, held it out to the painter and said, "I learned about you
from this gentleman, an acquaintance of yours, and it's on his advice
that I've come here". The painter glanced through the letter and threw
it down onto the bed. If the manufacturer had not said very clearly
that Titorelli was an acquaintance of his, a poor man who was dependent
on his charity, then it would really have been quite possible to believe
that Titorelli did not know him or at least that he could not remember
him. This impression was augmented by the painter's asking, "Were you
wanting to buy some pictures or did you want to have yourself painted?"
K. looked at the painter in astonishment. What did the letter actually
say? K. had taken it as a matter of course that the manufacturer had
explained to the painter in his letter that K. wanted nothing more with
him than to find out more about his trial. He had been far too rash in
coming here! But now he had to give the painter some sort of answer
and, glancing at the easel, said, "Are you working on a picture
currently?" "Yes," said the painter, and he took the shirt hanging over
the easel and threw it onto the bed after the letter. "It's a portrait.
Quite a good piece of work, although it's not quite finished yet." This
was a convenient coincidence for K., it gave him a good opportunity to
talk about the court as the picture showed, very clearly, a judge.
What's more, it was remarkably similar to the picture in the lawyer's
office, although this one showed a quite different judge, a heavy man
with a full beard which was black and bushy and extended to the sides
far up the man's cheeks. The lawyer's picture was also an oil painting,
whereas this one had been made with pastel colours and was pale and
unclear. But everything else about the picture was similar, as this
judge, too, was holding tightly to the arm of his throne and seemed
ominously about to rise from it. At first K. was about to say, "He
certainly is a judge," but he held himself back for the time being and
went closer to the picture as if he wanted to study it in detail. There
was a large figure shown in middle of the throne's back rest which K.
could not understand and asked the painter about it. That'll need some
more work done on it, the painter told him, and taking a pastel crayon
from a small table he added a few strokes to the edges of the figure but
without making it any clearer as far as K. could make out. "That's the
figure of justice," said the painter, finally. "Now I see," said K.,
"here's the blindfold and here are the scales. But aren't those wings
on her heels, and isn't she moving?" "Yes," said the painter, "I had to
paint it like that according to the contract. It's actually the figure
of justice and the goddess of victory all in one." "That is not a good
combination," said K. with a smile. "Justice needs to remain still,
otherwise the scales will move about and it won't be possible to make a
just verdict." "I'm just doing what the client wanted," said the
painter. "Yes, certainly," said K., who had not meant to criticise
anyone by that comment. "You've painted the figure as it actually
appears on the throne." "No," said the painter, "I've never seen that
figure or that throne, it's all just invention, but they told me what it
was I had to paint." "How's that?" asked K. pretending not fully to
understand what the painter said. "That is a judge sitting on the
judge's chair, isn't it?" "Yes, " said the painter, "but that judge
isn't very high up and he's never sat on any throne like that." "And he
has himself painted in such a grand pose? He's sitting there just like
the president of the court." "Yeah, gentlemen like this are very vain,"
said the painter. "But they have permission from higher up to get
themselves painted like this. It's laid down quite strictly just what
sort of portrait each of them can get for himself. Only it's a pity
that you can't make out the details of his costume and pose in this
picture, pastel colours aren't really suitable for showing people like
this." "Yes," said K., "it does seem odd that it's in pastel colours."
"That's what the judge wanted," said the painter, "it's meant to be for
a woman." The sight of the picture seemed to make him feel like
working, he rolled up his shirtsleeves, picked up a few of the crayons,
and K. watched as a reddish shadow built up around the head of the judge
under their quivering tips and radiated out the to edges of the picture.
This shadow play slowly surrounded the head like a decoration or lofty
distinction. But around the figure of Justice, apart from some
coloration that was barely noticeable, it remained light, and in this
brightness the figure seemed to shine forward so that it now looked like
neither the God of Justice nor the God of Victory, it seemed now,
rather, to be a perfect depiction of the God of the Hunt. K. found the
painter's work more engrossing than he had wanted; but finally he
reproached himself for staying so long without having done anything
relevant to his own affair. "What's the name of this judge?" he asked
suddenly. "I'm not allowed to tell you that," the painter answered. He
was bent deeply over the picture and clearly neglecting his guest who,
at first, he had received with such care. K. took this to be just a
foible of the painter's, and it irritated him as it made him lose time.
"I take it you must be a trustee of the court," he said. The painter
immediately put his crayons down, stood upright, rubbed his hands
together and looked at K. with a smile. "Always straight out with the
truth," he said. "You want to learn something about the court, like it
says in your letter of recommendation, but then you start talking about
my pictures to get me on your side. Still, I won't hold it against you,
you weren't to know that that was entirely the wrong thing to try with
me. Oh, please!" he said sharply, repelling K.'s attempt to make some
objection. He then continued, "And besides, you're quite right in your
comment that I'm a trustee of the court." He made a pause, as if
wanting to give K. the time to come to terms with this fact. The girls
could once more be heard from behind the door. They were probably
pressed around the keyhole, perhaps they could even see into the room
through the gaps in the planks. K. forewent the opportunity to excuse
himself in some way as he did not wish to distract the painter from what
he was saying, or else perhaps he didn't want him to get too far above
himself and in this way make himself to some extent unattainable, so he
asked, "Is that a publicly acknowledged position?" "No," was the
painter's curt reply, as if the question prevented him saying any more.
But K. wanted him to continue speaking and said, "Well, positions like
that, that aren't officially acknowledged, can often have more influence
than those that are." "And that's how it is with me," said the painter,
and nodded with a frown. "I was talking about your case with the
manufacturer yesterday, and he asked me if I wouldn't like to help you,
and I answered: 'He can come and see me if he likes', and now I'm
pleased to see you here so soon. This business seems to be quite
important to you, and, of course, I'm not surprised at that. Would you
not like to take your coat off now?" K. had intended to stay for only a
very short time, but the painter's invitation was nonetheless very
welcome. The air in the room had slowly become quite oppressive for
him, he had several times looked in amazement at a small, iron stove in
the corner that certainly could not have been lit, the heat of the room
was inexplicable. As he took off his winter overcoat and also
unbuttoned his frock coat the painter said to him in apology, "I must
have warmth. And it is very cosy here, isn't it. This room's very good
in that respect." K. made no reply, but it was actually not the heat
that made him uncomfortable but, much more, the stuffiness, the air that
almost made it more difficult to breathe, the room had probably not been
ventilated for a long time. The unpleasantness of this was made all the
stronger for K. when the painter invited him to sit on the bed while he
himself sat down on the only chair in the room in front of the easel.
The painter even seemed to misunderstand why K. remained at the edge of
the bed and urged K. to make himself comfortable, and as he hesitated he
went over to the bed himself and pressed K. deep down into the
bedclothes and pillows. Then he went back to his seat and at last he
asked his first objective question, which made K. forget everything
else. "You're innocent, are you?" he asked. "Yes," said K. He felt a
simple joy at answering this question, especially as the answer was
given to a private individual and therefore would have no consequences.
Up till then no-one had asked him this question so openly. To make the
most of his pleasure he added, "I am totally innocent." "So," said the
painter, and he lowered his head and seemed to be thinking. Suddenly he
raised his head again and said, "Well if you're innocent it's all very
simple." K. began to scowl, this supposed trustee of the court was
talking like an ignorant child. "My being innocent does not make things
simple," said K. Despite everything, he couldn't help smiling and
slowly shook his head. "There are many fine details in which the court
gets lost, but in the end it reaches into some place where originally
there was nothing and pulls enormous guilt out of it." "Yeah, yeah,
sure," said the painter, as if K. had been disturbing his train of
thought for no reason. "But you are innocent, aren't you?" "Well of
course I am," said K. "That's the main thing," said the painter. There
was no counter-argument that could influence him, but although he had
made up his mind it was not clear whether he was talking this way
because of conviction or indifference. K., then, wanted to find out and
said therefore, "I'm sure you're more familiar with the court than I am,
I know hardly more about it than what I've heard, and that's been from
many very different people. But they were all agreed on one thing, and
that was that when ill thought-out accusations are made they are not
ignored, and that once the court has made an accusation it is convinced
of the guilt of the defendant and it's very hard to make it think
otherwise." "Very hard?" the painter asked, throwing one hand up in the
air. "It's impossible to make it think otherwise. If I painted all the
judges next to each other here on canvas, and you were trying to defend
yourself in front of it, you'd have more success with them than you'd
ever have with the real court." "Yes," said K. to himself, forgetting
that he had only gone there to investigate the painter.

One of the girls behind the door started up again, and asked,
"Titorelli, is he going to go soon?" "Quiet!" shouted the painter at
the door, "Can't you see I'm talking with the gentleman?" But this was
not enough to satisfy the girl and she asked, "You going to paint his
picture?" And when the painter didn't answer she added, "Please don't
paint him, he's an 'orrible bloke." There followed an incomprehensible,
interwoven babble of shouts and replies and calls of agreement. The
painter leapt over to the door, opened it very slightly - the girls'
clasped hands could be seen stretching through the crack as if they
wanted something - and said, "If you're not quiet I'll throw you all
down the stairs. Sit down here on the steps and be quiet." They
probably did not obey him immediately, so that he had to command, "Down
on the steps!" Only then it became quiet.

"I'm sorry about that," said the painter as he returned to K. K.
had hardly turned towards the door, he had left it completely up to the
painter whether and how he would place him under his protection if he
wanted to. Even now, he made hardly any movement as the painter bent
over him and, whispering into his ear in order not to be heard outside,
said, "These girls belong to the court as well." "How's that?" asked
K., as he leant his head to one side and looked at the painter. But the
painter sat back down on his chair and, half in jest, half in
explanation, "Well, everything belongs to the court." "That is
something I had never noticed until now," said K. curtly, this general
comment of the painter's made his comment about the girls far less
disturbing. Nonetheless, K. looked for a while at the door, behind
which the girls were now sitting quietly on the steps. Except, that one
of them had pushed a drinking straw through a crack between the planks
and was moving it slowly up and down. "You still don't seem to have
much general idea of what the court's about", said the painter, who had
stretched his legs wide apart and was tapping loudly on the floor with
the tip of his foot. "But as you're innocent you won't need it anyway.
I'll get you out of this by myself." "How do you intend to do that?"
asked K. "You did say yourself not long ago that it's quite impossible
to go to the court with reasons and proofs." "Only impossible for
reasons and proofs you take to the court yourself " said the painter,
raising his forefinger as if K. had failed to notice a fine distinction.
"It goes differently if you try to do something behind the public court,
that's to say in the consultation rooms, in the corridors or here, for
instance, in my studio." K. now began to find it far easier to believe
what the painter was saying, or rather it was largely in agreement with
what he had also been told by others. In fact it was even quite
promising. If it really was so easy to influence the judges through
personal contacts as the lawyer had said then the painter's contacts
with these vain judges was especially important, and at the very least
should not be undervalued. And the painter would fit in very well in
the circle of assistants that K. was slowly gathering around himself.
He had been noted at the bank for his talent in organising, here, where
he was placed entirely on his own resources, would be a good opportunity
to test that talent to its limits. The painter observed the effect his
explanation had had on K. and then, with a certain unease, said, "Does
it not occur to you that the way I'm speaking is almost like a lawyer?
It's the incessant contact with the gentlemen of the court has that
influence on me. I gain a lot by it, of course, but I lose a lot,
artistically speaking." "How did you first come into contact with the
judges, then?" asked K., he wanted first to gain the painter's trust
before he took him into his service. "That was very easy," said the
painter, "I inherited these contacts. My father was court painter
before me. It's a position that's always inherited. They can't use new
people for it, the rules governing how the various grades of officials
are painted are so many and varied, and, above all, so secret that no-
one outside of certain families even knows them. In the drawer there,
for instance, I've got my father's notes, which I don't show to anyone.
But you're only able to paint judges if you know what they say.
Although, even if I lost them no-one could ever dispute my position
because of all the rules I just carry round in my head. All the judges
want to be painted like the old, great judges were, and I'm the only one
who can do that." "You are to be envied," said K., thinking of his
position at the bank. "Your position is quite unassailable, then?"
"Yes, quite unassailable," said the painter, and he raised his shoulders
in pride. "That's how I can even afford to help some poor man facing
trial now and then." "And how do you do that?" asked K., as if the
painter had not just described him as a poor man. The painter did not
let himself be distracted, but said, "In your case, for instance, as
you're totally innocent, this is what I'll do." The repeated mention of
K.'s innocence was becoming irksome to him. It sometimes seemed to him
as if the painter was using these comments to make a favourable outcome
to the trial a precondition for his help, which of course would make the
help itself unnecessary. But despite these doubts K. forced himself not
to interrupt the painter. He did not want to do without the painter's
help, that was what he had decided, and this help did not seem in any
way less questionable than that of the lawyer. K. valued the painter's
help far more highly because it was offered in a way that was more
harmless and open.

The painter had pulled his seat closer to the bed and continued in
a subdued voice: "I forgot to ask you; what sort of acquittal is it you
want? There are three possibilities; absolute acquittal, apparent
acquittal and deferment. Absolute acquittal is the best, of course,
only there's nothing I could do to get that sort of outcome. I don't
think there's anyone at all who could do anything to get an absolute
acquittal. Probably the only thing that could do that is if the accused
is innocent. As you are innocent it could actually be possible and you
could depend on your innocence alone. In that case you won't need me or
any other kind of help."

At first, K. was astonished at this orderly explanation, but then,
just as quietly as the painter, he said, "I think you're contradicting
yourself." "How's that?" asked the painter patiently, leaning back with
a smile. This smile made K. feel as if he were examining not the words
of the painter but seeking out inconsistencies in the procedures of the
court itself. Nonetheless, he continued unabashed and said, "You
remarked earlier that the court cannot be approached with reasoned
proofs, you later restricted this to the open court, and now you go so
far as to say that an innocent man needs no assistance in court. That
entails a contradiction. Moreover, you said earlier that the judges can
be influenced personally but now you insist that an absolute acquittal,
as you call it, can never be attained through personal influence. That
entails a second contradiction." "It's quite easy to clear up these
contradictions," said the painter. "We're talking about two different
things here, there's what it says in the law and there's what I know
from my own experience, you shouldn't get the two confused. I've never
seen it in writing, but the law does, of course, say on the one hand
that the innocent will be set free, but on the other hand it doesn't say
that the judges can be influenced. But in my experience it's the other
way round. I don't know of any absolute acquittals but I do know of
many times when a judge has been influenced. It's possible, of course,
that there was no innocence in any of the cases I know about. But is
that likely? Not a single innocent defendant in so many cases? When I
was a boy I used to listen closely to my father when he told us about
court cases at home, and the judges that came to his studio talked about
the court, in our circles nobody talks about anything else; I hardly
ever got the chance to go to court myself but always made use of it when
I could, I've listened to countless trials at important stages in their
development, I've followed them closely as far as they could be
followed, and I have to say that I've never seen a single acquittal."
"So. Not a single acquittal," said K., as if talking to himself and his
hopes. "That confirms the impression I already have of the court. So
there's no point in it from this side either. They could replace the
whole court with a single hangman." "You shouldn't generalise," said
the painter, dissatisfied, "I've only been talking about my own
experience." "Well that's enough," said K., "or have you heard of any
acquittals that happened earlier?" "They say there have been some
acquittals earlier," the painter answered, "but it's very hard to be
sure about it. The courts don't make their final conclusions public,
not even the judges are allowed to know about them, so that all we know
about these earlier cases are just legends. But most of them did
involve absolute acquittals, you can believe that, but they can't be
proved. On the other hand, you shouldn't forget all about them either,
I'm sure there is some truth to them, and they are very beautiful, I've
painted a few pictures myself depicting these legends." "My assessment
will not be altered by mere legends," said K. "I don't suppose it's
possible to cite these legends in court, is it?" The painter laughed.
"No, you can't cite them in court," he said. "Then there's no point in
talking about them," said K., he wanted, for the time being, to accept
anything the painter told him, even if he thought it unlikely or
contradicted what he had been told by others. He did not now have the
time to examine the truth of everything the painter said or even to
disprove it, he would have achieved as much as he could if the painter
would help him in any way even if his help would not be decisive. As a
result, he said, "So let's pay no more attention to absolute acquittal,
but you mentioned two other possibilities." "Apparent acquittal and
deferment. They're the only possibilities," said the painter. "But
before we talk about them, would you not like to take your coat off?
You must be hot." "Yes," said K., who until then had paid attention to
nothing but the painter's explanations, but now that he had had the heat
pointed out to him his brow began to sweat heavily. "It's almost
unbearable." The painter nodded as if he understood K.'s discomfort
very well. "Could we not open the window?" asked K. "No," said the
painter. "It's only a fixed pane of glass, it can't be opened." K. now
realised that all this time he had been hoping the painter would
suddenly go over to the window and pull it open. He had prepared
himself even for the fog that he would breathe in through his open
mouth. The thought that here he was entirely cut off from the air made
him feel dizzy. He tapped lightly on the bedspread beside him and, with
a weak voice, said, "That is very inconvenient and unhealthy." "Oh no,"
said the painter in defence of his window, "as it can't be opened this
room retains the heat better than if the window were double glazed, even
though it's only a single pane. There's not much need to air the room
as there's so much ventilation through the gaps in the wood, but when I
do want to I can open one of my doors, or even both of them." K. was
slightly consoled by this explanation and looked around to see where the
second door was. The painter saw him do so and said, "It's behind you,
I had to hide it behind the bed." Only then was K. able to see the
little door in the wall. "It's really much too small for a studio
here," said the painter, as if he wanted to anticipate an objection K.
would make. "I had to arrange things as well as I could. That's
obviously a very bad place for the bed, in front of the door. For
instance when the judge I'm painting at present comes he always comes
through the door by the bed, and I've even given him a key to this door
so that he can wait for me here in the studio when I'm not home.
Although nowadays he usually comes early in the morning when I'm still
asleep. And of course, it always wakes me up when I hear the door
opened beside the bed, however fast asleep I am. If you could hear the
way I curse him as he climbs over my bed in the morning you'd lose all
respect for judges. I suppose I could take the key away from him but
that'd only make things worse. It only takes a tiny effort to break any
of the doors here off their hinges." All the time the painter was
speaking, K. was considering whether he should take off his coat, but he
finally realised that, if he didn't do so, he would be quite unable to
stay here any longer, so he took off his frock coat and lay it on his
knee so that he could put it back on again as soon as the conversation
was over. He had hardly done this when one of the girls called out,
"Now he's taken his coat off!" and they could all be heard pressing
around the gaps in the planks to see the spectacle for themselves. "The
girls think I'm going to paint your portrait," said the painter, "and
that's why you're taking your coat off." "I see," said K., only
slightly amused by this, as he felt little better than he had before
even though he now sat in his shirtsleeves. With some irritation he
asked, "What did you say the two other possibilities were?" He had
already forgotten the terms used. "Apparent acquittal and deferment,"
said the painter. "It's up to you which one you choose. You can get
either of them if I help you, but it'll take some effort of course, the
difference between them is that apparent acquittal needs concentrated
effort for a while and that deferment takes much less effort but it has
to be sustained. Now then, apparent acquittal. If that's what you want
I'll write down an assertion of your innocence on a piece of paper. The
text for an assertion of this sort was passed down to me from my father
and it's quite unassailable. I take this assertion round to the judges
I know. So I'll start off with the one I'm currently painting, and put
the assertion to him when he comes for his sitting this evening. I'll
lay the assertion in front of him, explain that you're innocent and give
him my personal guarantee of it. And that's not just a superficial
guarantee, it's a real one and it's binding." The painter's eyes seemed
to show some reproach of K. for wanting to impose that sort of
responsibility on him. "That would be very kind of you", said K. "And
would the judge then believe you and nonetheless not pass an absolute
acquittal?" "It's like I just said," answered the painter. "And
anyway, it's not entirely sure that all the judges would believe me,
many of them, for instance, might want me to bring you to see them
personally. So then you'd have to come along too. But at least then,
if that happens, the matter is half way won, especially as I'd teach you
in advance exactly how you'd need to act with the judge concerned, of
course. What also happens, though, is that there are some judges who'll
turn me down in advance, and that's worse. I'll certainly make several
attempts, but still, we'll have to forget about them, but at least we
can afford to do that as no one judge can pass the decisive verdict.
Then when I've got enough judges' signatures on this document I take it
to the judge who's concerned with your case. I might even have his
signature already, in which case things develop a bit quicker than they
would do otherwise. But there aren't usually many hold ups from then
on, and that's the time that the defendant can feel most confident.
It's odd, but true, that people feel more confidence in this time than
they do after they've been acquitted. There's no particular exertion
needed now. When he has the document asserting the defendant's
innocence, guaranteed by a number of other judges, the judge can acquit
you without any worries, and although there are still several
formalities to be gone through there's no doubt that that's what he'll
do as a favour to me and several other acquaintances. You, however,
walk out the court and you're free." "So, then I'll be free," said K.,
hesitantly. "That's right," said the painter, "but only apparently free
or, to put it a better way, temporarily free, as the most junior judges,
the ones I know, they don't have the right to give the final acquittal.
Only the highest judge can do that, in the court that's quite out of reach
for you, for me and for all of us. We don't know how things look there
and, incidentally, we don't want to know. The right to acquit people
is a major privilege and our judges don't have it, but they do have the
right to free people from the indictment. That's to say, if they're
freed in this way then for the time being the charge is withdrawn but
it's still hanging over their heads and it only takes an order from
higher up to bring it back into force. And as I'm in such good contact
with the court I can also tell you how the difference between absolute
and apparent acquittal is described, just in a superficial way, in the
directives to the court offices. If there's an absolute acquittal all
proceedings should stop, everything disappears from the process, not
just the indictment but the trial and even the acquittal disappears,
everything just disappears. With an apparent acquittal it's different.
When that happens, nothing has changed except that the case for your
innocence, for your acquittal and the grounds for the acquittal have
been made stronger. Apart from that, proceedings go on as before, the
court offices continue their business and the case gets passed to higher
courts, gets passed back down to the lower courts and so on, backwards
and forwards, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, to and fro. It's
impossible to know exactly what's happening while this is going on.
Seen from outside it can sometimes seem that everything has been long
since forgotten, the documents have been lost and the acquittal is
complete. No-one familiar with the court would believe it. No
documents ever get lost, the court forgets nothing. One day - no-one
expects it - some judge or other picks up the documents and looks more
closely at them, he notices that this particular case is still active,
and orders the defendant's immediate arrest. I've been talking here as
if there's a long delay between apparent acquittal and re-arrest, that
is quite possible and I do know of cases like that, but it's just as
likely that the defendant goes home after he's been acquitted and finds
somebody there waiting to re-arrest him. Then, of course, his life as a
free man is at an end." "And does the trial start over again?" asked
K., finding it hard to believe. "The trial will always start over
again," said the painter, "but there is, once again as before, the
possibility of getting an apparent acquittal. Once again, the accused
has to muster all his strength and mustn't give up." The painter said
that last phrase possibly as a result of the impression that K., whose
shoulders had dropped somewhat, gave on him. "But to get a second
acquittal," asked K., as if in anticipation of further revelations by
the painter, "is that not harder to get than the first time?" "As far
as that's concerned," answered the painter, "there's nothing you can say
for certain. You mean, do you, that the second arrest would have an
adverse influence on the judge and the verdict he passes on the
defendant? That's not how it happens. When the acquittal is passed the
judges are already aware that re-arrest is likely. So when it happens
it has hardly any effect. But there are countless other reasons why the
judges' mood and their legal acumen in the case can be altered, and
efforts to obtain the second acquittal must therefore be suited to the
new conditions, and generally just as vigorous as the first." "But this
second acquittal will once again not be final," said K., shaking his
head. "Of course not," said the painter, "the second acquittal is
followed by the third arrest, the third acquittal by the fourth arrest
and so on. That's what is meant by the term apparent acquittal." K.
was silent. "You clearly don't think an apparent acquittal offers much
advantage," said the painter, "perhaps deferment would suit you better.
Would you like me to explain what deferment is about?" K. nodded. The
painter had leant back and spread himself out in his chair, his
nightshirt was wide open, he had pushed his hand inside and was stroking
his breast and his sides. "Deferment," said the painter, looking
vaguely in front of himself for a while as if trying to find a perfectly
appropriate explanation, "deferment consists of keeping proceedings
permanently in their earliest stages. To do that, the accused and those
helping him need to keep in continuous personal contact with the court,
especially those helping him. I repeat, this doesn't require so much
effort as getting an apparent acquittal, but it probably requires a lot
more attention. You must never let the trial out of your sight, you
have to go and see the appropriate judge at regular intervals as well as
when something in particular comes up and, whatever you do, you have to
try and remain friendly with him; if you don't know the judge personally
you have to influence him through the judges you do know, and you have
to do it without giving up on the direct discussions. As long as you
don't fail to do any of these things you can be reasonably sure the
trial won't get past its first stages. The trial doesn't stop, but the
defendant is almost as certain of avoiding conviction as if he'd been
acquitted. Compared with an apparent acquittal, deferment has the
advantage that the defendant's future is less uncertain, he's safe from
the shock of being suddenly re-arrested and doesn't need to fear the
exertions and stress involved in getting an apparent acquittal just when
everything else in his life would make it most difficult. Deferment
does have certain disadvantages of its own though, too, and they
shouldn't be under-estimated. I don't mean by this that the defendant
is never free, he's never free in the proper sense of the word with an
apparent acquittal either. There's another disadvantage. Proceedings
can't be prevented from moving forward unless there are some at least
ostensible reasons given. So something needs to seem to be happening
when looked at from the outside. This means that from time to time
various injunctions have to be obeyed, the accused has to be questioned,
investigations have to take place and so on. The trial's been
artificially constrained inside a tiny circle, and it has to be
continuously spun round within it. And that, of course, brings with it
certain unpleasantnesses for the accused, although you shouldn't imagine
they're all that bad. All of this is just for show, the interrogations,
for instance, they're only very short, if you ever don't have the time
or don't feel like going to them you can offer an excuse, with some
judges you can even arrange the injunctions together a long time in
advance, in essence all it means is that, as the accused, you have to
report to the judge from time to time." Even while the painter was
speaking those last words K. had laid his coat over his arm and had
stood up. Immediately, from outside the door, there was a cry of 'He's
standing up now!'. "Are you leaving already?" asked the painter, who
had also stood up. "It must be the air that's driving you out. I'm
very sorry about that. There's still a lot I need to tell you. I had
to put everything very briefly but I hope at least it was all clear."
"Oh yes," said K., whose head was aching from the effort of listening.
Despite this affirmation the painter summed it all up once more, as if
he wanted to give K. something to console him on his way home. "Both
have in common that they prevent the defendant being convicted," he
said. "But they also prevent his being properly acquitted," said K.
quietly, as if ashamed to acknowledge it. "You've got it, in essence,"
said the painter quickly. K. placed his hand on his winter overcoat but
could not bring himself to put it on. Most of all he would have liked
to pack everything together and run out to the fresh air. Not even the
girls could induce him to put his coat on, even though they were already
loudly telling each other that he was doing so. The painter still had
to interpret K.'s mood in some way, so he said, "I expect you've
deliberately avoided deciding between my suggestions yet. That's good.
I would even have advised against making a decision straight away.
There's no more than a hair's breadth of difference between the
advantages and disadvantages. Everything has to be carefully weighed
up. But the most important thing is you shouldn't lose too much time."
"I'll come back here again soon," said K., who had suddenly decided to
put his frock coat on, threw his overcoat over his shoulder and hurried
over to the door behind which the girls now began to scream. K. thought
he could even see the screaming girls through the door. "Well, you'll
have to keep your word," said the painter, who had not followed him,
"otherwise I'll come to the bank to ask about it myself." "Will you open
this door for me," said K. pulling at the handle which, as he noticed
from the resistance, was being held tightly by the girls on the other
side. "Do you want to be bothered by the girls?" asked the painter.
"It's better if you use the other way out," he said, pointing to the
door behind the bed. K. agreed to this and jumped back to the bed. But
instead of opening that door the painter crawled under the bed and from
underneath it asked K., "Just a moment more, would you not like to see a
picture I could sell to you?" K. did not want to be impolite, the
painter really had taken his side and promised to help him more in the
future, and because of K.'s forgetfulness there had been no mention of
any payment for the painter's help, so K. could not turn him down now
and allowed him to show him the picture, even though he was quivering
with impatience to get out of the studio. From under the bed, the
painter withdrew a pile of unframed paintings. They were so covered in
dust that when the painter tried to blow it off the one on top the dust
swirled around in front of K.'s eyes, robbing him of breath for some
time. "Moorland landscape," said the painter passing the picture to K.
It showed two sickly trees, well separated from each other in dark
grass. In the background there was a multi-coloured sunset. "That's
nice," said K. "I'll buy it." K. expressed himself in this curt way
without any thought, so he was glad when the painter did not take this
amiss and picked up a second painting from the floor. "This is a
counterpart to the first picture," said the painter. Perhaps it had
been intended as a counterpart, but there was not the slightest
difference to be seen between it and the first picture, there were the
trees, there the grass and there the sunset. But this was of little
importance to K. "They are beautiful landscapes," he said, "I'll buy
them both and hang them in my office." "You seem to like this subject,"
said the painter, picking up a third painting, "good job I've still got
another, similar picture here." The picture though, was not similar,
rather it was exactly the same moorland landscape. The painter was
fully exploiting this opportunity to sell off his old pictures. "I'll
take this one too," said K. "How much do the three paintings cost?"
"We can talk about that next time," said the painter. "You're in a
hurry now, and we'll still be in contact. And besides, I'm glad you
like the paintings, I'll give you all the paintings I've got down here.
They're all moorland landscapes, I've painted a lot of moorland
landscapes. A lot of people don't like that sort of picture because
they're too gloomy, but there are others, and you're one of them, who
love gloomy themes." But K. was not in the mood to hear about the
professional experiences of this painter cum beggar. "Wrap them all
up!" he called out, interrupting the painter as he was speaking, "my
servant will come to fetch them in the morning." "There's no need for
that," said the painter. "I expect I can find a porter for you who can
go with you now." And, at last, he leant over the bed and unlocked the
door. "Just step on the bed, don't worry about that," said the painter,
"that's what everyone does who comes in here." Even without this
invitation, K. had shown no compunction in already placing his foot in
the middle of the bed covers, then he looked out through the open door
and drew his foot back again. "What is that?" he asked the painter.
"What are you so surprised at?" he asked, surprised in his turn. "Those
are court offices. Didn't you know there are court offices here? There
are court offices in almost every attic, why should this building be any
different? Even my studio is actually one of the court offices but the
court put it at my disposal." It was not so much finding court offices
even here that shocked K., he was mainly shocked at himself, at his own
naïvety in court matters. It seemed to him that one of the most basic
rules governing how a defendant should behave was always to be prepared,
never allow surprises, never to look, unsuspecting, to the right when
the judge stood beside him to his left - and this was the very basic
rule that he was continually violating. A long corridor extended in
from of him, air blew in from it which, compared with the air in the
studio, was refreshing. There were benches set along each side of the
corridor just as in the waiting area for the office he went to himself.
There seemed to be precise rules governing how offices should be
equipped. There did not seem to be many people visiting the offices
that day. There was a man there, half sitting, half laying, his face
was buried in his arm on the bench and he seemed to be sleeping; another
man was standing in the half-dark at the end of the corridor. K. now
climbed over the bed, the painter followed him with the pictures. They
soon came across a servant of the court - K. was now able to recognise
all the servants of the court from the gold buttons they wore on their
civilian clothes below the normal buttons - and the painter instructed
him to go with K. carrying the pictures. K. staggered more than he
walked, his handkerchief pressed over his mouth. They had nearly
reached the exit when the girls stormed in on them, so K. had not been
able to avoid them. They had clearly seen that the second door of the
studio had been opened and had gone around to impose themselves on him
from this side. "I can't come with you any further!" called out the
painter with a laugh as the girls pressed in. "Goodbye, and don't
hesitate too long!" K. did not even look round at him. Once on the
street he took the first cab he came across. He now had to get rid of
the servant, whose gold button continually caught his eye even if it
caught no-one else's. As a servant, the servant of the court was going
to sit on the coach-box. But K. chased him down from there. It was
already well into the afternoon when K. arrived in front of the bank.
He would have liked to leave the pictures in the cab but feared there
might be some occasion when he would have to let the painter see he
still had them. So he had the pictures taken to his office and locked
them in the lowest drawer of his desk so that he could at least keep
them safe from the deputy director's view for the next few days.

Franz Kafka

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