K. refuses examination

“Goodnight,” said K. “I’ve an objection to any kind of examination,” and now he went at last to the door. “He’s going after all,” said Momus almost anxiously to the landlady. “He won’t dare,” said she; K. heard nothing more, he was already in the hall. It was cold and a strong wind was blowing. From a door on the opposite side came the landlord; he seemed to have been keeping the hall under observation from behind a peephole. He had to hold the tail of his coat round his knees, the wind tore so strongly at him in the hall. “You’re going already, Land-Surveyor?” he asked. “You’re surprised at that?” asked K. “I am,” said the landlord; “haven’t you been examined then?” “No,” replied K. “I didn’t let myself be examined.” “Why not?” asked the landlord. “I don’t know,” said K. “why I should let myself be examined, why I should give in to a joke or an official whim. Perhaps some other time I might have taken it on my side too as a joke or a whim, but not today.” “Why, certainly, certainly,” said the landlord, but he agreed only out of politeness, not from conviction.”I must let the servants into the taproom now,” he said presently, “it’s long past their time. Only I didn’t want to disturb the examination.” “Did you consider it as important as all that?” asked K. “Well, yes,” replied the landlord. “I shouldn’t have refused,” said K. “No,” replied the landlord, “you shouldn’t have done that.” Seeing that K. was silent, he added, whether to comfort K. or to get away sooner: “Well, well, the sky won’t rain sulphur for all that.” “No,” replied K., “the weather signs don’t look like it.” And they parted laughing.

Franz Kafka

The Castle, end of the Ninth chapter

Modern Library, Feb 1969 edition, translated by Willa & Edwin Muir

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