'Why did I say that to her?' Litvinov thought the next morning as he sat in his room at the window. He shrugged his shoulders in vexation: he had said that to Tatyana simply to cut himself off all way of retreat. In the window lay a note from Irina: she asked him to see her at twelve. Potugin's words incessantly recurred to his mind, they seemed to reach him with a faint ill-omened sound as of a rumbling underground. He was angry with himself, but could not get rid of them anyhow. Some one knocked at the door.
' Wer da? ' asked Litvinov.
'Ah! you 're at home! open!' he heard Bindasov's hoarse bass.
The door handle creaked.
Litvinov turned white with exasperation.
'I 'm not at home,' he declared sharply.
'Not at home? That 's a good joke!'
'I tell you—not at home, get along.'