be going there for the first time and was heading straight for the clutches
of the gang that had moved into the flat. Something told Poplavsky that the
little man was going to come out of that flat again in quick time. Naturally
he had given up any idea of going to his nephew's funeral and there was
plenty of time before the train left for Kiev. The economist glanced round
and slipped into the cupboard.
Just then came the sound of a door closing upstairs. ' He's gone in .
' thought Poplavsky anxiously. It was damp and cold in the cupboard and it
smelled of mice and boots. Maximilian Andreyevich sat down on a log of wood
and decided to wait. He was in a good position to watch the staircase and
the doorway leading on to the courtyard.
However he had to wait longer than he had expected. The staircase
remained empty. At last the door on the fifth floor was heard shutting.
Poplavsky froze. Yes, those were his footsteps. ' He's coming down . . ' A
door opened one floor lower. The footsteps stopped. A woman's voice. A sad
man's voice--yes, that was him . . . saying something like ' Stop it,
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