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by Nikolai Gogol
Collegiate Assessor Kovalev Timeline and Summary
Collegiate Assessor Kovalev wakes up without his nose. He keeps checking in the mirror, but no, definitely totally gone. When he heads out into the street, he can't catch a cab and has to walk. Kovalev pops into a restaurant to check a mirror again, and when he comes out he sees his nose—which is now a State Councilor (much higher rank). After following the nose, Kovalev confronts it in a fancy pants shopping center—but the nose denies being his nose. The nerve! Not sure what to do, Kovalev goes to a newspaper office to put an ad in the paper. The clerk there listens to his story, checks out his face, but refuses to run the ad because it'll affect the paper's credibility. He offers Kovalev snuff—which Kovalev of course can't use because he has no nose. Not very sensitive, Mr. Clerk. Kovalev goes to the police, but the inspector there just reams him out for interrupting dinner. At home, Kovalev is about to give up when a cop shows up with the nose in a handkerchief. Kovalev is psyched, but the nose won't stick back on his face. He calls for a doctor, who shows up and tells him there's nothing to be done, and offers to buy the nose. Hijinks! The doctor is actually his nose in disguise. Kovalev writes an angry letter to Madame Podtochina, the mother of his latest crush, accusing her of doing the nose thing. Her return letter is all confused and apologetic, and she obviously has no idea what he's talking about. So he decides to marry her daughter. Until, that is, he wakes up two weeks later, and his nose is back. Thrilled, he immediately goes out to see some friends. On the way, he is contemptuous of any dude with a smaller nose than his. He runs into Madame Podtochina and her daughter, flirts a little, and decides not to marry the girl after all. He's perfectly happy to spend the rest of his life as social climber, and his nose stays put from then on.