"You brute!" she shouted frantically. "Where have you cut off that nose? You villain, you! You drunkard! Why, I'll go and report you to the police myself. The brigand, you! Three customers have told me already about your pulling at their noses as you shaved them till they could hardly stand it."
But Ivan Yakovlevitch was neither alive nor dead. This was the more the case because, sure enough, he had recognised the nose. It was the nose of Collegiate Assessor Kovalev--no less: it was the nose of a gentleman whom he was accustomed to shave twice weekly, on each Wednesday and each Sunday!
"Stop, Prascovia Osipovna!" at length he said. "I'll wrap the thing in a clout, and lay it aside awhile, and take it away altogether later."
"But I won't hear of such a thing being done! As if I'm going to have a cut-off nose kicking about my room! Oh, you old stick! Maybe you can just strop a razor still; but soon you'll be no good at all for the rest of your work. You loafer, you wastrel, you bungler, you blockhead! Aye, I'll tell the police of you. Take it away, then. Take it away. Take it anywhere you like. Oh, that I'd never caught the smell of it!"
Ivan Yakovlevitch was dumbfounded. He thought and thought, but did not know what to think.
"The devil knows how it's happened," he said, scratching one ear. "You see, I don't know for certain whether I came home drunk last night or not. But certainly things look as though something out of the way happened then, for bread comes of baking, and a nose of something else altogether. Oh, I just can't make it out."
So he sat silent. At the thought that the police might find the nose at his place, and arrest him, he felt frantic. Yes, already he could see the red collar with the smart silver braiding--the sword! He shuddered from head to foot.
But at last he got out, and donned waistcoat and shoes, wrapped the nose in a clout, and departed amid Prascovia Osipovna's forcible objurgations.