Pages from the Footman’s Diary

Gréta Tóth

March 25th:

Today Major Kovalyov woke up early in the morning, about half an hour later than I did. I was humming in the kitchen while helping the housemaid with the preparations for the Major’s breakfast. We didn’t really talk (I guess it was still too early for that); we just did the regular chores: she was making coffee and I was setting the table. This is how it went every morning, but today it was different.

The Major didn’t come to eat breakfast, not even to drink his coffee. Instead, we only heard quick footsteps and the opening of the front door. He simply ran away and didn’t even close the door after himself. It was not like him, not at all.

We were left there speechless. We couldn’t do anything but wait. It seemed like forever. He didn’t show up, not until late afternoon. That’s when I realized what the problem was. The Major did not have a nose. It had simply disappeared. He was really mad, furious some would say. Later that night, a police officer came by to talk to him. I didn’t hear anything, but I suppose it was about his missing nose.

April 7th:

Weeks went by and the Major still had no nose. A lot of people said it was walking around the city (the nose, that is), but he couldn’t find it. One morning, the housemaid and I were doing the usual morning routines when we heard happy crying. I ran upstairs and couldn’t believe my eyes: the Major’s nose was again on its place, between his two cheeks. I’ve never ever seen him so happy in his entire life.

This is an interior monologue—a diary, rather—based on Nikolai Gogol’s story “The Nose” and told from the footman’s point of view.