This drove Kovalev to the last pitch of desperation. He went back to the mansion, and stationed himself under its portico, in the hope that, by peering hither and thither, hither and thither, he might once more see the Nose appear. But, well though he remembered the Nose's cockaded hat and gold-braided uniform, he had failed at the time to note also its cloak, the colour of its horses, the make of its carriage, the look of the lackey seated behind, and the pattern of the lackey's livery. Besides, so many carriages were moving swiftly up and down the street that it would have been impossible to note them all, and equally so to have stopped any one of them. Meanwhile, as the day was fine and sunny, the Prospekt was thronged with pedestrians also—a whole kaleidoscopic stream of ladies was flowing along the pavements, from Police Headquarters to the Anitchkin Bridge. There one could descry an Aulic Councillor whom Kovalev knew well. A gentleman he was whom Kovalev always addressed as "Lieutenant-Colonel," and especially in the presence of others. And there there went Yaryzhkin, Chief Clerk to the Senate, a crony who always rendered forfeit at "Boston" on playing an eight. And, lastly, a like "Major" with Kovalev, a like "Major" with an Assessorship acquired through Caucasian service, started to beckon to Kovalev with a finger!
"The devil take him!" was Kovalev's muttered comment. "Hi, cabman! Drive to the Police Commissioner's direct."
But just when he was entering the drozhki he added:
"No. Go by Ivanovskaia Street."
"Is the Commissioner in?" he asked on crossing the threshold.
"He is not," was the doorkeeper's reply. "He's gone this very moment."
"There's luck for you!"
"Aye," the doorkeeper went on. "Only just a moment ago he was off. If you'd been a bare half-minute sooner you'd have found him at home, maybe."
Still holding the handkerchief to his face, Kovalev returned to the cab, and cried wildly:
"Where to, though?" the cabman inquired.
"Oh, straight ahead!"
"'Straight ahead'? But the street divides here. To right, or to left?"
The question caused Kovalov to pause and recollect himself. In his situation he ought to make his next step an application to the Board of Discipline—not because the Board was directly connected with the police, but because its dispositions would be executed more speedily than in other departments. To seek satisfaction of the the actual department in which the Nose had declared itself to be serving would be sheerly unwise, since from the Nose's very replies it was clear that it was the sort of individual who held nothing sacred, and, in that event, might lie as unconscionably as it had lied in asserting itself never to have figured in its proprietor's company. Kovalev, therefore, decided to seek the Board of Discipline.