The Diary of a Nobody
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Charles Pooter

August 20.—I am glad our last day at the seaside was fine, though clouded overhead.  We went over to Cummings’ (at Margate) in the evening, and as it was cold, we stayed in and played games; Gowing, as usual, overstepping the mark.  He suggested we should play “Cutlets,” a game we never heard of.  He sat on a chair, and asked Carrie to sit on his lap, an invitation which dear Carrie rightly declined.

After some species of wrangling, I sat on Gowing’s knees and Carrie sat on the edge of mine.  Lupin sat on the edge of Carrie’s lap, then Cummings on Lupin’s, and Mrs. Cummings on her husband’s.  We looked very ridiculous, and laughed a good deal.

Gowing then said: “Are you a believer in the Great Mogul?”  We had to answer all together: “Yes—oh, yes!” (three times).  Gowing said: “So am I,” and suddenly got up.  The result of this stupid joke was that we all fell on the ground, and poor Carrie banged her head against the corner of the fender.  Mrs. Cummings put some vinegar on; but through this we missed the last train, and had to drive back to Broadstairs, which cost me seven-and-sixpence.

Charles Pooter

August 22.—Home sweet Home again!  Carrie bought some pretty blue-wool mats to stand vases on.  Fripps, Janus and Co. write to say they are sorry they have no vacancy among their staff of clerks for Lupin.

Charles Pooter

August 23.—I bought a pair of stags’ heads made of plaster-of-Paris and coloured brown.  They will look just the thing for our little hall, and give it style; the heads are excellent imitations.  Poolers and Smith are sorry they have nothing to offer Lupin.

Charles Pooter

August 24.—Simply to please Lupin, and make things cheerful for him, as he is a little down, Carrie invited Mrs. James to come up from Sutton and spend two or three days with us.  We have not said a word to Lupin, but mean to keep it as a surprise.

Charles Pooter

August 25.—Mrs. James, of Sutton, arrived in the afternoon, bringing with her an enormous bunch of wild flowers.  The more I see of Mrs James the nicer I think she is, and she is devoted to Carrie.  She went into Carrie’s room to take off her bonnet, and remained there nearly an hour talking about dress.  Lupin said he was not a bit surprised at Mrs. James’ visit, but was surprised at her.

Charles Pooter

August 26, Sunday.—Nearly late for church, Mrs. James having talked considerably about what to wear all the morning.  Lupin does not seem to get on very well with Mrs. James.  I am afraid we shall have some trouble with our next-door neighbours who came in last Wednesday.  Several of their friends, who drive up in dog-carts, have already made themselves objectionable.

An evening or two ago I had put on a white waistcoat for coolness, and while walking past with my thumbs in my waistcoat pockets (a habit I have), one man, seated in the cart, and looking like an American, commenced singing some vulgar nonsense about “I had thirteen dollars in my waistcoat pocket.”  I fancied it was meant for me, and my suspicions were confirmed; for while walking round the garden in my tall hat this afternoon, a “throw-down” cracker was deliberately aimed at my hat, and exploded on it like a percussion cap.  I turned sharply, and am positive I saw the man who was in the cart retreating from one of the bedroom windows.

Charles Pooter

August 27.—Carrie and Mrs. James went off shopping, and had not returned when I came back from the office.  Judging from the subsequent conversation, I am afraid Mrs. James is filling Carrie’s head with a lot of nonsense about dress.  I walked over to Gowing’s and asked him to drop in to supper, and make things pleasant.

Carrie prepared a little extemporised supper, consisting of the remainder of the cold joint, a small piece of salmon (which I was to refuse, in case there was not enough to go round), and a blanc-mange and custards.  There was also a decanter of port and some jam puffs on the sideboard.  Mrs. James made us play rather a good game of cards, called “Muggings.”  To my surprise, in fact disgust, Lupin got up in the middle, and, in a most sarcastic tone, said: “Pardon me, this sort of thing is too fast for me, I shall go and enjoy a quiet game of marbles in the back-garden.”

Things might have become rather disagreeable but for Gowing (who seems to have taken to Lupin) suggesting they should invent games.  Lupin said: “Let’s play ‘monkeys.’”  He then led Gowing all round the room, and brought him in front of the looking-glass.  I must confess I laughed heartily at this.  I was a little vexed at everybody subsequently laughing at some joke which they did not explain, and it was only on going to bed I discovered I must have been walking about all the evening with an antimacassar on one button of my coat-tails.

Charles Pooter

August 28.—Found a large brick in the middle bed of geraniums, evidently come from next door.  Pattles and Pattles can’t find a place for Lupin.

Charles Pooter

August 29.—Mrs. James is making a positive fool of CarrieCarrie appeared in a new dress like a smock-frock.  She said “smocking” was all the rage.  I replied it put me in a rage.  She also had on a hat as big as a kitchen coal-scuttle, and the same shape.  Mrs. James went home, and both Lupin and I were somewhat pleased—the first time we have agreed on a single subject since his return.  Merkins and Son write they have no vacancy for Lupin.

Charles Pooter

October 31.—Received a letter from our principal, Mr. Perkupp, saying that he thinks he knows of a place at last for our dear boy Lupin.  This, in a measure, consoles me for the loss of a portion of my diary; for I am bound to confess the last few weeks have been devoted to the record of disappointing answers received from people to whom I have applied for appointments for Lupin.  Mrs. Birrell called, and, in reply to me, said: “She never see no book, much less take such a liberty as touch it.”

I said I was determined to find out who did it, whereupon she said she would do her best to help me; but she remembered the sweep lighting the fire with a bit of the Echo.  I requested the sweep to be sent to me to-morrow.  I wish Carrie had not given Lupin a latch-key; we never seem to see anything of him.  I sat up till past one for him, and then retired tired.

Charles Pooter

November 2.—I spent the evening quietly with Carrie, of whose company I never tire.  We had a most pleasant chat about the letters on “Is Marriage a Failure?”  It has been no failure in our case.  In talking over our own happy experiences, we never noticed that it was past midnight.  We were startled by hearing the door slam violently.  Lupin had come in.  He made no attempt to turn down the gas in the passage, or even to look into the room where we were, but went straight up to bed, making a terrible noise.  I asked him to come down for a moment, and he begged to be excused, as he was “dead beat,” an observation that was scarcely consistent with the fact that, for a quarter of an hour afterwards, he was positively dancing in his room, and shouting out, “See me dance the polka!” or some such nonsense.

Charles Pooter

November 3.—Good news at last.  Mr. Perkupp has got an appointment for Lupin, and he is to go and see about it on Monday.  Oh, how my mind is relieved!  I went to Lupin’s room to take the good news to him, but he was in bed, very seedy, so I resolved to keep it over till the evening.

He said he had last night been elected a member of an Amateur Dramatic Club, called the “Holloway Comedians”; and, though it was a pleasant evening, he had sat in a draught, and got neuralgia in the head.  He declined to have any breakfast, so I left him.  In the evening I had up a special bottle of port, and, Lupin being in for a wonder, we filled our glasses, and I said: “Lupin my boy, I have some good and unexpected news for you.  Mr. Perkupp has procured you an appointment!”  Lupin said: “Good biz!” and we drained our glasses.

Lupin then said: “Fill up the glasses again, for I have some good and unexpected news for you.”

I had some slight misgivings, and so evidently had Carrie, for she said: “I hope we shall think it good news.”

Lupin said: “Oh, it’s all right!  I’m engaged to be married!”

Charles Pooter

November 5, Sunday.—Carrie and I troubled about that mere boy Lupin getting engaged to be married without consulting us or anything.  After dinner he told us all about it.  He said the lady’s name was Daisy Mutlar, and she was the nicest, prettiest, and most accomplished girl he ever met.  He loved her the moment he saw her, and if he had to wait fifty years he would wait, and he knew she would wait for him.

Lupin further said, with much warmth, that the world was a different world to him now,—it was a world worth living in.  He lived with an object now, and that was to make Daisy Mutlar—Daisy Pooter, and he would guarantee she would not disgrace the family of the Pooters.  Carrie here burst out crying, and threw her arms round his neck, and in doing so, upset the glass of port he held in his hand all over his new light trousers.

I said I had no doubt we should like Miss Mutlar when we saw her, but Carrie said she loved her already.  I thought this rather premature, but held my tongue.  Daisy Mutlar was the sole topic of conversation for the remainder of the day.  I asked Lupin who her people were, and he replied: “Oh, you know Mutlar, Williams and Watts.”  I did not know, but refrained from asking any further questions at present, for fear of irritating Lupin.

Charles Pooter

November 6.—Lupin went with me to the office, and had a long conversation with Mr. Perkupp, our principal, the result of which was that he accepted a clerkship in the firm of Job Cleanands and Co., Stock and Share Brokers.  Lupin told me, privately, it was an advertising firm, and he did not think much of it.  I replied: “Beggars should not be choosers;” and I will do Lupin the justice to say, he looked rather ashamed of himself.

In the evening we went round to the Cummings’, to have a few fireworks.  It began to rain, and I thought it rather dull.  One of my squibs would not go off, and Gowing said: “Hit it on your boot, boy; it will go off then.”  I gave it a few knocks on the end of my boot, and it went off with one loud explosion, and burnt my fingers rather badly.  I gave the rest of the squibs to the little Cummings’ boy to let off.

Another unfortunate thing happened, which brought a heap of abuse on my head.  Cummings fastened a large wheel set-piece on a stake in the ground by way of a grand finale.  He made a great fuss about it; said it cost seven shillings.  There was a little difficulty in getting it alight.  At last it went off; but after a couple of slow revolutions it stopped.  I had my stick with me, so I gave it a tap to send it round, and, unfortunately, it fell off the stake on to the grass.  Anybody would have thought I had set the house on fire from the way in which they stormed at me.  I will never join in any more firework parties.  It is a ridiculous waste of time and money.

Charles Pooter

November 7.—Lupin asked Carrie to call on Mrs. Mutlar, but Carrie said she thought Mrs. Mutlar ought to call on her first.  I agreed with Carrie, and this led to an argument.  However, the matter was settled by Carrie saying she could not find any visiting cards, and we must get some more printed, and when they were finished would be quite time enough to discuss the etiquette of calling.

Charles Pooter

November 8.—I ordered some of our cards at Black’s, the stationers.  I ordered twenty-five of each, which will last us for a good long time.  In the evening, Lupin brought in Harry Mutlar, Miss Mutlar’s brother.  He was rather a gawky youth, and Lupin said he was the most popular and best amateur in the club, referring to the “Holloway Comedians.”  Lupin whispered to us that if we could only “draw out” Harry a bit, he would make us roar with laughter.

At supper, young Mutlar did several amusing things.  He took up a knife, and with the flat part of it played a tune on his cheek in a wonderful manner.  He also gave an imitation of an old man with no teeth, smoking a big cigar.  The way he kept dropping the cigar sent Carrie into fits.

In the course of conversation, Daisy’s name cropped up, and young Mutlar said he would bring his sister round to us one evening—his parents being rather old-fashioned, and not going out much.  Carrie said we would get up a little special party.  As young Mutlar showed no inclination to go, and it was approaching eleven o’clock, as a hint I reminded Lupin that he had to be up early to-morrow.  Instead of taking the hint, Mutlar began a series of comic imitations.  He went on for an hour without cessation.  Poor Carrie could scarcely keep her eyes open.  At last she made an excuse, and said “Good-night.”

Mutlar then left, and I heard him and Lupin whispering in the hall something about the “Holloway Comedians,” and to my disgust, although it was past midnight, Lupin put on his hat and coat, and went out with his new companion.

Charles Pooter

November 9.—My endeavours to discover who tore the sheets out of my diary still fruitless.  Lupin has Daisy Mutlar on the brain, so we see little of him, except that he invariably turns up at meal times.  Cummings dropped in.

Charles Pooter

November 10.—Lupin seems to like his new berth—that’s a comfort.  Daisy Mutlar the sole topic of conversation during tea.  Carrie almost as full of it as LupinLupin informs me, to my disgust, that he has been persuaded to take part in the forthcoming performance of the “Holloway Comedians.”  He says he is to play Bob Britches in the farce, Gone to my Uncle’s; Frank Mutlar is going to play old Musty.  I told Lupin pretty plainly I was not in the least degree interested in the matter, and totally disapproved of amateur theatricals.  Gowing came in the evening.

Charles Pooter

November 11.—Returned home to find the house in a most disgraceful uproar, Carrie, who appeared very frightened, was standing outside her bedroom, while Sarah was excited and crying.  Mrs. Birrell (the charwoman), who had evidently been drinking, was shouting at the top of her voice that she was “no thief, that she was a respectable woman, who had to work hard for her living, and she would smack anyone’s face who put lies into her mouth.”  Lupin, whose back was towards me, did not hear me come in.  He was standing between the two women, and, I regret to say, in his endeavour to act as peacemaker, he made use of rather strong language in the presence of his mother; and I was just in time to hear him say: “And all this fuss about the loss of a few pages from a rotten diary that wouldn’t fetch three-halfpence a pound!”  I said, quietly: “Pardon me, Lupin, that is a matter of opinion; and as I am master of this house, perhaps you will allow me to take the reins.”

I ascertained that the cause of the row was, that Sarah had accused Mrs. Birrell of tearing the pages out of my diary to wrap up some kitchen fat and leavings which she had taken out of the house last week.  Mrs. Birrell had slapped Sarah’s face, and said she had taken nothing out of the place, as there was “never no leavings to take.”  I ordered Sarah back to her work, and requested Mrs. Birrell to go home.  When I entered the parlour Lupin was kicking his legs in the air, and roaring with laughter.

Charles Pooter

November 12, Sunday.—Coming home from church Carrie and I met Lupin, Daisy Mutlar, and her brother.  Daisy was introduced to us, and we walked home together, Carrie walking on with Miss Mutlar.  We asked them in for a few minutes, and I had a good look at my future daughter-in-law.  My heart quite sank.  She is a big young woman, and I should think at least eight years older than Lupin.  I did not even think her good-looking.  Carrie asked her if she could come in on Wednesday next with her brother to meet a few friends.  She replied that she would only be too pleased.


The Diary of a Nobody is the fictitious diary of Charles Pooter, written by George Grossmith and originally serialised in Punch magazine in 1888 and 1889.
The text of this version is taken from the Gutenberg etext, and the weblog format was engineered by Kevan Davis (initially a straight weblog in 2004, then rewritten as an auto RSS generator in April 2007).