The Diary of a Nobody
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Charles Pooter

April 6.—Eggs for breakfast simply shocking; sent them back to Borset with my compliments, and he needn’t call any more for orders.  Couldn’t find umbrella, and though it was pouring with rain, had to go without it.  Sarah said Mr. Gowing must have took it by mistake last night, as there was a stick in the ‘all that didn’t belong to nobody.  In the evening, hearing someone talking in a loud voice to the servant in the downstairs hall, I went out to see who it was, and was surprised to find it was Borset, the butterman, who was both drunk and offensive.  Borset, on seeing me, said he would be hanged if he would ever serve City clerks any more—the game wasn’t worth the candle.  I restrained my feelings, and quietly remarked that I thought it was possible for a city clerk to be a gentleman.  He replied he was very glad to hear it, and wanted to know whether I had ever come across one, for he hadn’t.  He left the house, slamming the door after him, which nearly broke the fanlight; and I heard him fall over the scraper, which made me feel glad I hadn’t removed it.  When he had gone, I thought of a splendid answer I ought to have given him.  However, I will keep it for another occasion.

Charles Pooter

April 11.—Mustard-and-cress and radishes not come up yet.  To-day was a day of annoyances.  I missed the quarter-to-nine ’bus to the City, through having words with the grocer’s boy, who for the second time had the impertinence to bring his basket to the hall-door, and had left the marks of his dirty boots on the fresh-cleaned door-steps.  He said he had knocked at the side door with his knuckles for a quarter of an hour.  I knew Sarah, our servant, could not hear this, as she was upstairs doing the bedrooms, so asked the boy why he did not ring the bell?  He replied that he did pull the bell, but the handle came off in his hand.

I was half-an-hour late at the office, a thing that has never happened to me before.  There has recently been much irregularity in the attendance of the clerks, and Mr. Perkupp, our principal, unfortunately choose this very morning to pounce down upon us early.  Someone had given the tip to the others.  The result was that I was the only one late of the lot.  Buckling, one of the senior clerks, was a brick, and I was saved by his intervention.  As I passed by Pitt’s desk, I heard him remark to his neighbour: “How disgracefully late some of the head clerks arrive!”  This was, of course, meant for me.  I treated the observation with silence, simply giving him a look, which unfortunately had the effect of making both of the clerks laugh.  Thought afterwards it would have been more dignified if I had pretended not to have heard him at all.  Cummings called in the evening, and we played dominoes.

Charles Pooter

April 12.—Mustard-and-cress and radishes not come up yet.  Left Farmerson repairing the scraper, but when I came home found three men working.  I asked the meaning of it, and Farmerson said that in making a fresh hole he had penetrated the gas-pipe.  He said it was a most ridiculous place to put the gas-pipe, and the man who did it evidently knew nothing about his business.  I felt his excuse was no consolation for the expense I shall be put to.

In the evening, after tea, Gowing dropped in, and we had a smoke together in the breakfast-parlour.  Carrie joined us later, but did not stay long, saying the smoke was too much for her.  It was also rather too much for me, for Gowing had given me what he called a green cigar, one that his friend Shoemach had just brought over from America.  The cigar didn’t look green, but I fancy I must have done so; for when I had smoked a little more than half I was obliged to retire on the pretext of telling Sarah to bring in the glasses.

I took a walk round the garden three or four times, feeling the need of fresh air.  On returning Gowing noticed I was not smoking: offered me another cigar, which I politely declined.  Gowing began his usual sniffing, so, anticipating him, I said: “You’re not going to complain of the smell of paint again?”  He said: “No, not this time; but I’ll tell you what, I distinctly smell dry rot.”  I don’t often make jokes, but I replied: “You’re talking a lot of dry rot yourself.”  I could not help roaring at this, and Carrie said her sides quite ached with laughter.  I never was so immensely tickled by anything I have ever said before.  I actually woke up twice during the night, and laughed till the bed shook.

Charles Pooter

April 18.—Am in for a cold.  Spent the whole day at the office sneezing.  In the evening, the cold being intolerable, sent Sarah out for a bottle of Kinahan.  Fell asleep in the arm-chair, and woke with the shivers.  Was startled by a loud knock at the front door.  Carrie awfully flurried.  Sarah still out, so went up, opened the door, and found it was only Cummings.  Remembered the grocer’s boy had again broken the side-bell.  Cummings squeezed my hand, and said: “I’ve just seen Gowing.  All right.  Say no more about it.”  There is no doubt they are both under the impression I have apologised.

While playing dominoes with Cummings in the parlour, he said: “By-the-by, do you want any wine or spirits?  My cousin Merton has just set up in the trade, and has a splendid whisky, four years in bottle, at thirty-eight shillings.  It is worth your while laying down a few dozen of it.”  I told him my cellars, which were very small, were full up.  To my horror, at that very moment, Sarah entered the room, and putting a bottle of whisky, wrapped in a dirty piece of newspaper, on the table in front of us, said: “Please, sir, the grocer says he ain’t got no more Kinahan, but you’ll find this very good at two-and-six, with twopence returned on the bottle; and, please, did you want any more sherry? as he has some at one-and-three, as dry as a nut!”

Charles Pooter

April 25.—In consequence of Brickwell telling me his wife was working wonders with the new Pinkford’s enamel paint, I determined to try it.  I bought two tins of red on my way home.  I hastened through tea, went into the garden and painted some flower-pots.  I called out Carrie, who said: “You’ve always got some newfangled craze;” but she was obliged to admit that the flower-pots looked remarkably well.  Went upstairs into the servant’s bedroom and painted her washstand, towel-horse, and chest of drawers.  To my mind it was an extraordinary improvement, but as an example of the ignorance of the lower classes in the matter of taste, our servant, Sarah, on seeing them, evinced no sign of pleasure, but merely said “she thought they looked very well as they was before.”

Charles Pooter

April 30.—Perfectly astounded at receiving an invitation for Carrie and myself from the Lord and Lady Mayoress to the Mansion House, to “meet the Representatives of Trades and Commerce.”  My heart beat like that of a schoolboy’s.  Carrie and I read the invitation over two or three times.  I could scarcely eat my breakfast.  I said—and I felt it from the bottom of my heart,—“Carrie darling, I was a proud man when I led you down the aisle of the church on our wedding-day; that pride will be equalled, if not surpassed, when I lead my dear, pretty wife up to the Lord and Lady Mayoress at the Mansion House.”  I saw the tears in Carrie’s eyes, and she said: “Charlie dear, it is I who have to be proud of you.  And I am very, very proud of you.  You have called me pretty; and as long as I am pretty in your eyes, I am happy.  You, dear old Charlie, are not handsome, but you are good, which is far more noble.”  I gave her a kiss, and she said: “I wonder if there will be any dancing?  I have not danced with you for years.”

I cannot tell what induced me to do it, but I seized her round the waist, and we were silly enough to be executing a wild kind of polka when Sarah entered, grinning, and said: “There is a man, mum, at the door who wants to know if you want any good coals.”  Most annoyed at this.  Spent the evening in answering, and tearing up again, the reply to the Mansion House, having left word with Sarah if Gowing or Cummings called we were not at home.  Must consult Mr. Perkupp how to answer the Lord Mayor’s invitation.

Charles Pooter

May 3.—Carrie went to Mrs. James, at Sutton, to consult about her dress for next Monday.  While speaking incidentally to Spotch, one of our head clerks, about the Mansion House, he said: “Oh, I’m asked, but don’t think I shall go.”  When a vulgar man like Spotch is asked, I feel my invitation is considerably discounted.  In the evening, while I was out, the little tailor brought round my coat and trousers, and because Sarah had not a shilling to pay for the pressing, he took them away again.

Charles Pooter

May 7.—A big red-letter day; viz., the Lord Mayor’s reception.  The whole house upset.  I had to get dressed at half-past six, as Carrie wanted the room to herself.  Mrs. James had come up from Sutton to help Carrie; so I could not help thinking it unreasonable that she should require the entire attention of Sarah, the servant, as well.  Sarah kept running out of the house to fetch “something for missis,” and several times I had, in my full evening-dress, to answer the back-door.

The last time it was the greengrocer’s boy, who, not seeing it was me, for Sarah had not lighted the gas, pushed into my hands two cabbages and half-a-dozen coal-blocks.  I indignantly threw them on the ground, and felt so annoyed that I so far forgot myself as to box the boy’s ears.  He went away crying, and said he should summons me, a thing I would not have happen for the world.  In the dark, I stepped on a piece of the cabbage, which brought me down on the flags all of a heap.  For a moment I was stunned, but when I recovered I crawled upstairs into the drawing-room and on looking into the chimney-glass discovered that my chin was bleeding, my shirt smeared with the coal-blocks, and my left trouser torn at the knee.

However, Mrs. James brought me down another shirt, which I changed in the drawing-room.  I put a piece of court-plaster on my chin, and Sarah very neatly sewed up the tear at the knee.  At nine o’clock Carrie swept into the room, looking like a queen.  Never have I seen her look so lovely, or so distinguished.  She was wearing a satin dress of sky-blue—my favourite colour—and a piece of lace, which Mrs. James lent her, round the shoulders, to give a finish.  I thought perhaps the dress was a little too long behind, and decidedly too short in front, but Mrs. James said it was à la mode.  Mrs. James was most kind, and lent Carrie a fan of ivory with red feathers, the value of which, she said, was priceless, as the feathers belonged to the Kachu eagle—a bird now extinct.  I preferred the little white fan which Carrie bought for three-and-six at Shoolbred’s, but both ladies sat on me at once.

We arrived at the Mansion House too early, which was rather fortunate, for I had an opportunity of speaking to his lordship, who graciously condescended to talk with me some minutes; but I must say I was disappointed to find he did not even know Mr. Perkupp, our principal.

I felt as if we had been invited to the Mansion House by one who did not know the Lord Mayor himself.  Crowds arrived, and I shall never forget the grand sight.  My humble pen can never describe it.  I was a little annoyed with Carrie, who kept saying: “Isn’t it a pity we don’t know anybody?”

Once she quite lost her head.  I saw someone who looked like Franching, from Peckham, and was moving towards him when she seized me by the coat-tails, and said quite loudly: “Don’t leave me,” which caused an elderly gentleman, in a court-suit, and a chain round him, and two ladies, to burst out laughing.  There was an immense crowd in the supper-room, and, my stars! it was a splendid supper—any amount of champagne.

Carrie made a most hearty supper, for which I was pleased; for I sometimes think she is not strong.  There was scarcely a dish she did not taste.  I was so thirsty, I could not eat much.  Receiving a sharp slap on the shoulder, I turned, and, to my amazement, saw Farmerson, our ironmonger.  He said, in the most familiar way: “This is better than Brickfield Terrace, eh?”  I simply looked at him, and said coolly: “I never expected to see you here.”  He said, with a loud, coarse laugh: “I like that—if you, why not me?”  I replied: “Certainly,” I wish I could have thought of something better to say.  He said: “Can I get your good lady anything?”  Carrie said: “No, I thank you,” for which I was pleased.  I said, by way of reproof to him: “You never sent to-day to paint the bath, as I requested.”  Farmerson said: “Pardon me, Mr. Pooter, no shop when we’re in company, please.”

Before I could think of a reply, one of the sheriffs, in full Court costume, slapped Farmerson on the back and hailed him as an old friend, and asked him to dine with him at his lodge.  I was astonished.  For full five minutes they stood roaring with laughter, and stood digging each other in the ribs.  They kept telling each other they didn’t look a day older.  They began embracing each other and drinking champagne.

To think that a man who mends our scraper should know any member of our aristocracy!  I was just moving with Carrie, when Farmerson seized me rather roughly by the collar, and addressing the sheriff, said: “Let me introduce my neighbour, Pooter.”  He did not even say “Mister.”  The sheriff handed me a glass of champagne.  I felt, after all, it was a great honour to drink a glass of wine with him, and I told him so.  We stood chatting for some time, and at last I said: “You must excuse me now if I join Mrs. Pooter.”  When I approached her, she said: “Don’t let me take you away from friends.  I am quite happy standing here alone in a crowd, knowing nobody!”

As it takes two to make a quarrel, and as it was neither the time nor the place for it, I gave my arm to Carrie, and said: “I hope my darling little wife will dance with me, if only for the sake of saying we had danced at the Mansion House as guests of the Lord Mayor.”  Finding the dancing after supper was less formal, and knowing how much Carrie used to admire my dancing in the days gone by, I put my arm round her waist and we commenced a waltz.

A most unfortunate accident occurred.  I had got on a new pair of boots.  Foolishly, I had omitted to take Carrie’s advice; namely, to scratch the soles of them with the points of the scissors or to put a little wet on them.  I had scarcely started when, like lightning, my left foot slipped away and I came down, the side of my head striking the floor with such violence that for a second or two I did not know what had happened.  I needly hardly say that Carrie fell with me with equal violence, breaking the comb in her hair and grazing her elbow.

There was a roar of laughter, which was immediately checked when people found that we had really hurt ourselves.  A gentleman assisted Carrie to a seat, and I expressed myself pretty strongly on the danger of having a plain polished floor with no carpet or drugget to prevent people slipping.  The gentleman, who said his name was Darwitts, insisted on escorting Carrie to have a glass of wine, an invitation which I was pleased to allow Carrie to accept.

I followed, and met Farmerson, who immediately said, in his loud voice “Oh, are you the one who went down?”

I answered with an indignant look.

With execrable taste, he said: “Look here, old man, we are too old for this game.  We must leave these capers to the youngsters.  Come and have another glass, that is more in our line.”

Although I felt I was buying his silence by accepting, we followed the others into the supper-room.

Neither Carrie nor I, after our unfortunate mishap, felt inclined to stay longer.  As we were departing, Farmerson said: “Are you going? if so, you might give me a lift.”

I thought it better to consent, but wish I had first consulted Carrie.

Charles Pooter

June 7.—A dreadful annoyance.  Met Mr. Franching, who lives at Peckham, and who is a great swell in his way.  I ventured to ask him to come home to meat-tea, and take pot-luck.  I did not think he would accept such a humble invitation; but he did, saying, in a most friendly way, he would rather “peck” with us than by himself.  I said: “We had better get into this blue ’bus.”  He replied: “No blue-bussing for me.  I have had enough of the blues lately.  I lost a cool ‘thou’ over the Copper Scare.  Step in here.”

We drove up home in style, in a hansom-cab, and I knocked three times at the front door without getting an answer.  I saw Carrie, through the panels of ground-glass (with stars), rushing upstairs.  I told Mr. Franching to wait at the door while I went round to the side.  There I saw the grocer’s boy actually picking off the paint on the door, which had formed into blisters.  No time to reprove him; so went round and effected an entrance through the kitchen window.  I let in Mr. Franching, and showed him into the drawing-room.  I went upstairs to Carrie, who was changing her dress, and told her I had persuaded Mr. Franching to come home.  She replied: “How can you do such a thing?  You know it’s Sarah’s holiday, and there’s not a thing in the house, the cold mutton having turned with the hot weather.”

Eventually Carrie, like a good creature as she is, slipped down, washed up the teacups, and laid the cloth, and I gave Franching our views of Japan to look at while I ran round to the butcher’s to get three chops.

Charles Pooter

August 3.—A beautiful day.  Looking forward to to-morrow.  Carrie bought a parasol about five feet long.  I told her it was ridiculous.  She said: “Mrs. James, of Sutton, has one twice as long so;” the matter dropped.  I bought a capital hat for hot weather at the seaside.  I don’t know what it is called, but it is the shape of the helmet worn in India, only made of straw.  Got three new ties, two coloured handkerchiefs, and a pair of navy-blue socks at Pope Brothers.  Spent the evening packing.  Carrie told me not to forget to borrow Mr. Higgsworth’s telescope, which he always lends me, knowing I know how to take care of it.  Sent Sarah out for it.  While everything was seeming so bright, the last post brought us a letter from Mrs. Beck, saying: “I have just let all my house to one party, and am sorry I must take back my words, and am sorry you must find other apartments; but Mrs. Womming, next door, will be pleased to accommodate you, but she cannot take you before Monday, as her rooms are engaged Bank Holiday week.”

Charles Pooter

October 30.—I should very much like to know who has wilfully torn the last five or six weeks out of my diary.  It is perfectly monstrous!  Mine is a large scribbling diary, with plenty of space for the record of my everyday events, and in keeping up that record I take (with much pride) a great deal of pains.

I asked Carrie if she knew anything about it.  She replied it was my own fault for leaving the diary about with a charwoman cleaning and the sweeps in the house.  I said that was not an answer to my question.  This retort of mine, which I thought extremely smart, would have been more effective had I not jogged my elbow against a vase on a table temporarily placed in the passage, knocked it over, and smashed it.

Carrie was dreadfully upset at this disaster, for it was one of a pair of vases which cannot be matched, given to us on our wedding-day by Mrs. Burtsett, an old friend of Carrie’s cousins, the Pommertons, late of Dalston.  I called to Sarah, and asked her about the diary.  She said she had not been in the sitting-room at all; after the sweep had left, Mrs. Birrell (the charwoman) had cleaned the room and lighted the fire herself.  Finding a burnt piece of paper in the grate, I examined it, and found it was a piece of my diary.  So it was evident some one had torn my diary to light the fire.  I requested Mrs. Birrell to be sent to me to-morrow.

Charles Pooter

November 1.—My entry yesterday about “retired tired,” which I did not notice at the time, is rather funny.  If I were not so worried just now, I might have had a little joke about it.  The sweep called, but had the audacity to come up to the hall-door and lean his dirty bag of soot on the door-step.  He, however, was so polite, I could not rebuke him.  He said Sarah lighted the fire.  Unfortunately, Sarah heard this, for she was dusting the banisters, and she ran down, and flew into a temper with the sweep, causing a row on the front door-steps, which I would not have had happen for anything.  I ordered her about her business, and told the sweep I was sorry to have troubled him; and so I was, for the door-steps were covered with soot in consequence of his visit.  I would willingly give ten shillings to find out who tore my diary.

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 18.—Woke up quite fresh after a good night’s rest, and feel quite myself again.  I am satisfied a life of going-out and Society is not a life for me; we therefore declined the invitation which we received this morning to Miss Bird’s wedding.  We only met her twice at Mrs. James’, and it means a present.  Lupin said: “I am with you for once.  To my mind a wedding’s a very poor play.  There are only two parts in it—the bride and bridegroom.  The best man is only a walking gentleman.  With the exception of a crying father and a snivelling mother, the rest are supers who have to dress well and have to pay for their insignificant parts in the shape of costly presents.”  I did not care for the theatrical slang, but thought it clever, though disrespectful.

I told Sarah not to bring up the blanc-mange again for breakfast.  It seems to have been placed on our table at every meal since Wednesday.  Cummings came round in the evening, and congratulated us on the success of our party.  He said it was the best party he had been to for many a year; but he wished we had let him know it was full dress, as he would have turned up in his swallow-tails.  We sat down to a quiet game of dominoes, and were interrupted by the noisy entrance of Lupin and Frank Mutlar.  Cummings and I asked them to join us.  Lupin said he did not care for dominoes, and suggested a game of “Spoof.”  On my asking if it required counters, Frank and Lupin in measured time said: “One, two, three; go!  Have you an estate in Greenland?”  It was simply Greek to me, but it appears it is one of the customs of the “Holloway Comedians” to do this when a member displays ignorance.

In spite of my instructions, that blanc-mange was brought up again for supper.  To make matters worse, there had been an attempt to disguise it, by placing it in a glass dish with jam round it.  Carrie asked Lupin if he would have some, and he replied: “No second-hand goods for me, thank you.”  I told Carrie, when we were alone, if that blanc-mange were placed on the table again I should walk out of the house.

Charles Pooter

November 25.—Had a long letter from Mr. Fosselton respecting last night’s Irving discussion.  I was very angry, and I wrote and said I knew little or nothing about stage matters, was not in the least interested in them and positively declined to be drawn into a discussion on the subject, even at the risk of its leading to a breach of friendship.  I never wrote a more determined letter.

On returning home at the usual hour on Saturday afternoon I met near the Archway Daisy Mutlar.  My heart gave a leap.  I bowed rather stiffly, but she affected not to have seen me.  Very much annoyed in the evening by the laundress sending home an odd sock.  Sarah said she sent two pairs, and the laundress declared only a pair and a half were sent.  I spoke to Carrie about it, but she rather testily replied: “I am tired of speaking to her; you had better go and speak to her yourself.  She is outside.”  I did so, but the laundress declared that only an odd sock was sent.

Gowing passed into the passage at this time and was rude enough to listen to the conversation, and interrupting, said: “Don’t waste the odd sock, old man; do an act of charity and give it to some poor mar with only one leg.”  The laundress giggled like an idiot.  I was disgusted and walked upstairs for the purpose of pinning down my collar, as the button had come off the back of my shirt.

When I returned to the parlour, Gowing was retailing his idiotic joke about the odd sock, and Carrie was roaring with laughter.  I suppose I am losing my sense of humour.  I spoke my mind pretty freely about Padge.  Gowing said he had met him only once before that evening.  He had been introduced by a friend, and as he (Padge) had “stood” a good dinner, Gowing wished to show him some little return.  Upon my word, Gowing’s coolness surpasses all belief.  Lupin came in before I could reply, and Gowing unfortunately inquired after Daisy Mutlar.  Lupin shouted: “Mind your own business, sir!” and bounced out of the room, slamming the door.  The remainder of the night was Daisy Mutlar—Daisy Mutlar—Daisy Mutlar.  Oh dear!

Charles Pooter

January 5.—I can scarcely write the news.  Mr. Perkupp told me my salary would be raised £100!  I stood gaping for a moment unable to realise it.  I annually get £10 rise, and I thought it might be £15 or even £20; but £100 surpasses all belief.  Carrie and I both rejoiced over our good fortune.  Lupin came home in the evening in the utmost good spirits.  I sent Sarah quietly round to the grocer’s for a bottle of champagne, the same as we had before, “Jackson Frères.”  It was opened at supper, and I said to Lupin: “This is to celebrate some good news I have received to-day.”  Lupin replied: “Hooray, Guv.!  And I have some good news, also; a double event, eh?”  I said: “My boy, as a result of twenty-one years’ industry and strict attention to the interests of my superiors in office, I have been rewarded with promotion and a rise in salary of £100.”

Lupin gave three cheers, and we rapped the table furiously, which brought in Sarah to see what the matter was.  Lupin ordered us to “fill up” again, and addressing us upstanding, said: “Having been in the firm of Job Cleanands, stock and share-brokers, a few weeks, and not having paid particular attention to the interests of my superiors in office, my Guv’nor, as a reward to me, allotted me £5 worth of shares in a really good thing.  The result is, to-day I have made £200.”  I said: “Lupin, you are joking.”  “No, Guv., it’s the good old truth; Job Cleanands put me on to Chlorates.”

Charles Pooter

January 22.—I don’t generally lose my temper with servants; but I had to speak to Sarah rather sharply about a careless habit she has recently contracted of shaking the table-cloth, after removing the breakfast things, in a manner which causes all the crumbs to fall on the carpet, eventually to be trodden in.  Sarah answered very rudely: “Oh, you are always complaining.”  I replied: “Indeed, I am not.  I spoke to you last week about walking all over the drawing-room carpet with a piece of yellow soap on the heel of your boot.”  She said: “And you’re always grumbling about your breakfast.”  I said: “No, I am not; but I feel perfectly justified in complaining that I never can get a hard-boiled egg.  The moment I crack the shell it spurts all over the plate, and I have spoken to you at least fifty times about it.”  She began to cry and make a scene; but fortunately my ’bus came by, so I had a good excuse for leaving her.  Gowing left a message in the evening, that we were not to forget next Saturday.  Carrie amusingly said: As he has never asked any friends before, we are not likely to forget it.

Charles Pooter

February 19.—Lupin, before going to town, said: “I am very sorry about those Parachikka Chlorates; it would not have happened if the boss, Job Cleanands, had been in town.  Between ourselves, you must not be surprised if something goes wrong at our office.  Job Cleanands has not been seen the last few days, and it strikes me several people do want to see him very particularly.”

In the evening Lupin was just on the point of going out to avoid a collision with Gowing and Cummings, when the former entered the room, without knocking, but with his usual trick of saying, “May I come in?”

He entered, and to the surprise of Lupin and myself, seemed to be in the very best of spirits.  Neither Lupin nor I broached the subject to him, but he did so of his own accord.  He said: “I say, those Parachikka Chlorates have gone an awful smash!  You’re a nice one, Master Lupin.  How much do you lose?”  Lupin, to my utter astonishment, said: “Oh!  I had nothing in them.  There was some informality in my application—I forgot to enclose the cheque or something, and I didn’t get any.  The Guv. loses £18.”  I said: “I quite understood you were in it, or nothing would have induced me to speculate.”  Lupin replied: “Well, it can’t be helped; you must go double on the next tip.”  Before I could reply, Gowing said: “Well, I lose nothing, fortunately.  From what I heard, I did not quite believe in them, so I persuaded Cummings to take my £15 worth, as he had more faith in them than I had.”

Lupin burst out laughing, and, in the most unseemly manner, said: “Alas, poor Cummings.  He’ll lose £35.”  At that moment there was a ring at the bell.  Lupin said: “I don’t want to meet Cummings.”  If he had gone out of the door he would have met him in the passage, so as quickly as possible Lupin opened the parlour window and got out.  Gowing jumped up suddenly, exclaiming: “I don’t want to see him either!” and, before I could say a word, he followed Lupin out of the window.

For my own part, I was horrified to think my own son and one of my most intimate friends should depart from the house like a couple of interrupted burglars.  Poor Cummings was very upset, and of course was naturally very angry both with Lupin and Gowing.  I pressed him to have a little whisky, and he replied that he had given up whisky; but would like a little “Unsweetened,” as he was advised it was the most healthy spirit.  I had none in the house, but sent Sarah round to Lockwood’s for some.

Charles Pooter

March 21.—To-day I shall conclude my diary, for it is one of the happiest days of my life.  My great dream of the last few weeks—in fact, of many years—has been realised.  This morning came a letter from Mr. Perkupp, asking me to take Lupin down to the office with me.  I went to Lupin’s room; poor fellow, he seemed very pale, and said he had a bad headache.  He had come back yesterday from Gravesend, where he spent part of the day in a small boat on the water, having been mad enough to neglect to take his overcoat with him.  I showed him Mr. Perkupp’s letter, and he got up as quickly as possible.  I begged of him not to put on his fast-coloured clothes and ties, but to dress in something black or quiet-looking.

Carrie was all of a tremble when she read the letter, and all she could keep on saying was: “Oh, I do hope it will be all right.”  For myself, I could scarcely eat any breakfast.  Lupin came down dressed quietly, and looking a perfect gentleman, except that his face was rather yellow.  Carrie, by way of encouragement said: “You do look nice, Lupin.”  Lupin replied: “Yes, it’s a good make-up, isn’t it?  A regular-downright-respectable-funereal-first-class-City-firm-junior-clerk.”  He laughed rather ironically.

In the hall I heard a great noise, and also Lupin shouting to Sarah to fetch down his old hat.  I went into the passage, and found Lupin in a fury, kicking and smashing a new tall hat.  I said: “Lupin, my boy, what are you doing?  How wicked of you!  Some poor fellow would be glad to have it.”  Lupin replied: “I would not insult any poor fellow by giving it to him.”

When he had gone outside, I picked up the battered hat, and saw inside “Posh’s Patent.”  Poor Lupin!  I can forgive him.  It seemed hours before we reached the office.  Mr. Perkupp sent for Lupin, who was with him nearly an hour.  He returned, as I thought, crestfallen in appearance.  I said: “Well, Lupin, how about Mr. Perkupp?”  Lupin commenced his song: “What’s the matter with Perkupp?  He’s all right!”  I felt instinctively my boy was engaged.  I went to Mr. Perkupp, but I could not speak.  He said: “Well, Mr. Pooter, what is it?”  I must have looked a fool, for all I could say was: “Mr. Perkupp, you are a good man.”  He looked at me for a moment, and said: “No, Mr. Pooter, you are the good man; and we’ll see if we cannot get your son to follow such an excellent example.”  I said: “Mr. Perkupp, may I go home?  I cannot work any more to-day.”

My good master shook my hand warmly as he nodded his head.  It was as much as I could do to prevent myself from crying in the ’bus; in fact, I should have done so, had my thoughts not been interrupted by Lupin, who was having a quarrel with a fat man in the ’bus, whom he accused of taking up too much room.

In the evening Carrie sent round for dear old friend Cummings and his wife, and also to Gowing.  We all sat round the fire, and in a bottle of “Jackson Frères,” which Sarah fetched from the grocer’s, drank Lupin’s health.  I lay awake for hours, thinking of the future.  My boy in the same office as myself—we can go down together by the ’bus, come home together, and who knows but in the course of time he may take great interest in our little home.  That he may help me to put a nail in here or a nail in there, or help his dear mother to hang a picture.  In the summer he may help us in our little garden with the flowers, and assist us to paint the stands and pots.  (By-the-by, I must get in some more enamel paint.)  All this I thought over and over again, and a thousand happy thoughts beside.  I heard the clock strike four, and soon after fell asleep, only to dream of three happy people—Lupin, dear Carrie, and myself.

Charles Pooter

April 15.—Burnt my tongue most awfully with the Worcester sauce, through that stupid girl Sarah shaking the bottle violently before putting it on the table.

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).