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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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!
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
April 27.—Kept a little later than usual at the office, and
as I was hurrying along a man stopped me, saying: “Hulloh!
That’s a face I know.” I replied politely: “Very
likely; lots of people know me, although I may not know them.”
He replied: “But you know me—Teddy Finsworth.”
So it was. He was at the same school with me. I had not
seen him for years and years. No wonder I did not know him!
At school he was at least a head taller than I was; now I am at least
a head taller than he is, and he has a thick beard, almost grey.
He insisted on my having a glass of wine (a thing I never do), and told
me he lived at Middlesboro’, where he was Deputy Town Clerk, a
position which was as high as the Town Clerk of London—in fact,
higher. He added that he was staying for a few days in London,
with his uncle, Mr. Edgar Paul Finsworth (of Finsworth and Pultwell).
He said he was sure his uncle would be only too pleased to see me, and
he had a nice house, Watney Lodge, only a few minutes’ walk from
Muswell Hill Station. I gave him our address, and we parted.
In the evening, to my surprise, he called with a very nice letter
from Mr. Finsworth, saying if we (including Carrie) would dine with
them to-morrow (Sunday), at two o’clock, he would be delighted.
Carrie did not like to go; but Teddy Finsworth pressed us so much we
consented. Carrie sent Sarah round to the butcher’s and
countermanded our half-leg of mutton, which we had ordered for to-morrow.
May 13.—A terrible misfortune has happened: Lupin is discharged
from Mr. Perkupp’s office; and I scarcely know how I am writing
my diary. I was away from office last Sat., the first time I have
been absent through illness for twenty years. I believe I was
poisoned by some lobster. Mr. Perkupp was also absent, as Fate
would have it; and our most valued customer, Mr. Crowbillon, went to
the office in a rage, and withdrew his custom. My boy Lupin not
only had the assurance to receive him, but recommended him the firm
of Gylterson, Sons and Co. Limited. In my own humble judgment,
and though I have to say it against my own son, this seems an act of
This morning I receive a letter from Perkupp, informing me that Lupin’s
services are no longer required, and an interview with me is desired
at eleven o’clock. I went down to the office with an aching
heart, dreading an interview with Mr. Perkupp, with whom I have never
had a word. I saw nothing of Lupin in the morning. He had
not got up when it was time for me to leave, and Carrie said I should
do no good by disturbing him. My mind wandered so at the office
that I could not do my work properly.
As I expected, I was sent for by Mr. Perkupp, and the following conversation
ensued as nearly as I can remember it.
Mr. Perkupp said: “Good-morning, Mr. Pooter! This is
a very serious business. I am not referring so much to the dismissal
of your son, for I knew we should have to part sooner or later.
I am the head of this old, influential, and much-respected firm;
and when I consider the time has come to revolutionise the business,
I will do it myself.”
I could see my good master was somewhat affected, and I said: “I
hope, sir, you do not imagine that I have in any way countenanced my
son’s unwarrantable interference?” Mr. Perkupp rose
from his seat and took my hand, and said: “Mr. Pooter, I would
as soon suspect myself as suspect you.” I was so agitated
that in the confusion, to show my gratitude I very nearly called him
a “grand old man.”
Fortunately I checked myself in time, and said he was a “grand
old master.” I was so unaccountable for my actions that
I sat down, leaving him standing. Of course, I at once rose, but
Mr. Perkupp bade me sit down, which I was very pleased to do.
Mr. Perkupp, resuming, said: “You will understand, Mr. Pooter,
that the high-standing nature of our firm will not admit of our bending
to anybody. If Mr. Crowbillon chooses to put his work into other
hands—I may add, less experienced hands—it is not for us
to bend and beg back his custom.” “You shall
not do it, sir,” I said with indignation. “Exactly,”
replied Mr. Perkupp; “I shall not do it. But I was
thinking this, Mr. Pooter. Mr. Crowbillon is our most valued client,
and I will even confess—for I know this will not go beyond ourselves—that
we cannot afford very well to lose him, especially in these times, which
are not of the brightest. Now, I fancy you can be of service.”
I replied: “Mr. Perkupp, I will work day and night to serve
Mr. Perkupp said: “I know you will. Now, what I should
like you to do is this. You yourself might write to Mr. Crowbillon—you
must not, of course, lead him to suppose I know anything about your
doing so—and explain to him that your son was only taken on as
a clerk—quite an inexperienced one in fact—out of the respect
the firm had for you, Mr. Pooter. This is, of course, a fact.
I don’t suggest that you should speak in too strong terms of your
own son’s conduct; but I may add, that had he been a son of mine,
I should have condemned his interference with no measured terms.
That I leave to you. I think the result will be that Mr. Crowbillon
will see the force of the foolish step he has taken, and our firm will
neither suffer in dignity nor in pocket.”
I could not help thinking what a noble gentleman Mr. Perkupp is.
His manners and his way of speaking seem to almost thrill one with respect.
I said: “Would you like to see the letter before I send it?”
Mr. Perkupp said: “Oh no! I had better not. I am
supposed to know nothing about it, and I have every confidence in you.
You must write the letter carefully. We are not very busy; you
had better take the morning to-morrow, or the whole day if you like.
I shall be here myself all day to-morrow, in fact all the week, in case
Mr. Crowbillon should call.”
I went home a little more cheerful, but I left word with Sarah that
I could not see either Gowing or Cummings, nor in fact anybody, if they
called in the evening. Lupin came into the parlour for a moment
with a new hat on, and asked my opinion of it. I said I was not
in the mood to judge of hats, and I did not think he was in a position
to buy a new one. Lupin replied carelessly: “I didn’t
buy it; it was a present.”
I have such terrible suspicions of Lupin now that I scarcely like
to ask him questions, as I dread the answers so. He, however,
saved me the trouble.
He said: “I met a friend, an old friend, that I did not quite
think a friend at the time; but it’s all right. As he wisely
said, ‘all is fair in love and war,’ and there was no reason
why we should not be friends still. He’s a jolly, good,
all-round sort of fellow, and a very different stamp from that inflated
fool of a Perkupp.”
I said: “Hush, Lupin! Do not pray add insult to injury.”
Lupin said: “What do you mean by injury? I repeat, I
have done no injury. Crowbillon is simply tired of a stagnant
stick-in-the-mud firm, and made the change on his own account.
I simply recommended the new firm as a matter of biz—good old
I said quietly: “I don’t understand your slang, and at
my time of life have no desire to learn it; so, Lupin, my boy, let us
change the subject. I will, if it please you, try and be
interested in your new hat adventure.”
Lupin said: “Oh! there’s nothing much about it, except
I have not once seen him since his marriage, and he said he was very
pleased to see me, and hoped we should be friends. I stood a drink
to cement the friendship, and he stood me a new hat—one of his
I said rather wearily: “But you have not told me your old friend’s
Lupin said, with affected carelessness: “Oh didn’t I?
Well, I will. It was Murray Posh.”
May 30.—I don’t know why it is, but I never anticipate
with any pleasure the visits to our house of Mrs. James, of Sutton.
She is coming again to stay for a few days. I said to Carrie this
morning, as I was leaving: “I wish, dear Carrie, I could like
Mrs. James better than I do.”
Carrie said: “So do I, dear; but as for years I have had to
put up with Mr. Gowing, who is vulgar, and Mr. Cummings, who is kind
but most uninteresting, I am sure, dear, you won’t mind the occasional
visits of Mrs. James, who has more intellect in her little finger than
both your friends have in their entire bodies.”
I was so entirely taken back by this onslaught on my two dear old
friends, I could say nothing, and as I heard the ’bus coming,
I left with a hurried kiss—a little too hurried, perhaps, for
my upper lip came in contact with Carrie’s teeth and slightly
cut it. It was quite painful for an hour afterwards. When
I came home in the evening I found Carrie buried in a book on Spiritualism,
called There is no Birth, by Florence Singleyet. I need
scarcely say the book was sent her to read by Mrs. James, of Sutton.
As she had not a word to say outside her book, I spent the rest of the
evening altering the stair-carpets, which are beginning to show signs
of wear at the edges.
Mrs. James arrived and, as usual, in the evening took the entire
management of everything. Finding that she and Carrie were making
some preparations for table-turning, I thought it time really to put
my foot down. I have always had the greatest contempt for such
nonsense, and put an end to it years ago when Carrie, at our old house,
used to have séances every night with poor Mrs. Fussters (who
is now dead). If I could see any use in it, I would not care.
As I stopped it in the days gone by, I determined to do so now.
I said: “I am very sorry Mrs. James, but I totally disapprove
of it, apart from the fact that I receive my old friends on this evening.”
Mrs. James said: “Do you mean to say you haven’t read
There is no Birth?” I said: “No, and I have
no intention of doing so.” Mrs. James seemed surprised and
said: “All the world is going mad over the book.”
I responded rather cleverly: “Let it. There will be one
sane man in it, at all events.”
Mrs. James said she thought it was very unkind, and if people were
all as prejudiced as I was, there would never have been the electric
telegraph or the telephone.
I said that was quite a different thing.
Mrs. James said sharply: “In what way, pray—in what way?”
I said: “In many ways.”
Mrs. James said: “Well, mention one way.”
I replied quietly: “Pardon me, Mrs. James; I decline to discuss
the matter. I am not interested in it.”
Sarah at this moment opened the door and showed in Cummings, for
which I was thankful, for I felt it would put a stop to this foolish
table-turning. But I was entirely mistaken; for, on the subject
being opened again, Cummings said he was most interested in Spiritualism,
although he was bound to confess he did not believe much in it; still,
he was willing to be convinced.
I firmly declined to take any part in it, with the result that my
presence was ignored. I left the three sitting in the parlour
at a small round table which they had taken out of the drawing-room.
I walked into the hall with the ultimate intention of taking a little
stroll. As I opened the door, who should come in but Gowing!
On hearing what was going on, he proposed that we should join the
circle and he would go into a trance. He added that he knew
a few things about old Cummings, and would invent a few about
Mrs. James. Knowing how dangerous Gowing is, I declined to let
him take part in any such foolish performance. Sarah asked me
if she could go out for half an hour, and I gave her permission, thinking
it would be more comfortable to sit with Gowing in the kitchen than
in the cold drawing-room. We talked a good deal about Lupin and
Mr. and Mrs. Murray Posh, with whom he is as usual spending the evening.
Gowing said: “I say, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Lupin
if old Posh kicked the bucket.”
My heart gave a leap of horror, and I rebuked Gowing very sternly
for joking on such a subject. I lay awake half the night thinking
of it—the other hall was spent in nightmares on the same subject.
July 3, Sunday.—In the afternoon, as I was looking out of the
parlour window, which was open, a grand trap, driven by a lady, with
a gentleman seated by the side of her, stopped at our door. Not
wishing to be seen, I withdrew my head very quickly, knocking the back
of it violently against the sharp edge of the window-sash. I was
nearly stunned. There was a loud double-knock at the front door;
Carrie rushed out of the parlour, upstairs to her room, and I followed,
as Carrie thought it was Mr. Perkupp. I thought it was Mr. Franching.—I
whispered to Sarah over the banisters: “Show them into the drawing-room.”
Sarah said, as the shutters were not opened, the room would smell musty.
There was another loud rat-tat. I whispered: “Then show
them into the parlour, and say Mr. Pooter will be down directly.”
I changed my coat, but could not see to do my hair, as Carrie was occupying
Sarah came up, and said it was Mrs. Murray Posh and Mr. Lupin.
This was quite a relief. I went down with Carrie, and Lupin
met me with the remark: “I say, what did you run away from the
window for? Did we frighten you?”
I foolishly said: “What window?”
Lupin said: “Oh, you know. Shut it. You looked
as if you were playing at Punch and Judy.”
On Carrie asking if she could offer them anything, Lupin said: “Oh,
I think Daisy will take on a cup of tea. I can do with a B. and
I said: “I am afraid we have no soda.”
Lupin said: “Don’t bother about that. You just
trip out and hold the horse; I don’t think Sarah understands it.”
They stayed a very short time, and as they were leaving, Lupin said:
“I want you both to come and dine with me next Wednesday, and
see my new place. Mr. and Mrs. Murray Posh, Miss Posh (Murray’s
sister) are coming. Eight o’clock sharp. No one else.”
I said we did not pretend to be fashionable people, and would like
the dinner earlier, as it made it so late before we got home.
Lupin said: “Rats! You must get used to it. If
it comes to that, Daisy and I can drive you home.”
We promised to go; but I must say in my simple mind the familiar
way in which Mrs. Posh and Lupin addressed each other is reprehensible.
Anybody would think they had been children together. I certainly
should object to a six months’ acquaintance calling my
wife “Carrie,” and driving out with her.
July 4.—Lupin’s rooms looked very nice; but the dinner
was, I thought, a little too grand, especially as he commenced with
champagne straight off. I also think Lupin might have told us
that he and Mr. and Mrs. Murray Posh and Miss Posh were going to put
on full evening dress. Knowing that the dinner was only for us
six, we never dreamed it would be a full dress affair. I had no
appetite. It was quite twenty minutes past eight before we sat
down to dinner. At six I could have eaten a hearty meal.
I had a bit of bread-and-butter at that hour, feeling famished, and
I expect that partly spoiled my appetite.
We were introduced to Miss Posh, whom Lupin called “Little
Girl,” as if he had known her all his life. She was very
tall, rather plain, and I thought she was a little painted round the
eyes. I hope I am wrong; but she had such fair hair, and yet her
eyebrows were black. She looked about thirty. I did not
like the way she kept giggling and giving Lupin smacks and pinching
him. Then her laugh was a sort of a scream that went right through
my ears, all the more irritating because there was nothing to laugh
at. In fact, Carrie and I were not at all prepossessed with her.
They all smoked cigarettes after dinner, including Miss Posh, who startled
Carrie by saying: “Don’t you smoke, dear?” I
answered for Carrie, and said: “Mrs. Charles Pooter has not arrived
at it yet,” whereupon Miss Posh gave one of her piercing laughs
Mrs. Posh sang a dozen songs at least, and I can only repeat what
I have said before—she does not sing in tune; but Lupin
sat by the side of the piano, gazing into her eyes the whole time.
If I had been Mr. Posh, I think I should have had something to say about
it. Mr. Posh made himself very agreeable to us, and eventually
sent us home in his carriage, which I thought most kind. He is
evidently very rich, for Mrs. Posh had on some beautiful jewellery.
She told Carrie her necklace, which her husband gave her as a birthday
present, alone cost £300.
Mr. Posh said he had a great belief in Lupin, and thought he would
make rapid way in the world.
I could not help thinking of the £600 Mr. Posh lost over the
Parachikka Chlorates through Lupin’s advice.
During the evening I had an opportunity to speak to Lupin, and expressed
a hope that Mr. Posh was not living beyond his means.
Lupin sneered, and said Mr. Posh was worth thousands. “Posh’s
one-price hat” was a household word in Birmingham, Manchester,
Liverpool, and all the big towns throughout England. Lupin further
informed me that Mr. Posh was opening branch establishments at New York,
Sydney, and Melbourne, and was negotiating for Kimberley and Johannesburg.
I said I was pleased to hear it.
Lupin said: “Why, he has settled over £10,000 on Daisy,
and the same amount on ‘Lillie Girl.’ If at any time
I wanted a little capital, he would put up a couple of ‘thou’
at a day’s notice, and could buy up Perkupp’s firm over
his head at any moment with ready cash.”
On the way home in the carriage, for the first time in my life, I
was inclined to indulge in the radical thought that money was not
On arriving home at a quarter-past eleven, we found a hansom cab,
which had been waiting for me for two hours with a letter. Sarah
said she did not know what to do, as we had not left the address where
we had gone. I trembled as I opened the letter, fearing it was
some bad news about Mr. Perkupp. The note was: “Dear Mr.
Pooter,—Come down to the Victoria Hotel without delay. Important.
Yours truly, Hardfur Huttle.”
I asked the cabman if it was too late. The cabman replied that
it was not; for his instructions were, if I happened to be out,
he was to wait till I came home. I felt very tired, and really
wanted to go to bed. I reached the hotel at a quarter before midnight.
I apologised for being so late, but Mr. Huttle said: “Not at all;
come and have a few oysters.” I feel my heart beating as
I write these words. To be brief, Mr. Huttle said he had a rich
American friend who wanted to do something large in our line of business,
and that Mr. Franching had mentioned my name to him. We talked
over the matter. If, by any happy chance, the result be successful,
I can more than compensate my dear master for the loss of Mr. Crowbillon’s
custom. Mr. Huttle had previously said: “The glorious ‘Fourth’
is a lucky day for America, and, as it has not yet struck twelve, we
will celebrate it with a glass of the best wine to be had in the place,
and drink good luck to our bit of business.”
I fervently hope it will bring good luck to us all.
It was two o’clock when I got home. Although I was so
tired, I could not sleep except for short intervals—then only
I kept dreaming of Mr. Perkupp and Mr. Huttle. The latter was
in a lovely palace with a crown on. Mr. Perkupp was waiting in
the room. Mr. Huttle kept taking off this crown and handing it
to me, and calling me “President.”
He appeared to take no notice of Mr. Perkupp, and I kept asking Mr.
Huttle to give the crown to my worthy master. Mr. Huttle kept
saying: “No, this is the White House of Washington, and you must
keep your crown, Mr. President.”
We all laughed long and very loudly, till I got parched, and then
I woke up. I fell asleep, only to dream the same thing over and
July 11.—I find my eyes filling with tears as I pen the note
of my interview this morning with Mr. Perkupp. Addressing me,
he said: “My faithful servant, I will not dwell on the important
service you have done our firm. You can never be sufficiently
thanked. Let us change the subject. Do you like your house,
and are you happy where you are?”
I replied: “Yes, sir; I love my house and I love the neighbourhood,
and could not bear to leave it.”
Mr. Perkupp, to my surprise, said: “Mr. Pooter, I will purchase
the freehold of that house, and present it to the most honest and most
worthy man it has ever been my lot to meet.”
He shook my hand, and said he hoped my wife and I would be spared
many years to enjoy it. My heart was too full to thank him; and,
seeing my embarrassment, the good fellow said: “You need say nothing,
Mr. Pooter,” and left the office.
I sent telegrams to Carrie, Gowing, and Cummings (a thing I have
never done before), and asked the two latter to come round to supper.
On arriving home I found Carrie crying with joy, and I sent Sarah
round to the grocer’s to get two bottles of “Jackson Frères.”
My two dear friends came in the evening, and the last post brought
a letter from Lupin in reply to mine. I read it aloud to them
all. It ran: “My dear old Guv.,—Keep your hair on.
You are on the wrong tack again. I am engaged to be married to
‘Lillie Girl.’ I did not mention it last Thursday,
as it was not definitely settled. We shall be married in August,
and amongst our guests we hope to see your old friends Gowing and Cummings.
With much love to all, from The same old Lupin.”