The Diary of a Nobody
Charles Pooter

April 23.—Mr. and Mrs. James (Miss Fullers that was) came to meat tea, and we left directly after for the Tank Theatre.  We got a ’bus that took us to King’s Cross, and then changed into one that took us to the “Angel.”  Mr. James each time insisted on paying for all, saying that I had paid for the tickets and that was quite enough.

We arrived at theatre, where, curiously enough, all our ’bus-load except an old woman with a basket seemed to be going in.  I walked ahead and presented the tickets.  The man looked at them, and called out: “Mr. Willowly! do you know anything about these?” holding up my tickets.  The gentleman called to, came up and examined my tickets, and said: “Who gave you these?”  I said, rather indignantly: “Mr. Merton, of course.”  He said: “Merton?  Who’s he?”  I answered, rather sharply: “You ought to know, his name’s good at any theatre in London.”  He replied: “Oh! is it?  Well, it ain’t no good here.  These tickets, which are not dated, were issued under Mr. Swinstead’s management, which has since changed hands.”  While I was having some very unpleasant words with the man, James, who had gone upstairs with the ladies, called out: “Come on!”  I went up after them, and a very civil attendant said: “This way, please, box H.”  I said to James: “Why, how on earth did you manage it?” and to my horror he replied: “Why, paid for it of course.”

This was humiliating enough, and I could scarcely follow the play, but I was doomed to still further humiliation.  I was leaning out of the box, when my tie—a little black bow which fastened on to the stud by means of a new patent—fell into the pit below.  A clumsy man not noticing it, had his foot on it for ever so long before he discovered it.  He then picked it up and eventually flung it under the next seat in disgust.  What with the box incident and the tie, I felt quite miserable.  Mr. James, of Sutton, was very good.  He said: “Don’t worry—no one will notice it with your beard.  That is the only advantage of growing one that I can see.”  There was no occasion for that remark, for Carrie is very proud of my beard.

To hide the absence of the tie I had to keep my chin down the rest of the evening, which caused a pain at the back of my neck.

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).