November 23.—In the evening, Cummings came early. Gowing
came a little later and brought, without asking permission, a fat and,
I think, very vulgar-looking man named Padge, who appeared to be all
moustache. Gowing never attempted any apology to either of us,
but said Padge wanted to see the Irving business, to which Padge said:
“That’s right,” and that is about all he did
say during the entire evening. Lupin came in and seemed in much
better spirits. He had prepared a bit of a surprise. Mr.
Burwin-Fosselton had come in with him, but had gone upstairs to get
ready. In half-an-hour Lupin retired from the parlour, and returning
in a few minutes, announced “Mr. Henry Irving.”
I must say we were all astounded. I never saw such a resemblance.
It was astonishing. The only person who did not appear interested
was the man Padge, who had got the best arm-chair, and was puffing away
at a foul pipe into the fireplace. After some little time I said;
“Why do actors always wear their hair so long?” Carrie
in a moment said, “Mr. Hare doesn’t wear long hair.”
How we laughed except Mr. Fosselton, who said, in a rather patronising
kind of way, “The joke, Mrs. Pooter, is extremely appropriate,
if not altogether new.” Thinking this rather a snub, I said:
“Mr. Fosselton, I fancy—” He interrupted me
by saying: “Mr. Burwin-Fosselton, if you please,”
which made me quite forget what I was going to say to him. During
the supper Mr. Burwin-Fosselton again monopolised the conversation with
his Irving talk, and both Carrie and I came to the conclusion one can
have even too much imitation of Irving. After supper, Mr. Burwin-Fosselton
got a little too boisterous over his Irving imitation, and suddenly
seizing Gowing by the collar of his coat, dug his thumb-nail, accidentally
of course, into Gowing’s neck and took a piece of flesh out.
Gowing was rightly annoyed, but that man Padge, who having declined
our modest supper in order that he should not lose his comfortable chair,
burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter at the little misadventure.
I was so annoyed at the conduct of Padge, I said: “I suppose you
would have laughed if he had poked Mr. Gowing’s eye out?”
to which Padge replied: “That’s right,” and laughed
more than ever. I think perhaps the greatest surprise was when
we broke up, for Mr. Burwin-Fosselton said: “Good-night, Mr. Pooter.
I’m glad you like the imitation, I’ll bring the other
make-up to-morrow night.”