The Diary of a Nobody
Charles Pooter

December 28Lupin, on coming down to breakfast, said to his mother: “I have not put off Daisy and Frank, and should like them to join Gowing and Cummings this evening.”  I felt very pleased with the boy for this.  Carrie said, in reply: “I am glad you let me know in time, as I can turn over the cold leg of mutton, dress it with a little parsley, and no one will know it has been cut.”  She further said she would make a few custards, and stew some pippins, so that they would be cold by the evening.

Finding Lupin in good spirits, I asked him quietly if he really had any personal objection to either Gowing or Cummings.  He replied: “Not in the least.  I think Cummings looks rather an ass, but that is partly due to his patronising ‘the three-and-six-one-price hat company,’ and wearing a reach-me-down frock-coat.  As for that perpetual brown velveteen jacket of Gowing’s—why, he resembles an itinerant photographer.”

I said it was not the coat that made the gentleman; whereupon Lupin, with a laugh, replied: “No, and it wasn’t much of a gentleman who made their coats.”

We were rather jolly at supper, and Daisy made herself very agreeable, especially in the earlier part of the evening, when she sang.  At supper, however, she said: “Can you make tee-to-tums with bread?” and she commenced rolling up pieces of bread, and twisting them round on the table.  I felt this to be bad manners, but of course said nothing.  Presently Daisy and Lupin, to my disgust, began throwing bread-pills at each other.  Frank followed suit, and so did Cummings and Gowing, to my astonishment.  They then commenced throwing hard pieces of crust, one piece catching me on the forehead, and making me blink.  I said: “Steady, please; steady!”  Frank jumped up and said: “Tum, tum; then the band played.”

I did not know what this meant, but they all roared, and continued the bread-battle.  Gowing suddenly seized all the parsley off the cold mutton, and threw it full in my face.  I looked daggers at Gowing, who replied: “I say, it’s no good trying to look indignant, with your hair full of parsley.”  I rose from the table, and insisted that a stop should be put to this foolery at once.  Frank Mutlar shouted: “Time, gentlemen, please! time!” and turned out the gas, leaving us in absolute darkness.

I was feeling my way out of the room, when I suddenly received a hard intentional punch at the back of my head.  I said loudly: “Who did that?”  There was no answer; so I repeated the question, with the same result.  I struck a match, and lighted the gas.  They were all talking and laughing, so I kept my own counsel; but, after they had gone, I said to Carrie; “The person who sent me that insulting post-card at Christmas was here to-night.”

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).