The Diary of a Nobody
Charles Pooter

December 31.—The last day of the Old Year.  I received an extraordinary letter from Mr. Mutlar, senior.  He writes: “Dear Sir,—For a long time past I have had considerable difficulty deciding the important question, ‘Who is the master of my own house?  Myself, or your son Lupin?’  Believe me, I have no prejudice one way or the other; but I have been most reluctantly compelled to give judgment to the effect that I am the master of it.  Under the circumstances, it has become my duty to forbid your son to enter my house again.  I am sorry, because it deprives me of the society of one of the most modest, unassuming, and gentlemanly persons I have ever had the honour of being acquainted with.”

I did not desire the last day to wind up disagreeably, so I said nothing to either Carrie or Lupin about the letter.

A most terrible fog came on, and Lupin would go out in it, but promised to be back to drink out the Old Year—a custom we have always observed.  At a quarter to twelve Lupin had not returned, and the fog was fearful.  As time was drawing close, I got out the spirits.  Carrie and I deciding on whisky, I opened a fresh bottle; but Carrie said it smelt like brandy.  As I knew it to be whisky, I said there was nothing to discuss.  Carrie, evidently vexed that Lupin had not come in, did discuss it all the same, and wanted me to have a small wager with her to decide by the smell.  I said I could decide it by the taste in a moment.  A silly and unnecessary argument followed, the result of which was we suddenly saw it was a quarter-past twelve, and, for the first time in our married life, we missed welcoming in the New Year.  Lupin got home at a quarter-past two, having got lost in the fog—so he said.

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).