The Diary of a Nobody
Charles Pooter

January 25.—We had just finished our tea, when who should come in but Cummings, who has not been here for over three weeks.  I noticed that he looked anything but well, so I said: “Well, Cummings, how are you?  You look a little blue.”  He replied: “Yes! and I feel blue too.”  I said: “Why, what’s the matter?”  He said: “Oh, nothing, except that I have been on my back for a couple of weeks, that’s all.  At one time my doctor nearly gave me up, yet not a soul has come near me.  No one has even taken the trouble to inquire whether I was alive or dead.”

I said: “This is the first I have heard of it.  I have passed your house several nights, and presumed you had company, as the rooms were so brilliantly lighted.”

Cummings replied: “No!  The only company I have had was my wife, the doctor, and the landlady—the last-named having turned out a perfect trump.  I wonder you did not see it in the paper.  I know it was mentioned in the Bicycle News.”

I thought to cheer him up, and said: “Well, you are all right now?”

He replied: “That’s not the question.  The question is whether an illness does not enable you to discover who are your true friends.”

I said such an observation was unworthy of him.  To make matters worse, in came Gowing, who gave Cummings a violent slap on the back, and said: “Hulloh!  Have you seen a ghost?  You look scared to death, like Irving in Macbeth.”  I said: “Gently, Gowing, the poor fellow has been very ill.”  Gowing roared with laughter and said: “Yes, and you look it, too.”  Cummings quietly said: “Yes, and I feel it too—not that I suppose you care.”

An awkward silence followed.  Gowing said: “Never mind, Cummings, you and the missis come round to my place to-morrow, and it will cheer you up a bit; for we’ll open a bottle of wine.”

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).