The Diary of a Nobody
Charles Pooter

February 18.—Carrie has several times recently called attention to the thinness of my hair at the top of my head, and recommended me to get it seen to.  I was this morning trying to look at it by the aid of a small hand-glass, when somehow my elbow caught against the edge of the chest of drawers and knocked the glass out of my hand and smashed it.  Carrie was in an awful way about it, as she is rather absurdly superstitious.  To make matters worse, my large photograph in the drawing-room fell during the night, and the glass cracked.

Carrie said: “Mark my words, Charles, some misfortune is about to happen.”

I said: “Nonsense, dear.”

In the evening Lupin arrived home early, and seemed a little agitated.  I said: “What’s up, my boy?”  He hesitated a good deal, and then said: “You know those Parachikka Chlorates I advised you to invest £20 in?  I replied: “Yes, they are all right, I trust?”  He replied: “Well, no!  To the surprise of everybody, they have utterly collapsed.”

My breath was so completely taken away, I could say nothing.  Carrie looked at me, and said: “What did I tell you?”  Lupin, after a while, said: “However, you are specially fortunate.  I received an early tip, and sold out yours immediately, and was fortunate to get £2 for them.  So you get something after all.”

I gave a sigh of relief.  I said: “I was not so sanguine as to suppose, as you predicted, that I should get six or eight times the amount of my investment; still a profit of £2 is a good percentage for such a short time.”  Lupin said, quite irritably: “You don’t understand.  I sold your £20 shares for £2; you therefore lose £18 on the transaction, whereby Cummings and Gowing will lose the whole of theirs.”

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).