The Diary of a Nobody
Charles Pooter

February 19.—Lupin, before going to town, said: “I am very sorry about those Parachikka Chlorates; it would not have happened if the boss, Job Cleanands, had been in town.  Between ourselves, you must not be surprised if something goes wrong at our office.  Job Cleanands has not been seen the last few days, and it strikes me several people do want to see him very particularly.”

In the evening Lupin was just on the point of going out to avoid a collision with Gowing and Cummings, when the former entered the room, without knocking, but with his usual trick of saying, “May I come in?”

He entered, and to the surprise of Lupin and myself, seemed to be in the very best of spirits.  Neither Lupin nor I broached the subject to him, but he did so of his own accord.  He said: “I say, those Parachikka Chlorates have gone an awful smash!  You’re a nice one, Master Lupin.  How much do you lose?”  Lupin, to my utter astonishment, said: “Oh!  I had nothing in them.  There was some informality in my application—I forgot to enclose the cheque or something, and I didn’t get any.  The Guv. loses £18.”  I said: “I quite understood you were in it, or nothing would have induced me to speculate.”  Lupin replied: “Well, it can’t be helped; you must go double on the next tip.”  Before I could reply, Gowing said: “Well, I lose nothing, fortunately.  From what I heard, I did not quite believe in them, so I persuaded Cummings to take my £15 worth, as he had more faith in them than I had.”

Lupin burst out laughing, and, in the most unseemly manner, said: “Alas, poor Cummings.  He’ll lose £35.”  At that moment there was a ring at the bell.  Lupin said: “I don’t want to meet Cummings.”  If he had gone out of the door he would have met him in the passage, so as quickly as possible Lupin opened the parlour window and got out.  Gowing jumped up suddenly, exclaiming: “I don’t want to see him either!” and, before I could say a word, he followed Lupin out of the window.

For my own part, I was horrified to think my own son and one of my most intimate friends should depart from the house like a couple of interrupted burglars.  Poor Cummings was very upset, and of course was naturally very angry both with Lupin and Gowing.  I pressed him to have a little whisky, and he replied that he had given up whisky; but would like a little “Unsweetened,” as he was advised it was the most healthy spirit.  I had none in the house, but sent Sarah round to Lockwood’s for some.

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).