The Diary of a Nobody
Charles Pooter

July 4.—Lupin’s rooms looked very nice; but the dinner was, I thought, a little too grand, especially as he commenced with champagne straight off.  I also think Lupin might have told us that he and Mr. and Mrs. Murray Posh and Miss Posh were going to put on full evening dress.  Knowing that the dinner was only for us six, we never dreamed it would be a full dress affair.  I had no appetite.  It was quite twenty minutes past eight before we sat down to dinner.  At six I could have eaten a hearty meal.  I had a bit of bread-and-butter at that hour, feeling famished, and I expect that partly spoiled my appetite.

We were introduced to Miss Posh, whom Lupin called “Little Girl,” as if he had known her all his life.  She was very tall, rather plain, and I thought she was a little painted round the eyes.  I hope I am wrong; but she had such fair hair, and yet her eyebrows were black.  She looked about thirty.  I did not like the way she kept giggling and giving Lupin smacks and pinching him.  Then her laugh was a sort of a scream that went right through my ears, all the more irritating because there was nothing to laugh at.  In fact, Carrie and I were not at all prepossessed with her.  They all smoked cigarettes after dinner, including Miss Posh, who startled Carrie by saying: “Don’t you smoke, dear?”  I answered for Carrie, and said: “Mrs. Charles Pooter has not arrived at it yet,” whereupon Miss Posh gave one of her piercing laughs again.

Mrs. Posh sang a dozen songs at least, and I can only repeat what I have said before—she does not sing in tune; but Lupin sat by the side of the piano, gazing into her eyes the whole time.  If I had been Mr. Posh, I think I should have had something to say about it.  Mr. Posh made himself very agreeable to us, and eventually sent us home in his carriage, which I thought most kind.  He is evidently very rich, for Mrs. Posh had on some beautiful jewellery.  She told Carrie her necklace, which her husband gave her as a birthday present, alone cost £300.

Mr. Posh said he had a great belief in Lupin, and thought he would make rapid way in the world.

I could not help thinking of the £600 Mr. Posh lost over the Parachikka Chlorates through Lupin’s advice.

During the evening I had an opportunity to speak to Lupin, and expressed a hope that Mr. Posh was not living beyond his means.

Lupin sneered, and said Mr. Posh was worth thousands.  “Posh’s one-price hat” was a household word in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and all the big towns throughout England.  Lupin further informed me that Mr. Posh was opening branch establishments at New York, Sydney, and Melbourne, and was negotiating for Kimberley and Johannesburg.

I said I was pleased to hear it.

Lupin said: “Why, he has settled over £10,000 on Daisy, and the same amount on ‘Lillie Girl.’  If at any time I wanted a little capital, he would put up a couple of ‘thou’ at a day’s notice, and could buy up Perkupp’s firm over his head at any moment with ready cash.”

On the way home in the carriage, for the first time in my life, I was inclined to indulge in the radical thought that money was not properly divided.

On arriving home at a quarter-past eleven, we found a hansom cab, which had been waiting for me for two hours with a letter.  Sarah said she did not know what to do, as we had not left the address where we had gone.  I trembled as I opened the letter, fearing it was some bad news about Mr. Perkupp.  The note was: “Dear Mr. Pooter,—Come down to the Victoria Hotel without delay.  Important.  Yours truly, Hardfur Huttle.”

I asked the cabman if it was too late.  The cabman replied that it was not; for his instructions were, if I happened to be out, he was to wait till I came home.  I felt very tired, and really wanted to go to bed.  I reached the hotel at a quarter before midnight.  I apologised for being so late, but Mr. Huttle said: “Not at all; come and have a few oysters.”  I feel my heart beating as I write these words.  To be brief, Mr. Huttle said he had a rich American friend who wanted to do something large in our line of business, and that Mr. Franching had mentioned my name to him.  We talked over the matter.  If, by any happy chance, the result be successful, I can more than compensate my dear master for the loss of Mr. Crowbillon’s custom.  Mr. Huttle had previously said: “The glorious ‘Fourth’ is a lucky day for America, and, as it has not yet struck twelve, we will celebrate it with a glass of the best wine to be had in the place, and drink good luck to our bit of business.”

I fervently hope it will bring good luck to us all.

It was two o’clock when I got home.  Although I was so tired, I could not sleep except for short intervals—then only to dream.

I kept dreaming of Mr. Perkupp and Mr. Huttle.  The latter was in a lovely palace with a crown on.  Mr. Perkupp was waiting in the room.  Mr. Huttle kept taking off this crown and handing it to me, and calling me “President.”

He appeared to take no notice of Mr. Perkupp, and I kept asking Mr. Huttle to give the crown to my worthy master.  Mr. Huttle kept saying: “No, this is the White House of Washington, and you must keep your crown, Mr. President.”

We all laughed long and very loudly, till I got parched, and then I woke up.  I fell asleep, only to dream the same thing over and over again.

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).