May 2.—Sent my dress-coat and trousers to the little tailor’s
round the corner, to have the creases taken out. Told Gowing not
to call next Monday, as we were going to the Mansion House. Sent
similar note to Cummings.
May 21.—The last week or ten days terribly dull, Carrie being
away at Mrs. James’s, at Sutton. Cummings also away.
Gowing, I presume, is still offended with me for black enamelling his
stick without asking him.
June 1.—The last week has been like old times, Carrie being
back, and Gowing and Cummings calling every evening nearly. Twice
we sat out in the garden quite late. This evening we were like
a pack of children, and played “consequences.” It
is a good game.
June 4.—In the evening Carrie and I went round to Mr. and Mrs.
Cummings’ to spend a quiet evening with them. Gowing was
there, also Mr. Stillbrook. It was quiet but pleasant. Mrs.
Cummings sang five or six songs, “No, Sir,” and “The
Garden of Sleep,” being best in my humble judgment; but what pleased
me most was the duet she sang with Carrie—classical duet, too.
I think it is called, “I would that my love!” It was
beautiful. If Carrie had been in better voice, I don’t think
professionals could have sung it better. After supper we made
them sing it again. I never liked Mr. Stillbrook since the walk
that Sunday to the “Cow and Hedge,” but I must say he sings
comic-songs well. His song: “We don’t Want the old
men now,” made us shriek with laughter, especially the verse referring
to Mr. Gladstone; but there was one verse I think he might have omitted,
and I said so, but Gowing thought it was the best of the lot.
August 15.—Cleared up a bit, so we all took the train to Margate,
and the first person we met on the jetty was Gowing. I said: “Hulloh!
I thought you had gone to Barmouth with your Birmingham friends?”
He said: “Yes, but young Peter Lawrence was so ill, they postponed
their visit, so I came down here. You know the Cummings’
are here too?” Carrie said: “Oh, that will be delightful!
We must have some evenings together and have games.”
I introduced Lupin, saying: “You will be pleased to find we
have our dear boy at home!” Gowing said: “How’s
that? You don’t mean to say he’s left the Bank?”
I changed the subject quickly, and thereby avoided any of those awkward
questions which Gowing always has a knack of asking.
August 18.—Gowing and Cummings walked over to arrange an evening
at Margate. It being wet, Gowing asked Cummings to accompany him
to the hotel and have a game of billiards, knowing I never play, and
in fact disapprove of the game. Cummings said he must hasten back
to Margate; whereupon Lupin, to my horror, said: “I’ll give
you a game, Gowing—a hundred up. A walk round I the cloth
will give me an appetite for dinner.” I said: “Perhaps
Mister Gowing does not care to play with boys.” Gowing surprised
me by saying: “Oh yes, I do, if they play well,” and they
walked off together.
August 20.—I am glad our last day at the seaside was fine,
though clouded overhead. We went over to Cummings’ (at Margate)
in the evening, and as it was cold, we stayed in and played games; Gowing,
as usual, overstepping the mark. He suggested we should play “Cutlets,”
a game we never heard of. He sat on a chair, and asked Carrie
to sit on his lap, an invitation which dear Carrie rightly declined.
After some species of wrangling, I sat on Gowing’s knees and
Carrie sat on the edge of mine. Lupin sat on the edge of Carrie’s
lap, then Cummings on Lupin’s, and Mrs. Cummings on her husband’s.
We looked very ridiculous, and laughed a good deal.
Gowing then said: “Are you a believer in the Great Mogul?”
We had to answer all together: “Yes—oh, yes!” (three
times). Gowing said: “So am I,” and suddenly got up.
The result of this stupid joke was that we all fell on the ground, and
poor Carrie banged her head against the corner of the fender.
Mrs. Cummings put some vinegar on; but through this we missed the last
train, and had to drive back to Broadstairs, which cost me seven-and-sixpence.
November 6.—Lupin went with me to the office, and had a long
conversation with Mr. Perkupp, our principal, the result of which was
that he accepted a clerkship in the firm of Job Cleanands and Co., Stock
and Share Brokers. Lupin told me, privately, it was an advertising
firm, and he did not think much of it. I replied: “Beggars
should not be choosers;” and I will do Lupin the justice to say,
he looked rather ashamed of himself.
In the evening we went round to the Cummings’, to have a few
fireworks. It began to rain, and I thought it rather dull.
One of my squibs would not go off, and Gowing said: “Hit it on
your boot, boy; it will go off then.” I gave it a few knocks
on the end of my boot, and it went off with one loud explosion, and
burnt my fingers rather badly. I gave the rest of the squibs to
the little Cummings’ boy to let off.
Another unfortunate thing happened, which brought a heap of abuse
on my head. Cummings fastened a large wheel set-piece on a stake
in the ground by way of a grand finale. He made a great fuss about
it; said it cost seven shillings. There was a little difficulty
in getting it alight. At last it went off; but after a couple
of slow revolutions it stopped. I had my stick with me, so I gave
it a tap to send it round, and, unfortunately, it fell off the stake
on to the grass. Anybody would have thought I had set the house
on fire from the way in which they stormed at me. I will never
join in any more firework parties. It is a ridiculous waste of
time and money.
November 9.—My endeavours to discover who tore the sheets out
of my diary still fruitless. Lupin has Daisy Mutlar on the brain,
so we see little of him, except that he invariably turns up at meal
times. Cummings dropped in.
November 13.—Carrie sent out invitations to Gowing, the Cummings,
to Mr. and Mrs. James (of Sutton), and Mr. Stillbrook. I wrote
a note to Mr. Franching, of Peckham. Carrie said we may as well
make it a nice affair, and why not ask our principal, Mr. Perkupp?
I said I feared we were not quite grand enough for him. Carrie
said there was “no offence in asking him.” I said:
“Certainly not,” and I wrote him a letter. Carrie
confessed she was a little disappointed with Daisy Mutlar’s appearance,
but thought she seemed a nice girl.
November 14.—Everybody so far has accepted for our quite grand
little party for to-morrow. Mr. Perkupp, in a nice letter which
I shall keep, wrote that he was dining in Kensington, but if he could
get away, he would come up to Holloway for an hour. Carrie was
busy all day, making little cakes and open jam puffs and jellies.
She said she felt quite nervous about her responsibilities to-morrow
evening. We decided to have some light things on the table, such
as sandwiches, cold chicken and ham, and some sweets, and on the sideboard
a nice piece of cold beef and a Paysandu tongue—for the more hungry
ones to peg into if they liked.
Gowing called to know if he was to put on “swallow-tails”
to-morrow. Carrie said he had better dress, especially as Mr.
Franching was coming, and there was a possibility of Mr. Perkupp also
putting in an appearance.
Gowing said: “Oh, I only wanted to know, for I have not worn
my dress-coat for some time, and I must send it to have the creases
After Gowing left, Lupin came in, and in his anxiety to please Daisy
Mutlar, carped at and criticised the arrangements, and, in fact, disapproved
of everything, including our having asked our old friend Cummings, who,
he said, would look in evening-dress like a green-grocer engaged to
wait, and who must not be surprised if Daisy took him for one.
I fairly lost my temper, and said: “Lupin, allow me to tell
you Miss Daisy Mutlar is not the Queen of England. I gave you
credit for more wisdom than to allow yourself to be inveigled into an
engagement with a woman considerably older than yourself. I advise
you to think of earning your living before entangling yourself with
a wife whom you will have to support, and, in all probability, her brother
also, who appeared to be nothing but a loafer.”
Instead of receiving this advice in a sensible manner, Lupin jumped
up and said: “If you insult the lady I am engaged to, you insult
me. I will leave the house and never darken your doors again.”
He went out of the house, slamming the hall-door. But it was
all right. He came back to supper, and we played Bézique
till nearly twelve o’clock.
November 15.—A red-letter day. Our first important party
since we have been in this house. I got home early from the City.
Lupin insisted on having a hired waiter, and stood a half-dozen of champagne.
I think this an unnecessary expense, but Lupin said he had had a piece
of luck, having made three pounds out a private deal in the City.
I hope he won’t gamble in his new situation. The supper-room
looked so nice, and Carrie truly said: “We need not be ashamed
of its being seen by Mr. Perkupp, should he honour us by coming.”
I dressed early in case people should arrive punctually at eight
o’clock, and was much vexed to find my new dress-trousers much
Lupin, who is getting beyond his position, found fault with my wearing
ordinary boots instead of dress-boots.
I replied satirically: “My dear son, I have lived to be above
that sort of thing.”
Lupin burst out laughing, and said: “A man generally was above
This may be funny, or it may not; but I was gratified to find
he had not discovered the coral had come off one of my studs.
Carrie looked a picture, wearing the dress she wore at the Mansion House.
The arrangement of the drawing-room was excellent. Carrie had
hung muslin curtains over the folding-doors, and also over one of the
entrances, for we had removed the door from its hinges.
Mr. Peters, the waiter, arrived in good time, and I gave him strict
orders not to open another bottle of champagne until the previous one
was empty. Carrie arranged for some sherry and port wine to be
placed on the drawing-room sideboard, with some glasses. By-the-by,
our new enlarged and tinted photographs look very nice on the walls,
especially as Carrie has arranged some Liberty silk bows on the four
corners of them.
The first arrival was Gowing, who, with his usual taste, greeted
me with: “Hulloh, Pooter, why your trousers are too short!”
I simply said: “Very likely, and you will find my temper ‘short’
He said: “That won’t make your trousers longer, Juggins.
You should get your missus to put a flounce on them.”
I wonder I waste my time entering his insulting observations in my
The next arrivals were Mr. and Mrs. Cummings. The former said:
“As you didn’t say anything about dress, I have come ‘half
dress.’” He had on a black frock-coat and white tie.
The James’, Mr. Merton, and Mr. Stillbrook arrived, but Lupin
was restless and unbearable till his Daisy Mutlar and Frank arrived.
Carrie and I were rather startled at Daisy’s appearance.
She had a bright-crimson dress on, cut very low in the neck. I
do not think such a style modest. She ought to have taken a lesson
from Carrie, and covered her shoulders with a little lace. Mr.
Nackles, Mr. Sprice-Hogg and his four daughters came; so did Franching,
and one or two of Lupin’s new friends, members of the “Holloway
Comedians.” Some of these seemed rather theatrical in their
manner, especially one, who was posing all the evening, and leant on
our little round table and cracked it. Lupin called him “our
Henry,” and said he was “our lead at the H.C.’s,”
and was quite as good in that department as Harry Mutlar was as the
low-comedy merchant. All this is Greek to me.
We had some music, and Lupin, who never left Daisy’s side for
a moment, raved over her singing of a song, called “Some Day.”
It seemed a pretty song, but she made such grimaces, and sang, to my
mind, so out of tune, I would not have asked her to sing again; but
Lupin made her sing four songs right off, one after the other.
At ten o’clock we went down to supper, and from the way Gowing
and Cummings ate you would have thought they had not had a meal for
a month. I told Carrie to keep something back in case Mr. Perkupp
should come by mere chance. Gowing annoyed me very much by filling
a large tumbler of champagne, and drinking it straight off. He
repeated this action, and made me fear our half-dozen of champagne would
not last out. I tried to keep a bottle back, but Lupin got hold
of it, and took it to the side-table with Daisy and Frank Mutlar.
We went upstairs, and the young fellows began skylarking. Carrie
put a stop to that at once. Stillbrook amused us with a song,
“What have you done with your Cousin John?” I did
not notice that Lupin and Frank had disappeared. I asked Mr. Watson,
one of the Holloways, where they were, and he said: “It’s
a case of ‘Oh, what a surprise!’”
We were directed to form a circle—which we did. Watson
then said: “I have much pleasure in introducing the celebrated
Blondin Donkey.” Frank and Lupin then bounded into the room.
Lupin had whitened his face like a clown, and Frank had tied round his
waist a large hearthrug. He was supposed to be the donkey, and
he looked it. They indulged in a very noisy pantomime, and we
were all shrieking with laughter.
I turned round suddenly, and then I saw Mr Perkupp standing half-way
in the door, he having arrived without our knowing it. I beckoned
to Carrie, and we went up to him at once. He would not come right
into the room. I apologised for the foolery, but Mr. Perkupp said:
“Oh, it seems amusing.” I could see he was not a bit
Carrie and I took him downstairs, but the table was a wreck.
There was not a glass of champagne left—not even a sandwich.
Mr. Perkupp said he required nothing, but would like a glass of seltzer
or soda water. The last syphon was empty. Carrie said: “We
have plenty of port wine left.” Mr. Perkupp said, with a
smile: “No, thank you. I really require nothing, but I am
most pleased to see you and your husband in your own home. Good-night,
Mrs. Pooter—you will excuse my very short stay, I know.”
I went with him to his carriage, and he said: “Don’t trouble
to come to the office till twelve to-morrow.”
I felt despondent as I went back to the house, and I told Carrie
I thought the party was a failure. Carrie said it was a great
success, and I was only tired, and insisted on my having some port myself.
I drank two glasses, and felt much better, and we went into the drawing-room,
where they had commenced dancing. Carrie and I had a little dance,
which I said reminded me of old days. She said I was a spooney
November 16.—Woke about twenty times during the night, with
terrible thirst. Finished off all the water in the bottle, as
well as half that in the jug. Kept dreaming also, that last night’s
party was a failure, and that a lot of low people came without invitation,
and kept chaffing and throwing things at Mr. Perkupp, till at last I
was obliged to hide him in the box-room (which we had just discovered),
with a bath-towel over him. It seems absurd now, but it was painfully
real in the dream. I had the same dream about a dozen times.
Carrie annoyed me by saying: “You know champagne never agrees
with you.” I told her I had only a couple of glasses of
it, having kept myself entirely to port. I added that good champagne
hurt nobody, and Lupin told me he had only got it from a traveller as
a favour, as that particular brand had been entirely bought up by a
I think I ate too heartily of the “side dishes,” as the
waiter called them. I said to Carrie: “I wish I had put
those ‘side dishes’ aside.” I repeated
this, but Carrie was busy, packing up the teaspoons we had borrowed
of Mrs. Cummings for the party. It was just half-past eleven,
and I was starting for the office, when Lupin appeared, with a yellow
complexion, and said: “Hulloh! Guv., what priced head have you
this morning?” I told him he might just as well speak to
me in Dutch. He added: “When I woke this morning, my head
was as big as Baldwin’s balloon.” On the spur of the
moment I said the cleverest thing I think I have ever said; viz.: “Perhaps
that accounts for the parashooting pains.” We roared.
November 18.—Woke up quite fresh after a good night’s
rest, and feel quite myself again. I am satisfied a life of going-out
and Society is not a life for me; we therefore declined the invitation
which we received this morning to Miss Bird’s wedding. We
only met her twice at Mrs. James’, and it means a present.
Lupin said: “I am with you for once. To my mind a wedding’s
a very poor play. There are only two parts in it—the bride
and bridegroom. The best man is only a walking gentleman.
With the exception of a crying father and a snivelling mother, the rest
are supers who have to dress well and have to pay for
their insignificant parts in the shape of costly presents.”
I did not care for the theatrical slang, but thought it clever, though
I told Sarah not to bring up the blanc-mange again for breakfast.
It seems to have been placed on our table at every meal since Wednesday.
Cummings came round in the evening, and congratulated us on the success
of our party. He said it was the best party he had been to for
many a year; but he wished we had let him know it was full dress, as
he would have turned up in his swallow-tails. We sat down to a
quiet game of dominoes, and were interrupted by the noisy entrance of
Lupin and Frank Mutlar. Cummings and I asked them to join us.
Lupin said he did not care for dominoes, and suggested a game of “Spoof.”
On my asking if it required counters, Frank and Lupin in measured time
said: “One, two, three; go! Have you an estate in Greenland?”
It was simply Greek to me, but it appears it is one of the customs of
the “Holloway Comedians” to do this when a member displays
In spite of my instructions, that blanc-mange was brought
up again for supper. To make matters worse, there had been an
attempt to disguise it, by placing it in a glass dish with jam round
it. Carrie asked Lupin if he would have some, and he replied:
“No second-hand goods for me, thank you.” I told Carrie,
when we were alone, if that blanc-mange were placed on the table
again I should walk out of the house.
November 22.—Gowing and Cummings dropped in during the evening.
Lupin also came in, bringing his friend, Mr. Burwin-Fosselton—one
of the “Holloway Comedians”—who was at our party the
other night, and who cracked our little round table. Happy to
say Daisy Mutlar was never referred to. The conversation was almost
entirely monopolised by the young fellow Fosselton, who not only looked
rather like Mr. Irving, but seemed to imagine that he was the
celebrated actor. I must say he gave some capital imitations of
him. As he showed no signs of moving at supper time, I said: “If
you like to stay, Mr. Fosselton, for our usual crust—pray do.”
He replied: “Oh! thanks; but please call me Burwin-Fosselton.
It is a double name. There are lots of Fosseltons, but please
call me Burwin-Fosselton.”
He began doing the Irving business all through supper. He sank
so low down in his chair that his chin was almost on a level with the
table, and twice he kicked Carrie under the table, upset his wine, and
flashed a knife uncomfortably near Gowing’s face. After
supper he kept stretching out his legs on the fender, indulging in scraps
of quotations from plays which were Greek to me, and more than once
knocked over the fire-irons, making a hideous row—poor Carrie
already having a bad head-ache.
When he went, he said, to our surprise: “I will come to-morrow
and bring my Irving make-up.” Gowing and Cummings said they
would like to see it and would come too. I could not help thinking
they might as well give a party at my house while they are about it.
However, as Carrie sensibly said: “Do anything, dear, to make
Lupin forget the Daisy Mutlar business.”
November 23.—In the evening, Cummings came early. Gowing
came a little later and brought, without asking permission, a fat and,
I think, very vulgar-looking man named Padge, who appeared to be all
moustache. Gowing never attempted any apology to either of us,
but said Padge wanted to see the Irving business, to which Padge said:
“That’s right,” and that is about all he did
say during the entire evening. Lupin came in and seemed in much
better spirits. He had prepared a bit of a surprise. Mr.
Burwin-Fosselton had come in with him, but had gone upstairs to get
ready. In half-an-hour Lupin retired from the parlour, and returning
in a few minutes, announced “Mr. Henry Irving.”
I must say we were all astounded. I never saw such a resemblance.
It was astonishing. The only person who did not appear interested
was the man Padge, who had got the best arm-chair, and was puffing away
at a foul pipe into the fireplace. After some little time I said;
“Why do actors always wear their hair so long?” Carrie
in a moment said, “Mr. Hare doesn’t wear long hair.”
How we laughed except Mr. Fosselton, who said, in a rather patronising
kind of way, “The joke, Mrs. Pooter, is extremely appropriate,
if not altogether new.” Thinking this rather a snub, I said:
“Mr. Fosselton, I fancy—” He interrupted me
by saying: “Mr. Burwin-Fosselton, if you please,”
which made me quite forget what I was going to say to him. During
the supper Mr. Burwin-Fosselton again monopolised the conversation with
his Irving talk, and both Carrie and I came to the conclusion one can
have even too much imitation of Irving. After supper, Mr. Burwin-Fosselton
got a little too boisterous over his Irving imitation, and suddenly
seizing Gowing by the collar of his coat, dug his thumb-nail, accidentally
of course, into Gowing’s neck and took a piece of flesh out.
Gowing was rightly annoyed, but that man Padge, who having declined
our modest supper in order that he should not lose his comfortable chair,
burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter at the little misadventure.
I was so annoyed at the conduct of Padge, I said: “I suppose you
would have laughed if he had poked Mr. Gowing’s eye out?”
to which Padge replied: “That’s right,” and laughed
more than ever. I think perhaps the greatest surprise was when
we broke up, for Mr. Burwin-Fosselton said: “Good-night, Mr. Pooter.
I’m glad you like the imitation, I’ll bring the other
make-up to-morrow night.”
November 24.—I went to town without a pocket-handkerchief.
This is the second time I have done this during the last week.
I must be losing my memory. Had it not been for this Daisy Mutlar
business, I would have written to Mr. Burwin-Fosselton and told him
I should be out this evening, but I fancy he is the sort of young man
who would come all the same.
Dear old Cummings came in the evening; but Gowing sent round a little
note saying he hoped I would excuse his not turning up, which rather
amused me. He added that his neck was still painful. Of
course, Burwin-Fosselton came, but Lupin never turned up, and imagine
my utter disgust when that man Padge actually came again, and not even
accompanied by Gowing. I was exasperated, and said: “Mr.
Padge, this is a surprise.” Dear Carrie, fearing
unpleasantness, said: “Oh! I suppose Mr. Padge has only come to
see the other Irving make-up.” Mr. Padge said: “That’s
right,” and took the best chair again, from which he never moved
the whole evening.
My only consolation is, he takes no supper, so he is not an expensive
guest, but I shall speak to Gowing about the matter. The Irving
imitations and conversations occupied the whole evening, till I was
sick of it. Once we had a rather heated discussion, which was
commenced by Cummings saying that it appeared to him that Mr. Burwin-Fosselton
was not only like Mr. Irving, but was in his judgment every way
as good or even better. I ventured to remark that
after all it was but an imitation of an original.
Cummings said surely some imitations were better than the originals.
I made what I considered a very clever remark: “Without an original
there can be no imitation.” Mr. Burwin-Fosselton said quite
impertinently: “Don’t discuss me in my presence, if you
please; and, Mr. Pooter, I should advise you to talk about what you
understand;” to which that cad Padge replied: “That’s
right.” Dear Carrie saved the whole thing by suddenly saying:
“I’ll be Ellen Terry.” Dear Carrie’s imitation
wasn’t a bit liked, but she was so spontaneous and so funny that
the disagreeable discussion passed off. When they left, I very
pointedly said to Mr. Burwin-Fosselton and Mr. Padge that we should
be engaged to-morrow evening.
December 17.—As I open my scribbling diary I find the words
“Oxford Michaelmas Term ends.” Why this should induce
me to indulge in retrospective I don’t know, but it does.
The last few weeks of my diary are of minimum interest. The breaking
off of the engagement between Lupin and Daisy Mutlar has made him a
different being, and Carrie a rather depressing companion. She
was a little dull last Saturday, and I thought to cheer her up by reading
some extracts from my diary; but she walked out of the room in the middle
of the reading, without a word. On her return, I said: “Did
my diary bore you, darling?”
She replied, to my surprise: “I really wasn’t listening,
dear. I was obliged to leave to give instructions to the laundress.
In consequence of some stuff she puts in the water, two more of Lupin’s
coloured shirts have run and he says he won’t wear them.”
I said: “Everything is Lupin. It’s all Lupin, Lupin,
Lupin. There was not a single button on my shirt yesterday, but
I made no complaint.”
Carrie simply replied: “You should do as all other men do,
and wear studs. In fact, I never saw anyone but you wear buttons
on the shirt-fronts.”
I said: “I certainly wore none yesterday, for there were none
Another thought that strikes me is that Gowing seldom calls in the
evening, and Cummings never does. I fear they don’t get
on well with Lupin.
December 24.—I am a poor man, but I would gladly give ten shillings to find out who sent me the insulting Christmas card I received this morning. I never insult people; why should they insult me? The worst part of the transaction is, that I find myself suspecting all my friends. The handwriting on the envelope is evidently disguised, being written sloping the wrong way. I cannot think either Gowing or Cummings would do such a mean thing. Lupin denied all knowledge of it, and I believe him; although I disapprove of his laughing and sympathising with the offender. Mr. Franching would be above such an act; and I don’t think any of the Mutlars would descend to such a course. I wonder if Pitt, that impudent clerk at the office, did it? Or Mrs. Birrell, the charwoman, or Burwin-Fosselton? The writing is too good for the former.
December 27.—I told Lupin I was expecting Gowing and Cummings
to drop in to-morrow evening for a quiet game. I was in hope the
boy would volunteer to stay in, and help to amuse them. Instead
of which, he said: “Oh, you had better put them off, as I have
asked Daisy and Frank Mutlar to come.” I said I could not
think of doing such a thing. Lupin said: “Then I will send
a wire, and put off Daisy.” I suggested that a post-card
or letter would reach her quite soon enough, and would not be so extravagant.
Carrie, who had listened to the above conversation with apparent
annoyance, directed a well-aimed shaft at Lupin. She said: “Lupin,
why do you object to Daisy meeting your father’s friends?
Is it because they are not good enough for her, or (which is equally
possible) she is not good enough for them?” Lupin
was dumbfounded, and could make no reply. When he left the room,
I gave Carrie a kiss of approval.