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.
December 28—Lupin, on coming down to breakfast, said to his
mother: “I have not put off Daisy and Frank, and should like them
to join Gowing and Cummings this evening.” I felt very pleased
with the boy for this. Carrie said, in reply: “I am glad
you let me know in time, as I can turn over the cold leg of mutton,
dress it with a little parsley, and no one will know it has been cut.”
She further said she would make a few custards, and stew some pippins,
so that they would be cold by the evening.
Finding Lupin in good spirits, I asked him quietly if he really had
any personal objection to either Gowing or Cummings. He replied:
“Not in the least. I think Cummings looks rather an ass,
but that is partly due to his patronising ‘the three-and-six-one-price
hat company,’ and wearing a reach-me-down frock-coat. As
for that perpetual brown velveteen jacket of Gowing’s—why,
he resembles an itinerant photographer.”
I said it was not the coat that made the gentleman; whereupon Lupin,
with a laugh, replied: “No, and it wasn’t much of a gentleman
who made their coats.”
We were rather jolly at supper, and Daisy made herself very agreeable,
especially in the earlier part of the evening, when she sang.
At supper, however, she said: “Can you make tee-to-tums with bread?”
and she commenced rolling up pieces of bread, and twisting them round
on the table. I felt this to be bad manners, but of course said
nothing. Presently Daisy and Lupin, to my disgust, began throwing
bread-pills at each other. Frank followed suit, and so did Cummings
and Gowing, to my astonishment. They then commenced throwing hard
pieces of crust, one piece catching me on the forehead, and making me
blink. I said: “Steady, please; steady!” Frank
jumped up and said: “Tum, tum; then the band played.”
I did not know what this meant, but they all roared, and continued
the bread-battle. Gowing suddenly seized all the parsley off the
cold mutton, and threw it full in my face. I looked daggers at
Gowing, who replied: “I say, it’s no good trying to look
indignant, with your hair full of parsley.” I rose from
the table, and insisted that a stop should be put to this foolery at
once. Frank Mutlar shouted: “Time, gentlemen, please! time!”
and turned out the gas, leaving us in absolute darkness.
I was feeling my way out of the room, when I suddenly received a
hard intentional punch at the back of my head. I said loudly:
“Who did that?” There was no answer; so I repeated
the question, with the same result. I struck a match, and lighted
the gas. They were all talking and laughing, so I kept my own
counsel; but, after they had gone, I said to Carrie; “The person
who sent me that insulting post-card at Christmas was here to-night.”
January 21.—I am very much concerned at Lupin having started
a pony-trap. I said: “Lupin, are you justified in this outrageous
extravagance?” Lupin replied: “Well, one must get
to the City somehow. I’ve only hired it, and can give it
up any time I like.” I repeated my question: “Are
you justified in this extravagance?” He replied: “Look
here, Guv., excuse me saying so, but you’re a bit out of date.
It does not pay nowadays, fiddling about over small things. I
don’t mean anything personal, Guv’nor. My boss says
if I take his tip, and stick to big things, I can make big money!”
I said I thought the very idea of speculation most horrifying.
Lupin said “It is not speculation, it’s a dead cert.”
I advised him, at all events, not to continue the pony and cart; but
he replied: “I made £200 in one day; now suppose I only
make £200 in a month, or put it at £100 a month, which is
ridiculously low—why, that is £1,250 a year. What’s
a few pounds a week for a trap?”
I did not pursue the subject further, beyond saying that I should
feel glad when the autumn came, and Lupin would be of age and responsible
for his own debts. He answered: “My dear Guv., I promise
you faithfully that I will never speculate with what I have not got.
I shall only go on Job Cleanands’ tips, and as he is in the ‘know’
it is pretty safe sailing.” I felt somewhat relieved.
Gowing called in the evening and, to my surprise, informed me that,
as he had made £10 by one of Lupin’s tips, he intended asking
us and the Cummings round next Saturday. Carrie and I said we
should be delighted.
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
He replied: “That’s not the question. The question
is whether an illness does not enable you to discover who are your true
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.”
January 26.—An extraordinary thing happened. Carrie and
I went round to Gowing’s, as arranged, at half-past seven.
We knocked and rang several times without getting an answer. At
last the latch was drawn and the door opened a little way, the chain
still being up. A man in shirt-sleeves put his head through and
said: “Who is it? What do you want?” I said: “Mr.
Gowing, he is expecting us.” The man said (as well as I
could hear, owing to the yapping of a little dog): “I don’t
think he is. Mr. Gowing is not at home.” I said: “He
will be in directly.”
With that observation he slammed the door, leaving Carrie and me
standing on the steps with a cutting wind blowing round the corner.
Carrie advised me to knock again. I did so, and then discovered
for the first time that the knocker had been newly painted, and the
paint had come off on my gloves—which were, in consequence, completely
I knocked at the door with my stick two or three times.
The man opened the door, taking the chain off this time, and began
abusing me. He said: “What do you mean by scratching the
paint with your stick like that, spoiling the varnish? You ought
to be ashamed of yourself.”
I said: “Pardon me, Mr. Gowing invited—”
He interrupted and said: “I don’t care for Mr. Gowing,
or any of his friends. This is my door, not Mr. Gowing’s.
There are people here besides Mr. Gowing.”
The impertinence of this man was nothing. I scarcely noticed
it, it was so trivial in comparison with the scandalous conduct of Gowing.
At this moment Cummings and his wife arrived. Cummings was
very lame and leaning on a stick; but got up the steps and asked what
the matter was.
The man said: “Mr. Gowing said nothing about expecting anyone.
All he said was he had just received an invitation to Croydon, and he
should not be back till Monday evening. He took his bag with him.”
With that he slammed the door again. I was too indignant with
Gowing’s conduct to say anything. Cummings looked white
with rage, and as he descended the steps struck his stick violently
on the ground and said: “Scoundrel!”
February 8.—It does seem hard I cannot get good sausages for
breakfast. They are either full of bread or spice, or are as red
as beef. Still anxious about the £20 I invested last week
by Lupin’s advice. However, Cummings has done the same.
February 9.—Exactly a fortnight has passed, and I have neither
seen nor heard from Gowing respecting his extraordinary conduct in asking
us round to his house, and then being out. In the evening Carrie
was engaged marking a half-dozen new collars I had purchased.
I’ll back Carrie’s marking against anybody’s.
While I was drying them at the fire, and Carrie was rebuking me for
scorching them, Cummings came in.
He seemed quite well again, and chaffed us about marking the collars.
I asked him if he had heard from Gowing, and he replied that he had
not. I said I should not have believed that Gowing could have
acted in such an ungentlemanly manner. Cummings said: “You
are mild in your description of him; I think he has acted like a cad.”
The words were scarcely out of his mouth when the door opened, and
Gowing, putting in his head, said: “May I come in?”
I said: “Certainly.” Carrie said very pointedly: “Well,
you are a stranger.” Gowing said: “Yes, I’ve
been on and off to Croydon during the last fortnight.” I
could see Cummings was boiling over, and eventually he tackled Gowing
very strongly respecting his conduct last Saturday week. Gowing
appeared surprised, and said: “Why, I posted a letter to you in
the morning announcing that the party was ‘off, very much off.’”
I said: “I never got it.” Gowing, turning to Carrie,
said: “I suppose letters sometimes miscarry, don’t
they, Mrs. Carrie?” Cummings sharply said: “This
is not a time for joking. I had no notice of the party being put
off.” Gowing replied: “I told Pooter in my note to
tell you, as I was in a hurry. However, I’ll inquire at
the post-office, and we must meet again at my place.” I
added that I hoped he would be present at the next meeting. Carrie
roared at this, and even Cummings could not help laughing.
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
Carrie said: “Mark my words, Charles, some misfortune is about
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.”
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
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.
March 21.—To-day I shall conclude my diary, for it is one of
the happiest days of my life. My great dream of the last few weeks—in
fact, of many years—has been realised. This morning came
a letter from Mr. Perkupp, asking me to take Lupin down to the office
with me. I went to Lupin’s room; poor fellow, he seemed
very pale, and said he had a bad headache. He had come back yesterday
from Gravesend, where he spent part of the day in a small boat on the
water, having been mad enough to neglect to take his overcoat with him.
I showed him Mr. Perkupp’s letter, and he got up as quickly as
possible. I begged of him not to put on his fast-coloured clothes
and ties, but to dress in something black or quiet-looking.
Carrie was all of a tremble when she read the letter, and all she
could keep on saying was: “Oh, I do hope it will be all
right.” For myself, I could scarcely eat any breakfast.
Lupin came down dressed quietly, and looking a perfect gentleman, except
that his face was rather yellow. Carrie, by way of encouragement
said: “You do look nice, Lupin.” Lupin replied: “Yes,
it’s a good make-up, isn’t it? A regular-downright-respectable-funereal-first-class-City-firm-junior-clerk.”
He laughed rather ironically.
In the hall I heard a great noise, and also Lupin shouting to Sarah
to fetch down his old hat. I went into the passage, and found
Lupin in a fury, kicking and smashing a new tall hat. I said:
“Lupin, my boy, what are you doing? How wicked of you!
Some poor fellow would be glad to have it.” Lupin replied:
“I would not insult any poor fellow by giving it to him.”
When he had gone outside, I picked up the battered hat, and saw inside
“Posh’s Patent.” Poor Lupin! I can forgive
him. It seemed hours before we reached the office. Mr. Perkupp
sent for Lupin, who was with him nearly an hour. He returned,
as I thought, crestfallen in appearance. I said: “Well,
Lupin, how about Mr. Perkupp?” Lupin commenced his song:
“What’s the matter with Perkupp? He’s all right!”
I felt instinctively my boy was engaged. I went to Mr. Perkupp,
but I could not speak. He said: “Well, Mr. Pooter, what
is it?” I must have looked a fool, for all I could say was:
“Mr. Perkupp, you are a good man.” He looked at me
for a moment, and said: “No, Mr. Pooter, you are the good
man; and we’ll see if we cannot get your son to follow such an
excellent example.” I said: “Mr. Perkupp, may I go
home? I cannot work any more to-day.”
My good master shook my hand warmly as he nodded his head.
It was as much as I could do to prevent myself from crying in the ’bus;
in fact, I should have done so, had my thoughts not been interrupted
by Lupin, who was having a quarrel with a fat man in the ’bus,
whom he accused of taking up too much room.
In the evening Carrie sent round for dear old friend Cummings and
his wife, and also to Gowing. We all sat round the fire, and in
a bottle of “Jackson Frères,” which Sarah fetched
from the grocer’s, drank Lupin’s health. I lay awake
for hours, thinking of the future. My boy in the same office as
myself—we can go down together by the ’bus, come home together,
and who knows but in the course of time he may take great interest in
our little home. That he may help me to put a nail in here or
a nail in there, or help his dear mother to hang a picture. In
the summer he may help us in our little garden with the flowers, and
assist us to paint the stands and pots. (By-the-by, I must get
in some more enamel paint.) All this I thought over and over again,
and a thousand happy thoughts beside. I heard the clock strike
four, and soon after fell asleep, only to dream of three happy people—Lupin,
dear Carrie, and myself.
April 20.—Cummings called, hobbling in with a stick, saying
he had been on his back for a week. It appears he was trying to
shut his bedroom door, which is situated just at the top of the staircase,
and unknown to him a piece of cork the dog had been playing with had
got between the door, and prevented it shutting; and in pulling the
door hard, to give it an extra slam, the handle came off in his hands,
and he fell backwards downstairs.
On hearing this, Lupin suddenly jumped up from the couch and rushed
out of the room sideways. Cummings looked very indignant, and
remarked it was very poor fun a man nearly breaking his back; and though
I had my suspicions that Lupin was laughing, I assured Cummings that
he had only run out to open the door to a friend he expected.
Cummings said this was the second time he had been laid up, and we had
never sent to inquire. I said I knew nothing about it. Cummings
said: “It was mentioned in the Bicycle News.”