January 5.—I can scarcely write the news. Mr. Perkupp
told me my salary would be raised £100! I stood gaping for
a moment unable to realise it. I annually get £10 rise,
and I thought it might be £15 or even £20; but £100
surpasses all belief. Carrie and I both rejoiced over our good
fortune. Lupin came home in the evening in the utmost good spirits.
I sent Sarah quietly round to the grocer’s for a bottle of champagne,
the same as we had before, “Jackson Frères.”
It was opened at supper, and I said to Lupin: “This is to celebrate
some good news I have received to-day.” Lupin replied: “Hooray,
Guv.! And I have some good news, also; a double event, eh?”
I said: “My boy, as a result of twenty-one years’ industry
and strict attention to the interests of my superiors in office, I have
been rewarded with promotion and a rise in salary of £100.”
Lupin gave three cheers, and we rapped the table furiously, which
brought in Sarah to see what the matter was. Lupin ordered us
to “fill up” again, and addressing us upstanding, said:
“Having been in the firm of Job Cleanands, stock and share-brokers,
a few weeks, and not having paid particular attention to the interests
of my superiors in office, my Guv’nor, as a reward to me, allotted
me £5 worth of shares in a really good thing. The result
is, to-day I have made £200.” I said: “Lupin,
you are joking.” “No, Guv., it’s the good old
truth; Job Cleanands put me on to Chlorates.”
February 11.—Feeling a little concerned about Lupin, I mustered
up courage to speak to Mr. Perkupp about him. Mr. Perkupp has
always been most kind to me, so I told him everything, including yesterday’s
adventure. Mr. Perkupp kindly replied: “There is no necessity
for you to be anxious, Mr. Pooter. It would be impossible for
a son of such good parents to turn out erroneously. Remember he
is young, and will soon get older. I wish we could find room for
him in this firm.” The advice of this good man takes loads
off my mind. In the evening Lupin came in.
After our little supper, he said: “My dear parents, I have
some news, which I fear will affect you considerably.” I
felt a qualm come over me, and said nothing. Lupin then said:
“It may distress you—in fact, I’m sure it will—but
this afternoon I have given up my pony and trap for ever.”
It may seem absurd, but I was so pleased, I immediately opened a bottle
of port. Gowing dropped in just in time, bringing with him a large
sheet, with a print of a tailless donkey, which he fastened against
the wall. He then produced several separate tails, and we spent
the remainder of the evening trying blindfolded to pin a tail on in
the proper place. My sides positively ached with laughter when
I went to bed.
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 8.—No events of any importance, except that Gowing strongly
recommended a new patent stylographic pen, which cost me nine-and-sixpence,
and which was simply nine-and-sixpence thrown in the mud. It has
caused me constant annoyance and irritability of temper. The ink
oozes out of the top, making a mess on my hands, and once at the office
when I was knocking the palm of my hand on the desk to jerk the ink
down, Mr. Perkupp, who had just entered, called out: “Stop that
knocking! I suppose that is you, Mr. Pitt?” That young
monkey, Pitt, took a malicious glee in responding quite loudly: “No,
sir; I beg pardon, it is Mr. Pooter with his pen; it has been going
on all the morning.” To make matters worse, I saw Lupin
laughing behind his desk. I thought it wiser to say nothing.
I took the pen back to the shop and asked them if they would take it
back, as it did not act. I did not expect the full price returned,
but was willing to take half. The man said he could not do that—buying
and selling were two different things. Lupin’s conduct during
the period he has been in Mr. Perkupp’s office has been most exemplary.
My only fear is, it is too good to last.
April 16.—The night of the East Acton Volunteer Ball.
On my advice, Carrie put on the same dress that she looked so beautiful
in at the Mansion House, for it had occurred to me, being a military
ball, that Mr. Perkupp, who, I believe, is an officer in the Honorary
Artillery Company, would in all probability be present. Lupin,
in his usual incomprehensible language, remarked that he had heard it
was a “bounders’ ball.” I didn’t ask him
what he meant though I didn’t understand. Where he gets
these expressions from I don’t know; he certainly doesn’t
learn them at home.
The invitation was for half-past eight, so I concluded if we arrived
an hour later we should be in good time, without being “unfashionable,”
as Mrs. James says. It was very difficult to find—the cabman
having to get down several times to inquire at different public-houses
where the Drill Hall was. I wonder at people living in such out-of-the-way
places. No one seemed to know it. However, after going up
and down a good many badly-lighted streets we arrived at our destination.
I had no idea it was so far from Holloway. I gave the cabman five
shillings, who only grumbled, saying it was dirt cheap at half-a-sovereign,
and was impertinent enough to advise me the next time I went to a ball
to take a ’bus.
Captain Welcut received us, saying we were rather late, but that
it was better late than never. He seemed a very good-looking gentleman
though, as Carrie remarked, “rather short for an officer.”
He begged to be excused for leaving us, as he was engaged for a dance,
and hoped we should make ourselves at home. Carrie took my arm
and we walked round the rooms two or three times and watched the people
dancing. I couldn’t find a single person I knew, but attributed
it to most of them being in uniform. As we were entering the supper-room
I received a slap on the shoulder, followed by a welcome shake of the
hand. I said: “Mr. Padge, I believe;” he replied,
I gave Carrie a chair, and seated by her was a lady who made herself
at home with Carrie at once.
There was a very liberal repast on the tables, plenty of champagne,
claret, etc., and, in fact, everything seemed to be done regardless
of expense. Mr. Padge is a man that, I admit, I have no particular
liking for, but I felt so glad to come across someone I knew, that I
asked him to sit at our table, and I must say that for a short fat man
he looked well in uniform, although I think his tunic was rather baggy
in the back. It was the only supper-room that I have been in that
was not over-crowded; in fact we were the only people there, everybody
being so busy dancing.
I assisted Carrie and her newly-formed acquaintance, who said her
name was Lupkin, to some champagne; also myself, and handed the bottle
to Mr. Padge to do likewise, saying: “You must look after yourself.”
He replied: “That’s right,” and poured out half a
tumbler and drank Carrie’s health, coupled, as he said, “with
her worthy lord and master.” We all had some splendid pigeon
pie, and ices to follow.
The waiters were very attentive, and asked if we would like some
more wine. I assisted Carrie and her friend and Mr. Padge, also
some people who had just come from the dancing-room, who were very civil.
It occurred to me at the time that perhaps some of the gentlemen knew
me in the City, as they were so polite. I made myself useful,
and assisted several ladies to ices, remembering an old saying that
“There is nothing lost by civility.”
The band struck up for the dance, and they all went into the ball-room.
The ladies (Carrie and Mrs. Lupkin) were anxious to see the dancing,
and as I had not quite finished my supper, Mr. Padge offered his arms
to them and escorted them to the ball-room, telling me to follow.
I said to Mr. Padge: “It is quite a West End affair,” to
which remark Mr. Padge replied: “That’s right.”
When I had quite finished my supper, and was leaving, the waiter
who had been attending on us arrested my attention by tapping me on
the shoulder. I thought it unusual for a waiter at a private ball
to expect a tip, but nevertheless gave a shilling, as he had been very
attentive. He smilingly replied: “I beg your pardon, sir,
this is no good,” alluding to the shilling. “Your
party’s had four suppers at 5s. a head, five ices at 1s., three
bottles of champagne at 11s. 6d., a glass of claret, and a sixpenny
cigar for the stout gentleman—in all £3 0s. 6d.!”
I don’t think I was ever so surprised in my life, and had only
sufficient breath to inform him that I had received a private invitation,
to which he answered that he was perfectly well aware of that; but that
the invitation didn’t include eatables and drinkables. A
gentleman who was standing at the bar corroborated the waiter’s
statement, and assured me it was quite correct.
The waiter said he was extremely sorry if I had been under any misapprehension;
but it was not his fault. Of course there was nothing to be done
but to pay. So, after turning out my pockets, I just managed to
scrape up sufficient, all but nine shillings; but the manager, on my
giving my card to him, said: “That’s all right.”
I don’t think I ever felt more humiliated in my life, and I
determined to keep this misfortune from Carrie, for it would entirely
destroy the pleasant evening she was enjoying. I felt there was
no more enjoyment for me that evening, and it being late, I sought Carrie
and Mrs. Lupkin. Carrie said she was quite ready to go, and Mrs.
Lupkin, as we were wishing her “Good-night,” asked Carrie
and myself if we ever paid a visit to Southend? On my replying
that I hadn’t been there for many years, she very kindly said:
“Well, why don’t you come down and stay at our place?”
As her invitation was so pressing, and observing that Carrie wished
to go, we promised we would visit her the next Saturday week, and stay
till Monday. Mrs. Lupkin said she would write to us to-morrow,
giving us the address and particulars of trains, etc.
When we got outside the Drill Hall it was raining so hard that the
roads resembled canals, and I need hardly say we had great difficulty
in getting a cabman to take us to Holloway. After waiting a bit,
a man said he would drive us, anyhow, as far as “The Angel,”
at Islington, and we could easily get another cab from there.
It was a tedious journey; the rain was beating against the windows and
trickling down the inside of the cab.
When we arrived at “The Angel” the horse seemed tired
out. Carrie got out and ran into a doorway, and when I came to
pay, to my absolute horror I remembered I had no money, nor had Carrie.
I explained to the cabman how we were situated. Never in my life
have I ever been so insulted; the cabman, who was a rough bully and
to my thinking not sober, called me every name he could lay his tongue
to, and positively seized me by the beard, which he pulled till the
tears came into my eyes. I took the number of a policeman (who
witnessed the assault) for not taking the man in charge. The policeman
said he couldn’t interfere, that he had seen no assault, and that
people should not ride in cabs without money.
We had to walk home in the pouring rain, nearly two miles, and when
I got in I put down the conversation I had with the cabman, word for
word, as I intend writing to the Telegraph for the purpose of
proposing that cabs should be driven only by men under Government control,
to prevent civilians being subjected to the disgraceful insult and outrage
that I had had to endure.
May 10.—Received a letter from Mr. Franching, of Peckham, asking
us to dine with him to-night, at seven o’clock, to meet Mr. Hardfur
Huttle, a very clever writer for the American papers. Franching
apologised for the short notice; but said he had at the last moment
been disappointed of two of his guests and regarded us as old friends
who would not mind filling up the gap. Carrie rather demurred
at the invitation; but I explained to her that Franching was very well
off and influential, and we could not afford to offend him. “And
we are sure to get a good dinner and a good glass of champagne.”
“Which never agrees with you!” Carrie replied, sharply.
I regarded Carrie’s observation as unsaid. Mr. Franching
asked us to wire a reply. As he had said nothing about dress in
the letter, I wired back: “With pleasure. Is it full dress?”
and by leaving out our name, just got the message within the sixpence.
Got back early to give time to dress, which we received a telegram
instructing us to do. I wanted Carrie to meet me at Franching’s
house; but she would not do so, so I had to go home to fetch her.
What a long journey it is from Holloway to Peckham! Why do people
live such a long way off? Having to change ’buses, I allowed
plenty of time—in fact, too much; for we arrived at twenty minutes
to seven, and Franching, so the servant said, had only just gone up
to dress. However, he was down as the clock struck seven; he must
have dressed very quickly.
I must say it was quite a distinguished party, and although we did
not know anybody personally, they all seemed to be quite swells.
Franching had got a professional waiter, and evidently spared no expense.
There were flowers on the table round some fairy-lamps and the effect,
I must say, was exquisite. The wine was good and there was plenty
of champagne, concerning which Franching said he himself, never wished
to taste better. We were ten in number, and a menû
card to each. One lady said she always preserved the menû
and got the guests to write their names on the back.
We all of us followed her example, except Mr. Huttle, who was of
course the important guest.
The dinner-party consisted of Mr. Franching, Mr. Hardfur Huttle,
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Hillbutter, Mrs. Field, Mr. and Mrs. Purdick, Mr.
Pratt, Mr. R. Kent, and, last but not least, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pooter.
Franching said he was sorry he had no lady for me to take in to dinner.
I replied that I preferred it, which I afterwards thought was a very
uncomplimentary observation to make.
I sat next to Mrs. Field at dinner. She seemed a well-informed
lady, but was very deaf. It did not much matter, for Mr. Hardfur
Huttle did all the talking. He is a marvellously intellectual
man and says things which from other people would seem quite alarming.
How I wish I could remember even a quarter of his brilliant conversation.
I made a few little reminding notes on the menû card.
One observation struck me as being absolutely powerful—though
not to my way of thinking of course. Mrs. Purdick happened to
say “You are certainly unorthodox, Mr. Huttle.” Mr.
Huttle, with a peculiar expression (I can see it now) said in a slow
rich voice: “Mrs. Purdick, ‘orthodox’ is a grandiloquent
word implying sticking-in-the-mud. If Columbus and Stephenson
had been orthodox, there would neither have been the discovery of America
nor the steam-engine.” There was quite a silence.
It appeared to me that such teaching was absolutely dangerous, and yet
I felt—in fact we must all have felt—there was no answer
to the argument. A little later on, Mrs. Purdick, who is Franching’s
sister and also acted as hostess, rose from the table, and Mr. Huttle
said: “Why, ladies, do you deprive us of your company so soon?
Why not wait while we have our cigars?”
The effect was electrical. The ladies (including Carrie) were
in no way inclined to be deprived of Mr. Huttle’s fascinating
society, and immediately resumed their seats, amid much laughter and
a little chaff. Mr. Huttle said: “Well, that’s a real
good sign; you shall not be insulted by being called orthodox any longer.”
Mrs. Purdick, who seemed to be a bright and rather sharp woman, said:
“Mr. Huttle, we will meet you half-way—that is, till you
get half-way through your cigar. That, at all events, will be
the happy medium.”
I shall never forget the effect the words, “happy medium,”
had upon him. He was brilliant and most daring in his interpretation
of the words. He positively alarmed me. He said something
like the following: “Happy medium, indeed. Do you know ‘happy
medium’ are two words which mean ‘miserable mediocrity’?
I say, go first class or third; marry a duchess or her kitchenmaid.
The happy medium means respectability, and respectability means insipidness.
Does it not, Mr. Pooter?”
I was so taken aback by being personally appealed to, that I could
only bow apologetically, and say I feared I was not competent to offer
an opinion. Carrie was about to say something; but she was interrupted,
for which I was rather pleased, for she is not clever at argument, and
one has to be extra clever to discuss a subject with a man like Mr.
He continued, with an amazing eloquence that made his unwelcome opinions
positively convincing: “The happy medium is nothing more or less
than a vulgar half-measure. A man who loves champagne and, finding
a pint too little, fears to face a whole bottle and has recourse to
an imperial pint, will never build a Brooklyn Bridge or an Eiffel Tower.
No, he is half-hearted, he is a half-measure—respectable—in
fact, a happy medium, and will spend the rest of his days in a suburban
villa with a stucco-column portico, resembling a four-post bedstead.”
We all laughed.
“That sort of thing,” continued Mr. Huttle, “belongs
to a soft man, with a soft beard with a soft head, with a made tie that
This seemed rather personal and twice I caught myself looking in
the glass of the cheffonière; for I had on a tie that
hooked on—and why not? If these remarks were not personal
they were rather careless, and so were some of his subsequent observations,
which must have made both Mr. Franching and his guests rather uncomfortable.
I don’t think Mr. Huttle meant to be personal, for he added; “We
don’t know that class here in this country: but we do in America,
and I’ve no use for them.”
Franching several times suggested that the wine should be passed
round the table, which Mr. Huttle did not heed; but continued as if
he were giving a lecture:
“What we want in America is your homes. We live on wheels.
Your simple, quiet life and home, Mr. Franching, are charming.
No display, no pretension! You make no difference in your dinner,
I dare say, when you sit down by yourself and when you invite us.
You have your own personal attendant—no hired waiter to breathe
on the back of your head.”
I saw Franching palpably wince at this.
Mr. Huttle continued: “Just a small dinner with a few good
things, such as you have this evening. You don’t insult
your guests by sending to the grocer for champagne at six shillings
I could not help thinking of “Jackson Frères”
“In fact,” said Mr. Huttle, “a man is little less
than a murderer who does. That is the province of the milksop,
who wastes his evening at home playing dominoes with his wife.
I’ve heard of these people. We don’t want them at
this table. Our party is well selected. We’ve no use
for deaf old women, who cannot follow intellectual conversation.”
All our eyes were turned to Mrs. Field, who fortunately, being deaf,
did not hear his remarks; but continued smiling approval.
“We have no representative at Mr. Franching’s table,”
said Mr. Huttle, “of the unenlightened frivolous matron, who goes
to a second class dance at Bayswater and fancies she is in Society.
Society does not know her; it has no use for her.”
Mr. Huttle paused for a moment and the opportunity was afforded for
the ladies to rise. I asked Mr. Franching quietly to excuse me,
as I did not wish to miss the last train, which we very nearly did,
by-the-by, through Carrie having mislaid the little cloth cricket-cap
which she wears when we go out.
It was very late when Carrie and I got home; but on entering the
sitting-room I said: “Carrie, what do you think of Mr. Hardfur
Huttle?” She simply answered: “How like Lupin!”
The same idea occurred to me in the train. The comparison kept
me awake half the night. Mr. Huttle was, of course, an older and
more influential man; but he was like Lupin, and it made me think
how dangerous Lupin would be if he were older and more influential.
I feel proud to think Lupin does resemble Mr. Huttle in some
ways. Lupin, like Mr. Huttle, has original and sometimes wonderful
ideas; but it is those ideas that are so dangerous. They make
men extremely rich or extremely poor. They make or break men.
I always feel people are happier who live a simple unsophisticated life.
I believe I am happy because I am not ambitious. Somehow
I feel that Lupin, since he has been with Mr. Perkupp, has become content
to settle down and follow the footsteps of his father. This is
May 13.—A terrible misfortune has happened: Lupin is discharged
from Mr. Perkupp’s office; and I scarcely know how I am writing
my diary. I was away from office last Sat., the first time I have
been absent through illness for twenty years. I believe I was
poisoned by some lobster. Mr. Perkupp was also absent, as Fate
would have it; and our most valued customer, Mr. Crowbillon, went to
the office in a rage, and withdrew his custom. My boy Lupin not
only had the assurance to receive him, but recommended him the firm
of Gylterson, Sons and Co. Limited. In my own humble judgment,
and though I have to say it against my own son, this seems an act of
This morning I receive a letter from Perkupp, informing me that Lupin’s
services are no longer required, and an interview with me is desired
at eleven o’clock. I went down to the office with an aching
heart, dreading an interview with Mr. Perkupp, with whom I have never
had a word. I saw nothing of Lupin in the morning. He had
not got up when it was time for me to leave, and Carrie said I should
do no good by disturbing him. My mind wandered so at the office
that I could not do my work properly.
As I expected, I was sent for by Mr. Perkupp, and the following conversation
ensued as nearly as I can remember it.
Mr. Perkupp said: “Good-morning, Mr. Pooter! This is
a very serious business. I am not referring so much to the dismissal
of your son, for I knew we should have to part sooner or later.
I am the head of this old, influential, and much-respected firm;
and when I consider the time has come to revolutionise the business,
I will do it myself.”
I could see my good master was somewhat affected, and I said: “I
hope, sir, you do not imagine that I have in any way countenanced my
son’s unwarrantable interference?” Mr. Perkupp rose
from his seat and took my hand, and said: “Mr. Pooter, I would
as soon suspect myself as suspect you.” I was so agitated
that in the confusion, to show my gratitude I very nearly called him
a “grand old man.”
Fortunately I checked myself in time, and said he was a “grand
old master.” I was so unaccountable for my actions that
I sat down, leaving him standing. Of course, I at once rose, but
Mr. Perkupp bade me sit down, which I was very pleased to do.
Mr. Perkupp, resuming, said: “You will understand, Mr. Pooter,
that the high-standing nature of our firm will not admit of our bending
to anybody. If Mr. Crowbillon chooses to put his work into other
hands—I may add, less experienced hands—it is not for us
to bend and beg back his custom.” “You shall
not do it, sir,” I said with indignation. “Exactly,”
replied Mr. Perkupp; “I shall not do it. But I was
thinking this, Mr. Pooter. Mr. Crowbillon is our most valued client,
and I will even confess—for I know this will not go beyond ourselves—that
we cannot afford very well to lose him, especially in these times, which
are not of the brightest. Now, I fancy you can be of service.”
I replied: “Mr. Perkupp, I will work day and night to serve
Mr. Perkupp said: “I know you will. Now, what I should
like you to do is this. You yourself might write to Mr. Crowbillon—you
must not, of course, lead him to suppose I know anything about your
doing so—and explain to him that your son was only taken on as
a clerk—quite an inexperienced one in fact—out of the respect
the firm had for you, Mr. Pooter. This is, of course, a fact.
I don’t suggest that you should speak in too strong terms of your
own son’s conduct; but I may add, that had he been a son of mine,
I should have condemned his interference with no measured terms.
That I leave to you. I think the result will be that Mr. Crowbillon
will see the force of the foolish step he has taken, and our firm will
neither suffer in dignity nor in pocket.”
I could not help thinking what a noble gentleman Mr. Perkupp is.
His manners and his way of speaking seem to almost thrill one with respect.
I said: “Would you like to see the letter before I send it?”
Mr. Perkupp said: “Oh no! I had better not. I am
supposed to know nothing about it, and I have every confidence in you.
You must write the letter carefully. We are not very busy; you
had better take the morning to-morrow, or the whole day if you like.
I shall be here myself all day to-morrow, in fact all the week, in case
Mr. Crowbillon should call.”
I went home a little more cheerful, but I left word with Sarah that
I could not see either Gowing or Cummings, nor in fact anybody, if they
called in the evening. Lupin came into the parlour for a moment
with a new hat on, and asked my opinion of it. I said I was not
in the mood to judge of hats, and I did not think he was in a position
to buy a new one. Lupin replied carelessly: “I didn’t
buy it; it was a present.”
I have such terrible suspicions of Lupin now that I scarcely like
to ask him questions, as I dread the answers so. He, however,
saved me the trouble.
He said: “I met a friend, an old friend, that I did not quite
think a friend at the time; but it’s all right. As he wisely
said, ‘all is fair in love and war,’ and there was no reason
why we should not be friends still. He’s a jolly, good,
all-round sort of fellow, and a very different stamp from that inflated
fool of a Perkupp.”
I said: “Hush, Lupin! Do not pray add insult to injury.”
Lupin said: “What do you mean by injury? I repeat, I
have done no injury. Crowbillon is simply tired of a stagnant
stick-in-the-mud firm, and made the change on his own account.
I simply recommended the new firm as a matter of biz—good old
I said quietly: “I don’t understand your slang, and at
my time of life have no desire to learn it; so, Lupin, my boy, let us
change the subject. I will, if it please you, try and be
interested in your new hat adventure.”
Lupin said: “Oh! there’s nothing much about it, except
I have not once seen him since his marriage, and he said he was very
pleased to see me, and hoped we should be friends. I stood a drink
to cement the friendship, and he stood me a new hat—one of his
I said rather wearily: “But you have not told me your old friend’s
Lupin said, with affected carelessness: “Oh didn’t I?
Well, I will. It was Murray Posh.”
May 14.—Lupin came down late, and seeing me at home all the
morning, asked the reason of it. Carrie and I both agreed it was
better to say nothing to him about the letter I was writing, so I evaded
Lupin went out, saying he was going to lunch with Murray Posh in
the City. I said I hoped Mr. Posh would provide him with a berth.
Lupin went out laughing, saying: “I don’t mind wearing
Posh’s one-priced hats, but I am not going to sell them.”
Poor boy, I fear he is perfectly hopeless.
It took me nearly the whole day to write to Mr. Crowbillon.
Once or twice I asked Carrie for suggestions; and although it seems
ungrateful, her suggestions were none of them to the point, while one
or two were absolutely idiotic. Of course I did not tell her so.
I got the letter off, and took it down to the office for Mr. Perkupp
to see, but he again repeated that he could trust me.
Gowing called in the evening, and I was obliged to tell him about
Lupin and Mr. Perkupp; and, to my surprise, he was quite inclined to
side with Lupin. Carrie joined in, and said she thought I was
taking much too melancholy a view of it. Gowing produced a pint
sample-bottle of Madeira, which had been given him, which he said would
get rid of the blues. I dare say it would have done so if there
had been more of it; but as Gowing helped himself to three glasses,
it did not leave much for Carrie and me to get rid of the blues with.
May 15.—A day of great anxiety, for I expected every moment
a letter from Mr. Crowbillon. Two letters came in the evening—one
for me, with “Crowbillon Hall” printed in large gold-and-red
letters on the back of the envelope; the other for Lupin, which I felt
inclined to open and read, as it had “Gylterson, Sons, and Co.
Limited,” which was the recommended firm. I trembled as
I opened Mr. Crowbillon’s letter. I wrote him sixteen pages,
closely written; he wrote me less than sixteen lines.
His letter was: “Sir,—I totally disagree with you.
Your son, in the course of five minutes’ conversation, displayed
more intelligence than your firm has done during the last five years.—Yours
faithfully, Gilbert E. Gillam O. Crowbillon.”
What am I to do? Here is a letter that I dare not show to Mr.
Perkupp, and would not show to Lupin for anything. The crisis
had yet to come; for Lupin arrived, and, opening his letter, showed
a cheque for £25 as a commission for the recommendation of Mr.
Crowbillon, whose custom to Mr. Perkupp is evidently lost for ever.
Cummings and Gowing both called, and both took Lupin’s part.
Cummings went so far as to say that Lupin would make a name yet.
I suppose I was melancholy, for I could only ask: “Yes, but what
sort of a name?”
May 16.—I told Mr. Perkupp the contents of the letter in a
modified form, but Mr. Perkupp said: “Pray don’t discuss
the matter; it is at an end. Your son will bring his punishment
upon himself.” I went home in the evening, thinking of the
hopeless future of Lupin. I found him in most extravagant spirits
and in evening dress. He threw a letter on the table for me to
To my amazement, I read that Gylterson and Sons had absolutely engaged
Lupin at a salary of £200 a year, with other advantages.
I read the letter through three times and thought it must have been
for me. But there it was—Lupin Pooter—plain enough.
I was silent. Lupin said: “What price Perkupp now?
You take my tip, Guv.—‘off’ with Perkupp and freeze
on to Gylterson, the firm of the future! Perkupp’s firm?
The stagnant dummies have been standing still for years, and now are
moving back. I want to go on. In fact I must go off,
as I am dining with the Murray Poshs to-night.”
In the exuberance of his spirits he hit his hat with his stick, gave
a loud war “Whoo-oop,” jumped over a chair, and took the
liberty of rumpling my hair all over my forehead, and bounced out of
the room, giving me no chance of reminding him of his age and the respect
which was due to his parent. Gowing and Cummings came in the evening,
and positively cheered me up with congratulations respecting Lupin.
Gowing said: “I always said he would get on, and, take my word,
he has more in his head than we three put together.”
Carrie said: “He is a second Hardfur Huttle.”
July 3, Sunday.—In the afternoon, as I was looking out of the
parlour window, which was open, a grand trap, driven by a lady, with
a gentleman seated by the side of her, stopped at our door. Not
wishing to be seen, I withdrew my head very quickly, knocking the back
of it violently against the sharp edge of the window-sash. I was
nearly stunned. There was a loud double-knock at the front door;
Carrie rushed out of the parlour, upstairs to her room, and I followed,
as Carrie thought it was Mr. Perkupp. I thought it was Mr. Franching.—I
whispered to Sarah over the banisters: “Show them into the drawing-room.”
Sarah said, as the shutters were not opened, the room would smell musty.
There was another loud rat-tat. I whispered: “Then show
them into the parlour, and say Mr. Pooter will be down directly.”
I changed my coat, but could not see to do my hair, as Carrie was occupying
Sarah came up, and said it was Mrs. Murray Posh and Mr. Lupin.
This was quite a relief. I went down with Carrie, and Lupin
met me with the remark: “I say, what did you run away from the
window for? Did we frighten you?”
I foolishly said: “What window?”
Lupin said: “Oh, you know. Shut it. You looked
as if you were playing at Punch and Judy.”
On Carrie asking if she could offer them anything, Lupin said: “Oh,
I think Daisy will take on a cup of tea. I can do with a B. and
I said: “I am afraid we have no soda.”
Lupin said: “Don’t bother about that. You just
trip out and hold the horse; I don’t think Sarah understands it.”
They stayed a very short time, and as they were leaving, Lupin said:
“I want you both to come and dine with me next Wednesday, and
see my new place. Mr. and Mrs. Murray Posh, Miss Posh (Murray’s
sister) are coming. Eight o’clock sharp. No one else.”
I said we did not pretend to be fashionable people, and would like
the dinner earlier, as it made it so late before we got home.
Lupin said: “Rats! You must get used to it. If
it comes to that, Daisy and I can drive you home.”
We promised to go; but I must say in my simple mind the familiar
way in which Mrs. Posh and Lupin addressed each other is reprehensible.
Anybody would think they had been children together. I certainly
should object to a six months’ acquaintance calling my
wife “Carrie,” and driving out with her.
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
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
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
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
July 11.—I find my eyes filling with tears as I pen the note
of my interview this morning with Mr. Perkupp. Addressing me,
he said: “My faithful servant, I will not dwell on the important
service you have done our firm. You can never be sufficiently
thanked. Let us change the subject. Do you like your house,
and are you happy where you are?”
I replied: “Yes, sir; I love my house and I love the neighbourhood,
and could not bear to leave it.”
Mr. Perkupp, to my surprise, said: “Mr. Pooter, I will purchase
the freehold of that house, and present it to the most honest and most
worthy man it has ever been my lot to meet.”
He shook my hand, and said he hoped my wife and I would be spared
many years to enjoy it. My heart was too full to thank him; and,
seeing my embarrassment, the good fellow said: “You need say nothing,
Mr. Pooter,” and left the office.
I sent telegrams to Carrie, Gowing, and Cummings (a thing I have
never done before), and asked the two latter to come round to supper.
On arriving home I found Carrie crying with joy, and I sent Sarah
round to the grocer’s to get two bottles of “Jackson Frères.”
My two dear friends came in the evening, and the last post brought
a letter from Lupin in reply to mine. I read it aloud to them
all. It ran: “My dear old Guv.,—Keep your hair on.
You are on the wrong tack again. I am engaged to be married to
‘Lillie Girl.’ I did not mention it last Thursday,
as it was not definitely settled. We shall be married in August,
and amongst our guests we hope to see your old friends Gowing and Cummings.
With much love to all, from The same old Lupin.”