The Diary of a Nobody
Charles Pooter

February 12.—In the evening I spoke to Lupin about his engagement with Daisy Mutlar.  I asked if he had heard from her.  He replied: “No; she promised that old windbag of a father of hers that she would not communicate with me.  I see Frank Mutlar, of course; in fact, he said he might call again this evening.”  Frank called, but said he could not stop, as he had a friend waiting outside for him, named Murray Posh, adding he was quite a swell.  Carrie asked Frank to bring him in.

He was brought in, Gowing entering at the same time.  Mr. Murray Posh was a tall, fat young man, and was evidently of a very nervous disposition, as he subsequently confessed he would never go in a hansom cab, nor would he enter a four-wheeler until the driver had first got on the box with his reins in his hands.

On being introduced, Gowing, with his usual want of tact, said: “Any relation to ‘Posh’s three-shilling hats’?”  Mr. Posh replied: “Yes; but please understand I don’t try on hats myself.  I take no active part in the business.”  I replied: “I wish I had a business like it.”  Mr. Posh seemed pleased, and gave a long but most interesting history of the extraordinary difficulties in the manufacture of cheap hats.

Murray Posh evidently knew Daisy Mutlar very intimately from the way he was talking of her; and Frank said to Lupin once, laughingly: “If you don’t look out, Posh will cut you out!”  When they had all gone, I referred to this flippant conversation; and Lupin said, sarcastically: “A man who is jealous has no respect for himself.  A man who would be jealous of an elephant like Murray Posh could only have a contempt for himself.  I know Daisy.  She would wait ten years for me, as I said before; in fact, if necessary, she would wait twenty years for me.”

Charles Pooter

February 20.—The first thing that caught my eye on opening the Standard was—“Great Failure of Stock and Share Dealers!  Mr. Job Cleanands absconded!”  I handed it to Carrie, and she replied: “Oh! perhaps it’s for Lupin’s good.  I never did think it a suitable situation for him.”  I thought the whole affair very shocking.

Lupin came down to breakfast, and seeing he looked painfully distressed, I said: “We know the news, my dear boy, and feel very sorry for you.”  Lupin said: “How did you know? who told you?”  I handed him the Standard.  He threw the paper down, and said: “Oh I don’t care a button for that!  I expected that, but I did not expect this.”  He then read a letter from Frank Mutlar, announcing, in a cool manner, that Daisy Mutlar is to be married next month to Murray Posh.  I exclaimed, “Murray Posh!  Is not that the very man Frank had the impudence to bring here last Tuesday week?”  Lupin said: “Yes; the ‘Posh’s-three-shilling-hats’ chap.”

We all then ate our breakfast in dead silence.

In fact, I could eat nothing.  I was not only too worried, but I cannot and will not eat cushion of bacon.  If I cannot get streaky bacon, I will do without anything.

When Lupin rose to go I noticed a malicious smile creep over his face.  I asked him what it meant.  He replied: “Oh! only a little consolation—still it is a consolation.  I have just remembered that, by my advice, Mr. Murray Posh has invested £600 in Parachikka Chlorates!”

Charles Pooter

March 20.—To-day being the day on which Daisy Mutlar and Mr. Murray Posh are to be married, Lupin has gone with a friend to spend the day at Gravesend.  Lupin has been much cut-up over the affair, although he declares that he is glad it is off.  I wish he would not go to so many music-halls, but one dare not say anything to him about it.  At the present moment he irritates me by singing all over the house some nonsense about “What’s the matter with Gladstone?  He’s all right!  What’s the matter with Lupin?  He’s all right!”  I don’t think either of them is.  In the evening Gowing called, and the chief topic of conversation was Daisy’s marriage to Murray Posh.  I said: “I was glad the matter was at an end, as Daisy would only have made a fool of Lupin.”  Gowing, with his usual good taste, said: “Oh, Master Lupin can make a fool of himself without any assistance.”  Carrie very properly resented this, and Gowing had sufficient sense to say he was sorry.

Charles Pooter

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.

Charles Pooter

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 treachery.

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 you!”

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 biz!”

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 own.”

I said rather wearily: “But you have not told me your old friend’s name?”

Lupin said, with affected carelessness: “Oh didn’t I?  Well, I will.  It was Murray Posh.”

Charles Pooter

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 the question.

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 LupinCarrie 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.

Charles Pooter

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 read.

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.”

Charles Pooter

May 30.—I don’t know why it is, but I never anticipate with any pleasure the visits to our house of Mrs. James, of Sutton.  She is coming again to stay for a few days.  I said to Carrie this morning, as I was leaving: “I wish, dear Carrie, I could like Mrs. James better than I do.”

Carrie said: “So do I, dear; but as for years I have had to put up with Mr. Gowing, who is vulgar, and Mr. Cummings, who is kind but most uninteresting, I am sure, dear, you won’t mind the occasional visits of Mrs. James, who has more intellect in her little finger than both your friends have in their entire bodies.”

I was so entirely taken back by this onslaught on my two dear old friends, I could say nothing, and as I heard the ’bus coming, I left with a hurried kiss—a little too hurried, perhaps, for my upper lip came in contact with Carrie’s teeth and slightly cut it.  It was quite painful for an hour afterwards.  When I came home in the evening I found Carrie buried in a book on Spiritualism, called There is no Birth, by Florence Singleyet.  I need scarcely say the book was sent her to read by Mrs. James, of Sutton.  As she had not a word to say outside her book, I spent the rest of the evening altering the stair-carpets, which are beginning to show signs of wear at the edges.

Mrs. James arrived and, as usual, in the evening took the entire management of everything.  Finding that she and Carrie were making some preparations for table-turning, I thought it time really to put my foot down.  I have always had the greatest contempt for such nonsense, and put an end to it years ago when Carrie, at our old house, used to have séances every night with poor Mrs. Fussters (who is now dead).  If I could see any use in it, I would not care.  As I stopped it in the days gone by, I determined to do so now.

I said: “I am very sorry Mrs. James, but I totally disapprove of it, apart from the fact that I receive my old friends on this evening.”

Mrs. James said: “Do you mean to say you haven’t read There is no Birth?”  I said: “No, and I have no intention of doing so.”  Mrs. James seemed surprised and said: “All the world is going mad over the book.”  I responded rather cleverly: “Let it.  There will be one sane man in it, at all events.”

Mrs. James said she thought it was very unkind, and if people were all as prejudiced as I was, there would never have been the electric telegraph or the telephone.

I said that was quite a different thing.

Mrs. James said sharply: “In what way, pray—in what way?”

I said: “In many ways.”

Mrs. James said: “Well, mention one way.”

I replied quietly: “Pardon me, Mrs. James; I decline to discuss the matter.  I am not interested in it.”

Sarah at this moment opened the door and showed in Cummings, for which I was thankful, for I felt it would put a stop to this foolish table-turning.  But I was entirely mistaken; for, on the subject being opened again, Cummings said he was most interested in Spiritualism, although he was bound to confess he did not believe much in it; still, he was willing to be convinced.

I firmly declined to take any part in it, with the result that my presence was ignored.  I left the three sitting in the parlour at a small round table which they had taken out of the drawing-room.  I walked into the hall with the ultimate intention of taking a little stroll.  As I opened the door, who should come in but Gowing!

On hearing what was going on, he proposed that we should join the circle and he would go into a trance.  He added that he knew a few things about old Cummings, and would invent a few about Mrs. James.  Knowing how dangerous Gowing is, I declined to let him take part in any such foolish performance.  Sarah asked me if she could go out for half an hour, and I gave her permission, thinking it would be more comfortable to sit with Gowing in the kitchen than in the cold drawing-room.  We talked a good deal about Lupin and Mr. and Mrs. Murray Posh, with whom he is as usual spending the evening.  Gowing said: “I say, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Lupin if old Posh kicked the bucket.”

My heart gave a leap of horror, and I rebuked Gowing very sternly for joking on such a subject.  I lay awake half the night thinking of it—the other hall was spent in nightmares on the same subject.

Charles Pooter

June 3.—The laundress called, and said she was very sorry about the handkerchiefs, and returned ninepence.  I said, as the colour was completely washed out and the handkerchiefs quite spoiled, ninepence was not enough.  Carrie replied that the two handkerchiefs originally only cost sixpence, for she remembered bring them at a sale at the Holloway Bon Marché.  In that case, I insisted that threepence buying should be returned to the laundress.  Lupin has gone to stay with the Poshs for a few days.  I must say I feel very uncomfortable about it.  Carrie said I was ridiculous to worry about it.  Mr. Posh was very fond of Lupin, who, after all, was only a mere boy.

In the evening we had another séance, which, in some respects, was very remarkable, although the first part of it was a little doubtful.  Gowing called, as well as Cummings, and begged to be allowed to join the circle.  I wanted to object, but Mrs. James, who appears a good Medium (that is, if there is anything in it at all), thought there might be a little more spirit power if Gowing joined; so the five of us sat down.

The moment I turned out the gas, and almost before I could get my hands on the table, it rocked violently and tilted, and began moving quickly across the room.  Gowing shouted out: “Way oh! steady, lad, steady!”  I told Gowing if he could not behave himself I should light the gas, and put an end to the séance.

To tell the truth, I thought Gowing was playing tricks, and I hinted as much; but Mrs. James said she had often seen the table go right off the ground.  The spirit Lina came again, and said, “WARN” three or four times, and declined to explain.  Mrs. James said “Lina” was stubborn sometimes.  She often behaved like that, and the best thing to do was to send her away.

She then hit the table sharply, and said: “Go away, Lina; you are disagreeable.  Go away!”  I should think we sat nearly three-quarters of an hour with nothing happening.  My hands felt quite cold, and I suggested we should stop the séance.  Carrie and Mrs. James, as well as Cummings, would not agree to it.  In about ten minutes’ time there was some tilting towards me.  I gave the alphabet, and it spelled out S P O O F.  As I have heard both Gowing and Lupin use the word, and as I could hear Gowing silently laughing, I directly accused him of pushing the table.  He denied it; but, I regret to say, I did not believe him.

Gowing said: “Perhaps it means ‘Spook,’ a ghost.”

I said: “You know it doesn’t mean anything of the sort.”

Gowing said: “Oh! very well—I’m sorry I ‘spook,’” and he rose from the table.

No one took any notice of the stupid joke, and Mrs. James suggested he should sit out for a while.  Gowing consented and sat in the arm-chair.

The table began to move again, and we might have had a wonderful séance but for Gowing’s stupid interruptions.  In answer to the alphabet from Carrie the table spelt “NIPUL,” then the “WARN” three times.  We could not think what it meant till Cummings pointed out that “NIPUL” was Lupin spelled backwards.  This was quite exciting.  Carrie was particularly excited, and said she hoped nothing horrible was going to happen.

Mrs. James asked if “Lina” was the spirit.  The table replied firmly, “No,” and the spirit would not give his or her name.  We then had the message, “NIPUL will be very rich.”

Carrie said she felt quite relieved, but the word “WARN” was again spelt out.  The table then began to oscillate violently, and in reply to Mrs. James, who spoke very softly to the table, the spirit began to spell its name.  It first spelled “DRINK.”

Gowing here said: “Ah! that’s more in my line.”

I asked him to be quiet as the name might not be completed.

The table then spelt “WATER.”

Gowing here interrupted again, and said: “Ah! that’s not in my line.  Outside if you like, but not inside.”

Carrie appealed to him to be quiet.

The table then spelt “CAPTAIN,” and Mrs. James startled us by crying out, “Captain Drinkwater, a very old friend of my father’s, who has been dead some years.”

This was more interesting, and I could not help thinking that after all there must be something in Spiritualism.

Mrs. James asked the spirit to interpret the meaning of the word “Warn” as applied to “NIPUL.”  The alphabet was given again, and we got the word “BOSH.”

Gowing here muttered: “So it is.”

Mrs. James said she did not think the spirit meant that, as Captain Drinkwater was a perfect gentleman, and would never have used the word in answer to a lady’s question.  Accordingly the alphabet was given again.

This time the table spelled distinctly “POSH.”  We all thought of Mrs. Murray Posh and LupinCarrie was getting a little distressed, and as it was getting late we broke up the circle.

We arranged to have one more to-morrow, as it will be Mrs. James’ last night in town.  We also determined not to have Gowing present.

Cummings, before leaving, said it was certainly interesting, but he wished the spirits would say something about him.

Charles Pooter

July 1.—I find, on looking over my diary, nothing of any consequence has taken place during the last month.  To-day we lose Lupin, who has taken furnished apartments at Bayswater, near his friends, Mr. and Mrs. Murray Posh, at two guineas a week.  I think this is most extravagant of him, as it is half his salary.  Lupin says one never loses by a good address, and, to use his own expression, Brickfield Terrace is a bit “off.”  Whether he means it is “far off” I do not know.  I have long since given up trying to understand his curious expressions.  I said the neighbourhood had always been good enough for his parents.  His reply was: “It is no question of being good or bad.  There is no money in it, and I am not going to rot away my life in the suburbs.”

We are sorry to lose him, but perhaps he will get on better by himself, and there may be some truth in his remark that an old and a young horse can’t pull together in the same cart.

Gowing called, and said that the house seemed quite peaceful, and like old times.  He liked Master Lupin very well, but he occasionally suffered from what he could not help—youth.

Charles Pooter

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 the glass.

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 S.”

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.

Charles Pooter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I said I was pleased to hear it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Pooter

July 10.—The excitement and anxiety through which I have gone the last few days have been almost enough to turn my hair grey.  It is all but settled.  To-morrow the die will be cast.  I have written a long letter to Lupin—feeling it my duty to do so,—regarding his attention to Mrs. Posh, for they drove up to our house again last night.

The Diary of a Nobody is the fictitious diary of Charles Pooter, written by George Grossmith and originally serialised in Punch magazine in 1888 and 1889.
The text of this version is taken from the Gutenberg etext, and the weblog format was engineered by Kevan Davis (initially a straight weblog in 2004, then rewritten as an auto RSS generator in April 2007).