The Diary of a Nobody
by George and Weedon Grossmith
Introduction by Mr. Pooter
Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences
of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see - because I
do not happen to be a 'Somebody' - why my diary should not be
interesting. My only regret is that I did not commence it when I
was a youth.
We settle down in our new home, and I resolve to keep a diary.
Tradesmen trouble us a bit, so does the scraper. The Curate calls
and pays me a great compliment.
My clear wife Carrie and I have just been a week in our new house,
"The Laurels," Brickfield Terrace, Holloway - a nice six-roomed
residence, not counting basement, with a front breakfast-parlour.
We have a little front garden; and there is a flight of ten steps
up to the front door, which, by-the-by, we keep locked with the
chain up. Cummings, Gowing, and our other intimate friends always
come to the little side entrance, which saves the servant the
trouble of going up to the front door, thereby taking her from her
work. We have a nice little back garden which runs down to the
railway. We were rather afraid of the noise of the trains at
first, but the landlord said we should not notice them after a bit,
and took 2 pounds off the rent. He was certainly right; and beyond
the cracking of the garden wall at the bottom, we have suffered no
After my work in the City, I like to be at home. What's the good
of a home, if you are never in it? "Home, Sweet Home," that's my
motto. I am always in of an evening. Our old friend Gowing may
drop in without ceremony; so may Cummings, who lives opposite. My
dear wife Caroline and I are pleased to see them, if they like to
drop in on us. But Carrie and I can manage to pass our evenings
together without friends. There is always something to be done: a
tin-tack here, a Venetian blind to put straight, a fan to nail up,
or part of a carpet to nail down - all of which I can do with my
pipe in my mouth; while Carrie is not above putting a button on a
shirt, mending a pillow-case, or practising the "Sylvia Gavotte" on
our new cottage piano (on the three years' system), manufactured by
W. Bilkson (in small letters), from Collard and Collard (in very
large letters). It is also a great comfort to us to know that our
boy Willie is getting on so well in the Bank at Oldham. We should
like to see more of him. Now for my diary:-
April 3. - Tradesmen called for custom, and I promised Farmerson,
the ironmonger, to give him a turn if I wanted any nails or tools.
By-the-by, that reminds me there is no key to our bedroom door, and
the bells must be seen to. The parlour bell is broken, and the
front door rings up in the servant's bedroom, which is ridiculous.
Dear friend Gowing dropped in, but wouldn't stay, saying there was
an infernal smell of paint.
April 4. Tradesmen still calling; Carrie being out, I arranged to
deal with Horwin, who seemed a civil butcher with a nice clean
shop. Ordered a shoulder of mutton for to-morrow, to give him a
trial. Carrie arranged with Borset, the butterman, and ordered a
pound of fresh butter, and a pound and a half of salt ditto for
kitchen, and a shilling's worth of eggs. In the evening, Cummings
unexpectedly dropped in to show me a meerschaum pipe he had won in
a raffle in the City, and told me to handle it carefully, as it
would spoil the colouring if the hand was moist. He said he
wouldn't stay, as he didn't care much for the smell of the paint,
and fell over the scraper as he went out. Must get the scraper
removed, or else I shall get into a SCRAPE. I don't often make
April 5. - Two shoulders of mutton arrived, Carrie having arranged
with another butcher without consulting me. Gowing called, and
fell over scraper coming in. MUST get that scraper removed.
April 6. - Eggs for breakfast simply shocking; sent them back to
Borset with my compliments, and he needn't call any more for
orders. Couldn't find umbrella, and though it was pouring with
rain, had to go without it. Sarah said Mr. Gowing must have took
it by mistake last night, as there was a stick in the 'all that
didn't belong to nobody. In the evening, hearing someone talking
in a loud voice to the servant in the downstairs hall, I went out
to see who it was, and was surprised to find it was Borset, the
butterman, who was both drunk and offensive. Borset, on seeing me,
said he would be hanged if he would ever serve City clerks any more
- the game wasn't worth the candle. I restrained my feelings, and
quietly remarked that I thought it was POSSIBLE for a city clerk to
be a GENTLEMAN. He replied he was very glad to hear it, and wanted
to know whether I had ever come across one, for HE hadn't. He left
the house, slamming the door after him, which nearly broke the
fanlight; and I heard him fall over the scraper, which made me feel
glad I hadn't removed it. When he had gone, I thought of a
splendid answer I ought to have given him. However, I will keep it
for another occasion.
April 7. - Being Saturday, I looked forward to being home early,
and putting a few things straight; but two of our principals at the
office were absent through illness, and I did not get home till
seven. Found Borset waiting. He had been three times during the
day to apologise for his conduct last night. He said he was unable
to take his Bank Holiday last Monday, and took it last night
instead. He begged me to accept his apology, and a pound of fresh
butter. He seems, after all, a decent sort of fellow; so I gave
him an order for some fresh eggs, with a request that on this
occasion they SHOULD be fresh. I am afraid we shall have to get
some new stair-carpets after all; our old ones are not quite wide
enough to meet the paint on either side. Carrie suggests that we
might ourselves broaden the paint. I will see if we can match the
colour (dark chocolate) on Monday.
April 8, Sunday. - After Church, the Curate came back with us. I
sent Carrie in to open front door, which we do not use except on
special occasions. She could not get it open, and after all my
display, I had to take the Curate (whose name, by-the-by, I did not
catch,) round the side entrance. He caught his foot in the
scraper, and tore the bottom of his trousers. Most annoying, as
Carrie could not well offer to repair them on a Sunday. After
dinner, went to sleep. Took a walk round the garden, and
discovered a beautiful spot for sowing mustard-and-cress and
radishes. Went to Church again in the evening: walked back with
the Curate. Carrie noticed he had got on the same pair of
trousers, only repaired. He wants me to take round the plate,
which I think a great compliment.
Tradesmen and the scraper still troublesome. Gowing rather
tiresome with his complaints of the paint. I make one of the best
jokes of my life. Delights of Gardening. Mr. Stillbrook, Gowing,
Cummings, and I have a little misunderstanding. Sarah makes me
look a fool before Cummings
April 9. - Commenced the morning badly. The butcher, whom we
decided NOT to arrange with, called and blackguarded me in the most
uncalled-for manner. He began by abusing me, and saying he did not
want my custom. I simply said: "Then what are you making all this
fuss about it for?" And he shouted out at the top of his voice, so
that all the neighbours could hear: "Pah! go along. Ugh! I could
buy up 'things' like you by the dozen!"
I shut the door, and was giving Carrie to understand that this
disgraceful scene was entirely her fault, when there was a violent
kicking at the door, enough to break the panels. It was the
blackguard butcher again, who said he had cut his foot over the
scraper, and would immediately bring an action against me. Called
at Farmerson's, the ironmonger, on my way to town, and gave him the
job of moving the scraper and repairing the bells, thinking it
scarcely worth while to trouble the landlord with such a trifling
Arrived home tired and worried. Mr. Putley, a painter and
decorator, who had sent in a card, said he could not match the
colour on the stairs, as it contained Indian carmine. He said he
spent half-a-day calling at warehouses to see if he could get it.
He suggested he should entirely repaint the stairs. It would cost
very little more; if he tried to match it, he could only make a bad
job of it. It would be more satisfactory to him and to us to have
the work done properly. I consented, but felt I had been talked
over. Planted some mustard-and-cress and radishes, and went to bed
April 10. - Farmerson came round to attend to the scraper himself.
He seems a very civil fellow. He says he does not usually conduct
such small jobs personally, but for me he would do so. I thanked
him, and went to town. It is disgraceful how late some of the
young clerks are at arriving. I told three of them that if Mr.
Perkupp, the principal, heard of it, they might be discharged.
Pitt, a monkey of seventeen, who has only been with us six weeks,
told me "to keep my hair on!" I informed him I had had the honour
of being in the firm twenty years, to which he insolently replied
that I "looked it." I gave him an indignant look, and said: "I
demand from you some respect, sir." He replied: "All right, go on
demanding." I would not argue with him any further. You cannot
argue with people like that. In the evening Gowing called, and
repeated his complaint about the smell of paint. Gowing is
sometimes very tedious with his remarks, and not always cautious;
and Carrie once very properly reminded him that she was present.
April 11. - Mustard-and-cress and radishes not come up yet. To-day
was a day of annoyances. I missed the quarter-to-nine 'bus to the
City, through having words with the grocer's boy, who for the
second time had the impertinence to bring his basket to the hall-
door, and had left the marks of his dirty boots on the fresh-
cleaned door-steps. He said he had knocked at the side door with
his knuckles for a quarter of an hour. I knew Sarah, our servant,
could not hear this, as she was upstairs doing the bedrooms, so
asked the boy why he did not ring the bell? He replied that he did
pull the bell, but the handle came off in his hand.
I was half-an-hour late at the office, a thing that has never
happened to me before. There has recently been much irregularity
in the attendance of the clerks, and Mr. Perkupp, our principal,
unfortunately choose this very morning to pounce down upon us
early. Someone had given the tip to the others. The result was
that I was the only one late of the lot. Buckling, one of the
senior clerks, was a brick, and I was saved by his intervention.
As I passed by Pitt's desk, I heard him remark to his neighbour:
"How disgracefully late some of the head clerks arrive!" This was,
of course, meant for me. I treated the observation with silence,
simply giving him a look, which unfortunately had the effect of
making both of the clerks laugh. Thought afterwards it would have
been more dignified if I had pretended not to have heard him at
all. Cummings called in the evening, and we played dominoes.
April 12. - Mustard-and-cress and radishes not come up yet. Left
Farmerson repairing the scraper, but when I came home found three
men working. I asked the meaning of it, and Farmerson said that in
making a fresh hole he had penetrated the gas-pipe. He said it was
a most ridiculous place to put the gas-pipe, and the man who did it
evidently knew nothing about his business. I felt his excuse was
no consolation for the expense I shall be put to.
In the evening, after tea, Gowing dropped in, and we had a smoke
together in the breakfast-parlour. Carrie joined us later, but did
not stay long, saying the smoke was too much for her. It was also
rather too much for me, for Gowing had given me what he called a
green cigar, one that his friend Shoemach had just brought over
from America. The cigar didn't look green, but I fancy I must have
done so; for when I had smoked a little more than half I was
obliged to retire on the pretext of telling Sarah to bring in the
I took a walk round the garden three or four times, feeling the
need of fresh air. On returning Gowing noticed I was not smoking:
offered me another cigar, which I politely declined. Gowing began
his usual sniffing, so, anticipating him, I said: "You're not
going to complain of the smell of paint again?" He said: "No, not
this time; but I'll tell you what, I distinctly smell dry rot." I
don't often make jokes, but I replied: "You're talking a lot of
DRY ROT yourself." I could not help roaring at this, and Carrie
said her sides quite ached with laughter. I never was so immensely
tickled by anything I have ever said before. I actually woke up
twice during the night, and laughed till the bed shook.
April 13. - An extraordinary coincidence: Carrie had called in a
woman to make some chintz covers for our drawing-room chairs and
sofa to prevent the sun fading the green rep of the furniture. I
saw the woman, and recognised her as a woman who used to work years
ago for my old aunt at Clapham. It only shows how small the world
April 14. - Spent the whole of the afternoon in the garden, having
this morning picked up at a bookstall for fivepence a capital
little book, in good condition, on GARDENING. I procured and sowed
some half-hardy annuals in what I fancy will be a warm, sunny
border. I thought of a joke, and called out Carrie. Carrie came
out rather testy, I thought. I said: "I have just discovered we
have got a lodging-house." She replied: "How do you mean?" I
said: "Look at the BOARDERS." Carrie said: "Is that all you
wanted me for?" I said: "Any other time you would have laughed at
my little pleasantry." Carrie said: "Certainly - AT ANY OTHER
TIME, but not when I am busy in the house." The stairs looked very
nice. Gowing called, and said the stairs looked ALL RIGHT, but it
made the banisters look ALL WRONG, and suggested a coat of paint on
them also, which Carrie quite agreed with. I walked round to
Putley, and fortunately he was out, so I had a good excuse to let
the banisters slide. By-the-by, that is rather funny.
April 15, Sunday. - At three o'clock Cummings and Gowing called for
a good long walk over Hampstead and Finchley, and brought with them
a friend named Stillbrook. We walked and chatted together, except
Stillbrook, who was always a few yards behind us staring at the
ground and cutting at the grass with his stick.
As it was getting on for five, we four held a consultation, and
Gowing suggested that we should make for "The Cow and Hedge" and
get some tea. Stillbrook said: "A brandy-and-soda was good enough
for him." I reminded them that all public-houses were closed till
six o'clock. Stillbrook said, "That's all right - BONA-FIDE
We arrived; and as I was trying to pass, the man in charge of the
gate said: "Where from?" I replied: "Holloway." He immediately
put up his arm, and declined to let me pass. I turned back for a
moment, when I saw Stillbrook, closely followed by Cummings and
Gowing, make for the entrance. I watched them, and thought I would
have a good laugh at their expense, I heard the porter say: "Where
from?" When, to my surprise, in fact disgust, Stillbrook replied:
"Blackheath," and the three were immediately admitted.
Gowing called to me across the gate, and said: "We shan't be a
minute." I waited for them the best part of an hour. When they
appeared they were all in most excellent spirits, and the only one
who made an effort to apologise was Mr. Stillbrook, who said to me:
"It was very rough on you to be kept waiting, but we had another
spin for S. and B.'s." I walked home in silence; I couldn't speak
to them. I felt very dull all the evening, but deemed it advisable
NOT to say anything to Carrie about the matter.
April 16. - After business, set to work in the garden. When it got
dark I wrote to Cummings and Gowing (who neither called, for a
wonder; perhaps they were ashamed of themselves) about yesterday's
adventure at "The Cow and Hedge." Afterwards made up my mind not
to write YET.
April 17. - Thought I would write a kind little note to Gowing and
Cummings about last Sunday, and warning them against Mr.
Stillbrook. Afterwards, thinking the matter over, tore up the
letters and determined not to WRITE at all, but to SPEAK quietly to
them. Dumfounded at receiving a sharp letter from Cummings, saying
that both he and Gowing had been waiting for an explanation of MY
(mind you, MY) extraordinary conduct coming home on Sunday. At
last I wrote: "I thought I was the aggrieved party; but as I
freely forgive you, you - feeling yourself aggrieved - should
bestow forgiveness on me." I have copied this VERBATIM in the
diary, because I think it is one of the most perfect and thoughtful
sentences I have ever written. I posted the letter, but in my own
heart I felt I was actually apologising for having been insulted.
April 18. - Am in for a cold. Spent the whole day at the office
sneezing. In the evening, the cold being intolerable, sent Sarah
out for a bottle of Kinahan. Fell asleep in the arm-chair, and
woke with the shivers. Was startled by a loud knock at the front
door. Carrie awfully flurried. Sarah still out, so went up,
opened the door, and found it was only Cummings. Remembered the
grocer's boy had again broken the side-bell. Cummings squeezed my
hand, and said: "I've just seen Gowing. All right. Say no more
about it." There is no doubt they are both under the impression I
While playing dominoes with Cummings in the parlour, he said: "By-
the-by, do you want any wine or spirits? My cousin Merton has just
set up in the trade, and has a splendid whisky, four years in
bottle, at thirty-eight shillings. It is worth your while laying
down a few dozen of it." I told him my cellars, which were very
small, were full up. To my horror, at that very moment, Sarah
entered the room, and putting a bottle of whisky, wrapped in a
dirty piece of newspaper, on the table in front of us, said:
"Please, sir, the grocer says he ain't got no more Kinahan, but
you'll find this very good at two-and-six, with twopence returned
on the bottle; and, please, did you want any more sherry? as he has
some at one-and-three, as dry as a nut!"
A conversation with Mr. Merton on Society. Mr. and Mrs. James, of
Sutton, come up. A miserable evening at the Tank Theatre.
Experiments with enamel paint. I make another good joke; but
Gowing and Cummings are unnecessarily offended. I paint the bath
red, with unexpected result.
April 19. - Cummings called, bringing with him his friend Merton,
who is in the wine trade. Gowing also called. Mr. Merton made
himself at home at once, and Carrie and I were both struck with him
immediately, and thoroughly approved of his sentiments.
He leaned back in his chair and said: "You must take me as I am;"
and I replied: "Yes - and you must take us as we are. We're
homely people, we are not swells."
He answered: "No, I can see that," and Gowing roared with
laughter; but Merton in a most gentlemanly manner said to Gowing:
"I don't think you quite understand me. I intended to convey that
our charming host and hostess were superior to the follies of
fashion, and preferred leading a simple and wholesome life to
gadding about to twopenny-halfpenny tea-drinking afternoons, and
living above their incomes."
I was immensely pleased with these sensible remarks of Merton's,
and concluded that subject by saying: "No, candidly, Mr. Merton,
we don't go into Society, because we do not care for it; and what
with the expense of cabs here and cabs there, and white gloves and
white ties, etc., it doesn't seem worth the money."
Merton said in reference to FRIENDS: "My motto is 'Few and True;'
and, by the way, I also apply that to wine, 'Little and Good.'"
Gowing said: "Yes, and sometimes 'cheap and tasty,' eh, old man?"
Merton, still continuing, said he should treat me as a friend, and
put me down for a dozen of his "Lockanbar" whisky, and as I was an
old friend of Gowing, I should have it for 36s., which was
considerably under what he paid for it.
He booked his own order, and further said that at any time I wanted
any passes for the theatre I was to let him know, as his name stood
good for any theatre in London.
April 20. - Carrie reminded me that as her old school friend, Annie
Fullers (now Mrs. James), and her husband had come up from Sutton
for a few days, it would look kind to take them to the theatre, and
would I drop a line to Mr. Merton asking him for passes for four,
either for the Italian Opera, Haymarket, Savoy, or Lyceum. I wrote
Merton to that effect.
April 21. - Got a reply from Merton, saying he was very busy, and
just at present couldn't manage passes for the Italian Opera,
Haymarket, Savoy, or Lyceum, but the best thing going on in London
was the BROWN BUSHES, at the Tank Theatre, Islington, and enclosed
seats for four; also bill for whisky.
April 23. - Mr. and Mrs. James (Miss Fullers that was) came to meat
tea, and we left directly after for the Tank Theatre. We got a
'bus that took us to King's Cross, and then changed into one that
took us to the "Angel." Mr. James each time insisted on paying for
all, saying that I had paid for the tickets and that was quite
We arrived at theatre, where, curiously enough, all our 'bus-load
except an old woman with a basket seemed to be going in. I walked
ahead and presented the tickets. The man looked at them, and
called out: "Mr. Willowly! do you know anything about these?"
holding up my tickets. The gentleman called to, came up and
examined my tickets, and said: "Who gave you these?" I said,
rather indignantly: "Mr. Merton, of course." He said: "Merton?
Who's he?" I answered, rather sharply: "You ought to know, his
name's good at any theatre in London." He replied: "Oh! is it?
Well, it ain't no good here. These tickets, which are not dated,
were issued under Mr. Swinstead's management, which has since
changed hands." While I was having some very unpleasant words with
the man, James, who had gone upstairs with the ladies, called out:
"Come on!" I went up after them, and a very civil attendant said:
"This way, please, box H." I said to James: "Why, how on earth
did you manage it?" and to my horror he replied: "Why, paid for it
This was humiliating enough, and I could scarcely follow the play,
but I was doomed to still further humiliation. I was leaning out
of the box, when my tie - a little black bow which fastened on to
the stud by means of a new patent - fell into the pit below. A
clumsy man not noticing it, had his foot on it for ever so long
before he discovered it. He then picked it up and eventually flung
it under the next seat in disgust. What with the box incident and
the tie, I felt quite miserable. Mr. James, of Sutton, was very
good. He said: "Don't worry - no one will notice it with your
beard. That is the only advantage of growing one that I can see."
There was no occasion for that remark, for Carrie is very proud of
To hide the absence of the tie I had to keep my chin down the rest
of the evening, which caused a pain at the back of my neck.
April 24. - Could scarcely sleep a wink through thinking of having
brought up Mr. and Mrs. James from the country to go to the theatre
last night, and his having paid for a private box because our order
was not honoured, and such a poor play too. I wrote a very
satirical letter to Merton, the wine merchant, who gave us the
pass, and said, "Considering we had to pay for our seats, we did
our best to appreciate the performance." I thought this line
rather cutting, and I asked Carrie how many p's there were in
appreciate, and she said, "One." After I sent off the letter I
looked at the dictionary and found there were two. Awfully vexed
Decided not to worry myself any more about the James's; for, as
Carrie wisely said, "We'll make it all right with them by asking
them up from Sutton one evening next week to play at Bezique."
April 25. - In consequence of Brickwell telling me his wife was
working wonders with the new Pinkford's enamel paint, I determined
to try it. I bought two tins of red on my way home. I hastened
through tea, went into the garden and painted some flower-pots. I
called out Carrie, who said: "You've always got some newfangled
craze;" but she was obliged to admit that the flower-pots looked
remarkably well. Went upstairs into the servant's bedroom and
painted her washstand, towel-horse, and chest of drawers. To my
mind it was an extraordinary improvement, but as an example of the
ignorance of the lower classes in the matter of taste, our servant,
Sarah, on seeing them, evinced no sign of pleasure, but merely said
"she thought they looked very well as they was before."
April 26. - Got some more red enamel paint (red, to my mind, being
the best colour), and painted the coal-scuttle, and the backs of
our SHAKSPEARE, the binding of which had almost worn out.
April 27. - Painted the bath red, and was delighted with the
result. Sorry to say Carrie was not, in fact we had a few words
about it. She said I ought to have consulted her, and she had
never heard of such a thing as a bath being painted red. I
replied: "It's merely a matter of taste."
Fortunately, further argument on the subject was stopped by a voice
saying, "May I come in?" It was only Cummings, who said, "Your
maid opened the door, and asked me to excuse her showing me in, as
she was wringing out some socks." I was delighted to see him, and
suggested we should have a game of whist with a dummy, and by way
of merriment said: "You can be the dummy." Cummings (I thought
rather ill-naturedly) replied: "Funny as usual." He said he
couldn't stop, he only called to leave me the BICYCLE NEWS, as he
had done with it.
Another ring at the bell; it was Gowing, who said he "must
apologise for coming so often, and that one of these days we must
come round to HIM." I said: "A very extraordinary thing has
struck me." "Something funny, as usual," said Cummings. "Yes," I
replied; "I think even you will say so this time. It's concerning
you both; for doesn't it seem odd that Gowing's always coming and
Cummings' always going?" Carrie, who had evidently quite forgotten
about the bath, went into fits of laughter, and as for myself, I
fairly doubled up in my chair, till it cracked beneath me. I think
this was one of the best jokes I have ever made.
Then imagine my astonishment on perceiving both Cummings and Gowing
perfectly silent, and without a smile on their faces. After rather
an unpleasant pause, Cummings, who had opened a cigar-case, closed
it up again and said: "Yes - I think, after that, I SHALL be
going, and I am sorry I fail to see the fun of your jokes." Gowing
said he didn't mind a joke when it wasn't rude, but a pun on a
name, to his thinking, was certainly a little wanting in good
taste. Cummings followed it up by saying, if it had been said by
anyone else but myself, he shouldn't have entered the house again.
This rather unpleasantly terminated what might have been a cheerful
evening. However, it was as well they went, for the charwoman had
finished up the remains of the cold pork.
April 28. - At the office, the new and very young clerk Pitt, who
was very impudent to me a week or so ago, was late again. I told
him it would be my duty to inform Mr. Perkupp, the principal. To
my surprise, Pitt apologised most humbly and in a most gentlemanly
fashion. I was unfeignedly pleased to notice this improvement in
his manner towards me, and told him I would look over his
unpunctuality. Passing down the room an hour later. I received a
smart smack in the face from a rolled-up ball of hard foolscap. I
turned round sharply, but all the clerks were apparently riveted to
their work. I am not a rich man, but I would give half-a-sovereign
to know whether that was thrown by accident or design. Went home
early and bought some more enamel paint - black this time - and
spent the evening touching up the fender, picture-frames, and an
old pair of boots, making them look as good as new. Also painted
Gowing's walking-stick, which he left behind, and made it look like
April 29, Sunday. - Woke up with a fearful headache and strong
symptoms of a cold. Carrie, with a perversity which is just like
her, said it was "painter's colic," and was the result of my having
spent the last few days with my nose over a paint-pot. I told her
firmly that I knew a great deal better what was the matter with me
than she did. I had got a chill, and decided to have a bath as hot
as I could bear it. Bath ready - could scarcely bear it so hot. I
persevered, and got in; very hot, but very acceptable. I lay still
for some time.
On moving my hand above the surface of the water, I experienced the
greatest fright I ever received in the whole course of my life; for
imagine my horror on discovering my hand, as I thought, full of
blood. My first thought was that I had ruptured an artery, and was
bleeding to death, and should be discovered, later on, looking like
a second Marat, as I remember seeing him in Madame Tussaud's. My
second thought was to ring the bell, but remembered there was no
bell to ring. My third was, that there was nothing but the enamel
paint, which had dissolved with boiling water. I stepped out of
the bath, perfectly red all over, resembling the Red Indians I have
seen depicted at an East-End theatre. I determined not to say a
word to Carrie, but to tell Farmerson to come on Monday and paint
the bath white.
The ball at the Mansion House.
April 30. - Perfectly astounded at receiving an invitation for
Carrie and myself from the Lord and Lady Mayoress to the Mansion
House, to "meet the Representatives of Trades and Commerce." My
heart beat like that of a schoolboy's. Carrie and I read the
invitation over two or three times. I could scarcely eat my
breakfast. I said - and I felt it from the bottom of my heart, -
"Carrie darling, I was a proud man when I led you down the aisle of
the church on our wedding-day; that pride will be equalled, if not
surpassed, when I lead my dear, pretty wife up to the Lord and Lady
Mayoress at the Mansion House." I saw the tears in Carrie's eyes,
and she said: "Charlie dear, it is I who have to be proud of you.
And I am very, very proud of you. You have called me pretty; and
as long as I am pretty in your eyes, I am happy. You, dear old
Charlie, are not handsome, but you are GOOD, which is far more
noble." I gave her a kiss, and she said: "I wonder if there will
be any dancing? I have not danced with you for years."
I cannot tell what induced me to do it, but I seized her round the
waist, and we were silly enough to be executing a wild kind of
polka when Sarah entered, grinning, and said: "There is a man,
mum, at the door who wants to know if you want any good coals."
Most annoyed at this. Spent the evening in answering, and tearing
up again, the reply to the Mansion House, having left word with
Sarah if Gowing or Cummings called we were not at home. Must
consult Mr. Perkupp how to answer the Lord Mayor's invitation.
May 1. - Carrie said: "I should like to send mother the invitation
to look at." I consented, as soon as I had answered it. I told
Mr. Perkupp, at the office, with a feeling of pride, that we had
received an invitation to the Mansion House; and he said, to my
astonishment, that he himself gave in my name to the Lord Mayor's
secretary. I felt this rather discounted the value of the
invitation, but I thanked him; and in reply to me, he described how
I was to answer it. I felt the reply was too simple; but of course
Mr. Perkupp knows best.
May 2. - Sent my dress-coat and trousers to the little tailor's
round the corner, to have the creases taken out. Told Gowing not
to call next Monday, as we were going to the Mansion House. Sent
similar note to Cummings.
May 3. - Carrie went to Mrs. James, at Sutton, to consult about her
dress for next Monday. While speaking incidentally to Spotch, one
of our head clerks, about the Mansion House, he said: "Oh, I'm
asked, but don't think I shall go." When a vulgar man like Spotch
is asked, I feel my invitation is considerably discounted. In the
evening, while I was out, the little tailor brought round my coat
and trousers, and because Sarah had not a shilling to pay for the
pressing, he took them away again.
May 4. - Carrie's mother returned the Lord Mayor's invitation,
which was sent to her to look at, with apologies for having upset a
glass of port over it. I was too angry to say anything.
May 5. - Bought a pair of lavender kid-gloves for next Monday, and
two white ties, in case one got spoiled in the tying.
May 6, Sunday. - A very dull sermon, during which, I regret to say,
I twice thought of the Mansion House reception to-morrow.
May 7. - A big red-letter day; viz., the Lord Mayor's reception.
The whole house upset. I had to get dressed at half-past six, as
Carrie wanted the room to herself. Mrs. James had come up from
Sutton to help Carrie; so I could not help thinking it unreasonable
that she should require the entire attention of Sarah, the servant,
as well. Sarah kept running out of the house to fetch "something
for missis," and several times I had, in my full evening-dress, to
answer the back-door.
The last time it was the greengrocer's boy, who, not seeing it was
me, for Sarah had not lighted the gas, pushed into my hands two
cabbages and half-a-dozen coal-blocks. I indignantly threw them on
the ground, and felt so annoyed that I so far forgot myself as to
box the boy's ears. He went away crying, and said he should
summons me, a thing I would not have happen for the world. In the
dark, I stepped on a piece of the cabbage, which brought me down on
the flags all of a heap. For a moment I was stunned, but when I
recovered I crawled upstairs into the drawing-room and on looking
into the chimney-glass discovered that my chin was bleeding, my
shirt smeared with the coal-blocks, and my left trouser torn at the
However, Mrs. James brought me down another shirt, which I changed
in the drawing-room. I put a piece of court-plaster on my chin,
and Sarah very neatly sewed up the tear at the knee. At nine
o'clock Carrie swept into the room, looking like a queen. Never
have I seen her look so lovely, or so distinguished. She was
wearing a satin dress of sky-blue - my favourite colour - and a
piece of lace, which Mrs. James lent her, round the shoulders, to
give a finish. I thought perhaps the dress was a little too long
behind, and decidedly too short in front, but Mrs. James said it
was E LA MODE. Mrs. James was most kind, and lent Carrie a fan of
ivory with red feathers, the value of which, she said, was
priceless, as the feathers belonged to the Kachu eagle - a bird now
extinct. I preferred the little white fan which Carrie bought for
three-and-six at Shoolbred's, but both ladies sat on me at once.
We arrived at the Mansion House too early, which was rather
fortunate, for I had an opportunity of speaking to his lordship,
who graciously condescended to talk with me some minutes; but I
must say I was disappointed to find he did not even know Mr.
Perkupp, our principal.
I felt as if we had been invited to the Mansion House by one who
did not know the Lord Mayor himself. Crowds arrived, and I shall
never forget the grand sight. My humble pen can never describe it.
I was a little annoyed with Carrie, who kept saying: "Isn't it a
pity we don't know anybody?"
Once she quite lost her head. I saw someone who looked like
Franching, from Peckham, and was moving towards him when she seized
me by the coat-tails, and said quite loudly: "Don't leave me,"
which caused an elderly gentleman, in a court-suit, and a chain
round him, and two ladies, to burst out laughing. There was an
immense crowd in the supper-room, and, my stars! it was a splendid
supper - any amount of champagne.
Carrie made a most hearty supper, for which I was pleased; for I
sometimes think she is not strong. There was scarcely a dish she
did not taste. I was so thirsty, I could not eat much. Receiving
a sharp slap on the shoulder, I turned, and, to my amazement, saw
Farmerson, our ironmonger. He said, in the most familiar way:
"This is better than Brickfield Terrace, eh?" I simply looked at
him, and said coolly: "I never expected to see you here." He
said, with a loud, coarse laugh: "I like that - if YOU, why not
ME?" I replied: "Certainly," I wish I could have thought of
something better to say. He said: "Can I get your good lady
anything?" Carrie said: "No, I thank you," for which I was
pleased. I said, by way of reproof to him: "You never sent to-day
to paint the bath, as I requested." Farmerson said: "Pardon me,
Mr. Pooter, no shop when we're in company, please."
Before I could think of a reply, one of the sheriffs, in full Court
costume, slapped Farmerson on the back and hailed him as an old
friend, and asked him to dine with him at his lodge. I was
astonished. For full five minutes they stood roaring with
laughter, and stood digging each other in the ribs. They kept
telling each other they didn't look a day older. They began
embracing each other and drinking champagne.
To think that a man who mends our scraper should know any member of
our aristocracy! I was just moving with Carrie, when Farmerson
seized me rather roughly by the collar, and addressing the sheriff,
said: "Let me introduce my neighbour, Pooter." He did not even
say "Mister." The sheriff handed me a glass of champagne. I felt,
after all, it was a great honour to drink a glass of wine with him,
and I told him so. We stood chatting for some time, and at last I
said: "You must excuse me now if I join Mrs. Pooter." When I
approached her, she said: "Don't let me take you away from
friends. I am quite happy standing here alone in a crowd, knowing
As it takes two to make a quarrel, and as it was neither the time
nor the place for it, I gave my arm to Carrie, and said: "I hope
my darling little wife will dance with me, if only for the sake of
saying we had danced at the Mansion House as guests of the Lord
Mayor." Finding the dancing after supper was less formal, and
knowing how much Carrie used to admire my dancing in the days gone
by, I put my arm round her waist and we commenced a waltz.
A most unfortunate accident occurred. I had got on a new pair of
boots. Foolishly, I had omitted to take Carrie's advice; namely,
to scratch the soles of them with the points of the scissors or to
put a little wet on them. I had scarcely started when, like
lightning, my left foot slipped away and I came down, the side of
my head striking the floor with such violence that for a second or
two I did not know what had happened. I needly hardly say that
Carrie fell with me with equal violence, breaking the comb in her
hair and grazing her elbow.
There was a roar of laughter, which was immediately checked when
people found that we had really hurt ourselves. A gentleman
assisted Carrie to a seat, and I expressed myself pretty strongly
on the danger of having a plain polished floor with no carpet or
drugget to prevent people slipping. The gentleman, who said his
name was Darwitts, insisted on escorting Carrie to have a glass of
wine, an invitation which I was pleased to allow Carrie to accept.
I followed, and met Farmerson, who immediately said, in his loud
voice "Oh, are you the one who went down?"
I answered with an indignant look.
With execrable taste, he said: "Look here, old man, we are too old
for this game. We must leave these capers to the youngsters. Come
and have another glass, that is more in our line."
Although I felt I was buying his silence by accepting, we followed
the others into the supper-room.
Neither Carrie nor I, after our unfortunate mishap, felt inclined
to stay longer. As we were departing, Farmerson said: "Are you
going? if so, you might give me a lift."
I thought it better to consent, but wish I had first consulted
After the Mansion House Ball. Carrie offended. Gowing also
offended. A pleasant party at the Cummings'. Mr. Franching, of
Peckham, visits us.
May 8. - I woke up with a most terrible head-ache. I could
scarcely see, and the back of my neck was as if I had given it a
crick. I thought first of sending for a doctor; but I did not
think it necessary. When up, I felt faint, and went to Brownish's,
the chemist, who gave me a draught. So bad at the office, had to
get leave to come home. Went to another chemist in the City, and I
got a draught. Brownish's dose seems to have made me worse; have
eaten nothing all day. To make matters worse, Carrie, every time I
spoke to her, answered me sharply - that is, when she answered at
In the evening I felt very much worse again and said to her: "I do
believe I've been poisoned by the lobster mayonnaise at the Mansion
House last night;" she simply replied, without taking her eyes from
her sewing: "Champagne never did agree with you." I felt
irritated, and said: "What nonsense you talk; I only had a glass
and a half, and you know as well as I do - " Before I could
complete the sentence she bounced out of the room. I sat over an
hour waiting for her to return; but as she did not, I determined I
would go to bed. I discovered Carrie had gone to bed without even
saying "good-night"; leaving me to bar the scullery door and feed
the cat. I shall certainly speak to her about this in the morning.
May 9. - Still a little shaky, with black specks. The BLACKFRIARS
BI-WEEKLY NEWS contains a long list of the guests at the Mansion
House Ball. Disappointed to find our names omitted, though
Farmerson's is in plainly enough with M.L.L. after it, whatever
that may mean. More than vexed, because we had ordered a dozen
copies to send to our friends. Wrote to the BLACKFRIARS BI-WEEKLY
NEWS, pointing out their omission.
Carrie had commenced her breakfast when I entered the parlour. I
helped myself to a cup of tea, and I said, perfectly calmly and
quietly: "Carrie, I wish a little explanation of your conduct last
She replied, "Indeed! and I desire something more than a little
explanation of your conduct the night before."
I said, coolly: "Really, I don't understand you."
Carrie said sneeringly: "Probably not; you were scarcely in a
condition to understand anything."
I was astounded at this insinuation and simply ejaculated:
She said: "Don't be theatrical, it has no effect on me. Reserve
that tone for your new friend, Mister Farmerson, the ironmonger."
I was about to speak, when Carrie, in a temper such as I have never
seen her in before, told me to hold my tongue. She said: "Now I'M
going to say something! After professing to snub Mr. Farmerson,
you permit him to snub YOU, in my presence, and then accept his
invitation to take a glass of champagne with you, and you don't
limit yourself to one glass. You then offer this vulgar man, who
made a bungle of repairing our scraper, a seat in our cab on the
way home. I say nothing about his tearing my dress in getting in
the cab, nor of treading on Mrs. James's expensive fan, which you
knocked out of my hand, and for which he never even apologised; but
you smoked all the way home without having the decency to ask my
permission. That is not all! At the end of the journey, although
he did not offer you a farthing towards his share of the cab, you
asked him in. Fortunately, he was sober enough to detect, from my
manner, that his company was not desirable."
Goodness knows I felt humiliated enough at this; but, to make
matters worse, Gowing entered the room, without knocking, with two
hats on his head and holding the garden-rake in his hand, with
Carrie's fur tippet (which he had taken off the downstairs hall-
peg) round his neck, and announced himself in a loud, coarse voice:
"His Royal Highness, the Lord Mayor!" He marched twice round the
room like a buffoon, and finding we took no notice, said: "Hulloh!
what's up? Lovers' quarrel, eh?"
There was a silence for a moment, so I said quietly: "My dear
Gowing, I'm not very well, and not quite in the humour for joking;
especially when you enter the room without knocking, an act which I
fail to see the fun of."
Gowing said: "I'm very sorry, but I called for my stick, which I
thought you would have sent round." I handed him his stick, which
I remembered I had painted black with the enamel paint, thinking to
improve it. He looked at it for a minute with a dazed expression
and said: "Who did this?"
I said: "Eh, did what?"
He said: "Did what? Why, destroyed my stick! It belonged to my
poor uncle, and I value it more than anything I have in the world!
I'll know who did it."
I said: "I'm very sorry. I dare say it will come off. I did it
for the best."
Gowing said: "Then all I can say is, it's a confounded liberty;
and I WOULD add, you're a bigger fool than you look, only THAT'S
May 12. - Got a single copy of the BLACKFRIARS BI-WEEKLY NEWS.
There was a short list of several names they had omitted; but the
stupid people had mentioned our names as "Mr. and Mrs. C. Porter."
Most annoying! Wrote again and I took particular care to write our
name in capital letters, POOTER, so that there should be no
possible mistake this time.
May 16. - Absolutely disgusted on opening the BLACKFRIARS BI-WEEKLY
NEWS of to-day, to find the following paragraph: "We have received
two letters from Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pewter, requesting us to
announce the important fact that they were at the Mansion House
Ball." I tore up the paper and threw it in the waste-paper basket.
My time is far too valuable to bother about such trifles.
May 21. - The last week or ten days terribly dull, Carrie being
away at Mrs. James's, at Sutton. Cummings also away. Gowing, I
presume, is still offended with me for black enamelling his stick
without asking him.
May 22. - Purchased a new stick mounted with silver, which cost
seven-and-sixpence (shall tell Carrie five shillings), and sent it
round with nice note to Gowing.
May 23. - Received strange note from Gowing; he said: "Offended?
not a bit, my boy - I thought you were offended with me for losing
my temper. Besides, I found after all, it was not my poor old
uncle's stick you painted. It was only a shilling thing I bought
at a tobacconist's. However, I am much obliged to you for your
handsome present all same."
May 24. - Carrie back. Hoorah! She looks wonderfully well, except
that the sun has caught her nose.
May 25. - Carrie brought down some of my shirts and advised me to
take them to Trillip's round the corner. She said: "The fronts
and cuffs are much frayed." I said without a moment's hesitation:
"I'm 'FRAYED they are." Lor! how we roared. I thought we should
never stop laughing. As I happened to be sitting next the driver
going to town on the 'bus, I told him my joke about the "frayed"
shirts. I thought he would have rolled off his seat. They laughed
at the office a good bit too over it.
May 26. - Left the shirts to be repaired at Trillip's. I said to
him: "I'm 'FRAID they are FRAYED." He said, without a smile:
"They're bound to do that, sir." Some people seem to be quite
destitute of a sense of humour.
June 1. - The last week has been like old times, Carrie being back,
and Gowing and Cummings calling every evening nearly. Twice we sat
out in the garden quite late. This evening we were like a pack of
children, and played "consequences." It is a good game.
June 2. - "Consequences" again this evening. Not quite so
successful as last night; Gowing having several times overstepped
the limits of good taste.
June 4. - In the evening Carrie and I went round to Mr. and Mrs.
Cummings' to spend a quiet evening with them. Gowing was there,
also Mr. Stillbrook. It was quiet but pleasant. Mrs. Cummings
sang five or six songs, "No, Sir," and "The Garden of Sleep," being
best in my humble judgment; but what pleased me most was the duet
she sang with Carrie - classical duet, too. I think it is called,
"I would that my love!" It was beautiful. If Carrie had been in
better voice, I don't think professionals could have sung it
better. After supper we made them sing it again. I never liked
Mr. Stillbrook since the walk that Sunday to the "Cow and Hedge,"
but I must say he sings comic-songs well. His song: "We don't
Want the old men now," made us shriek with laughter, especially the
verse referring to Mr. Gladstone; but there was one verse I think
he might have omitted, and I said so, but Gowing thought it was the
best of the lot.
June 6. - Trillip brought round the shirts and, to my disgust, his
charge for repairing was more than I gave for them when new. I
told him so, and he impertinently replied: "Well, they are better
now than when they were new." I paid him, and said it was a
robbery. He said: "If you wanted your shirt-fronts made out of
pauper-linen, such as is used for packing and bookbinding, why
didn't you say so?"
June 7. - A dreadful annoyance. Met Mr. Franching, who lives at
Peckham, and who is a great swell in his way. I ventured to ask
him to come home to meat-tea, and take pot-luck. I did not think
he would accept such a humble invitation; but he did, saying, in a
most friendly way, he would rather "peck" with us than by himself.
I said: "We had better get into this blue 'bus." He replied: "No
blue-bussing for me. I have had enough of the blues lately. I
lost a cool 'thou' over the Copper Scare. Step in here."
We drove up home in style, in a hansom-cab, and I knocked three
times at the front door without getting an answer. I saw Carrie,
through the panels of ground-glass (with stars), rushing upstairs.
I told Mr. Franching to wait at the door while I went round to the
side. There I saw the grocer's boy actually picking off the paint
on the door, which had formed into blisters. No time to reprove
him; so went round and effected an entrance through the kitchen
window. I let in Mr. Franching, and showed him into the drawing-
room. I went upstairs to Carrie, who was changing her dress, and
told her I had persuaded Mr. Franching to come home. She replied:
"How can you do such a thing? You know it's Sarah's holiday, and
there's not a thing in the house, the cold mutton having turned
with the hot weather."
Eventually Carrie, like a good creature as she is, slipped down,
washed up the teacups, and laid the cloth, and I gave Franching our
views of Japan to look at while I ran round to the butcher's to get
July 30. - The miserable cold weather is either upsetting me or
Carrie, or both. We seem to break out into an argument about
absolutely nothing, and this unpleasant state of things usually
occurs at meal-times.
This morning, for some unaccountable reason, we were talking about
balloons, and we were as merry as possible; but the conversation
drifted into family matters, during which Carrie, without the
slightest reason, referred in the most uncomplimentary manner to my
poor father's pecuniary trouble. I retorted by saying that "Pa, at
all events, was a gentleman," whereupon Carrie burst out crying. I
positively could not eat any breakfast.
At the office I was sent for by Mr. Perkupp, who said he was very
sorry, but I should have to take my annual holidays from next
Saturday. Franching called at office and asked me to dine at his
club, "The Constitutional." Fearing disagreeables at home after
the "tiff" this morning, I sent a telegram to Carrie, telling her I
was going out to dine and she was not to sit up. Bought a little
silver bangle for Carrie.
July 31. - Carrie was very pleased with the bangle, which I left
with an affectionate note on her dressing-table last night before
going to bed. I told Carrie we should have to start for our
holiday next Saturday. She replied quite happily that she did not
mind, except that the weather was so bad, and she feared that Miss
Jibbons would not be able to get her a seaside dress in time. I
told Carrie that I thought the drab one with pink bows looked quite
good enough; and Carrie said she should not think of wearing it. I
was about to discuss the matter, when, remembering the argument
yesterday, resolved to hold my tongue.
I said to Carrie: "I don't think we can do better than 'Good old
Broadstairs.'" Carrie not only, to my astonishment, raised an
objection to Broadstairs, for the first time; but begged me not to
use the expression, "Good old," but to leave it to Mr. Stillbrook
and other GENTLEMEN of his type. Hearing my 'bus pass the window,
I was obliged to rush out of the house without kissing Carrie as
usual; and I shouted to her: "I leave it to you to decide." On
returning in the evening, Carrie said she thought as the time was
so short she had decided on Broadstairs, and had written to Mrs.
Beck, Harbour View Terrace, for apartments.
August 1. - Ordered a new pair of trousers at Edwards's, and told
them not to cut them so loose over the boot; the last pair being so
loose and also tight at the knee, looked like a sailor's, and I
heard Pitt, that objectionable youth at the office, call out
"Hornpipe" as I passed his desk. Carrie has ordered of Miss
Jibbons a pink Garibaldi and blue-serge skirt, which I always think
looks so pretty at the seaside. In the evening she trimmed herself
a little sailor-hat, while I read to her the EXCHANGE AND MART. We
had a good laugh over my trying on the hat when she had finished
it; Carrie saying it looked so funny with my beard, and how the
people would have roared if I went on the stage like it.
August 2. - Mrs. Beck wrote to say we could have our usual rooms at
Broadstairs. That's off our mind. Bought a coloured shirt and a
pair of tan-coloured boots, which I see many of the swell clerks
wearing in the City, and hear are all the "go."
August 3. - A beautiful day. Looking forward to to-morrow. Carrie
bought a parasol about five feet long. I told her it was
ridiculous. She said: "Mrs. James, of Sutton, has one twice as
long so;" the matter dropped. I bought a capital hat for hot
weather at the seaside. I don't know what it is called, but it is
the shape of the helmet worn in India, only made of straw. Got
three new ties, two coloured handkerchiefs, and a pair of navy-blue
socks at Pope Brothers. Spent the evening packing. Carrie told me
not to forget to borrow Mr. Higgsworth's telescope, which he always
lends me, knowing I know how to take care of it. Sent Sarah out
for it. While everything was seeming so bright, the last post
brought us a letter from Mrs. Beck, saying: "I have just let all
my house to one party, and am sorry I must take back my words, and
am sorry you must find other apartments; but Mrs. Womming, next
door, will be pleased to accommodate you, but she cannot take you
before Monday, as her rooms are engaged Bank Holiday week."
The Unexpected Arrival Home of our Son, Willie Lupin Pooter.
August 4. - The first post brought a nice letter from our dear son
Willie, acknowledging a trifling present which Carrie sent him, the
day before yesterday being his twentieth birthday. To our utter
amazement he turned up himself in the afternoon, having journeyed
all the way from Oldham. He said he had got leave from the bank,
and as Monday was a holiday he thought he would give us a little
August 5, Sunday. - We have not seen Willie since last Christmas,
and are pleased to notice what a fine young man he has grown. One
would scarcely believe he was Carrie's son. He looks more like a
younger brother. I rather disapprove of his wearing a check suit
on a Sunday, and I think he ought to have gone to church this
morning; but he said he was tired after yesterday's journey, so I
refrained from any remark on the subject. We had a bottle of port
for dinner, and drank dear Willie's health.
He said: "Oh, by-the-by, did I tell you I've cut my first name,
'William,' and taken the second name 'Lupin'? In fact, I'm only
known at Oldham as 'Lupin Pooter.' If you were to 'Willie' me
there, they wouldn't know what you meant."
Of course, Lupin being a purely family name, Carrie was delighted,
and began by giving a long history of the Lupins. I ventured to
say that I thought William a nice simple name, and reminded him he
was christened after his Uncle William, who was much respected in
the City. Willie, in a manner which I did not much care for, said
sneeringly: "Oh, I know all about that - Good old Bill!" and
helped himself to a third glass of port.
Carrie objected strongly to my saying "Good old," but she made no
remark when Willie used the double adjective. I said nothing, but
looked at her, which meant more. I said: "My dear Willie, I hope
you are happy with your colleagues at the Bank." He replied:
"Lupin, if you please; and with respect to the Bank, there's not a
clerk who is a gentleman, and the 'boss' is a cad." I felt so
shocked, I could say nothing, and my instinct told me there was
August 6, Bank Holiday. - As there was no sign of Lupin moving at
nine o'clock, I knocked at his door, and said we usually
breakfasted at half-past eight, and asked how long would he be?
Lupin replied that he had had a lively time of it, first with the
train shaking the house all night, and then with the sun streaming
in through the window in his eyes, and giving him a cracking
headache. Carrie came up and asked if he would like some breakfast
sent up, and he said he could do with a cup of tea, and didn't want
anything to eat.
Lupin not having come down, I went up again at half-past one, and
said we dined at two; he said he "would be there." He never came
down till a quarter to three. I said: "We have not seen much of
you, and you will have to return by the 5.30 train; therefore you
will have to leave in an hour, unless you go by the midnight mail."
He said: "Look here, Guv'nor, it's no use beating about the bush.
I've tendered my resignation at the Bank."
For a moment I could not speak. When my speech came again, I said:
"How dare you, sir? How dare you take such a serious step without
consulting me? Don't answer me, sir! - you will sit down
immediately, and write a note at my dictation, withdrawing your
resignation and amply apologising for your thoughtlessness."
Imagine my dismay when he replied with a loud guffaw: "It's no
use. If you want the good old truth, I've got the chuck!"
August 7. - Mr. Perkupp has given me leave to postpone my holiday a
week, as we could not get the room. This will give us an
opportunity of trying to find an appointment for Willie before we
go. The ambition of my life would be to get him into Mr. Perkupp's
August 11. - Although it is a serious matter having our boy Lupin
on our hands, still it is satisfactory to know he was asked to
resign from the Bank simply because "he took no interest in his
work, and always arrived an hour (sometimes two hours) late." We
can all start off on Monday to Broadstairs with a light heart.
This will take my mind off the worry of the last few days, which
have been wasted over a useless correspondence with the manager of
the Bank at Oldham.
August 13. - Hurrah! at Broadstairs. Very nice apartments near the
station. On the cliffs they would have been double the price. The
landlady had a nice five o'clock dinner and tea ready, which we all
enjoyed, though Lupin seemed fastidious because there happened to
be a fly in the butter. It was very wet in the evening, for which
I was thankful, as it was a good excuse for going to bed early.
Lupin said he would sit up and read a bit.
August 14. - I was a little annoyed to find Lupin, instead of
reading last night, had gone to a common sort of entertainment,
given at the Assembly Rooms. I expressed my opinion that such
performances were unworthy of respectable patronage; but he
replied: "Oh, it was only 'for one night only.' I had a fit of
the blues come on, and thought I would go to see Polly Presswell,
England's Particular Spark." I told him I was proud to say I had
never heard of her. Carrie said: "Do let the boy alone. He's
quite old enough to take care of himself, and won't forget he's a
gentleman. Remember, you were young once yourself." Rained all
day hard, but Lupin would go out.
August 15. - Cleared up a bit, so we all took the train to Margate,
and the first person we met on the jetty was Gowing. I said:
"Hulloh! I thought you had gone to Barmouth with your Birmingham
friends?" He said: "Yes, but young Peter Lawrence was so ill,
they postponed their visit, so I came down here. You know the
Cummings' are here too?" Carrie said: "Oh, that will be
delightful! We must have some evenings together and have games."
I introduced Lupin, saying: "You will be pleased to find we have
our dear boy at home!" Gowing said: "How's that? You don't mean
to say he's left the Bank?"
I changed the subject quickly, and thereby avoided any of those
awkward questions which Gowing always has a knack of asking.
August 16. - Lupin positively refused to walk down the Parade with
me because I was wearing my new straw helmet with my frock-coat. I
don't know what the boy is coming to.
August 17. - Lupin not falling in with our views, Carrie and I went
for a sail. It was a relief to be with her alone; for when Lupin
irritates me, she always sides with him. On our return, he said:
"Oh, you've been on the 'Shilling Emetic,' have you? You'll come
to six-pennorth on the 'Liver Jerker' next." I presume he meant a
tricycle, but I affected not to understand him.
August 18. - Gowing and Cummings walked over to arrange an evening
at Margate. It being wet, Gowing asked Cummings to accompany him
to the hotel and have a game of billiards, knowing I never play,
and in fact disapprove of the game. Cummings said he must hasten
back to Margate; whereupon Lupin, to my horror, said: "I'll give
you a game, Gowing - a hundred up. A walk round I the cloth will
give me an appetite for dinner." I said: "Perhaps Mister Gowing
does not care to play with boys." Gowing surprised me by saying:
"Oh yes, I do, if they play well," and they walked off together.
August 19, Sunday. - I was about to read Lupin a sermon on smoking
(which he indulges in violently) and billiards, but he put on his
hat and walked out. Carrie then read ME a long sermon on the
palpable inadvisability of treating Lupin as if he were a mere
child. I felt she was somewhat right, so in the evening I offered
him a cigar. He seemed pleased, but, after a few whiffs, said:
"This is a good old tup'ny - try one of mine," and he handed me a
cigar as long as it was strong, which is saying a good deal.
August 20. - I am glad our last day at the seaside was fine, though
clouded overhead. We went over to Cummings' (at Margate) in the
evening, and as it was cold, we stayed in and played games; Gowing,
as usual, overstepping the mark. He suggested we should play
"Cutlets," a game we never heard of. He sat on a chair, and asked
Carrie to sit on his lap, an invitation which dear Carrie rightly
After some species of wrangling, I sat on Gowing's knees and Carrie
sat on the edge of mine. Lupin sat on the edge of Carrie's lap,
then Cummings on Lupin's, and Mrs. Cummings on her husband's. We
looked very ridiculous, and laughed a good deal.
Gowing then said: "Are you a believer in the Great Mogul?" We had
to answer all together: "Yes - oh, yes!" (three times). Gowing
said: "So am I," and suddenly got up. The result of this stupid
joke was that we all fell on the ground, and poor Carrie banged her
head against the corner of the fender. Mrs. Cummings put some
vinegar on; but through this we missed the last train, and had to
drive back to Broadstairs, which cost me seven-and-sixpence.
Home again. Mrs. James' influence on Carrie. Can get nothing for
Lupin. Next-door neighbours are a little troublesome. Some one
tampers with my diary. Got a place for Lupin. Lupin startles us
with an announcement.
August 22. - Home sweet Home again! Carrie bought some pretty
blue-wool mats to stand vases on. Fripps, Janus and Co. write to
say they are sorry they have no vacancy among their staff of clerks
August 23. - I bought a pair of stags' heads made of plaster-of-
Paris and coloured brown. They will look just the thing for our
little hall, and give it style; the heads are excellent imitations.
Poolers and Smith are sorry they have nothing to offer Lupin.
August 24. - Simply to please Lupin, and make things cheerful for
him, as he is a little down, Carrie invited Mrs. James to come up
from Sutton and spend two or three days with us. We have not said
a word to Lupin, but mean to keep it as a surprise.
August 25. - Mrs. James, of Sutton, arrived in the afternoon,
bringing with her an enormous bunch of wild flowers. The more I
see of Mrs James the nicer I think she is, and she is devoted to
Carrie. She went into Carrie's room to take off her bonnet, and
remained there nearly an hour talking about dress. Lupin said he
was not a bit surprised at Mrs. James' VISIT, but was surprised at
August 26, Sunday. - Nearly late for church, Mrs. James having
talked considerably about what to wear all the morning. Lupin does
not seem to get on very well with Mrs. James. I am afraid we shall
have some trouble with our next-door neighbours who came in last
Wednesday. Several of their friends, who drive up in dog-carts,
have already made themselves objectionable.
An evening or two ago I had put on a white waistcoat for coolness,
and while walking past with my thumbs in my waistcoat pockets (a
habit I have), one man, seated in the cart, and looking like an
American, commenced singing some vulgar nonsense about "I HAD
THIRTEEN DOLLARS IN MY WAISTCOAT POCKET." I fancied it was meant
for me, and my suspicions were confirmed; for while walking round
the garden in my tall hat this afternoon, a "throw-down" cracker
was deliberately aimed at my hat, and exploded on it like a
percussion cap. I turned sharply, and am positive I saw the man
who was in the cart retreating from one of the bedroom windows.
August 27. - Carrie and Mrs. James went off shopping, and had not
returned when I came back from the office. Judging from the
subsequent conversation, I am afraid Mrs. James is filling Carrie's
head with a lot of nonsense about dress. I walked over to Gowing's
and asked him to drop in to supper, and make things pleasant.
Carrie prepared a little extemporised supper, consisting of the
remainder of the cold joint, a small piece of salmon (which I was
to refuse, in case there was not enough to go round), and a blanc-
mange and custards. There was also a decanter of port and some jam
puffs on the sideboard. Mrs. James made us play rather a good game
of cards, called "Muggings." To my surprise, in fact disgust,
Lupin got up in the middle, and, in a most sarcastic tone, said:
"Pardon me, this sort of thing is too fast for me, I shall go and
enjoy a quiet game of marbles in the back-garden."
Things might have become rather disagreeable but for Gowing (who
seems to have taken to Lupin) suggesting they should invent games.
Lupin said: "Let's play 'monkeys.'" He then led Gowing all round
the room, and brought him in front of the looking-glass. I must
confess I laughed heartily at this. I was a little vexed at
everybody subsequently laughing at some joke which they did not
explain, and it was only on going to bed I discovered I must have
been walking about all the evening with an antimacassar on one
button of my coat-tails.
August 28. - Found a large brick in the middle bed of geraniums,
evidently come from next door. Pattles and Pattles can't find a
place for Lupin.
August 29. - Mrs. James is making a positive fool of Carrie.
Carrie appeared in a new dress like a smock-frock. She said
"smocking" was all the rage. I replied it put me in a rage. She
also had on a hat as big as a kitchen coal-scuttle, and the same
shape. Mrs. James went home, and both Lupin and I were somewhat
pleased - the first time we have agreed on a single subject since
his return. Merkins and Son write they have no vacancy for Lupin.
October 30. - I should very much like to know who has wilfully torn
the last five or six weeks out of my diary. It is perfectly
monstrous! Mine is a large scribbling diary, with plenty of space
for the record of my everyday events, and in keeping up that record
I take (with much pride) a great deal of pains.
I asked Carrie if she knew anything about it. She replied it was
my own fault for leaving the diary about with a charwoman cleaning
and the sweeps in the house. I said that was not an answer to my
question. This retort of mine, which I thought extremely smart,
would have been more effective had I not jogged my elbow against a
vase on a table temporarily placed in the passage, knocked it over,
and smashed it.
Carrie was dreadfully upset at this disaster, for it was one of a
pair of vases which cannot be matched, given to us on our wedding-
day by Mrs. Burtsett, an old friend of Carrie's cousins, the
Pommertons, late of Dalston. I called to Sarah, and asked her
about the diary. She said she had not been in the sitting-room at
all; after the sweep had left, Mrs. Birrell (the charwoman) had
cleaned the room and lighted the fire herself. Finding a burnt
piece of paper in the grate, I examined it, and found it was a
piece of my diary. So it was evident some one had torn my diary to
light the fire. I requested Mrs. Birrell to be sent to me to-
October 31. - Received a letter from our principal, Mr. Perkupp,
saying that he thinks he knows of a place at last for our dear boy
Lupin. This, in a measure, consoles me for the loss of a portion
of my diary; for I am bound to confess the last few weeks have been
devoted to the record of disappointing answers received from people
to whom I have applied for appointments for Lupin. Mrs. Birrell
called, and, in reply to me, said: "She never SEE no book, much
less take such a liberty as TOUCH it."
I said I was determined to find out who did it, whereupon she said
she would do her best to help me; but she remembered the sweep
lighting the fire with a bit of the ECHO. I requested the sweep to
be sent to me to-morrow. I wish Carrie had not given Lupin a
latch-key; we never seem to see anything of him. I sat up till
past one for him, and then retired tired.
November 1. - My entry yesterday about "retired tired," which I did
not notice at the time, is rather funny. If I were not so worried
just now, I might have had a little joke about it. The sweep
called, but had the audacity to come up to the hall-door and lean
his dirty bag of soot on the door-step. He, however, was so
polite, I could not rebuke him. He said Sarah lighted the fire.
Unfortunately, Sarah heard this, for she was dusting the banisters,
and she ran down, and flew into a temper with the sweep, causing a
row on the front door-steps, which I would not have had happen for
anything. I ordered her about her business, and told the sweep I
was sorry to have troubled him; and so I was, for the door-steps
were covered with soot in consequence of his visit. I would
willingly give ten shillings to find out who tore my diary.
November 2. - I spent the evening quietly with Carrie, of whose
company I never tire. We had a most pleasant chat about the
letters on "Is Marriage a Failure?" It has been no failure in our
case. In talking over our own happy experiences, we never noticed
that it was past midnight. We were startled by hearing the door
slam violently. Lupin had come in. He made no attempt to turn
down the gas in the passage, or even to look into the room where we
were, but went straight up to bed, making a terrible noise. I
asked him to come down for a moment, and he begged to be excused,
as he was "dead beat," an observation that was scarcely consistent
with the fact that, for a quarter of an hour afterwards, he was
positively dancing in his room, and shouting out, "See me dance the
polka!" or some such nonsense.
November 3. - Good news at last. Mr. Perkupp has got an
appointment for Lupin, and he is to go and see about it on Monday.
Oh, how my mind is relieved! I went to Lupin's room to take the
good news to him, but he was in bed, very seedy, so I resolved to
keep it over till the evening.
He said he had last night been elected a member of an Amateur
Dramatic Club, called the "Holloway Comedians"; and, though it was
a pleasant evening, he had sat in a draught, and got neuralgia in
the head. He declined to have any breakfast, so I left him. In
the evening I had up a special bottle of port, and, Lupin being in
for a wonder, we filled our glasses, and I said: "Lupin my boy, I
have some good and unexpected news for you. Mr. Perkupp has
procured you an appointment!" Lupin said: "Good biz!" and we
drained our glasses.
Lupin then said: "Fill up the glasses again, for I have some good
and unexpected news for you."
I had some slight misgivings, and so evidently had Carrie, for she
said: "I hope we shall think it good news."
Lupin said: "Oh, it's all right! I'M ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED!"
Daisy Mutlar sole topic of conversation. Lupin's new berth.
Fireworks at the Cummings'. The "Holloway Comedians." Sarah
quarrels with the charwoman. Lupin's uncalled-for interference.
Am introduced to Daisy Mutlar. We decide to give a party in her
November 5, Sunday. - Carrie and I troubled about that mere boy
Lupin getting engaged to be married without consulting us or
anything. After dinner he told us all about it. He said the
lady's name was Daisy Mutlar, and she was the nicest, prettiest,
and most accomplished girl he ever met. He loved her the moment he
saw her, and if he had to wait fifty years he would wait, and he
knew she would wait for him.
Lupin further said, with much warmth, that the world was a
different world to him now, - it was a world worth living in. He
lived with an object now, and that was to make Daisy Mutlar - Daisy
Pooter, and he would guarantee she would not disgrace the family of
the Pooters. Carrie here burst out crying, and threw her arms
round his neck, and in doing so, upset the glass of port he held in
his hand all over his new light trousers.
I said I had no doubt we should like Miss Mutlar when we saw her,
but Carrie said she loved her already. I thought this rather
premature, but held my tongue. Daisy Mutlar was the sole topic of
conversation for the remainder of the day. I asked Lupin who her
people were, and he replied: "Oh, you know Mutlar, Williams and
Watts." I did not know, but refrained from asking any further
questions at present, for fear of irritating Lupin.
November 6. - Lupin went with me to the office, and had a long
conversation with Mr. Perkupp, our principal, the result of which
was that he accepted a clerkship in the firm of Job Cleanands and
Co., Stock and Share Brokers. Lupin told me, privately, it was an
advertising firm, and he did not think much of it. I replied:
"Beggars should not be choosers;" and I will do Lupin the justice
to say, he looked rather ashamed of himself.
In the evening we went round to the Cummings', to have a few
fireworks. It began to rain, and I thought it rather dull. One of
my squibs would not go off, and Gowing said: "Hit it on your boot,
boy; it will go off then." I gave it a few knocks on the end of my
boot, and it went off with one loud explosion, and burnt my fingers
rather badly. I gave the rest of the squibs to the little
Cummings' boy to let off.
Another unfortunate thing happened, which brought a heap of abuse
on my head. Cummings fastened a large wheel set-piece on a stake
in the ground by way of a grand finale. He made a great fuss about
it; said it cost seven shillings. There was a little difficulty in
getting it alight. At last it went off; but after a couple of slow
revolutions it stopped. I had my stick with me, so I gave it a tap
to send it round, and, unfortunately, it fell off the stake on to
the grass. Anybody would have thought I had set the house on fire
from the way in which they stormed at me. I will never join in any
more firework parties. It is a ridiculous waste of time and money.
November 7. - Lupin asked Carrie to call on Mrs. Mutlar, but Carrie
said she thought Mrs. Mutlar ought to call on her first. I agreed
with Carrie, and this led to an argument. However, the matter was
settled by Carrie saying she could not find any visiting cards, and
we must get some more printed, and when they were finished would be
quite time enough to discuss the etiquette of calling.
November 8. - I ordered some of our cards at Black's, the
stationers. I ordered twenty-five of each, which will last us for
a good long time. In the evening, Lupin brought in Harry Mutlar,
Miss Mutlar's brother. He was rather a gawky youth, and Lupin said
he was the most popular and best amateur in the club, referring to
the "Holloway Comedians." Lupin whispered to us that if we could
only "draw out" Harry a bit, he would make us roar with laughter.
At supper, young Mutlar did several amusing things. He took up a
knife, and with the flat part of it played a tune on his cheek in a
wonderful manner. He also gave an imitation of an old man with no
teeth, smoking a big cigar. The way he kept dropping the cigar
sent Carrie into fits.
In the course of conversation, Daisy's name cropped up, and young
Mutlar said he would bring his sister round to us one evening - his
parents being rather old-fashioned, and not going out much. Carrie
said we would get up a little special party. As young Mutlar
showed no inclination to go, and it was approaching eleven o'clock,
as a hint I reminded Lupin that he had to be up early to-morrow.
Instead of taking the hint, Mutlar began a series of comic
imitations. He went on for an hour without cessation. Poor Carrie
could scarcely keep her eyes open. At last she made an excuse, and
Mutlar then left, and I heard him and Lupin whispering in the hall
something about the "Holloway Comedians," and to my disgust,
although it was past midnight, Lupin put on his hat and coat, and
went out with his new companion.
November 9. - My endeavours to discover who tore the sheets out of
my diary still fruitless. Lupin has Daisy Mutlar on the brain, so
we see little of him, except that he invariably turns up at meal
times. Cummings dropped in.
November 10. - Lupin seems to like his new berth - that's a
comfort. Daisy Mutlar the sole topic of conversation during tea.
Carrie almost as full of it as Lupin. Lupin informs me, to my
disgust, that he has been persuaded to take part in the forthcoming
performance of the "Holloway Comedians." He says he is to play Bob
Britches in the farce, GONE TO MY UNCLE'S; Frank Mutlar is going to
play old Musty. I told Lupin pretty plainly I was not in the least
degree interested in the matter, and totally disapproved of amateur
theatricals. Gowing came in the evening.
November 11. - Returned home to find the house in a most
disgraceful uproar, Carrie, who appeared very frightened, was
standing outside her bedroom, while Sarah was excited and crying.
Mrs. Birrell (the charwoman), who had evidently been drinking, was
shouting at the top of her voice that she was "no thief, that she
was a respectable woman, who had to work hard for her living, and
she would smack anyone's face who put lies into her mouth." Lupin,
whose back was towards me, did not hear me come in. He was
standing between the two women, and, I regret to say, in his
endeavour to act as peacemaker, he made use of rather strong
language in the presence of his mother; and I was just in time to
hear him say: "And all this fuss about the loss of a few pages
from a rotten diary that wouldn't fetch three-halfpence a pound!"
I said, quietly: "Pardon me, Lupin, that is a matter of opinion;
and as I am master of this house, perhaps you will allow me to take
I ascertained that the cause of the row was, that Sarah had accused
Mrs. Birrell of tearing the pages out of my diary to wrap up some
kitchen fat and leavings which she had taken out of the house last
week. Mrs. Birrell had slapped Sarah's face, and said she had
taken nothing out of the place, as there was "never no leavings to
take." I ordered Sarah back to her work, and requested Mrs.
Birrell to go home. When I entered the parlour Lupin was kicking
his legs in the air, and roaring with laughter.
November 12, Sunday. - Coming home from church Carrie and I met
Lupin, Daisy Mutlar, and her brother. Daisy was introduced to us,
and we walked home together, Carrie walking on with Miss Mutlar.
We asked them in for a few minutes, and I had a good look at my
future daughter-in-law. My heart quite sank. She is a big young
woman, and I should think at least eight years older than Lupin. I
did not even think her good-looking. Carrie asked her if she could
come in on Wednesday next with her brother to meet a few friends.
She replied that she would only be too pleased.
November 13. - Carrie sent out invitations to Gowing, the Cummings,
to Mr. and Mrs. James (of Sutton), and Mr. Stillbrook. I wrote a
note to Mr. Franching, of Peckham. Carrie said we may as well make
it a nice affair, and why not ask our principal, Mr. Perkupp? I
said I feared we were not quite grand enough for him. Carrie said
there was "no offence in asking him." I said: "Certainly not,"
and I wrote him a letter. Carrie confessed she was a little
disappointed with Daisy Mutlar's appearance, but thought she seemed
a nice girl.
November 14. - Everybody so far has accepted for our quite grand
little party for to-morrow. Mr. Perkupp, in a nice letter which I
shall keep, wrote that he was dining in Kensington, but if he could
get away, he would come up to Holloway for an hour. Carrie was
busy all day, making little cakes and open jam puffs and jellies.
She said she felt quite nervous about her responsibilities to-
morrow evening. We decided to have some light things on the table,
such as sandwiches, cold chicken and ham, and some sweets, and on
the sideboard a nice piece of cold beef and a Paysandu tongue - for
the more hungry ones to peg into if they liked.
Gowing called to know if he was to put on "swallow-tails" to-
morrow. Carrie said he had better dress, especially as Mr.
Franching was coming, and there was a possibility of Mr. Perkupp
also putting in an appearance.
Gowing said: "Oh, I only wanted to know, for I have not worn my
dress-coat for some time, and I must send it to have the creases
After Gowing left, Lupin came in, and in his anxiety to please
Daisy Mutlar, carped at and criticised the arrangements, and, in
fact, disapproved of everything, including our having asked our old
friend Cummings, who, he said, would look in evening-dress like a
green-grocer engaged to wait, and who must not be surprised if
Daisy took him for one.
I fairly lost my temper, and said: "Lupin, allow me to tell you
Miss Daisy Mutlar is not the Queen of England. I gave you credit
for more wisdom than to allow yourself to be inveigled into an
engagement with a woman considerably older than yourself. I advise
you to think of earning your living before entangling yourself with
a wife whom you will have to support, and, in all probability, her
brother also, who appeared to be nothing but a loafer."
Instead of receiving this advice in a sensible manner, Lupin jumped
up and said: "If you insult the lady I am engaged to, you insult
me. I will leave the house and never darken your doors again."
He went out of the house, slamming the hall-door. But it was all
right. He came back to supper, and we played Bezique till nearly
Our first important Party. Old Friends and New Friends. Gowing is
a little annoying; but his friend, Mr. Stillbrook, turns out to be
quite amusing. Inopportune arrival of Mr. Perkupp, but he is most
kind and complimentary. Party a great success.
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 too
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 his
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
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
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
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 old thing.
Reflections. I make another Good Joke. Am annoyed at the constant
serving-up of the "Blanc-Mange." Lupin expresses his opinion of
Weddings. Lupin falls out with Daisy Mutlar.
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 West-End
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
November 17. - Still feel tired and headachy! In the evening
Gowing called, and was full of praise about our party last
Wednesday. He said everything was done beautifully, and he enjoyed
himself enormously. Gowing can be a very nice fellow when he
likes, but you never know how long it will last. For instance, he
stopped to supper, and seeing some BLANC-MANGE on the table,
shouted out, while the servant was in the room: "Hulloh! The
remains of Wednesday?"
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 disrespectful.
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 ignorance.
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 19, Sunday. - A delightfully quiet day. In the afternoon
Lupin was off to spend the rest of the day with the Mutlars. He
departed in the best of spirits, and Carrie said: "Well, one
advantage of Lupin's engagement with Daisy is that the boy seems
happy all day long. That quite reconciles me to what I must
confess seems an imprudent engagement."
Carrie and I talked the matter over during the evening, and agreed
that it did not always follow that an early engagement meant an
unhappy marriage. Dear Carrie reminded me that we married early,
and, with the exception of a few trivial misunderstandings, we had
never had a really serious word. I could not help thinking (as I
told her) that half the pleasures of life were derived from the
little struggles and small privations that one had to endure at the
beginning of one's married life. Such struggles were generally
occasioned by want of means, and often helped to make loving
couples stand together all the firmer.
Carrie said I had expressed myself wonderfully well, and that I was
quite a philosopher.
We are all vain at times, and I must confess I felt flattered by
Carrie's little compliment. I don't pretend to be able to express
myself in fine language, but I feel I have the power of expressing
my thoughts with simplicity and lucidness. About nine o'clock, to
our surprise. Lupin entered, with a wild, reckless look, and in a
hollow voice, which I must say seemed rather theatrical, said:
"Have you any brandy?" I said: "No; but here is some whisky."
Lupin drank off nearly a wineglassful without water, to my horror.
We all three sat reading in silence till ten, when Carrie and I
rose to go to bed. Carrie said to Lupin: "I hope Daisy is well?"
Lupin, with a forced careless air that he must have picked up from
the "Holloway Comedians," replied: "Oh, Daisy? You mean Miss
Mutlar. I don't know whether she is well or not, but please NEVER
TO MENTION HER NAME AGAIN IN MY PRESENCE."
We have a dose of Irving imitations. Make the acquaintance of a
Mr. Padge. Don't care for him. Mr. Burwin-Fosselton becomes a
November 20. - Have seen nothing of Lupin the whole day. Bought a
cheap address-book. I spent the evening copying in the names and
addresses of my friends and acquaintances. Left out the Mutlars of
November 21. - Lupin turned up for a few minutes in the evening.
He asked for a drop of brandy with a sort of careless look, which
to my mind was theatrical and quite ineffective. I said: "My boy,
I have none, and I don't think I should give it you if I had."
Lupin said: "I'll go where I can get some," and walked out of the
house. Carrie took the boy's part, and the rest of the evening was
spent in a disagreeable discussion, in which the words "Daisy" and
"Mutlar" must have occurred a thousand times.
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
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
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
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.
November 25. - Had a long letter from Mr. Fosselton respecting last
night's Irving discussion. I was very angry, and I wrote and said
I knew little or nothing about stage matters, was not in the least
interested in them and positively declined to be drawn into a
discussion on the subject, even at the risk of its leading to a
breach of friendship. I never wrote a more determined letter.
On returning home at the usual hour on Saturday afternoon I met
near the Archway Daisy Mutlar. My heart gave a leap. I bowed
rather stiffly, but she affected not to have seen me. Very much
annoyed in the evening by the laundress sending home an odd sock.
Sarah said she sent two pairs, and the laundress declared only a
pair and a half were sent. I spoke to Carrie about it, but she
rather testily replied: "I am tired of speaking to her; you had
better go and speak to her yourself. She is outside." I did so,
but the laundress declared that only an odd sock was sent.
Gowing passed into the passage at this time and was rude enough to
listen to the conversation, and interrupting, said: "Don't waste
the odd sock, old man; do an act of charity and give it to some
poor mar with only one leg." The laundress giggled like an idiot.
I was disgusted and walked upstairs for the purpose of pinning down
my collar, as the button had come off the back of my shirt.
When I returned to the parlour, Gowing was retailing his idiotic
joke about the odd sock, and Carrie was roaring with laughter. I
suppose I am losing my sense of humour. I spoke my mind pretty
freely about Padge. Gowing said he had met him only once before
that evening. He had been introduced by a friend, and as he
(Padge) had "stood" a good dinner, Gowing wished to show him some
little return. Upon my word, Gowing's coolness surpasses all
belief. Lupin came in before I could reply, and Gowing
unfortunately inquired after Daisy Mutlar. Lupin shouted: "Mind
your own business, sir!" and bounced out of the room, slamming the
door. The remainder of the night was Daisy Mutlar - Daisy Mutlar -
Daisy Mutlar. Oh dear!
November 26, Sunday. - The curate preached a very good sermon to-
day - very good indeed. His appearance is never so impressive as
our dear old vicar's, but I am bound to say his sermons are much
more impressive. A rather annoying incident occurred, of which I
must make mention. Mrs. Fernlosse, who is quite a grand lady,
living in one of those large houses in the Camden Road, stopped to
speak to me after church, when we were all coming out. I must say
I felt flattered, for she is thought a good deal of. I suppose she
knew me through seeing me so often take round the plate, especially
as she always occupies the corner seat of the pew. She is a very
influential lady, and may have had something of the utmost
importance to say, but unfortunately, as she commenced to speak a
strong gust of wind came and blew my hat off into the middle of the
I had to run after it, and had the greatest difficulty in
recovering it. When I had succeeded in doing so, I found Mrs.
Fernlosse had walked on with some swell friends, and I felt I could
not well approach her now, especially as my hat was smothered with
mud. I cannot say how disappointed I felt.
In the evening (SUNDAY evening of all others) I found an
impertinent note from Mr. Burwin-Fosselton, which ran as follows:
"Dear Mr. Pooter, - Although your junior by perhaps some twenty or
thirty years - which is sufficient reason that you ought to have a
longer record of the things and ways in this miniature of a planet
- I feel it is just within the bounds of possibility that the
wheels of your life don't travel so quickly round as those of the
humble writer of these lines. The dandy horse of past days has
been known to overtake the SLOW COACH.
"Do I make myself understood?
"Very well, then! Permit me, Mr. Pooter, to advise you to accept
the VERB. SAP. Acknowledge your defeat, and take your whipping
gracefully; for remember you threw down the glove, and I cannot
claim to be either mentally or physically a COWARD!
"REVENONS E NOS MOUTONS.
"Our lives run in different grooves. I live for MY ART - THE
STAGE. Your life is devoted to commercial pursuits - 'A life among
Ledgers.' My books are of different metal. Your life in the City
is honourable, I admit. BUT HOW DIFFERENT! Cannot even you see
the ocean between us? A channel that prevents the meeting of our
brains in harmonious accord. Ah! But CHACUN E SON GOUT.
"I have registered a vow to mount the steps of fame. I may crawl,
I may slip, I may even falter (we are all weak), but REACH THE TOP
RUNG OF THE LADDER I WILL!!! When there, my voice shall be heard,
for I will shout to the multitudes below: 'VICI!' For the present
I am only an amateur, and my work is unknown, forsooth, save to a
party of friends, with here and there an enemy.
"But, Mr. Pooter, let me ask you, 'What is the difference between
the amateur and the professional?'
"Stay! Yes, there is a difference. One is PAID for doing what the
other does as skilfully for NOTHING!
"But I will be PAID, too! For I, contrary to the wishes of my
family and friends, have at last elected to adopt the stage as MY
profession. And when the FARCE craze is over - and, MARK YOU, THAT
WILL BE SOON - I will make my power known; for I feel - pardon my
apparent conceit - that there is no living man who can play the
hump-backed Richard as I FEEL and KNOW I can.
"And YOU will be the first to come round and bend your head in
submission. There are many matters you may understand, but
knowledge of the fine art of acting is to you an UNKNOWN QUANTITY.
"Pray let this discussion cease with this letter. VALE!
I was disgusted. When Lupin came in, I handed him this impertinent
letter, and said: "My boy, in that letter you can see the true
character of your friend."
Lupin, to my surprise, said: "Oh yes. He showed me the letter
before he sent it. I think he is right, and you ought to
A serious discussion concerning the use and value of my diary.
Lupin's opinion of 'Xmas. Lupin's unfortunate engagement is on
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
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
I said: "I certainly wore none yesterday, for there were none on."
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
December 18. - Yesterday I was in a retrospective vein - to-day it
is PROSPECTIVE. I see nothing but clouds, clouds, clouds. Lupin
is perfectly intolerable over the Daisy Mutlar business. He won't
say what is the cause of the breach. He is evidently condemning
her conduct, and yet, if we venture to agree with him, says he
won't hear a word against her. So what is one to do? Another
thing which is disappointing to me is, that Carrie and Lupin take
no interest whatever in my diary.
I broached the subject at the breakfast-table to-day. I said: "I
was in hopes that, if anything ever happened to me, the diary would
be an endless source of pleasure to you both; to say nothing of the
chance of the remuneration which may accrue from its being
Both Carrie and Lupin burst out laughing. Carrie was sorry for
this, I could see, for she said: "I did not mean to be rude, dear
Charlie; but truly I do not think your diary would sufficiently
interest the public to be taken up by a publisher."
I replied: "I am sure it would prove quite as interesting as some
of the ridiculous reminiscences that have been published lately.
Besides, it's the diary that makes the man. Where would Evelyn and
Pepys have been if it had not been for their diaries?"
Carrie said I was quite a philosopher; but Lupin, in a jeering
tone, said: "If it had been written on larger paper, Guv., we
might get a fair price from a butterman for it."
As I am in the prospective vein, I vow the end of this year will
see the end of my diary.
December 19. - The annual invitation came to spend Christmas with
Carrie's mother - the usual family festive gathering to which we
always look forward. Lupin declined to go. I was astounded, and
expressed my surprise and disgust. Lupin then obliged us with the
following Radical speech: "I hate a family gathering at Christmas.
What does it mean? Why someone says: 'Ah! we miss poor Uncle
James, who was here last year,' and we all begin to snivel.
Someone else says: 'It's two years since poor Aunt Liz used to sit
in that corner.' Then we all begin to snivel again. Then another
gloomy relation says 'Ah! I wonder whose turn it will be next?'
Then we all snivel again, and proceed to eat and drink too much;
and they don't discover until I get up that we have been seated
thirteen at dinner."
December 20. - Went to Smirksons', the drapers, in the Strand, who
this year have turned out everything in the shop and devoted the
whole place to the sale of Christmas cards. Shop crowded with
people, who seemed to take up the cards rather roughly, and, after
a hurried glance at them, throw them down again. I remarked to one
of the young persons serving, that carelessness appeared to be a
disease with some purchasers. The observation was scarcely out of
my mouth, when my thick coat-sleeve caught against a large pile of
expensive cards in boxes one on top of the other, and threw them
down. The manager came forward, looking very much annoyed, and
picking up several cards from the ground, said to one of the
assistants, with a palpable side-glance at me: "Put these amongst
the sixpenny goods; they can't be sold for a shilling now." The
result was, I felt it my duty to buy some of these damaged cards.
I had to buy more and pay more than intended. Unfortunately I did
not examine them all, and when I got home I discovered a vulgar
card with a picture of a fat nurse with two babies, one black and
the other white, and the words: "We wish Pa a Merry Christmas." I
tore up the card and threw it away. Carrie said the great
disadvantage of going out in Society and increasing the number of
our friends was, that we should have to send out nearly two dozen
cards this year.
December 21. - To save the postman a miserable Christmas, we follow
the example of all unselfish people, and send out our cards early.
Most of the cards had finger-marks, which I did not notice at
night. I shall buy all future cards in the daytime. Lupin (who,
ever since he has had the appointment with a stock and share
broker, does not seem over-scrupulous in his dealings) told me
never to rub out the pencilled price on the backs of the cards. I
asked him why. Lupin said: "Suppose your card is marked 9d.
Well, all you have to do is to pencil a 3 - and a long down-stroke
after it - in FRONT of the ninepence, and people will think you
have given five times the price for it."
In the evening Lupin was very low-spirited, and I reminded him that
behind the clouds the sun was shining. He said: "Ugh! it never
shines on me." I said: "Stop, Lupin, my boy; you are worried
about Daisy Mutlar. Don't think of her any more. You ought to
congratulate yourself on having got off a very bad bargain. Her
notions are far too grand for our simple tastes." He jumped up and
said: "I won't allow one word to be uttered against her. She's
worth the whole bunch of your friends put together, that inflated,
sloping-head of a Perkupp included." I left the room with silent
dignity, but caught my foot in the mat.
December 23. - I exchanged no words with Lupin in the morning; but
as he seemed to be in exuberant spirits in the evening, I ventured
to ask him where he intended to spend his Christmas. He replied:
"Oh, most likely at the Mutlars'."
In wonderment, I said: "What! after your engagement has been
Lupin said: "Who said it is off?"
I said: "You have given us both to understand - "
He interrupted me by saying: "Well, never mind what I said. IT IS
ON AGAIN - THERE!"
I receive an insulting Christmas card. We spend a pleasant
Christmas at Carrie's mother's. A Mr. Moss is rather too free. A
boisterous evening, during which I am struck in the dark. I
receive an extraordinary letter from Mr. Mutlar, senior, respecting
Lupin. We miss drinking out the Old Year.
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
Christmas Day. - We caught the 10.20 train at Paddington, and spent
a pleasant day at Carrie's mother's. The country was quite nice
and pleasant, although the roads were sloppy. We dined in the
middle of the day, just ten of us, and talked over old times. If
everybody had a nice, UNinterfering mother-in-law, such as I have,
what a deal of happiness there would be in the world. Being all in
good spirits, I proposed her health, and I made, I think, a very
I concluded, rather neatly, by saying: "On an occasion like this -
whether relatives, friends, or acquaintances, - we are all inspired
with good feelings towards each other. We are of one mind, and
think only of love and friendship. Those who have quarrelled with
absent friends should kiss and make it up. Those who happily have
not fallen out, can kiss all the same."
I saw the tears in the eyes of both Carrie and her mother, and must
say I felt very flattered by the compliment. That dear old
Reverend John Panzy Smith, who married us, made a most cheerful and
amusing speech, and said he should act on my suggestion respecting
the kissing. He then walked round the table and kissed all the
ladies, including Carrie. Of course one did not object to this;
but I was more than staggered when a young fellow named Moss, who
was a stranger to me, and who had scarcely spoken a word through
dinner, jumped up suddenly with a sprig of misletoe, and exclaimed:
"Hulloh! I don't see why I shouldn't be on in this scene." Before
one could realise what he was about to do, he kissed Carrie and the
rest of the ladies.
Fortunately the matter was treated as a joke, and we all laughed;
but it was a dangerous experiment, and I felt very uneasy for a
moment as to the result. I subsequently referred to the matter to
Carrie, but she said: "Oh, he's not much more than a boy." I said
that he had a very large moustache for a boy. Carrie replied: "I
didn't say he was not a nice boy."
December 26. - I did not sleep very well last night; I never do in
a strange bed. I feel a little indigestion, which one must expect
at this time of the year. Carrie and I returned to Town in the
evening. Lupin came in late. He said he enjoyed his Christmas,
and added: "I feel as fit as a Lowther Arcade fiddle, and only
require a little more 'oof' to feel as fit as a 500 pounds
Stradivarius." I have long since given up trying to understand
Lupin's slang, or asking him to explain it.
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
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
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."
December 29. - I had a most vivid dream last night. I woke up, and
on falling asleep, dreamed the same dream over again precisely. I
dreamt I heard Frank Mutlar telling his sister that he had not only
sent me the insulting Christmas card, but admitted that he was the
one who punched my head last night in the dark. As fate would have
it, Lupin, at breakfast, was reading extracts from a letter he had
just received from Frank.
I asked him to pass the envelope, that I might compare the writing.
He did so, and I examined it by the side of the envelope containing
the Christmas card. I detected a similarity in the writing, in
spite of the attempted disguise. I passed them on to Carrie, who
began to laugh. I asked her what she was laughing at, and she said
the card was never directed to me at all. It was "L. Pooter," not
"C. Pooter." Lupin asked to look at the direction and the card,
and exclaimed, with a laugh: "Oh yes, Guv., it's meant for me."
I said: "Are you in the habit of receiving insulting Christmas
cards?" He replied: "Oh yes, and of SENDING them, too."
In the evening Gowing called, and said he enjoyed himself very much
last night. I took the opportunity to confide in him, as an old
friend, about the vicious punch last night. He burst out laughing,
and said: "Oh, it was YOUR HEAD, was it? I know I accidentally
hit something, but I thought it was a brick wall." I told him I
felt hurt, in both senses of the expression.
December 30, Sunday. - Lupin spent the whole day with the Mutlars.
He seemed rather cheerful in the evening, so I said: "I'm glad to
see you so happy, Lupin." He answered: "Well, Daisy is a splendid
girl, but I was obliged to take her old fool of a father down a
peg. What with his meanness over his cigars, his stinginess over
his drinks, his farthing economy in turning down the gas if you
only quit the room for a second, writing to one on half-sheets of
note-paper, sticking the remnant of the last cake of soap on to the
new cake, putting two bricks on each side of the fireplace, and his
general 'outside-halfpenny-'bus-ness,' I was compelled to let him
have a bit of my mind." I said: "Lupin, you are not much more
than a boy; I hope you won't repent it."
December 31. - The last day of the Old Year. I received an
extraordinary letter from Mr. Mutlar, senior. He writes: "Dear
Sir, - For a long time past I have had considerable difficulty
deciding the important question, 'Who is the master of my own
house? Myself, or YOUR SON Lupin?' Believe me, I have no
prejudice one way or the other; but I have been most reluctantly
compelled to give judgment to the effect that I am the master of
it. Under the circumstances, it has become my duty to forbid your
son to enter my house again. I am sorry, because it deprives me of
the society of one of the most modest, unassuming, and gentlemanly
persons I have ever had the honour of being acquainted with."
I did not desire the last day to wind up disagreeably, so I said
nothing to either Carrie or Lupin about the letter.
A most terrible fog came on, and Lupin would go out in it, but
promised to be back to drink out the Old Year - a custom we have
always observed. At a quarter to twelve Lupin had not returned,
and the fog was fearful. As time was drawing close, I got out the
spirits. Carrie and I deciding on whisky, I opened a fresh bottle;
but Carrie said it smelt like brandy. As I knew it to be whisky, I
said there was nothing to discuss. Carrie, evidently vexed that
Lupin had not come in, did discuss it all the same, and wanted me
to have a small wager with her to decide by the smell. I said I
could decide it by the taste in a moment. A silly and unnecessary
argument followed, the result of which was we suddenly saw it was a
quarter-past twelve, and, for the first time in our married life,
we missed welcoming in the New Year. Lupin got home at a quarter-
past two, having got lost in the fog - so he said.
Begin the year with an unexpected promotion at the office. I make
two good jokes. I get an enormous rise in my salary. Lupin
speculates successfully and starts a pony-trap. Have to speak to
Sarah. Extraordinary conduct of Gowing's.
January 1. - I had intended concluding my diary last week; but a
most important event has happened, so I shall continue for a little
while longer on the fly-leaves attached to the end of my last
year's diary. It had just struck half-past one, and I was on the
point of leaving the office to have my dinner, when I received a
message that Mr. Perkupp desired to see me at once. I must confess
that my heart commenced to beat and I had most serious misgivings.
Mr. Perkupp was in his room writing, and he said: "Take a seat,
Mr. Pooter, I shall not be moment."
I replied: "No, thank you, sir; I'll stand."
I watched the clock on the mantelpiece, and I was waiting quite
twenty minutes; but it seemed hours. Mr. Perkupp at last got up
I said: "I hope there is nothing wrong, sir?"
He replied: "Oh dear, no! quite the reverse, I hope." What a
weight off my mind! My breath seemed to come back again in an
Mr. Perkupp said: "Mr. Buckling is going to retire, and there will
be some slight changes in the office. You have been with us nearly
twenty-one years, and, in consequence of your conduct during that
period, we intend making a special promotion in your favour. We
have not quite decided how you will be placed; but in any case
there will be a considerable increase in your salary, which, it is
quite unnecessary for me to say, you fully deserve. I have an
appointment at two; but you shall hear more to-morrow."
He then left the room quickly, and I was not even allowed time or
thought to express a single word of grateful thanks to him. I need
not say how dear Carrie received this joyful news. With perfect
simplicity she said: "At last we shall be able to have a chimney-
glass for the back drawing-room, which we always wanted." I added:
"Yes, and at last you shall have that little costume which you saw
at Peter Robinson's so cheap."
January 2. - I was in a great state of suspense all day at the
office. I did not like to worry Mr. Perkupp; but as he did not
send for me, and mentioned yesterday that he would see me again to-
day, I thought it better, perhaps, to go to him. I knocked at his
door, and on entering, Mr. Perkupp said: "Oh! it's you, Mr.
Pooter; do you want to see me?" I said: "No, sir, I thought you
wanted to see me!" "Oh!" he replied, "I remember. Well, I am very
busy to-day; I will see you to-morrow."
January 3. - Still in a state of anxiety and excitement, which was
not alleviated by ascertaining that Mr. Perkupp sent word he should
not be at the office to-day. In the evening, Lupin, who was busily
engaged with a paper, said suddenly to me: "Do you know anything
about CHALK PITS, Guv.?" I said: "No, my boy, not that I'm aware
of." Lupin said: "Well, I give you the tip; CHALK PITS are as
safe as Consols, and pay six per cent. at par." I said a rather
neat thing, viz.: "They may be six per cent. at PAR, but your PA
has no money to invest." Carrie and I both roared with laughter.
Lupin did not take the slightest notice of the joke, although I
purposely repeated it for him; but continued: "I give you the tip,
that's all - CHALK PITS!" I said another funny thing: "Mind you
don't fall into them!" Lupin put on a supercilious smile, and
said: "Bravo! Joe Miller."
January 4. - Mr. Perkupp sent for me and told me that my position
would be that of one of the senior clerks. I was more than
overjoyed. Mr. Perkupp added, he would let me know to-morrow what
the salary would be. This means another day's anxiety; I don't
mind, for it is anxiety of the right sort. That reminded me that I
had forgotten to speak to Lupin about the letter I received from
Mr. Mutlar, senr. I broached the subject to Lupin in the evening,
having first consulted Carrie. Lupin was riveted to the FINANCIAL
NEWS, as if he had been a born capitalist, and I said: "Pardon me
a moment, Lupin, how is it you have not been to the Mutlars' any
day this week?"
Lupin answered: "I told you! I cannot stand old Mutlar."
I said: "Mr. Mutlar writes to me to say pretty plainly that he
cannot stand you!"
Lupin said: "Well, I like his cheek in writing to YOU. I'll find
out if his father is still alive, and I will write HIM a note
complaining of HIS son, and I'll state pretty clearly that his son
is a blithering idiot!"
I said: "Lupin, please moderate your expressions in the presence
of your mother."
Lupin said: "I'm very sorry, but there is no other expression one
can apply to him. However, I'm determined not to enter his place
I said: "You know, Lupin, he has forbidden you the house."
Lupin replied: "Well, we won't split straws - it's all the same.
Daisy is a trump, and will wait for me ten years, if necessary."
January 5. - I can scarcely write the news. Mr. Perkupp told me my
salary would be raised 100 pounds! I stood gaping for a moment
unable to realise it. I annually get 10 pounds rise, and I thought
it might be 15 pounds or even 20 pounds; but 100 pounds 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 Freres." 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 pounds."
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
pounds worth of shares in a really good thing. The result is, to-
day I have made 200 pounds." I said: "Lupin, you are joking."
"No, Guv., it's the good old truth; Job Cleanands PUT ME ON TO
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 pounds in one day; now suppose I only
make 200 pounds in a month, or put it at 100 pounds a month, which
is ridiculously low - why, that is 1,250 pounds 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 pounds 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 22. - I don't generally lose my temper with servants; but I
had to speak to Sarah rather sharply about a careless habit she has
recently contracted of shaking the table-cloth, after removing the
breakfast things, in a manner which causes all the crumbs to fall
on the carpet, eventually to be trodden in. Sarah answered very
rudely: "Oh, you are always complaining." I replied: "Indeed, I
am not. I spoke to you last week about walking all over the
drawing-room carpet with a piece of yellow soap on the heel of your
boot." She said: "And you're always grumbling about your
breakfast." I said: "No, I am not; but I feel perfectly justified
in complaining that I never can get a hard-boiled egg. The moment
I crack the shell it spurts all over the plate, and I have spoken
to you at least fifty times about it." She began to cry and make a
scene; but fortunately my 'bus came by, so I had a good excuse for
leaving her. Gowing left a message in the evening, that we were
not to forget next Saturday. Carrie amusingly said: As he has
never asked any friends before, we are not likely to forget it.
January 23. - I asked Lupin to try and change the hard brushes, he
recently made me a present of, for some softer ones, as my hair-
dresser tells me I ought not to brush my hair too much just now.
January 24. - The new chimney-glass came home for the back drawing-
room. Carrie arranged some fans very prettily on the top and on
each side. It is an immense improvement to the room.
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 friends."
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,
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
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
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!"
Gowing explains his conduct. Lupin takes us for a drive, which we
don't enjoy. Lupin introduces us to Mr. Murray Posh.
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 pounds 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
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 10, Sunday. - Contrary to my wishes, Carrie allowed Lupin
to persuade her to take her for a drive in the afternoon in his
trap. I quite disapprove of driving on a Sunday, but I did not
like to trust Carrie alone with Lupin, so I offered to go too.
Lupin said: "Now, that is nice of you, Guv., but you won't mind
sitting on the back-seat of the cart?"
Lupin proceeded to put on a bright-blue coat that seemed miles too
large for him. Carrie said it wanted taking in considerably at the
back. Lupin said: "Haven't you seen a box-coat before? You can't
drive in anything else."
He may wear what he likes in the future, for I shall never drive
with him again. His conduct was shocking. When we passed Highgate
Archway, he tried to pass everything and everybody. He shouted to
respectable people who were walking quietly in the road to get out
of the way; he flicked at the horse of an old man who was riding,
causing it to rear; and, as I had to ride backwards, I was
compelled to face a gang of roughs in a donkey-cart, whom Lupin had
chaffed, and who turned and followed us for nearly a mile,
bellowing, indulging in coarse jokes and laughter, to say nothing
of occasionally pelting us with orange-peel.
Lupin's excuse - that the Prince of Wales would have to put up with
the same sort of thing if he drove to the Derby - was of little
consolation to either Carrie or myself. Frank Mutlar called in the
evening, and Lupin went out with him.
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.
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."
We lose money over Lupin's advice as to investment, so does
Cummings. Murray Posh engaged to Daisy Mutlar.
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 to
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 pounds 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 pounds for them. So you get something after
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 pounds is a good
percentage for such a short time." Lupin said, quite irritably:
"You don't understand. I sold your 20 pounds shares for 2 pounds;
you therefore lose 18 pounds 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
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 pounds." 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 pounds 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 pounds." 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.
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
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 pounds in
Marriage of Daisy Mutlar and Murray Posh. The dream of my life
realised. Mr. Perkupp takes Lupin into the office.
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.
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
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 Freres," 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.
Trouble with a stylographic pen. We go to a Volunteer Ball, where
I am let in for an expensive supper. Grossly insulted by a cabman.
An odd invitation to Southend.
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 9. - Gowing called, bringing with him an invitation for
Carrie and myself to a ball given by the East Acton Rifle Brigade,
which he thought would be a swell affair, as the member for East
Acton (Sir William Grime) had promised his patronage. We accepted
of his kindness, and he stayed to supper, an occasion I thought
suitable for trying a bottle of the sparkling Algera that Mr. James
(of Sutton) had sent as a present. Gowing sipped the wine,
observing that he had never tasted it before, and further remarked
that his policy was to stick to more recognised brands. I told him
it was a present from a dear friend, and one mustn't look a gift-
horse in the mouth. Gowing facetiously replied: "And he didn't
like putting it in the mouth either."
I thought the remarks were rude without being funny, but on tasting
it myself, came to the conclusion there was some justification for
them. The sparkling Algera is very like cider, only more sour. I
suggested that perhaps the thunder had turned it a bit acid. He
merely replied: "Oh! I don't think so." We had a very pleasant
game of cards, though I lost four shillings and Carrie lost one,
and Gowing said he had lost about sixpence: how he could have
lost, considering that Carrie and I were the only other players,
remains a mystery.
April 14, Sunday. - Owing, I presume, to the unsettled weather, I
awoke with a feeling that my skin was drawn over my face as tight
as a drum. Walking round the garden with Mr. and Mrs. Treane,
members of our congregation who had walked back with us, I was much
annoyed to find a large newspaper full of bones on the gravel-path,
evidently thrown over by those young Griffin boys next door; who,
whenever we have friends, climb up the empty steps inside their
conservatory, tap at the windows, making faces, whistling, and
April 15. - Burnt my tongue most awfully with the Worcester sauce,
through that stupid girl Sarah shaking the bottle violently before
putting it on the table.
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
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, "That's right."
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 pounds 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
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.
April 17. - No water in our cistern again. Sent for Putley, who
said he would soon remedy that, the cistern being zinc.
April 18. - Water all right again in the cistern. Mrs. James, of
Sutton, called in the afternoon. She and Carrie draped the
mantelpiece in the drawing-room, and put little toy spiders, frogs
and beetles all over it, as Mrs. James says it's quite the fashion.
It was Mrs. James' suggestion, and of course Carrie always does
what Mrs. James suggests. For my part, I preferred the mantelpiece
as it was; but there, I'm a plain man, and don't pretend to be in
April 19. - Our next-door neighbour, Mr. Griffin, called, and in a
rather offensive tone accused me, or "someone," of boring a hole in
his cistern and letting out his water to supply our cistern, which
adjoined his. He said he should have his repaired, and send us in
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."
April 22. - I have of late frequently noticed Carrie rubbing her
nails a good deal with an instrument, and on asking her what she
was doing, she replied: "Oh, I'm going in for manicuring. It's
all the fashion now." I said: "I suppose Mrs. James introduced
that into your head." Carrie laughingly replied: "Yes; but
everyone does it now."
I wish Mrs. James wouldn't come to the house. Whenever she does
she always introduces some new-fandangled rubbish into Carrie's
head. One of these days I feel sure I shall tell her she's not
welcome. I am sure it was Mrs. James who put Carrie up to writing
on dark slate-coloured paper with white ink. Nonsense!
April 23. - Received a letter from Mrs. Lupkin, of Southend,
telling us the train to come by on Saturday, and hoping we will
keep our promise to stay with her. The letter concluded: "You
must come and stay at our house; we shall charge you half what you
will have to pay at the Royal, and the view is every bit as good."
Looking at the address at the top of the note-paper, I found it was
"Lupkin's Family and Commercial Hotel."
I wrote a note, saying we were compelled to "decline her kind
invitation." Carrie thought this very satirical, and to the point.
By-the-by, I will never choose another cloth pattern at night. I
ordered a new suit of dittos for the garden at Edwards', and chose
the pattern by gaslight, and they seemed to be a quiet pepper-and-
salt mixture with white stripes down. They came home this morning,
and, to my horror, I found it was quite a flash-looking suit.
There was a lot of green with bright yellow-coloured stripes.
I tried on the coat, and was annoyed to find Carrie giggling. She
said: "What mixture did you say you asked for?"
I said: "A quiet pepper and salt."
Carrie said: "Well, it looks more like mustard, if you want to
know the truth."
Meet Teddy Finsworth, an old schoolfellow. We have a pleasant and
quiet dinner at his uncle's, marred only by a few awkward mistakes
on my part respecting Mr. Finsworth's pictures. A discussion on
April 27. - Kept a little later than usual at the office, and as I
was hurrying along a man stopped me, saying: "Hulloh! That's a
face I know." I replied politely: "Very likely; lots of people
know me, although I may not know them." He replied: "But you know
me - Teddy Finsworth." So it was. He was at the same school with
me. I had not seen him for years and years. No wonder I did not
know him! At school he was at least a head taller than I was; now
I am at least a head taller than he is, and he has a thick beard,
almost grey. He insisted on my having a glass of wine (a thing I
never do), and told me he lived at Middlesboro', where he was
Deputy Town Clerk, a position which was as high as the Town Clerk
of London - in fact, higher. He added that he was staying for a
few days in London, with his uncle, Mr. Edgar Paul Finsworth (of
Finsworth and Pultwell). He said he was sure his uncle would be
only too pleased to see me, and he had a nice house, Watney Lodge,
only a few minutes' walk from Muswell Hill Station. I gave him our
address, and we parted.
In the evening, to my surprise, he called with a very nice letter
from Mr. Finsworth, saying if we (including Carrie) would dine with
them to-morrow (Sunday), at two o'clock, he would be delighted.
Carrie did not like to go; but Teddy Finsworth pressed us so much
we consented. Carrie sent Sarah round to the butcher's and
countermanded our half-leg of mutton, which we had ordered for to-
April 28, Sunday. - We found Watney Lodge farther off than we
anticipated, and only arrived as the clock struck two, both feeling
hot and uncomfortable. To make matters worse, a large collie dog
pounced forward to receive us. He barked loudly and jumped up at
Carrie, covering her light skirt, which she was wearing for the
first time, with mud. Teddy Finsworth came out and drove the dog
off and apologised. We were shown into the drawing-room, which was
beautifully decorated. It was full of knick-knacks, and some
plates hung up on the wall. There were several little wooden milk-
stools with paintings on them; also a white wooden banjo, painted
by one of Mr. Paul Finsworth's nieces - a cousin of Teddy's.
Mr. Paul Finsworth seemed quite a distinguished-looking elderly
gentleman, and was most gallant to Carrie. There were a great many
water-colours hanging on the walls, mostly different views of
India, which were very bright. Mr. Finsworth said they were
painted by "Simpz," and added that he was no judge of pictures
himself but had been informed on good authority that they were
worth some hundreds of pounds, although he had only paid a few
shillings apiece for them, frames included, at a sale in the
There was also a large picture in a very handsome frame, done in
coloured crayons. It looked like a religious subject. I was very
much struck with the lace collar, it looked so real, but I
unfortunately made the remark that there was something about the
expression of the face that was not quite pleasing. It looked
pinched. Mr. Finsworth sorrowfully replied: "Yes, the face was
done after death - my wife's sister."
I felt terribly awkward and bowed apologetically, and in a whisper
said I hoped I had not hurt his feelings. We both stood looking at
the picture for a few minutes in silence, when Mr. Finsworth took
out a handkerchief and said: "She was sitting in our garden last
summer," and blew his nose violently. He seemed quite affected, so
I turned to look at something else and stood in front of a portrait
of a jolly-looking middle-aged gentleman, with a red face and straw
hat. I said to Mr. Finsworth: "Who is this jovial-looking
gentleman? Life doesn't seem to trouble him much." Mr. Finsworth
said: "No, it doesn't. HE IS DEAD TOO - my brother."
I was absolutely horrified at my own awkwardness. Fortunately at
this moment Carrie entered with Mrs. Finsworth, who had taken her
upstairs to take off her bonnet and brush her skirt. Teddy said:
"Short is late," but at that moment the gentleman referred to
arrived, and I was introduced to him by Teddy, who said: "Do you
know Mr. Short?" I replied, smiling, that I had not that pleasure,
but I hoped it would not be long before I knew Mr. SHORT. He
evidently did not see my little joke, although I repeated it twice
with a little laugh. I suddenly remembered it was Sunday, and Mr.
Short was perhaps VERY PARTICULAR. In this I was mistaken, for he
was not at all particular in several of his remarks after dinner.
In fact I was so ashamed of one of his observations that I took the
opportunity to say to Mrs. Finsworth that I feared she found Mr.
Short occasionally a little embarrassing. To my surprise she said:
"Oh! he is privileged you know." I did not know as a matter of
fact, and so I bowed apologetically. I fail to see why Mr. Short
should be privileged.
Another thing that annoyed me at dinner was that the collie dog,
which jumped up at Carrie, was allowed to remain under the dining-
room table. It kept growling and snapping at my boots every time I
moved my foot. Feeling nervous rather, I spoke to Mrs. Finsworth
about the animal, and she remarked: "It is only his play." She
jumped up and let in a frightfully ugly-looking spaniel called
Bibbs, which had been scratching at the door. This dog also seemed
to take a fancy to my boots, and I discovered afterwards that it
had licked off every bit of blacking from them. I was positively
ashamed of being seen in them. Mrs. Finsworth, who, I must say, is
not much of a Job's comforter, said: "Oh! we are used to Bibbs
doing that to our visitors."
Mr. Finsworth had up some fine port, although I question whether it
is a good thing to take on the top of beer. It made me feel a
little sleepy, while it had the effect of inducing Mr. Short to
become "privileged" to rather an alarming extent. It being cold
even for April, there was a fire in the drawing-room; we sat round
in easy-chairs, and Teddy and I waxed rather eloquent over the old
school days, which had the effect of sending all the others to
sleep. I was delighted, as far as Mr. Short was concerned, that it
did have that effect on him.
We stayed till four, and the walk home was remarkable only for the
fact that several fools giggled at the unpolished state of my
boots. Polished them myself when I got home. Went to church in
the evening, and could scarcely keep awake. I will not take port
on the top of beer again.
April 29. - I am getting quite accustomed to being snubbed by
Lupin, and I do not mind being sat upon by Carrie, because I think
she has a certain amount of right to do so; but I do think it hard
to be at once snubbed by wife, son, and both my guests.
Gowing and Cummings had dropped in during the evening, and I
suddenly remembered an extraordinary dream I had a few nights ago,
and I thought I would tell them about it. I dreamt I saw some huge
blocks of ice in a shop with a bright glare behind them. I walked
into the shop and the heat was overpowering. I found that the
blocks of ice were on fire. The whole thing was so real and yet so
supernatural I woke up in a cold perspiration. Lupin in a most
contemptuous manner, said: "What utter rot."
Before I could reply, Gowing said there was nothing so completely
uninteresting as other people's dreams.
I appealed to Cummings, but he said he was bound to agree with the
others and my dream was especially nonsensical. I said: "It
seemed so real to me." Gowing replied: "Yes, to YOU perhaps, but
not to US." Whereupon they all roared.
Carrie, who had hitherto been quiet, said: "He tells me his stupid
dreams every morning nearly." I replied: "Very well, dear, I
promise you I will never tell you or anybody else another dream of
mine the longest day I live." Lupin said: "Hear! hear!" and
helped himself to another glass of beer. The subject was
fortunately changed, and Cummings read a most interesting article
on the superiority of the bicycle to the horse.
Dinner at Franching's to meet Mr. Hardfur Huttle.
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 MENU card to each. One lady said she always preserved the MENU
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 MENU
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
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
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. Huttle.
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 hooks on."
This seemed rather personal and twice I caught myself looking in
the glass of the cheffoniere; 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 a bottle."
I could not help thinking of "Jackson Freres" at three-and-six!
"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
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 a comfort.
Lupin is discharged. We are in great trouble. Lupin gets engaged
elsewhere at a handsome salary.
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
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
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
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
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 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 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
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 pounds 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 read.
To my amazement, I read that Gylterson and Sons had absolutely
engaged Lupin at a salary of 200 pounds 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
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
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."
Master Percy Edgar Smith James. Mrs. James (of Sutton) visits us
again and introduces "Spiritual Seances."
May 26, Sunday. - We went to Sutton after dinner to have meat-tea
with Mr. and Mrs. James. I had no appetite, having dined well at
two, and the entire evening was spoiled by little Percy - their
only son - who seems to me to be an utterly spoiled child.
Two or three times he came up to me and deliberately kicked my
shins. He hurt me once so much that the tears came into my eyes.
I gently remonstrated with him, and Mrs. James said: "Please don't
scold him; I do not believe in being too severe with young
children. You spoil their character."
Little Percy set up a deafening yell here, and when Carrie tried to
pacify him, he slapped her face.
I was so annoyed, I said: "That is not my idea of bringing up
children, Mrs. James."
Mrs. James said. "People have different ideas of bringing up
children - even your son Lupin is not the standard of perfection."
A Mr. Mezzini (an Italian, I fancy) here took Percy in his lap.
The child wriggled and kicked and broke away from Mr. Mezzini,
saying: "I don't like you - you've got a dirty face."
A very nice gentleman, Mr. Birks Spooner, took the child by the
wrist and said: "Come here, dear, and listen to this."
He detached his chronometer from the chain and made his watch
To our horror, the child snatched it from his hand and bounced it
down upon the ground like one would a ball.
Mr. Birks Spooner was most amiable, and said he could easily get a
new glass put in, and did not suppose the works were damaged.
To show you how people's opinions differ, Carrie said the child was
bad-tempered, but it made up for that defect by its looks, for it
was - in her mind - an unquestionably beautiful child.
I may be wrong, but I do not think I have seen a much uglier child
myself. That is MY opinion.
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 seances 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
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.
May 31. - I wrote a stern letter to the laundress. I was rather
pleased with the letter, for I thought it very satirical. I said:
"You have returned the handkerchiefs without the colour. Perhaps
you will return either the colour or the value of the
handkerchiefs." I shall be rather curious to know what she will
have to say.
More table-turning in the evening. Carrie said last night was in a
measure successful, and they ought to sit again. Cummings came in,
and seemed interested. I had the gas lighted in the drawing-room,
got the steps, and repaired the cornice, which has been a bit of an
eyesore to me. In a fit of unthinkingness - if I may use such an
expression, - I gave the floor over the parlour, where the seance
was taking place, two loud raps with the hammer. I felt sorry
afterwards, for it was the sort of ridiculous, foolhardy thing that
Gowing or Lupin would have done.
However, they never even referred to it, but Carrie declared that a
message came through the table to her of a wonderful description,
concerning someone whom she and I knew years ago, and who was quite
unknown to the others.
When we went to bed, Carrie asked me as a favour to sit to-morrow
night, to oblige her. She said it seemed rather unkind and
unsociable on my part. I promised I would sit once.
June 1. - I sat reluctantly at the table in the evening, and I am
bound to admit some curious things happened. I contend they were
coincidences, but they were curious. For instance, the table kept
tilting towards me, which Carrie construed as a desire that I
should ask the spirit a question. I obeyed the rules, and I asked
the spirit (who said her name was Lina) if she could tell me the
name of an old aunt of whom I was thinking, and whom we used to
call Aunt Maggie. The table spelled out C A T. We could make
nothing out of it, till I suddenly remembered that her second name
was Catherine, which it was evidently trying to spell. I don't
think even Carrie knew this. But if she did, she would never
cheat. I must admit it was curious. Several other things
happened, and I consented to sit at another seance on Monday.
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 MARCHE. 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 seance, 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 seance.
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 seance. 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
The table began to move again, and we might have had a wonderful
seance 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
This time the table spelled distinctly "POSH." We all thought of
Mrs. Murray Posh and Lupin. Carrie 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.
June 4. - Quite looking forward to the seance this evening. Was
thinking of it all the day at the office.
Just as we sat down at the table we were annoyed by Gowing entering
He said: "I am not going to stop, but I have brought with me a
sealed envelope, which I know I can trust with Mrs. Pooter. In
that sealed envelope is a strip of paper on which I have asked a
simple question. If the spirits can answer that question, I will
believe in Spiritualism."
I ventured the expression that it might be impossible.
Mrs. James said: "Oh no! it is of common occurrence for the
spirits to answer questions under such conditions - and even for
them to write on locked slates. It is quite worth trying. If
'Lina' is in a good temper, she is certain to do it."
Gowing said: "All right; then I shall be a firm believer. I shall
perhaps drop in about half-past nine or ten, and hear the result."
He then left and we sat a long time. Cummings wanted to know
something about some undertaking in which he was concerned, but he
could get no answer of any description whatever - at which he said
he was very disappointed and was afraid there was not much in
table-turning after all. I thought this rather selfish of him.
The seance was very similar to the one last night, almost the same
in fact. So we turned to the letter. "Lina" took a long time
answering the question, but eventually spelt out "ROSES, LILIES,
AND COWS." There was great rocking of the table at this time, and
Mrs. James said: "If that is Captain Drinkwater, let us ask him
the answer as well?"
It was the spirit of the Captain, and, most singular, he gave the
same identical answer: "ROSES, LILIES, AND COWS."
I cannot describe the agitation with which Carrie broke the seal,
or the disappointment we felt on reading the question, to which the
answer was so inappropriate. The question was, "WHAT'S OLD
This quite decided me.
As I had put my foot down on Spiritualism years ago, so I would
I am pretty easy-going as a rule, but I can be extremely firm when
driven to it.
I said slowly, as I turned up the gas: "This is the last of this
nonsense that shall ever take place under my roof. I regret I
permitted myself to be a party to such tomfoolery. If there is
anything in it - which I doubt - it is nothing of any good, and I
WON'T HAVE IT AGAIN. That is enough."
Mrs. James said: "I think, Mr. Pooter, you are rather over-
stepping - "
I said: "Hush, madam. I am master of this house - please
Mrs. James made an observation which I sincerely hope I was
mistaken in. I was in such a rage I could not quite catch what she
said. But if I thought she said what it sounded like, she should
never enter the house again.
Lupin leaves us. We dine at his new apartments, and hear some
extraordinary information respecting the wealth of Mr. Murray Posh.
Meet Miss Lilian Posh. Am sent for by Mr. Hardfur Huttle.
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.
July 2. - Cummings called, looked very pale, and said he had been
very ill again, and of course not a single friend had been near
him. Carrie said she had never heard of it, whereupon he threw
down a copy of the BICYCLE NEWS on the table, with the following
paragraph: "We regret to hear that that favourite old roadster,
Mr. Cummings ('Long' Cummings), has met with what might have been a
serious accident in Rye Lane. A mischievous boy threw a stick
between the spokes of one of the back wheels, and the machine
overturned, bringing our brother tricyclist heavily to the ground.
Fortunately he was more frightened than hurt, but we missed his
merry face at the dinner at Chingford, where they turned up in good
numbers. 'Long' Cummings' health was proposed by our popular Vice,
Mr. Westropp, the prince of bicyclists, who in his happiest vein
said it was a case of 'CUMMING(s) thro' the RYE, but fortunately
there was more WHEEL than WOE,' a joke which created roars of
We all said we were very sorry, and pressed Cummings to stay to
supper. Cummings said it was like old times being without Lupin,
and he was much better away.
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.
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 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 pounds.
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 pounds 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
I said I was pleased to hear it.
Lupin said: "Why, he has settled over 10,000 pounds 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
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
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
CHAPTER THE LAST.
One of the happiest days of my life.
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
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
On arriving home I found Carrie crying with joy, and I sent Sarah
round to the grocer's to get two bottles of "Jackson Freres."
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."