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FORM NO. 609; 9,20,38: lOOM. 





THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



THE DIARY OF 
A NOBODY 



BY 

GEORGE GROSSMITH 

AND 

WEEDON GROSSMITH 



With Illustrations 








BY WEEDON GROSSMITH 








AND A MEMOIR OF THh', TWO BROTHERS 






BY B. W. FINDON 


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GEORGE AND WEEDON GROSSMITH 

H /^^emolr 

By B. W. FINDON 



It would be presumption for a writer of humble 
attainments to add anything to the splendid eulogy 
which Lord Rosebery has penned on the merits of 
The Diary of a Nobody. That the book has run 
through so many editions is proof conclusive the 
public have fully appreciated its delicate irony and 
subtle humour. But if it be a work of supererogation 
to dwell on the charm of the Diary itself, there is 
scope for discourse in the lives of its authors, George 
and Weedon Grossmith. Both have passed away, 
one but quite recently, leaving behind them a record 
of honourable work and distinguished achievem.ent. 
Both found their ultimate art m.edium by a process 
of evolution — the elder through the Press entrance 
to the Bow Street Police Court, the other by way of 
the South Kensington Art Schools. 

It is true that home life favoured that evolution, 
inasmuch as their father was a popular humorist 



GEORGE AND WEEDON GROSSMITH 

and lecturer, a well-known figure in the Bohemian 
life of his period, and often there gathered round his 
hospitable board in the little house at Haverstock 
Hill such famous people as Henry Irving, J. L. Toole, 
H. J. Byron, T. W. Robertson, Charles Wyndham, 
Augustus Sala, Kate and Ellen Terry, Madame 
Celeste, to quote only a few names at random. So 
it is that we find the two boys developing their play- 
acting instincts and giving juvenile entertainments 
at home and at the homes of their schoolfellows, one 
of their most popular performances being a short 
burlesque on " Hamlet " expressly written for them by 
their father, in which young George played Hamlet 
and little Weedon doubled the roles of Ophelia and 
the Gravedigger. 

The way is not remote from the family hearth to 
the parochial schoolroom, and so we find Master 
George at the age of seventeen a budding Penny 
Reader. At that time, it will be remembered, 
Penny Readings, as they were called, were much in 
vogue and in great favour with the Church. They 
were pleasant and alluring as evening diversions for 
the young entertainer, but the working hours of 
the day were passed in more strenuous occupation 
and in a more prosaic environment. Mr. George 
Gross mith, senr., was the official Press representative 
at the Bow Street Police Court, although this did not 
prevent his devoting some six or nine months of the 

6 



A MEMOIR 

year to lecturing in the Provinces. He had, of 
course, to arrange for a deputy in his absence, and 
as it had been decided that George, junr., was to 
qualify for the Bar, the parental mind considered 
that the reversion of the Reportership at Bow Street 
would be a good stand-by pending the arrival of 
lucrative briefs. As he well knew, more than one 
promising young barrister at the beginning of his 
career had found journalism a better employer than 
the Law. Thus it was that in 1866 George, junr., 
was formally installed at Bow Street under the 
fostering care of his father's locum-tenens, and he 
carried on with his Press work until he appeared 
as John Wellington Wells in "The Sorcerer" at 
the Opera Comique. Three years later, on the 
death of Mr. Grossmith, the duties were resumed, 
with the assistance of the gentleman who had 
so loyally served his father. As nearly all the 
most important criminal cases run their preliminary 
course at Bow Street, it is needless to say that 
Gee Gee's experiences were of a varied and interesting 
description, and that the sidelights on character 
brought under his observation were of infinite use to 
him as a Society Humorist. 

In more senses than one he followed in the 
professional footsteps of his father. In 1870 he was 
introduced to the famous Professor Pepper of the 
Polytechnic, and was engaged by him to give those 



GEORGE AND WEEDON GROSSMITH 

original sketches at the pianoforte which in later 
life were to secure him such a rich financial harvest. 
In the next year his enterprise led him farther afield, 
and he had the satisfaction of joining those well- 
known entertainers, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Paul, oq 
a tour of the seaside towns, and with his continued 
success as a humorous reciter the legal career 
vanished from his perspective. It was mutually 
agreed that he and his father should join forces, and 
they began their associated programmes in 1873. 
This departure was rendered more imperative for j:he 
younger man by the reason that he had that year 
taken unto himself a wife, and therefore an increased 
income was necessary to cope with domestic obliga- 
tions. His wife, the daughter of Doctor Noyce, a 
practitioner in the neighbourhood of Haverstock 
Hill, he had first met at a children's party, and there 
it was the little romance began, to be renewed some 
four years later at another dance meeting ; this time 
there was no lapse in the acquaintance with Miss 
Emmeline Rosa Noyce. 

Towards the end of this his first period as a 
professional public entertainer he joined forces for a 
short time with Miss Florence Marryat, well known 
as a novelist, and daughter of the celebrated author 
of Midshipman Easy. But another and a greater 
combination was awaiting him. In the late autumn 
of 1877 George Grossmith, junr., received a letter 

8 



A MEMOIR 

from Arthur Sullivan, in which he was offered the 
role of John Wellington Wells in " The Sorcerer." 
His father was opposed to his acceptance of the 
engagement ; it meant the cancelling of all his 
provincial contracts for a new venture which might 
or might not prove a success ; his family and house- 
hold expenses were increasing, and altogether the 
professional and domestic problem was an anxious 
one to solve. But in spite of all temptations and 
friendly objurgations, he determined to take the 
risk, and was much comforted by a letter from his 
old companion in art, Mrs. Howard Paul (herself 
engaged in the new opera), who wrote : — 

" Under any circumstances, and at som^e sacrifice, 
you do not fail to accept the part ... it will 
be a new and magnificent introduction for you, 
and be of very great service afterwards." 

Mrs. Howard Paul proved a true prophetess 
(although, alas ! she did not live to see the realisation 
of her good counsel), and George Grossmith's name 
speedily became a household word in both hemi- 
spheres. Hitherto his work had been done solely at 
the pianoforte ; he had taken part in but a few 
amateur theatrical performances, and his father was 
not flattering in his appreciation of his powers as an 
actor. George Grossmith, junr., however, had a 
personality and a style essentially his own ; his 
humour was of a particularly dry and self-contained 



GEORGE AND WEEDON GROSSMITH 

quality, it was almost ascetic in its restrained 
expression, and it was something new in theatrical 
art, but above all it was eminently adapted to the 
piquant features of Gilbertian characterisation and 
dialogue. One realises this by recalling that splendid 
sequence of parts beginning with John Wellington 
Wells in " The Sorcerer," and passing on to Sir 
Joseph Porter, K.C.B., "H.M.S. Pinafore"; Major- 
General Stanley, " The Pirates of Penzance " ; 
Reginald Bunthorne, " Patience " ; The Lord 
Chancellor, " lolanthe " ; King Gama, " Princess 
Ida"; Koko, "The Mikado"; Robin Oakapple, 
" Ruddigore" ; and last and greatest of all. Jack Point 
in " The Yeoman of the Guard." In these various 
parts George Grossmith made a distinct personal 
success ; each had its intrinsic characteristic, and 
each fully represented the intentions of the author. 

George Grossmith retired from the Savoy in 
August, 1889, to return to the platform and the 
pianoforte. Then, indeed, did Mrs. Howard Paul's 
words come true. Gee Gee's reputation was 
established throughout the land. People flocked to 
his recitals in town and country, his monetary 
receipts were limited only by the sitting accommoda- 
tion of the halls in which he appeared, and in a few 
years he was in a position to retire to a dignified and 
opulent leisure, which he did finally in 1909. He 
died at Folkestone, March ist, 1912, in his sixty-fifth 

10 



A MEMOIR 

year. His elder son, the third George Grossmith, is 
now one of England's most popular comedians, and 
his second son, Lawrence, has worthily sustained 
the family reputation. 



Walter Weedon Grossmith was seven years his 
brother's junior, and he began his art studies at the 
Great Portland Street Branch of the West London 
School of Art. In his boyish enthusiasm for the 
career of a painter he had the cordial sympathy of 
his mother, who was a Miss Weedon, and cousin of 
a distinguished marine painter of that name. He 
developed, also, a passion for the violin, but with 
regard to this particular phase of executive art 
Mr. Grossmith, senr., took " direct action." To his 
father's question, " Are you hoping to be a fiddler or 
a painter ? " Master Weedon replied with some 
asperity, " A painter, of course." " Then," said his 
father, " I think you ought to be at the School at 
your work instead of disturbing your mother and 
myself and the neighbours. But one thing is certain, 
my lad, and that is, if you continue your study of the 
violin, one of two things must happen, I must leave 
the house or you must, and as I am paying the rent 
and rates, I am more entitled to the privileges of 
this domicile than you are." 

Weedon took the reprimand to heart, and hence- 

II 



GEORGE AND WEEDON GROSSMITH 

forth devoted himself seriously to palette and brush, 
with the result that he quahfied for admittance to 
the Royal Academy Schools. His first notable 
success as an artist was a three-quarter length portrait 
of his father, which was hung at the Academy ; and 
here it is interesting to note that a similar good 
fortune attended his portraits of both his brother 
and nephew, making three generations of Georges 
to be thus honoured. 

At that timxC his studio was in Fitzroy Street, 
where he had for neighbours and companions many 
fellow - artists who have since achieved special 
distinction and honours. Success was now attending 
his efforts ; commissions for portraits kept him well 
occupied, and other compositions of a more varied 
and ambitious character met with approval and 
popular appreciation. Especially was this the case 
with a picture entitled " Bread and Butter Days," 
which was the first of its kind, and there were many 
of them, to be awarded the distinction of being hung 
at the Royal Academy. So bright were his prospects 
that he removed to a more commodious studio in 
Gow^er Street, where he steadily made headway in 
his profession. 

It was about this time that the Grossmith 
hereditary instinct began to force its way to the 
surface. In Weedon's case it took the form of 
imitations of popular actors and music hall singers, 

12 



A MEMOIR 

and this mimetic gift made him very popular and 
his presence very welcome at friendly gatherings, 
so much so that once at a supper party at Sir Arthur 
Sullivan's the late Mr. D'Oyly Carte remarked to 
him, " Weedon, seriously, if ever Art should fail, 
which I hope it won't, come to me, and I will give 
you an engagement on the stage at once." 

There was not then the remotest intention on 
Weedon's part of doing anything of the kind, but 
the day was not so distant when a change of career 
gave him serious cause for reflection. He had moved 
to more fashionable quarters in Harley Street (this 
was in 1883), with a corresponding increase in his 
expenses, and here luck seemed to desert him. 
Although pictures were hung on the line at the 
Royal Academy, and attracted a considerable 
amount of attention, they either found no purchasers, 
or were sold at indifferent prices to meet the needs of 
the moment. Commissions for portraits were few 
and far between, financial obligations were becoming 
unpleasantly pressing, and the immediate outlook was 
dull and discouraging. It was then he remembered 
Mr. D'Oyly Carte's suggestion. Weedon took 
into his confidence his friend Sir Luke Fildes, 
who did all in his power to dissuade him from 
abandoning an art of which he had conquered the 
greatest difficulties. The impulse and the temptation 
might have passed, but big changes often turn on 

13 



GEORGE AND WEEDON GROSSMITH 

little events. Visiting the Eton and Harrow cricket 
match at Lord's in 1885, Weedon met Cecil Clay, 
husband of the well-known actress Rosina Vokes, 
and Mr. Clay made him an offer of £15 a week to 
accompany them on a tour in America, promising 
him good parts in good comedies. The proposition 
was considered and accepted, and on September 7th 
he made his first appearance on the stage at the old 
Prince of Wales' Theatre, Liverpool, where the 
company played for a few^ weeks before sailing for 
New York. 

Early in the tour " The Pantomime Rehearsal " was 
produced with immense success, and a personal one 
for Weedon Grossmith, whose Lord Arthur Pomeroy 
took the Americans by storm. His representation of 
an English peer was something altogether different to 
that which was famihar to American playgoers. He 
was back again in the United States in the following 
year, but a desire for recognition in London induced 
him to return home and sever his relations with his 
good friends Cecil Clay and Rosina Vokes. 

He fondly imagined that with his American honours 
thick upon him he would find a royal road to fame 
and fortune on the London stage. Alas ! London was 
in a state of blissful ignorance. He had been missed 
from his clubs and accustomed haunts — that 's all ! 
Lucrative offers of " star " parts did not reach him 
by the daily posts, and at length he accepted an 

14 



A MEMOIR 

engagement wdth Mr. George Edwardes to appear at 
the Gaiety in an antiquated farce called " Woodcock's 
Little Game," in a part which had beea made famous 
by Charles Mathews in the previous generation. 
The piece met with the fate it deserved, and 
unhappily involved Weedon in it. The Metropolis 
closed its stage doors against him, and at last, in 
despair, he turned again to painting, and took a 
furnished studio in St. John's Wood. 

Then it was that Henry Irving came on the scene. 
In response to a telegram, Grossmith went to the 
Lyceum, and Irving asked him, " Do you think you 
could play Jacques Strop to my Robert Macaire ? " 
Out of the depths forlorn into the blue emp3^rean 1 
Life's narrow vista suddenly broadened to a stately 
avenue with a fohage of golden leaves ! It was the 
Promise of May — May, 1888. Jacques Strop was to 
prove to Weedon what John WelHngton Wells had 
proved to George. Critics and public alike rewarded 
his performance with generous praise and recognition. 
In connection with this production Wee-Gee used to 
tell a good story of an early rehearsal. Irving said 
to him : — 

" You understand you 've got to imitate me. 
That 's simple enough, isn't it ? " 

Now Irving had been one of his pet subjects in his 
early mimetic days, and he accordingly proceeded to 
give of his best. The people on the stage collapsed — 

15 



GEORGE AND WEEDON GROSSMITH 

some with fear, others with laughter. Never had 
such a thing been known within the sacred walls of 
the Lyceum. To use his owti words : — 

" The great chief glared at me for a moment with 
his eyes dilated, and then gave me a push, saying, 
' Stupid fellow ! ' He practically pushed me off the 
stage." However, the " push " was but a temporary 
one, and no haim resulted. 

But excellent as his performance was in " Robert 
Macaire," his next step assured him his career on the 
EngHsh stage. He was engaged by Beerbohm Tree 
to appear at the Haymarket in a play by Henry 
Arthur Jones, entitled " Wealth," and his part in it 
was that of a little City bounder, Percy Palfreyman, 
and this performance established his unique power 
as a character actor. A year later he gave his 
inimitable representation of the Jew money-lender, 
Joseph Lebanon, in Pinero's " The Cabinet Minister " 
— one of the finest comic renderings of the modem 
stage. Weedon has said of this role : — 

" I think it was the best part I have ever played. 
I made the character a fashionable, rather vulgar, 
cheery man of business, and I am happy to say that 
no one appreciated the performance more than my 
Jewish friends, and I have many, and I never lost 
one of them through that performance, as it gave no 
offence to anyone." 

And here I may be, I hope, permitted to quote 

i6 



A MEMOIR 

from a critique of my owti written anent the pro- 
duction in 1911 of " Baby Mine" : — 

" Among the survivors of the old brigade of artists 
who thoroughly understand the requirements of 
farcical comedy, who know how to treat its humour 
with breadth, and grapple successfully with its 
ludicrous situations, is Mr. Weedon Grossmith. He 
is one of the best — I think I may say the best actor 
of farce on the stage of to-day. Those who are 
acquainted with Mr. Weedon Grossmith's career, 
who can remember some of his early representations, 
and can recall the many diverting creations he has 
given us since those days, will, I am sure, agree with 
the estimate I have formed of his ability in this 
phase of the actor's art." 

One of his greatest assets was his power to portray 
comic terror, and another valuable asset was that he 
never o'erstepped the modesty of nature to make 
the judicious grieve. In his art, as in his Ufe, he 
was clean and comely, and in the twilight of reflection 
one had never to blush for the laugh he had raised. 

Among his other notable performances was that of 
Archibald Rennick in " The New Boy," a piece which 
brought him a small fortune, but greatest of all 
it brought him Miss May Palfrey, the daughter of 
Dr. James Palfrey, of Brook Street, who changed 
the role of the schoolgirl, Nancy Roach, for that 
of Mrs. Weedon Grossmith. 

17 



GEORGE AND WEEDON GROSSMITH 

As an author, Mr. Weedon Grossmith had several 
excellent plays to his credit, of which the most 
popular was " The Night of the Party," and this piece 
was equally as successful in the United States as it 
was in London and the Provinces. At the time of 
his death, June 14th, 1919, he was engaged on a new 
play in collaboration with Mr. George R. Sims. 

Weedon Grossmith 's soul was at all times in his 
work, but much as he loved the stage and all its 
associations, there was ever in his heart of hearts the 
desire of his early love, and his dearest remembrances 
were more intimately associated with the studio than 
with the theatre. But his was not a nature to repine, 
he was serene of mind and generous of soul, and his 
own words penned but a comparatively short time 
ago give the index to his character and make an 
appropriate epitaph : — 

" Though I missed the bull's-eye as a painter, I 
have been fairly successful in the Sister Art of Acting. 
I have no complaint to make, no grievances to air, 
and am at peace with all men, and I haven't to my 
knowledge an enemy in the world." 

The actor's fame is evanescent, but in The Diary 
of a Nobody the brothers Grossmith have given a 
hostage to fame that should keep their memory green 
in the hearts of all who love that which is best in the 
humour of English literature, and the gentle quality 
of authorship that gave us The Vicar of Wakefield. 

18 



Copy of letter from Lord Rosebery. 



38, Berkeley Square, 

W., 

August 2^th, 1910. 

My dear Sir, 

You are quite right in thinking that I am 
devoted to that small classic, The Diary of a 
Nobody, and I have, I suspect, purchased and 
given away more copies than any living man. 

To write an appreciation of a book I esteem 
so highly is, I am afraid, beyond my power ; 
for it is now so familiar to me that the keen 
edge of my discrimination has worn off. 
But I regard any bed room I occupy as 
unfurnished without a copy of it. And that 
is an appreciation more sincere than any that 
I could write. 

Yours truly, 



Mr. J. W. Arrowsmith. 




Copy of letter from 
The Rt. Honble. Augustine Birrell, M.P. 

The Pightle, 

Sheringham, 

Norfolk, 
September 2yd, 1910. 

My dear Arrowsmith, 

I do not remember who first bade me read 
The Diary of a Nobody, the early version of 
which in Punch I had strangely overlooked. 
It must have been done in casual conversation. 
But what a casualty ! I dare not tell you my 
view of " Charles Footer." I rank him with 
Don Quixote. It is a matter of great pride 
with me and all in this house, that our name 
is borne by one of the characters in this bit of 
Immortality — by an illiterate charwoman, it is 
true, who never touched a book — but what of 
that ? I am there. 

I know you think you have published many 
good things in your day — and I do not doubt it, 
but you need never worry, for as the publisher 
of that little book about the home-life of 
Herbert Spencer (by " Two ") and this Diary, 
your name will be carried far down the River 
of Time, and may even reach the Sea. 

Yours most sincerely, 






Extract from essay by 
Mt.RilaireBellocM'^'," On PeopleinBooks." 



" Take, for instance, that immoderately 
common type, among the most common of 
God's creatures, which I will call ' The Silent 
Fool,' the man who hardly ever talks, and when 
he does say something so overwhelmingly silly 
that one remembers it all one's life. I can 
recollect but one Silent Fool in modem letters, 
but he comes in a book which is one of the 
half-dozen immortal achievements of our time, 
a book like a decisive battle, or like the statue 
of John the Baptist at South Kensington, a 
glory for us all. I mean The Diary of a Nobody, 
In that you will find the silent Mr. Padge, who 
says * That 's right ' — and nothing more." 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN 

PUNCH, 

AND IS RE-PUBLISHED BY THE PERMISSION OF 

THE PROPRIETORS, 

MESSRS. BRADBURY AND AGNEW. 
THE DIARY HAS BEEN SINCE CONSIDERABLY ADDED TO. 

THE EXCELLENT TITLE 
WAS SUGGESTED BY OUR MUTUAL FRIEND, 

f. C Burnanb, 

TO WHOM WE HAVE THE GREAT PLEASURE OF 
DEDICATING THIS VOLUME. 

GEORGE GROSSMITH, 
WEEDON GROSSMITH 

London, June, 1892. 



CONTENTS 



Pas( 



Chapter I. — 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 . . • 33 

Chapter II. — 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 . . '43 

Chapter III. — A conversation with Mr. Merton on 
Society. Mr. and Mrs. James, of Sutton, come 
up. A miserable evening at the Tank Theatre. 
Experim.ents with enamel paint. I make 
another good joke ; but Gowing and Cummings 
are unnecessarily offended. I paint the bath 
red, with unexpected result . . . '59 

Chapter IV. — The Ball at the Mansion House. . 73 

Chapter V. — After the Mansion House Ball. Carrie 
oSended. Gow ng also offended. A pleasant 
party at the Cummings'. Mr. Franching, of 
Peckham, visits us . . . . -87 

Chapter VI. — The Unexpected Arrival Home of 

our Son, Willie Tupin Footer . . . .105 

25 



CONTENTS 



Page 



Chapter VII. — 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 announce- 
ment . . . . . . . .119 

Chapter VIII. — Daisy Mutlar sole topic of conver- 
sation. 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 honour . . . . . .133 

Chapter IX. — 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 . .145 

Chapter X. — 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 . . . . . -153 

Chapter XI. — We have a dose of Irving imitations. 
Make the acquaintance of a Mr. Padge. Don't 
care for him. Mr. Burwin-Fosselton becomes a 
nuisance . . . . . • .161 

Chapter XII. — A serious discussion concerning the 
use and value of m}^ diary. Lupin's opinion of 
'Xmas. Lupin's unfortunate engagement is 
on again . . . . . • • ^71 

26 



CONTENTS 



Page 



Chapter XIII. — 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 extra- 
ordinary letter from Mr. Mutlar, senior, 
respecting Lupin. We miss drinking out 
the Old Year . . . . . .187 

Chapter XIV. — 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 . . . . -199 

Chapter XV. — Cowing explains his conduct. Lupin 
takes us for a drive, which we don't enjoy. 
Lupin introduces us to Mr. Murray Posh . .213 

Chapter XVI. — We lose money over Lupin's advice 
as to investments, so does Cummings. Murray 
Posh engaged to Daisy Mutlar . . .223 

Chapter XVII. — Marriage of Daisy jNIutlar and 
Murray Posh. The dream of my life realised. 
Mr. Perkupp takes Lupin into the office . .231 

Chapter XVIII. — 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 . 239 

Chapter XIX. — 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 dreams . 255 

27 



CONTENTS 

Page 

Chapter XX. — Dinner at Franching's to meet 

Mr. Hardfur Huttle ..... 265 

Chapter XXI. — Lupin is discharged. We are in 
great trouble. Lupin gets engaged elsewhere at 
a handsome salary . . . . . '277 

Chapter XXII. — Master Percy Edgar Smith James. 
Mrs. James (of Sutton) visits us again and 
introduces " Spiritual S6ances " . . .289 

Chapter XXIII. — Lupin leaves us. We dine at his 
new apartments, and hear som? extraordinary 
information respecting the wealth of Mr. Murray 
Posh. Meet Miss Lilian Posh. Am sent for 
by Mr. Hardfur Huttle. Important . . 307 

Chapter The Last.— One of the happiest days of my 

life . . . . . . . .319 



28 



Jntrobucttou b^ /IDr. pooter. 



Why should I not publish my diary ? I have 
often seen re^niniscences 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, 

Charles Footer. 



1 he Laurels, 

Brickfield Terrace^ 

Holloway. 



CHAPTER I. 



WE SETTLE DOWN IN OUR NEW HOME. 

I RESOLVE TO KEEP A DIARY. 

TRADESMEN TROUBLE US A B>T, SO DOES THE 

SCRAPER. 

THE CURATE CALLS AND PAYS ME A 
GREAT COMPLIMENT. 



THE DIARY OF A 
NOBODY, 



CHAPTER I. 

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, 

Y dear wife Carrie and I have just been 
a week in our new house, " The 
Laurels," Brickfield Terrace, Hollo- 
way — 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, Cowing, and our other 
intimate friends always come to the little side 

3 33 




THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

entrance, which saves the servant the trouble of 
going up to the front door, thereby taking her 
from her work. We have a nice httle back garden 
which runs down to the railway. We Vv'ere rather 




The Laurels. 



afraid of the noise of the trains at first, but the 
landlord said we should not notice them after a bit, 
and took £2 off the rent. He was certainly right; 

34 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

and beyond the cracking of the garden-wall at the 
bottom, we have suffered no mconvenience. 

xAfter 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 bhnd 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), manufac- 
tured 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 

35 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



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 ridicu- 
ous. Dear friend Gowing 
dropped in, but wouldn't 
stay, saying there was an 
infernal smell of paint. 

April 4. — Trades- 
'men still calling: 
Carrie being out, I r"'^'^^. 
arranged to deal \Zs^' 

with H or win, 
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 




OuY dear friend Gowing. 



36 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 jokes. 

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 even- 
ing, 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 v/as both drunk and ofi'ensive 
Borset, on seeing me, said he would be hanged il 



37 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 




Our dear friend Curnmiugs, 



for a City clerk to be a gentleman. lie replied he 
was verv glad to hear it, and vv-anted to know whether 



38 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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. How- 
ever, 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 tv/o 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 ; cur 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. 

39 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 occa- 
sions. 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. 



40 



CHAPTER II. 



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. 



> 



CHAPTER II. 

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. 
Still brook, Gozz'ing, Cummings, and I have 
a little misunderstanding. Sarah makes 
me look a fool before Cnmnmigs. 



PRIL g. — Commenced the morning 
badly. The butcher, whom we decided 
not to arrange with, called and black- 



^-=^ . guarded 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 

43 




THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

door, enough to break the panels. It was the black- 
guard 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 iron- 
monger, 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 land- 
lord with such a trifling matter. 

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 re-paint the stairs. It would cost very little 
more; and 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 at nine. 

April io. — 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 7ne he would do so. I thanked 



44 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 in- 
formed 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 ii. — 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 



45 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 v»^as 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 chose 
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 : 
*' Hov/ 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 after- 
wards 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, 

46 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 v/as 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 
obhged to retire on the pretext of telling Sarah to 
bring in the glasses. 

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 '11 tell you what, I distinctly smell dry 



47 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 im- 
mensely 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 : Carry 
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 is. 

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 



48 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 tune, 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 Hamp- 
stead and Finchley, and brought with them a friend 




Siillhvook lags lehind. Going up hilL 



49 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 




Goin^ down kill. 



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 — bond fide travellers." 

We arrived ; and as I was trying to pass, 

50 










Nearly there. 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

the man in charge of the gate said : " Where from ? " 
I repUed : " Hollowa}^" He immediately put up 
his arm, and decHned to let me pass. I turned back 
for a moment, when I saw Stillbrook, closely fol- 
lowed 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 sur- 
prise, in fact disgust, Stillbrook replied : " Black- 
heath," 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 i6. — 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 

52 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 httle 
note to Gowing and Cummings about last Sunday, 
and warning them against Mr. Stillbrook. After- 
wards, thinking the matter over, tore up the letters, 
and determined not to write at all, but to speak 
quietly to them. Dumbfounded 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, 3'Ou — 
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 

53 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

the front-door. Carrie awfully flurried. Sarah still 
out, so v/ent 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 Cowing. All right. 
Say no more about it." There is no doubt they are 
both under the impression I have apologised. 

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 '11 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 drv as a nut ! " 



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CHAPTER III. 



A CONVERSATION WITH MR. MERTON ON 

SOCIETY. 
IMR. AND MRS. JAMES, OF SUTTON, CO:\rE 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, 






CHAPTER III. 



A conversation with Mr. Merton on Society. 
Mr. and Mrs. James, of Sutton, come tip. 
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. 

PRIL ig. — 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 m.ust 
take me as I am ; " and I replied : " Yes — and you 
must take us as we are. We 're homely people, 
we are not swelh." 

He answered : " No, I can see that," and Gowing 
roared with laughter ; but Merton in a most gentle- 




59 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

manly 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 folHes 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, &c., it doesn't 
seem worth the money." 

Merton said in reference to friends y " 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 

Go 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 
nsisting on paying for all, saying that I had paid for 
the tickets and that was quite enough. 

61 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 indig- 
nantly : " 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 of course." 

This was humiliating enough, and I could 
scarcely follow the play, but I was doomed to 
still further humiliation. I was leaning out of 

62 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 advant- 
age of growing one that I can see." There was no 
occasion for that remark, for Carrie is ver}^ proud of 
my beard. 

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, ** Con- 
sidering we had to pay for our seats, we did our best 
to appreciate the performance." I thought this line 

63 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 at 
this. 

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, w^ent into the garden and painted some 
flower-pots. I called out Carrie, who said : " You've 
always got some new-fangled craze ; " but she was 
obliged to admit that the flower-pots looked remark- 
ably well. Went upstairs into the servant's bed- 
room and painted her washstand, towel-horse, and 
chest of drawers. To my mind it was an extra- 
ordinary 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." 

64 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

April 26, — Got some more red enamel paint 
(red, to my mind, being the best colour), and painted 




/ painted the washstand in the servant's bedroom. 

the coal-scuttle, and the backs of our Shakspeare, the 
binding of which had almost worn out. 



65 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 hershowdng me in, as she 
was wringing out some socks." I was delighted to 
see him, and suggested we should have a game of whist 
wdth 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 Cowing, 
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 extra- 
ordinary 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 Cowing 's 
always comi7igf and Cumming 's Q.\\waiys going V 

66 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 Cowing 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." Cowing 
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 any one 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 

67 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 ebony. 

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 

68 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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, 



.<X 




'*/ loo'ked like Marat in the bath, Madame Tussatid's.'' 

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. 

69 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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. 



70 



CHAPTER IV. 



THE BALL AT THE MANSION HOUSE. 




CHAPTER IV. 
TJie Ball at the Mansion House, 

^'^KIL 30. — Perfectly astounded at re- 
ceiving an invitation for Carrie and 
mj'self from the Lord and Lady Mayor- 
ess to the Mansion House, to '' meet 
the Representatives of Trades and Commerce." My 
heart beat hke 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 / 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 : 

73 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

" 1 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 I. — 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. 

74 




"/ seized her round the waist ^ and we were silly enough to he executing 
a wild kind of polka zvhen Sarah entered," 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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. 

.76 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 
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 ansv/er 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- 




** The greengrocer' s hoy . . . who pushed into my hands 
two cabbages and half-a-dozen coalMocks,'" 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

glass discovered that my chin was bleeding, my shirt 
smeared with the coal-blocks, and my left trouser 
torn at the knee. 

However, Mrs. James brought me down another 
shirt, which I changed in the drawing-room. I 
put a piece of court - plaister 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 a 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 con- 
descended to talk with me some minutes; but I 

79 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 w^e 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 
b}^ 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 

So 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

him, and said coolly : ** I never expected to see you 
here." He said, with a loud, coarse laugh : *' I like 
that — iiyoUy 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 any- 
thing?" 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. Footer, no shop when vve'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, 
Footer." He did not even say ** Mister." The 







8j 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 : " Yon must excuse 
me now if I join Mrs. Footer." 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 nobody ! " 

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 light- 
ning, 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 



THE DL\RY OF A NOBODY 

happened. I need 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 imme- 
diately 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 
hne." 

Although I felt I was buying his sile,nce by 
accepting, we followed the others into the supper- 
room. 

Neither Carrie nor I, after our unfortunate mis- 

83 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

hap, 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 Carrie. 



84 



CHAPTER V. 



AFTER THE MANSION HOUSE BALL. 

CARRIE OFFENDED. 

GOWING ALSO OFFENDED. 

A PLEASANT PARTY AT THE CUMMINGs'. 

MR. FRANCHING, OF PECKHAM, VISITS US. 




CHAPTER V. 

After the Mansion House Ball. Carrie offended. 
Gowing also offended. A pleasant party at 
the Cuntmings\ Mr. Francing^ of Peckham, 
visits us, 

^AY 8. — I woke up with a most terrible 
headache. 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 all. 

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 

87 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 specs. 
The Blackfriars Bi-weekly News, contains a long list 
of the guests at the Mansion House ball. Dis- 
appointed 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 
night." 

88 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

She replied, " Indeed ! and I desire something 
more than a Utile 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 any- 
thing." 

I was astounded at this insinuation and simply 
ejaculated : ** Caroline ! " 

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 

89 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



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, 3'ou 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, with- 
out 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 down- 
stairs hall-peg) round his neck, and announced him- 
self in aloud, coarse voice: ''His Royal Highness, 
the Lord Mayor!" He marched twice round the 




Mr, Fannerson smokes all the iviiy home 
in the cab. 



90 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 '11 know 
who did it." 

I said: " I'm very sorry. I daresay it will come 
off. I did it for the best." 

Gowing said : " Then ail I can say is, it 's a 
confounded liberty ; and I woidd add, you 're a 
bigger fool than you look, only that's absolutely 
impossible.'* 



91 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

May 12. — Got a single copy of the Blackfriars 
Bi-weekly News. There was a short hst 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, POOTERf 
so that there should be no possible mistake this 
time. 

May i6.— 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, request- 
ing 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 

9i 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

Carrie five shillings), and sent it round with nice note 
to Gowing. 

May 23. — Received strange note from Gowing ; 
he says: *' 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. 



93 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 i. — The last week has been like old times, 
Carrie being back, and Gowing and Cummings call- 
ing 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 over -stepped 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 



94 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 Cowing 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 



95 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



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-buss- 
ing 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 up stairs. 
I told Mr. Franching to 
wait at the door while I 
went round to the side. Mr. Franching, of Peckham. 
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 




96 




The grocer boy was actually picking off the paint on the stdt 
door, which had formed into blisters. 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

Mr. Franching, and showed him into the drawing- 
room. I went up stairs to Carrie, who was changing 
her dress, and told her I had persuaded Mr. 
Franching to come home. She repHed : *' How can 
you do such a thing ? You know it 's Sarah's hoHday, 
and taere '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 tea-cups, 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 
three chops. 

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 uncompli- 
mentary manner to my poor father's pecuniary 
trouble. I retorted by saying that *' Pa, at all 
events, was a gentleman," whereupon Carrie burst 

98 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

out crying. I positively could not eat any break- 
fast. 

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, telHng 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 
©f 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 

99 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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. St'Ubrook 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 i. — 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 

100 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

people would have roared if I went on the stage 
like it. 

August 2. — Mrs. Beck wrote to say we could 
have cur usual rooms at Broadstairs. That 's off 
our mind. Bought a coloured shirt and a pair of 




1 Flv^i,. , 







^owtg Pitt called out ''Hornpipe'' as I passed his desk. 



IQI 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

tan-coloured boots, which I see many of the swell 
clerks wearing in the City, and I 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. Higgs- 
worth's telescope, which he always lends me, know- 
ing 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 HoHday week.'* 



102 



CHAPTER VI. 



THE UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL HOME OF OLIR SON, 
WILLIE LUPIN FOOTER. 




CHAPTER VI. 

Tke Unexpected Arrival Home of our Son^ 

Willie Ltipin Pooler, 

UGUST 4. — The first post brought a 
nice letter from our dear son WiUie, 
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 after- 
noon, 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 surprise. 

August 5, Sunday. — We have not seen WiUie 
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 wear- 
ing 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 



10- 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



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 Footer.* 
If you were to 
'Willie' me there, 
they wouldn't 
know what you 
meant." 

Of course, Lupin 
being a purely 
family name, 
Carrie was de- 
lighted, 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 




Lupin. 



io6 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

old Bill I " and helped himself to a third glass of 

port. 

Carrie objected strongly to my saying "Good 
old," but she made no remark when WiUie 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 
something wrong. 

August 6, Bank Holiday. — As there w^as 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 



107 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 resigna- 
tion 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 try- 
ing to find an appointment for Willie before we go. 
The ambition of my life would be to get him into 
Mr. Perkupp's firm. 



108 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

August ii. — Although it is a serious matter 
having our boy Lupin on our hands, still it is satis- 
factory 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 Broad- 
stairs 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 cliff 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 

109 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 l^e 's a gentle- 
man. 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 Law- 
rence 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. 

no 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

August i6. — 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 




** Lupin positively refused to walk down the Parade with me 

because I was ivearing my new straw helmet 

with my froch -coai,''^ 



III 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 '11 come to six-pennorth on the * Liver 
Jerker' next." I presume he meant a tricycle, but 
I affected not to understand him. 

August i8. — Cowing and Cummings walked 
over to arrange an evening at Margate. It being 
wet. Cowing 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 '11 give 
you a game. Cowing — a hundred up. A walk round 
the cloth will give me an appetite for dinner," I said : 
** Perhaps Mister Cowing does not care to play with 
boys." Cowing 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 

112 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 sea- 
side was fine, though clouded overhead. We went 
over to Cummings* (at Margate) in the evening, and 
as it was cold, we stayed in and played games ; 
Gowing, as usual, overstepping the mark. He 
suggested we should play *' Cutlets," a game we 
never heard of. He sat on a chair, and asked Carrie 
to sit on his lap, an invitation which dear Carrie 
rightly declined. 

After some species of wrangling, / 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 



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THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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. 



ii6 



CHAPTER VII. 



HOME AGAIN. 

MRS. JAMES' INFLUENXE 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. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Home again, Mrs, James' infltience 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 ivith an 
announcement. 

UGUST 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 for Lupin. 

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. 

119 




THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



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 wdth 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 her. 



August 26, Sunday. — 
Nearly late for church, Mrs. 
James having talked con- 
siderably about what to 




/ hung up a stags head made 
cf plaster-of -Paris, 



120 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 neigh- 
bours 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 '*/ 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 de- 
liberately 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 con- 
versation, I am afraid Mrs. James is filling Carrie's 
head with a lot of nonsense about dress. I walked 



121 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 side- 
board. Mrs. James made us play rather a good 
game with 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. 

122 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

August 28. — Found a large brick in the middle 
bed of geraniums, evidently come from next door. 
Patties and Patties 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 diar}^ with plenty of space for the 
record of my everyday events, and in keeping up 
that record I take (v/ith 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 



123 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 char- 
woman) 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 someone had torn my diary to 
light the fire. I requested Mrs. Birrell to be sent to 
me to-morrow. 

October 31. — Received a letter from our prin- 
cipal, 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 m} 
diary ; for I am bound to confess the last few weeks 
have been devoted to the record of disappointing 

124 



/ 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

answers received from people to whom I had 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 i. — 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 

12^ 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 non- 
sense. 

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 

126 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



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 Dram- 
atic Club, called the 
**Holloway Come- 
dians"; 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 even- 
ing I had up a 
special bottle of 
port, and, Lupin 
being in for a 
wonder,\ve 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 ! " 




Mr. Perhupp. 



127 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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! / 'w engaged to 
be married /" 



128 




?2 






!> 






•-1 



9 



CHAPTER VIII. 



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 HONOUR. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Daisy Mtdlar sole topic of conversation. Lupin's 
new berth. Fireworks at the Cunimings\ 
The ' ' Holloway Comedians. ' ' Sarah quarrels 
with the charwoman. Lupin's uncalled-for 
interference. A m introduced to Daisy Mutlar. 
We decide to give a party in her honour. 

OVEMBER 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 Footer, and he would guarantee she would 

133 




THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

not disgrace the family of the Footers. 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 w^hich was that he accepted a 
clerkship in the firm of Job Cleanands & 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 Cum- 
mings', to have a few fireworks. It began to rain, 
and I thought it rather dull. One of my squibs 



134 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

would not go off, and Gowing said : *' Hit it 
on )^our 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. Mutler, but Carrie said she thought Mrs. 
Mutler 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 

135 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 caUing. 

November 8. — I ordered some of our cards at 
Black's, the stationer's. 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 
Com.edians." 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 wonder- 
ful 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. 

136 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 with- 
out cessation. Poor Carrie could scarcely keep her 
eyes open. At last she made an excuse, and said 
" Good-night." 

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 com- 
panion. 

November g . — 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 io. — 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 forthcom- 

137 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

ing 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 ii. — Returned home to find the house 
in a most disgraceful uproar. Carrie, who appeared 
veiy 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 peace- 
maker, 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 

138 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



master of this house, perhaps you will allow me to 
take the reins." 

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 re- 
quested Mrs. Birrell to go 
home. When I entered the 
parlour Lupin was kicking 
his legs in the air, and roar- 
ing with laughter. 




November 12, Sunday. — » 
Coming home from church x 
Carrie and I met Lupin, Daisy 
Mutlar, and her brother. 
Daisy was introduced to us, and we walked home 



Daisy Mutlar, 



X39 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 



140 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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. vShe 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 tougue 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 pressed out." 

After Gowing left. Lupin came in, and in his 
anxiety to please Daisy Mutlar, carped at and criti- 
cised 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 I said: "Lupin, allow 
me to tell you Miss Daisy Mutlar is not the Queen of 



141 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 Bdzique till nearly twelve o'clock. 



142 



CHAPTER IX. 



OUR FIRST IMPORTANT PARTY. 

OLD FRIELDS 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. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Our first important Party. Old Friends and 
New Friends. Gowing is a little annoy- 
ing ; but his friend^ Mr. Stillbrook, turns 
out to be quite amusing. Inopportune 
arrival of Mr. Perkuppj but he is most 
kind and complimentary. Party a great 
success. 

OVEMBER 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 of 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 




10 



145 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

find my new dress trousers much too short. 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 boots." 

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 cur- 
tains 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 side- 
board, 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 Cowing, who, with his usual 

146 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

taste, greeted me with : '' HuUoh, Footer, why your 
trousers are too short ! " 

I simply said: ''Very likely, and you will find 
my temper 'short' also." 

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 diary. 

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 Daisv 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, 

147 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

who was posing all the evening, and leant on our 
little round table and cracked it. Lupin called him 
*'our Henry," and said he was "our lead at the H. 
C.'s," and was quite as good in that department as 
Harry Mutlar was as the low-comedy merchant. All 
this is Greek to me. 

We had some music, and Lupin, who never left 
Daisy's side for a moment, raved over her singing of 
a song, called ** Some Day." It seemed a pretty 
song, but she made such grimaces, and sang, to my 
mind, so out of tune, I would not have asked her to 
sing again; but Lupin made her sing four songs 
right off, one after the other. 

At ten o'clock we went down to supper, and 
from the way Gowing and Cummings ate you would 
have thought they had not had a meal for a month. 
I told Carrie to keep something back in case Mr. 
Perkupp should come by mere chance. Gowing 
annoyed me very much by filling a large tumbler of 
champagne, and drinking it straight off. He 
repeated this action, and made me fear our half- 
dozen of champagne would not last out. I tried to 
keep a bottle back, but Lupin got hold of it, and 
took it to the side-table with Daisy and Frank 
Mutlar. 

We went upstairs, and the young fellows began 

148 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

skylarking. Carrie put a stop to that at once. 
Stillbrook amused us with a song, " What have you 
done with your Cousin John ? " I did not notice 
that Lupin and Frank had disappeared. I asked 
Mr. Watson, one of the Holloways, where they were, 
and he said : *' It 's a case of * Oh, what a surprise ! ' " 

We were directed to form a circle — which we did. 
Watson then said : ** I have much pleasure in intro- 
ducing 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 shriek- 
ing with laughter. 

I turned round suddenly, and then I saw Mr. 
Perkupp standing half-way in the door, he having 
arrived without our knowing it. I beckoned to 
Carrie, and we went up to him at once. He would 
not come right into the room. I apologised for the 
foolery, but Mr. Perkupp said : " Oh, it seems 
amusing." I could see he was not a bit amused. 

Carrie and I took him downstairs, but the table 
was a wreck. There was not a glass of cham- 
pagne left — not even a sandwich. Mr. Perkupp 
said he required nothing, but would like a glass of 



149 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

seltzer or soda water. The last syphon was empt)^ 
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 3'our own home. 
Good-night, Mrs. Footer — 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 v\^ent 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. 



150 



CHAPTER X. 



REFLECTIONS. 

I MAKE ANOTHER GOOD JOKE. 

AM ANNOYED AT THE CONSTANT SERVING-UF 

OF THE '' BLANC-MANGE." 

LUPIN EXPRESSES HIS OPINION OF WEDDINGS. 

LUPIN FALLS OUT WITH DAISY MUTLAR. 



/ 




CHAPTER X. 

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. 

OVEMBER i6.— 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 dis- 
covered), 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 cham- 
pagne 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, 

153 



THE DIARY OF A 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 club. 

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. Cum- 
mings 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 p3iVQ.shooting pains." We all three 
roared. 

November 17. — Still feel tired and headachy ! 
In the evening Gowing called, and was full of praise 
about our party last Wednesday. He said every- 
thing 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. 

154 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

For instance, he stopped to supper, and seeing some 
blanc-mange on the table, shouted out, while the 
servant was in the room : " HuUoh ! The remains 
of Wednesday ? " 

November i8. — 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 bride- 
groom. The best man is only a walking gentleman. 
With the exception of a crying father and a snivel- 
ling mother, the rest are supers who have to dress 
wxll 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 con- 
gratulated us on the success of our party. He said 



155 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 hlanc-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 hlanc-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 

156 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 occa- 
sioned 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. 

157 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 Com- 
edians," replied: ''Oh, Daisy? You mean Miss 
Mutlar. I don't know whether she is well or not, 
but please never to moition her name again in my 



presence. 



>> 



158 



CHAPTER XL 



WH HAVE A DOSE OF IRVING IMITATIONS. 
MAKE THE ACQUAINTANCE OF A MR. PADGE. 



don't care for him. 



MR. BURWIN-FOSSELTON BECOMES A NUISANCE. 




CHAPTER XL 

We have a dose of Irving imitations. Make the 
acquaintance of a Mr. Padge. Don't care 
for hint. Mr. Burwin-Fosselton becomes a 
nuisance, 

>, 

'OVEMBER 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 course. 

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 '11 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 

11 161 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 ** HoUoway Comedians" — who was at our 
party the other night, and who cracked our 
little round table. Happy to say Daisy Mutlar 
was never referred to. The conversation was almost 
entirely monopolised by the young fellow Fosselton, 
who not only looked rather like Mr. Irving, but 
seemed to imagine that he was the celebrated actor. 
I must say he gave some capital imitations of him. 
As he showed no signs of moving at supper time, I , 
said : *' If you like to stay, Mr. Fosselton, for our 
usual crust — pray do." He replied : '' Oh ! thanks ; 
but please call me Burwin-Fosselton. It is a double 
name. There are lots of Fosseltons, but please call 
me Burwin-Fosselton." 

He began doing the Irving business all through 
supper. He sank so low down in his chair that his 
chin was almost on a level with the table, and twice he 
kicked Carrie under the table, upset his wine, and 
flashed a knife uncomfortably near Gowing's face. 
After supper he kept stretching out his legs on the 



162 




00 



to 
I 



cq 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 headache. 

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 



164 




Mr, Padge, 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 fire- 
place. 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. 
Footer, is extremely appropriate, if not altogether 
new." Thinking this rather a snub, I said: ** Mr. 

Fosselton, I fancy " He interrupted me by 

saying: *' Mr. B urwin-F osselton, if you please," 
which made me quite forget what I was going to 
say to him. During the supper Mr. Burwin-Fossel- 
ton 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 Cowing by the collar q{ his coat, 
dug his thumb-nail, accidentally of course, into 
Gowing's neck and took a piece of flesh out. Cowing 

i66 










to 



-9^ 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 misadven- 
ture. 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 '11 bring the other mahe-np to-morrow 
night:' 

November 24. — I went to town without a 
pocket-handkerchief. This is the second time I 
have done this during the last week. I must be 
losing my memory. Had it not been for this Daisy 
Mutlar business, I would have written to Mr. 
Burwin-Fosselton and told him I should be out this 
evening, but I fancy he is the sort of young man 
who would come all the same. 

Dear old Cummings came in the evening ; but 
Gowing sent round a little note, saying he hoped 
I would excuse his not turning up, which rather 
amused me. He added that his neck was still 



168 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

painful. Of course, Burwin-Fosselton came, but 
Lupin never turned up, and imagine my utter 
disgust when that man Padge actually came again, 
and not even accompanied by Gowing. I was 
exasperated, and said : " Mr. Padge, this is a 
surprise.'^ Dear Carrie fearing unpleasantness said, 
** Oh ! I suppose Mr. Padge has only come to 
see the other Irving make-up." Mr. Padge said, 
*' That 's right," and took the best chair again, from 
which he never moved the whole evening. 

My only consolation is, he takes no supper, so he 
is not an expensive guest, but I shall speak to Gowing 
about the matter. The Irving imitations and con- 
versations 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 £"00(1 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 con- 
sidered a clever remark : " Without an original 
there can be no imitation." Mr, Burwin-Fosselton 
said quite impertinently: "Don't discuss me in 

169 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

my presence, if you please ; and Mr. Pooler, I 
should advise you to talk about what you under- 
stand ; " to which that cad Padge replied: ** That's 
right." Dear Carrie saved the whole thing by 
suddenly saying : ** I '11 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 early 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 sendi'ng home an odd sock. Sarah 



170 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

said she sent two pairs and the laundress de- 
clared 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 conver- 
sation, and interrupting, said, ^' Don't waste the 
odd sock old man ; do an act of charity and give it 
to some poor man 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 enquired 

171 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 road. 

I had to run after it, and had the greatest diffi- 
cult}^ in recovering it. When I had succeeded in 

172 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 {Stmday evening of all others) I 
found an impertinent note from Mr. Burwin-Fossel- 
ton, which ran as follows : 

" Dear Mr. Footer, — 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 possibihty that the wheels of your Hfe 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. Footer, 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. CO It' a yd! 

'* Revenons a nos moutons, 

" Our lives run in different grooves. I live for MY ART — 
THE STAGE. Your life is devoted to commercial pur- 
suits — '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 a son gout. 

" I have registered a vow to mount the steps of fame. I 
may crawl, I may slip, I may even falter (we all are weak), 
but r(ach the top rung of the ladder I will/!.' When there, 



173 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

rny 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. Footer, let me ask you, ' What is the difference 
between the amateur and the professional ? ' 

" None ! ! ! 

'* 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 /, 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! 

" Yours truly, 

" BURWIN-FOSSELTON." 

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 apologise." 



174 



CHAPTER XII. 



A SERIOUS DISCUSSION CONCERNING THE USE 
AND VALUE OF MY DIARY. 

lupin's OPINION OF 'XMAS. 
lupin's UNFORTUNATE ENGAGEMENT IS 

ON AGAIN. 



CHAPTER XII. 

A serious discussion concerning the use and value 
of my diary. Lupin's opinion of 'Xinas. 
Lupin's unfortunate engagement is on again. 

^M^^&t ECEMBER 17. — As I open my scrib- 
^H^SIR bling diary I find the words *' Oxford 
^^^^^H| Michaelmas Term ends." Why this 
(^^^^^^^ should induce me to indulge in retros- 
pective 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 httle 
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 

12 ^77 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

Lupin's coloured shirts have run; and he says he 
won't wear them." 

I said: "Everything is Lupin. It's all Lupin, 
Lupin, Lupin. There was not a single button on 
my shirt yesterday, but I made no complaint." 

Carrie simply replied : ** You should do as all 
other men do, and wear studs. In fact, I never saw 
anyone but you wear buttons on the shirt-fronts." 

I said : *' I certainly wore none yesterday, for 
there were none 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 with Lupin. 

December i8. — Yesterday I was in a retrospec- 
tive 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 con- 
demning 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 

178 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 published." 

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 ig. — The annual invitation came to 
spend Christmas with Carrie's mother — the usual 
family festive gathering to which we always look 
forward. Lupin decHned to go. I was astounded, 
and expressed my surprise and disgust. Lupin then 

179 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 pro- 
ceed to eat and drink too much ; and they don't 
discover until / 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 every- 
thing 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 

180 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 I 
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 in- 
creasing the number of our friends was, that we 
should have to send out nearly two dozen cards this 
year. 

December 21. — To save the postmen a miser- 
able 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 deahngs) told me never to rub out 

181 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

the pencilled price on the backs of the cards. I 
asked him why. Lupin said : " Suppose your card 
is marked gd. 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'." 

182 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

In wonderment, I said: **What! after your 
engagement has been broken off?" 

Lupin said: **Who said it is off?" 

I said : " You have given us both to under- 
stand " 

He interrupted me by saying: "Well, never 
mind what I said. It is on again — there!" 



183 



CHAPTER XIIL 



i receive an insulting christmas card, 
we spend a pleasant christmas at carriers 

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. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

/ receive an insulting Christinas card. We spend 
a pleasant Christmas at Carriers mother s. 
A Mr. Moss is rather too free. A boisterous 
evening J during which I am struck in the 
dark. I receive an extraordinary letter from 
Mr. Mutlar, senior j respecting Lupin. We 
7niss drinking out the Old Year, 

ECEMBER 24TH. — I am a poor man, 
but I would gladly give ten shillings 
to find out who sent me the insult- 
ing 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 Cowing 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 

187 




THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

would be above such an act ; and I don't think any 
of the Mutlars would descend to such a course. I 
wonder if Pitt, that impudent clerk at the office, did 
it ? Or Mrs. Birrell, the charwoman, or Burwin- 
Fosselton ? The writing is too good for the 
former. 

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, iminterfering 
mother-in-law, such as I have, what a deal of happi- 
ness there would be in the world. Being all in good 
spirits, I proposed her health ; and I made, I think, 
a very good speech. 

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 7tot fallen 
out, can kiss all the same." 

I saw the tears in the eyes of both Carrie 

188 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 mistletoe, 
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 ex- 
periment, 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 

189 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 ;f5oo 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 conversa- 
tion 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 

190 ^ 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 Httle 
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 resem- 
bles an itinerant photographer." 

I said it was not the coat that made the gentle- 
man ; whereupon Lupin, with a laugh, replied : 



191 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

'* No, and it wasn't much of a gentleman who made 
their coats." 

We were rather jolly at supper, and Daisy made 
herself very agreeable, especially in the earlier part of 
the evening, when she sang. At supper, however, she 
said: *' Can you make tee-to-tums with bread?" and 
she commenced rolling up pieces of bread, and 
twisting them round on the table. I felt this to be 
bad manners, but of course said nothing. Presently 
Daisy and Lupin, to my disgust, began throwing 
bread-pills at each other. Frank followed suit, and 
so did Cummings and Gowing, to my astonishment. 
They then commenced throwing hard pieces of crust, 
one piece catching me on the forehead, and making 
me blink. I said: ** Steady, please; steady!" 
Frank jumped up, and said : '* Tum, tum ; then the 
band played." 

I did not know what this meant, but they all 
roared, and continued the bread-battle. Gowing 
suddenly seized all the parsley off the cold 
mutton, and threw it full in my face. I looked 
daggers at Gowing, who replied: "I say, it's no 
good trying to look indignant, with your hair full of 
parsley." I rose from the table, and insisted that a 
stop should be put to this foolery at once. Frank 
Mutlar shouted : " Time, gentlemen, please ! time 1 " 



192 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 
Christm.as was here to-night." 

December 29. — I had a most vivid dream last 
night. I woke up, and on faUing 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 

13 193 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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. Footer," not *' C. Footer." 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 Cowing 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 



194 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 com- 
pelled 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 judg- 
ment to the effect that / 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 ac- 
quainted with." 

I did not desire the last day to wind up dis- 

195 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

agreeably, 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 argu- 
ment 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. 



196 



CHAPTER XIV. 



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. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Begin the year with an unexpected promotion at 
the ojjice, I make two good jokes, I get an 
enormous rise in my salary. Lupin specu- 
lates successfully and starts a pony -trap. 
Have to speak to Sarah: Extraordinary 
conduct of Gowing's: 



ANUARY I.— I had intended concluding 
my diary last week; but a most import- 
ant event has happened, so I shall con- 
tinue 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 mis- 
givings. 

Mr. Perkupp was in his room writing, and he said : 

** Take a seat, Mr. Pooter, I shall not be a moment." 

I replied : " No, thank you, sir ; I '11 stand." 

I watched the clock on the mantelpiece, and I 

199 




THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

was waiting quite twenty minutes ; but it seemed 
hours. Mr. Perkupp at last got up himself. 

I said : " I hope there is nothing wrong, sir ? " 

He rephed : '*0h dear, no ! quite the reverse, I 
hope." What a weight off my mind ! My breath 
seemed to come back again in an instant. 

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 
twent3^-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 incrase 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." 

200 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 rephed, '* 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 at all 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 SlS 
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 sHghtest notice of the joke, although I 
purposely repeated it for him ; but continued : " I 

201 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 hke his cheek in writing to 
you. I '11 find out if his father is still alive, and I 
will write him a note complaining of his son, and I '11 

202 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

state pretty clearly that his son is a blithering 
idiot ! " 

I said : " Lupin, please moderate your expres- 
sions 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 again." 

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 ;f 100 ! 
I stood gaping for a moment unable to realise it. I 
annually get ^f 10 rise, and I thought it might be ^15 
or even ^^20 ; but £"100 surpasses all belief. Carrie 
and I both rejoiced over our good fortune. Lupin 
came home in the evening in the utmost good spirits. 
I sent Sarah quietly round to the grocer's for a 
bottle of champagne, the same as we had before, 
*' Jackson 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; 

203 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

a double event, eh ? " I said : " My boy, as a result 
of twenty-one years' industry and strict attention to 
the interest of my superiors in ofBce, I have been 
rewarded with promotion and a rise in salary of 
£ioo." 

Lupin gave three cheers, and we rapped the 
tables 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 £^ worth of 
shares in a really good thing. The result is, to-day I 
have made ^£'200." I said : " Lupin, you are joking." 
" No, Guv., it 's the good old truth ; Job Cleanands 
put me on to Chlorates.'" 

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 my saying 

204 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 
rephed: *' I made £"200 in one day; now suppose I 
only make ^^200 in a month, or put it at ;f 100 a 
month, which is ridiculously low — why, that is 
3^1250 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 sail- 
ing." I felt somewhat relieved. Cowing called in 
the evening and, to my surprise, informed me that, 
as he had made ^fio by one of Lupin's tips, he 
intended asking us and the Cummings' round 
next Saturday. Carrie and I said we should be 
delighted. 



205 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 remov- 
ing 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 



206 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

of, for some softer ones, as my hairdresser 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 repHed : **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 pre- 
sumed you had company, as the rooms were 
so brilhantly lighted." 

Cummings replied: **Nol The only company 

207 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

I have had was my wife, the doctor, and the 
landlady — the last-named having turned out a per- 
fect 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 now ? " 

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, Hke 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 '11 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 

208 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 directl}'." 

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, com- 
pletely spoiled. 

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, spoihng 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. 

14 209 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

Gowing, or any of his friends. This is inf door, not 
Mr. Gowing's. There are people here besides Mr. 
Gowing." 

The impertinence of this man was nothing. 
I scarcely noticed it, it was so trivial in comparison 
with the scandalous conduct of Gowing. 

At this moment Cummings and his wife 
arrived. Cummings was very lame and leaning on 
a stick; but got up the steps and asked what the 
matter was. 

The man said: ^' Mr. Gowing said nothing about 
expecting anyone. All he said was he had just 
received an invitation to Croydon, and he should 
not be back till Monday evening. He took his bag 
with him." 

With that he slammed the door again. I was too 
indignant with Gowing's conduct to say anything. 
Cummings looked white with rage, and as he des- 
cended the steps struck his stick violently on the 
ground and said: ** Scoundrel ! " 



?io 



CHAPTER XV. 



GOWING EXPLAINS HIS CONDUCT. 
LUPIN TAKES US FOR A DRIVE, WHICH WE DON'T 

ENJOY. 
LUPIN INTRODUCES US TO MR. MURRAY POSH. 



CHAPTER XV. 




Goiving explauis his conduct. Lupin fakes us for 
a drivCy which we don't enjoy. Lupin intro- 
duces us to Mr. Murray Posh. 



EBRUARY 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 ;f2o 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 '11 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 



213 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

marking the collars. I asked him if he had heard 
from Gowing, and he replied that he had not. I said 
I should not have believed that Gowing could have 
acted in such an ungentlemanly manner. Cummings 
said : ** You are mild in your description of him ; I 
think he has acted like a cad." 

The words were scarcely out of his mouth 
when the door opened, and Gowing, putting in 
his head, said: "May I come in?" I said: 
** Certainly." Carrie said very pointedly : " Well, 
you are a stranger." Gowing said : " Yes, 
I 've been on and off to Croydon during the last 
fortnight." I could see Cummings was boiling over, 
and eventually he tackled Gowing very strongly 
respecting his conduct last Saturday week. Gowing 
appeared surprised, and said : " Why, I posted a 
letter to you in the morning announcing that the 
party was ' off, very much off.' " I said : ** I never 
got it." Gowing, turning to Carrie, said : " I sup- 
pose letters sometimes miscarry, don't they, Mrs, 
Carrie V Cummings sharply said : ** This is not a 
time for joking. / had no notice of the party being 
put off." Gowing replied : " I told Footer in my 
note to tell you, as I was in a hurry. However, I '11 
inquire at the post-office, and we must meet again 
at my place." I added that I hoped he would be 

214 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

present at the next meeting. Carrie roared at this, 
and even Cummings could not help laughing. 

February io, 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 dis- 
approve 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 shock- 
ing. When we passed Highgate Archway, he tried to 
pass everything and everybody. He shouted to res- 
pectable 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 

215 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

a mile, bellowing, indulging in coarse jokes and 
laughter, to sa}^ nothing of occasionally pelting us 
with orange-peel. 

Lupin's e^xcuse — 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 ii. — 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 3'ou 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 aifect 
you considerably." I felt a qualm come over me, 
and said nothing. Lupin then said : ** It may 

216 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 



217 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



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 extraord- 
inary 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, laugh- 
ingly : *' 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 




Ivc^ 



My. Murray Posh. 



2i8 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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.'' 



219 



CHAPTER XVI. 



WE LOSE MONEY OVER LUPIN's ADVICE AS TO 

INVESTMENTS, SO DOES CUMMINGS. 

MURRAY POSH ENGAGED TO DAISY MUTLAR. 




CHAPTER XVI. 

Wc lose money over Lupin's advice as to invest- 
Dients, so does Cummin gs, Murray Posh 
engaged to Daisy Mutlar, 

EBRUARY i8. — Carrie has several times 
recently called attention to the thin- 
ness 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 is cracked. 

Carrie said : '' Mark my words, Charles, some 
misfortune is about to happen." 
I said : " Nonsense, dear." 

In the evening Lupin arrived home early, and 
seemed a little agitated. I said: ''What's up, my 

223 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

boy?" He hesitated a good deal, and then said: 
**You know those Parachikka Chlorates I advised 
you to invest ^20 in ? " I replied : " Yes ; they are 
all right, I trust ?" He replied : ''Well, no ! To the 
surprise of everybody, they have utterly collapsed." 

My breath was so completely taken aw^ay, I could 
say nothing. Carrie looked at me, and said : ''What 
did I tell you ? " Lupin, after a while, said : " How- 
ever, you are specially fortunate. I received an early 
tip, and sold out yours immediately, and was for- 
tunate to get £2 for them. So you get something 
after all." 

I gave a sigh of relief. I said : " I was not 
so sanguine as to suppose, as you predicted, that 
I should get six or eight times the amount of my 
investment ; still a profit of £2 is a good percentage 
for such a short time." Lupin said, quite irritably: 
" You don't understand. I sold your .^Tao shares for 
£2 ; you therefore lose £1^ on the transaction, 
whereby Cummings and Gowing will lose the whole 
of theirs." 

February ig. — 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 our- 

224 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

selves, you must not be surprised if something ,s^oes 
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 knock- 
ing, but with his usual trick of saying, *' May I come 
in?" 

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 astonish- 
ment, said: *'0h! 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 ^f i8." I said : '* I quite under- 
stood 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 

15 225 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

take my £i^ 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 '11 lo&e ;f 35." At that moment there was 
a ring at the bell. Lupin said : " I don't want 
to meet Cummings." If he had gone out of the 
door he would have met him in the passage, so 
as quickly as possible Lupin opened the parlour 
window and got out. Gowing jumped up suddenly, 
exclaiming: " I don't want to see him either ! " and, 
before I could say a word, he followed Lupin out of 
the window. 

For my own part, I was horrified to think 
my own son and one of my most intimate friends 
should depart from the house like a couple of 
interrupted burglars. Poor Cummings was very 
upset, and of course was naturally very angry both 
with Lupin and Gowing. I pressed him to have a 
little whisky, and he replied that he had given up 
whisky ; but would like a little ** Unsweetened," as 
he was advised it was the most healthy spirit. I 
had none in the house, but sent Sarah round to 
Lockwood's for some. 

February 20. — The first thing that caught my 

226 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

eye on opening the Standard v/as — ** Great Failure 
of Stock and Share Dealers ! Mr. Job Cleanands 
Absconded ! " I handed it to Carrie, and she re- 
plied : *' Oh ! perhaps it's for Lupin's good. I never 
did think it a suitable situation for him." I 
thought the whole affair very shocking. 

Lupin came down to breakfast, and seeing he 
looked painfully distressed, I said : " We know the 
news, my dear boy, and feel very sorry for you." Lupin 
said : *' How did you know ? who told you ? " I handed 
him the Standard. He threw the paper down, and 
said : ** Oh, I don't care a button for that ! I ex- 
pected 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 mali- 

227 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

cioiis smile creep over his face. I asked him 
what it meant. He replied : *' Oh ! only a little 
consolation — still it is a consolation. I have just 
remembered that, by my advice, Mr. Murray Posh 
has invested ^600 in Parachikka Chlorates ! " 



228 



CHAPTER XVII. 



MARRIAGE OF DAISY MUTLAR AND MURRAY 

POSH. 

THE DREAM OF MY LIFE REALISED. 

MR. PERKUPP TAKES LUPIN INTO THE OFFICE. 




CHAPTER XVII. 

Marriage of Daisy Mittlar and Murray Posh. 
The dream of my life realised, Mr, 
Perkupp takes Lupin into the office, 

^ARCH 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 sing- 
ing 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 ! " / don't think either of them is. In the 
evening Gowing called, and the chief topic of con- 
versation 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, 

231 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 should 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 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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, w^hat 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. Perk- 
upp 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 

233 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

good man." He looked at me for a moment, and 
said : ** No, Mr. Footer, you are the good man ; and 
we '11 see if we cannot get your son to follow such an 
excellent example." I said : ** Mr. Perkupp, may I 
go home ? I cannot work any more to-day." 

My good master shook my hand warmly as he 
nodded his head. It was as much as I could do to pre- 
vent 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 Cow- 
ing. 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 

234 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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. 



235 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



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. 




CHAPTER XVIII. 

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. 



PRIL 8. — No events of any importance, 
except that Gowing strongly recom- 
mended 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 



239 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 g. — 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 WilHam Grime) had promised 
his patronage. We accepted of his kindness, and he 
sta3'ed 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." 

240 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 un- 
settled 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 cur congregation who had walked back 
with us, I was much annoyed to find a large news- 
paper 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 imitating birds. 

April 15. — Burnt my tongue most awfully with 
the Worcester sauce, through that stupid girl Sarah 

16 241 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

shaking the bottle violently before putting it on the 
table. 

April i6. — The night of the East Acton Volun- 
teer Ball. On my advice, Carrie put on the same 
dress that she looked so beautiful in at the Mansion 




Young Griffin boys making faces, zvhistUng, and imitating birds. 

242 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

House, for it had occurred to me, being a military 
ball, that Mr. Perkupp, who, I beheve, is an officer 
in the Honourary Artillery Company, would in all 
probability be present. Lupin, in his usual incompre- 
hensible language, remarked that he had heard it 
was a "bounders' ball." I didn't ask him what he 
meant though I didn't understand. Where he gets 
these expressions from I don't know ; he certainly 
doesn't learn them at home. 

The invitation was for half-past eight, so I con- 
cluded 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 cab- 
man 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-waj' 
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 cab- 
man five shillings, who only grumbled, saying it 
was dirt cheap at half-a-sovereign, and was imper- 
tinent 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 

243 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

never. He seemed a very good - looking gentle- 
man, 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 w^ho made herself at home with Carrie at 
once. 

There was a very liberal repast on the tables, 
plenty of champagne, claret, &c., and, in fact, every- 
thing 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 some 
one I knew, that I asked him to sit at our table, and 
T 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 overcrowded; in 

244 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

fact we were the only people there, everybody being 
so busy dancing. 

I assisted Carrie and her newly-formed acquaint- 
ance, 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 

245 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

them to the ball-room, telling me to follow. I said 
to Mr. Padge : *' It is quite a West End affair," to 
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 is., three 
bottles of champagne at iis. 6d., a glass of claret, 
and a sixpenny cigar for the stout gentleman — in all 
£3 OS. 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 

246 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 shil- 
lings ; but the manager, on my giving my card to him, 
said : '' That 's all right." 

I don't think I ever felt more humiliated in my 
life, and I determined to keep this misfortune from 
Carrie, for it would entirely destroy the pleasant 
evening she was enjoying. I felt there was no more 
enjoyment for me that evening, and it being late, I 
sought Carrie and Mrs. Lupkin. Carrie said she 
was quite ready to go, and Mrs. Lupkin, as we were 
wishing her *' Good-night," asked Carrie and myself 
if we ever paid a visit to Southend ? On my reply- 
ing 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 rain- 
ing so hard that the roads resembled canals, and I 
need hardly say we had great difficulty in getting a 
cabman to take us to HoUoway. After waiting a 

247 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

bit, a man said he would drive us, anyhow, as far ^s 
" 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 con- 
versation 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 

24'6 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 iS. — 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 Httle toy spiders, frogs, and beetles 
all over it, as Mrs. James says it 's quite the fashion. 
It w^as 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 
the fashion. 

i\pRiL 19. — Our next-door neighbour, Mr. 
Griffin, called, and in a rather offensive tone accused 
me, or " some one," 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 the bill. 

April 20. — Cummings called, hobbling in with 
a stick, saying he had been on his back for a week. 

249 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 pre- 
vented it shutting ; and in pulHng 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 rem.arked 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 enquire. 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 instru- 
ment, 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." 

250 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 1 

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 ; *' Lup- 
kin'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 

251 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 hke mustard, 
if you want to know the truth,'* 



25: 



CHAPTER XIX. 



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 dreams. 




CHAPTER XIX. 

Meet Teddy Finsworth, an old schoolfellow. We 
have a pleasant and quiet dinner at his 
uncle's, marred only by a few awkward mis- 
takes on my part respecting Mr. Finsworth's 
pictures. A discussion on dreams. 

PRIL 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 tne — 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 

255 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

added that he was sta3-ing for a few da3's in London, 
with his uncle, Mr. Edgar Paul Finsworth (of Fins- 
worth 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 
Vv^ould be delighted. Carrie did not like to go; 
but Teddy Finsworth pressed us so much we con- 
sented. Carrie sent Sarah round to the butcher's 
and countermanded our half-leg of mutton, which 
we had ordered for to-morrow. 

April 28, Sunday. — We found Watney Villa 
further off than we anticipated, and only arrived as 
the clock struck two, both feeling hot and uncom- 
fortable. 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- 

256 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 dis- 
tinguished-looking elderly gentleman, and was most 
gallant to Carrie. There were a great many 
water-colours hanging on the walls, mostly differ- 
ent views of India, which w^ere 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 neighbourhood. 

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 
rephed : " Yes, the face was done after death — my 
wife's sister. ' 

17 257 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

I felt terribly awkward and bowed apolo- 
getically, 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 — m^y brother." 

I was absolutely horrified at my own stupid awk- 
wardness. 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, 

258 




''He is dead too:* 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 obser- 
vations 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 apolo- 
getically. 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, w^ho, I must say, is not much of a Job's 
comforter, said : *' Oh ! we are used to Bibbs doing 
that to our visitors.'* 

260 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 

261 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

extraordinary dream I had a few nights ago, and 
1 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 per- 
haps, but not to «s." Whereupon they all roared. 

Carrie, who had hitherto been quiet, said : 
'* He tells me his stupid dreams every morning 
nearly." I replied : '* Very w^ell, 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. 

262 



CHAPTER XX. 



DINNER AT FRANCHING's TO MEET 
MR. HARDFUR HUTTLE. 




CHAPTER XX. 

Dinner at Franc king's to meet Mr» Hardfur 

H little. 



AY lo. — Received a letter from Fran- 
ching, 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 v/ired back: 
** With pleasure. Is it full dress ? " and by leaving 

265 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

out our name, just got the message within the six- 
pence. 

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 cham.- 
pagne, concerning which Franching said he, himself, 
never wished to taste better. We v/ere ten in 
number, and a menu card to each. One lady said she 
always preserved the menil and got the guests to 
write their names on the back. 

266 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 Hill- 
butter, 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 menil 
card. 

One observation struck me as being absolutely 
powerful — though not to my way of thinking of 
course. Mrs. Purdick happened to say : '* You are 
certainly unorthodox, Mr. Huttle." Mr. Huttle, 
with a peculiar expression (I can see it now) said 

267 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



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 discover}^ 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. Pur- 
dick, 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 com- 
pany so soon ? 
our cigars ? " 

The effect was electrical. The ladies (including 
Carrie) were in no way inclined to be deprived of 

268 




(( ( 



Orthodox ' is a grandiloquent word.'' 
Why not wait while we have 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

Mr. Huttle's fascinating society, and immediately 
resumed their seats, amid much laughter and a little 
chaff. Mr. Huttle said : *' Well, that 's a real good 
sign; you shall not be insulted by being called 
orthodox any longer." Mrs. Purdick, who seemed 
to be a bright and rather sharp woman, said : " Mr. 
Huttle, we will meet you half-way — that is, till you 
get half-way through your cigar. That, at all events, 
will be the happy medium." 

I shall never forget the effect the words, *' happy 
medium," had upon him. He was brilliant and most 
daring in his interpretation of the words. He 
positively alarmed me. He said something like the 
following : '* Happy medium, indeed. Do you know 
* happy medium ' are two words which mean 
'miserable mediocrity.' I say, go first class or 
third ; marry a duchess or her kitchenmaid. 
The happy medium means respectabiUty, and 
respectability means insipidness. Does it not, Mr. 
Footer?" 

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 

269 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 recource 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 / 
had on a tie that hooked on — and whv 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 

270 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 attend- 
ant — 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 

271 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

party is well selected. We 've no use for deaf old 
women, who cannot follow intellectual conversa- 
tion." 

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 oppor- 
tunity 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 apswered : " 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 

272 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 / 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. 



18 



273 



CHAPTER XXI. 



LUPIN IS DISCHARGED. 

WE ARE IN GREAT TROUBLE. 

LUPIN GETS ENGAGED ELSEWHERE AT A 

HANDSOME SALARY. 




CHAPTER XXI. 

Lupin is discharged. We are in great trouble. 
Lupin gets engaged elsewhere at a handsome 
salary. 

AY 13. — A terrible misfortune has hap- 
pened : Lupin is discharged from Mr. 
Perkupp's office ; and I scarcely know 
how I am writing my diary. I was 
away from office last Sat^ the first time I have 
been absent through illness for twenty years. I 
believe I was poisoned by some lobster. Mr. 
Perkupp was also absent, as Fate would have it ; 
and our most valued customer, Mr. Crowbillon, 
went to the office in a rage, and withdrew his 
custom. My boy Lupin not only had the assurance 
to receive him, but recommended him the firm of 
Gylterson, Sons, and Co. Limited. In my own 
humble judgment, and though I have to say it 
against my own son, this seems an act of treachery. 
This morning I receive a letter from Perkupp, 
informing me that Lupin's services are no longer 
required, and an interview with me is desired at 

277 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 
Tiy 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. / am the head 
of this old, influential, and much-respected firm ; 
and when T consider the time has come to revolu- 
tionise 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 unwarrant- 
able interference ?" Mr. Perkupp rose from his seat 
and took my hand, and said : ** Mr. Pooter, I would 
as soon suspect myself as suspect you." I was so 
agitated that in the confusion, to show my gratitude, 
I very nearly called him a '' grand old man." 

278 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 

279 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

only taken on as a clerk — quite an inexperienced 
one in fact — out of the respect the firm had for you, 
Mr. Footer. 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 con- 
demned 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 gentle- 
man Mr. Perkupp is. His manners and his w^ay 
of speaking seem to almost thrill one with respect. 

I said : ** Would you like to see the letter before 
I send it?" 

Mr. Perkupp said : " Oh no ! I had better not. 
I am supposed to know nothing about it, and I have 
every confidence in you. You must write the letter 
carefully. We are not very busy; you had better 
take the morning to-morrow^ or the whole day if 
you like. I shall be here myself all day to-morrow, 
in fact all the week, in case Mr. Crowbillon should 
call." 

I went home a little more cheerful, but I left 
word with Sarah that I could not see either Gowing 

280 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 
light. As he wisely said, ' all is fair in love and war,' 
and there was no reason why we should not be 
friends still. He 's a jolly, good, all-round sort of 
fellow, and a very different stamp from that inflated 
fool of a Perkupp." 

I said : " Hush, Lupin ! Do not pray add insult 
to injury." 

Lupin said : " What do you mean by injury ? I 
repeat, I have done no injury. Crowbillon is simply 
tired of a stagnant stick-in-the-mud firm, and made 
the change on his own account. I simply recom- 
mended the new firm as a matter of biz — good old 
biz ! " 

281 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

I said quietly : " I don't understand your slang, 
and at my time of life have no desire to learn it ; so, 
Lupin, my boy, let us change the subject. I will, if 
it please you, try and be interested in your new hat 
adventure." 

Lupin said: "Oh! there's nothing much about it, 
except I have not once seen him since his marriage, 
and he said he was very pleased to see me, and 
hoped we should be friends. I stood a drink to 
cement the friendship, and he stood me a new hat — 
one of his own." 

I said rather wearily : *' But you have not told 
me your old friend's name ?" 

Lupin said, with affected carelessness : " Oh ! 
didn't I ? Well, I will. It was Murray Posh.'* 

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 w^ent 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 

282 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

to sell them." Poor boy, I fear he is perfectly hope- 
less. 

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 Maderia, 
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 foi 
Carrie and me to get rid of the blues with. 

May 15. — A day of great anxiety, for I expected 
every moment a letter from Mr. Crowbillon. Two 
letters came in the evening — one for me, with 
"Crowbillon Hall" printed in large gold -and -red 

283 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 £2^ as a com- 
mission for the recommendation of Mr. Crow- 
billon, 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 name ? " 

May 16. — I told Mr. Perkupp the contents of the 

284 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 ;f200 a year, with other advantages. 
I read the letter through three times and 
thought it must have been for me. But there it 
was — Lupin Pooter — plain enough. I was silent. 
Lupin said : " What price Perkupp now ? You take 
my tip, Guv. — 'off' with Perkupp and freeze on to 
Gylterson, the firm of the future ! Perkupp's firm ? 
The stagnant dummies have been standing still for 
years, and now are moving back. I want to go on. 
In fact I must go off, as I am dining with the Murray 
Poshs to-night." 

In the exuberance of his spirits he hit his 
hat with his stick, gave a loud war **Whoo- 
oop," jumped over a chair, and took the liberty 
of rumpling my hair all over my forehead, and 
bounced out of the room, giving me no chance 
of reminding him of his age and the respect which 

285 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

was due to his parent. Gowing and Cummings 
came in the evening, and positively cheered me up 
with congratulations respecting Lupin. 

Gowing said : ** I always said he would get on, 
and, take my word, he has more in his head than 
we three put together." 

Carrie said : *' He is a second Hardfur Huttle." 



/ 



a86 



CHAPTER XXII. 



MASTER PERCY EDGAR SMITH JAMES. 

MRS. JAMES (of SUTTON), VISITS US AGAIN AND 

INTRODUCES '^ SPIRITUAL SEANCES." 




CHAPTER XXII. 

Master Percy Edgar Smith James. Mrs. James 
(of Sutton) visits us again and introduces 
*^ Spiritual Seances.''' 

mmm^Mo p^ 26, Sunday.— We went to Sutton 
after dinner to have meat-tea with 
Mr. and Mrs. James. I had no appe- 
tite, having dined well at two, and the 
entire evening was spoiled b}^ 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 deliber- 
ately kicked my shins. He hurt me once so much 
that the tears came into my e3'es. I gently remon- 
strated 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." 



19 



289 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



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 chro- 
nometer from the chain 
and made his watch strike 
six. 

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 




Master Percy Edgar 
Smith James. 



290 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 mj^ opinion. 

May 30. — I don't known 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 un- 
interesting, I am sure, dear, you won't mind the 
occasional visits of Mrs. James, who has more intel- 
lect 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 L'irth, by 

291 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 nov/. 

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

Mrs. James said : '' Do you mean to say you 
haven't read There is no Birth V 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." 

292 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

Mrs. James said she thought I 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 wav ?" 

I said : *' In many v/ays." 

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 

293 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 hnew a few things about 
old Cummings, and would invent a few about Mrs. 
James. Knowing how dangerous Gowing is, I de- 
clined to let him take part in any such foolish per- 
formance. 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 
half 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 hand- 
kerchiefs without the colour. Perhaps you will return 
either the colour or the value of the handkerchiefs." 

294 



DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 lit of un- 
thinkingness — if I may use such an expression, — I 
gave the tloor 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, fool- 
hardy 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, con- 
cerning 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 i. — I sat reluctantly at the table in the 
evening, and I am bound to admit some curious 
things happened. I contend they were coincidences, 

295 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 
CAT. 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 buying them at a sale at the 
Holloway Bon Marche. In that case, I insisted that 
threepence 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. 

296 



^p- ^ •< ■*j«5b 




=9^^^ 



X- 



?Ss% 







r42 



?2 



hi 




x;- 



^.- 



?S:c 






THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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. Cowing 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 Cowing 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. Cowing shouted out : " Way, 
oh! steady, lad, steady!" I told Cowing if he 
could not behave himself I should light the gas, and 
put an end to the seance. To tell the truth, I 
thought Cowing 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. 

298 ^ 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 SPOOF. As I have heard both 
Gowing and Lupin use the word, and as I could hear 
Gowing silently laughing, I directly accused him of 
pushing the table. He denied it; but, I regret to 
say, I did not believe him. 

Gowing said : " Perhaps it means * Spook,' a 
ghost." 

I said : " You know it doesn't mean anything of 
the sort." 

Gowing said : *' Oh ! very well — I 'm sorry I 
' spook,' " and he rose from the table. 

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

The table began to move again, and we might 
have had a wonderful seance but for Gowing's stupid 
interruptions. In answer to the alphabet from 
Carrie the table spelt " NIPUL," then the '' WARN " 

299 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 repHed 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 Drink- 

300 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

water, 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 tne 
meaning of the word " Warn " as applied to 
" NIPUL." The alphabet was given again, and we 
got the word ''BOSH.'^ 

Gowing here muttered : " So it is." 

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

This time the table spelled distinctly '*POSH." 
We all thought of Mrs. Murray Posh and 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. 



301 



T?IE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 without knocking. 

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. Footer. 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 

302 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

was not much in table - turning after all. I 
thought this rather selfish of him. The stance 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 Drink- 
water, 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 v;ith 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 
Footers age ? " 

This quite decided me. 

As I had put my foot down on Spiritualism years 
ago, so I would again. 

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 



303 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

— which I doubt — it is nothing of any good, and I 
won't have it a^ain. That is enough." 

Mrs. James said : " I think, Mr. Footer, you are 
rather overstepping " 

I said : '' Flush, madam. I am the master of 
this house — please understand that." 

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. 



304 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



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. 

IMPORTANT. 



20 




CHAPTER XXIII. 

Lupin leaves ns. We dine at Jiis neiv apavi- 
mentSj and hear some extraordinary informa- 
tion respecting the wealth of Mr. Murray 
Posh. Meet Miss Lilian Posh. Am sent 
for by Mr. Hardfur Huttle. Lnportant. 

ULY I. — I find, on looking over my 
diary, nothing of any consequence 
has taken place during the last month. 
**i-i>;^^ >** 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- 1 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 

307 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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, looking 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, wdth the 
following paragraph : — " We regret to hear that that 
favourite old roadster, Mr. Cummings ( ' Long ' 
Cummings), has met with w^hat 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. Fortu- 
nately 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 ' 

30S 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

Cumiiiings' health was proposed by our popular 
Vice, Mr. Westropp, the prince of bicyclists, who in 
his happiest vein said it was a case of ' Cuiiiiningis) 
thro' the Rj'e, but fortunately there was more 
wheel than woe,' a joke which created roars of 
laughter." 

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, Vv^th 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 

309 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

whispered : ** Then show them into the parlour, and 
say Mr. Footer 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 au}^- 
thing, Lupin said : " Oh, I think Daisy will take on 
a cup of tea. I can do wath a B. and S." 

I said : ''I am afraid we have no soda." 

Lupin said : " Don't bother about that. You 
just trip out and hold the horse ; I don't think Sarah 
understands it." 

They stayed a very short time, and as they were 
leaving, Lupin said : '' I want you both to come 
and dine with me next Wednesday, and see my new 
place. Mr. and Mrs. Murray Posh, Miss Posh 
(Murray's sister) are coming. Eight o'clock sharp. 
No one else." 

310 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 address each other is reprehensible. Anybody 
would think they had been children together. I 
certainly should object to a six months' acquaint- 
ance calling Diy 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. 

311 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 



We were introduced to Miss Posh, whom Lupin 
called " Lillie Girl," as if he had known her all her 
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 pinch- 
ing 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, in- 
cluding 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 




312 



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THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 agree- 
able 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 :£'30o. 

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

I could not help thinking of the ;f6oo 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 house- 
hold 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 
Johannesburgh. 

5'^3 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

I said I was pleased to hear it. 

Lupin said : *' Why, he has settled over -^10,000 
on Daisy, and the same amount on ' Lillie Girl.' If 
at any time I wanted a little capital, he would put 
up a couple of ' thou' at a day's notice, and could 
buy up Perkupp's lirm over his head at any moment 
with ready cash." 

On the way home in the carriage, for the first 
time in my life, I was inclined to indulge in the 
radical thought that money was nut properly 
divided. 

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

I asked the cabman if it was too late. The cab- 
man replied that it was )iot ; 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 mid- 
night. I apologised for being so late, but Mr. Huttle 

314 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 * F'ourth ' is a 
lucky day for America, and, as it has not yet struck 
twelve, we will celebrate it with a glass of the best 
wine to be had in the place, and drink good luck to 
our bit of business." 

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

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

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

He appeared to take no notice of Mr. Perkupp, 
and I kept asking Mr. Huttle to give the crown to 
my worthy master. Mr. Huttle kept saying; "No, 

315 



THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

this is the White House of Washington, and you 
must keep your crown, Mr. President." 

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



316 



CHAPTER THE LAST. 



ONE OF THE HAPPIEST DAYS. OF MY LIFE. 




CHAPTER THE EAST. 

One of the happiest days of my life 

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

July ii. — 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 suffi- 
ciently 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 : " ]\Ir. Pooter, 
I will purchase the freehold of that house, and 

319 



- THE DIARY OF A NOBODY 

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 enjo}' it. 

7 My heart was too full to thank him ; and, seeing 

my embarrassment, the good fellow said : '' You 

need say nothing, Mr. Footer," and left the office. 

I sent telegrams to Carrie, Gowing, and Cum- 
mings (a thing I have never done before), and asked 
the t^vo-latter to come round to supper. 

On arriving home I found Carrie crying with joy, 
and I sent Sarah round to the grocer's to get two 
bottles of " Jackson Frere*s." 

My tv/o dear friends came in the evening, and 
the last post brought a letter from Lupirt 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 Lupm." 



THE END. 
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