Part 2 out of 3
November 24.--I went to town without a pocket-handkerchief. This
is the second time I have done this during the last week. I must
be losing my memory. Had it not been for this Daisy Mutlar
business, I would have written to Mr. Burwin-Fosselton and told him
I should be out this evening, but I fancy he is the sort of young
man who would come all the same.
Dear old Cummings came in the evening; but Gowing sent round a
little note saying he hoped I would excuse his not turning up,
which rather amused me. He added that his neck was still painful.
Of course, Burwin-Fosselton came, but Lupin never turned up, and
imagine my utter disgust when that man Padge actually came again,
and not even accompanied by Gowing. I was exasperated, and said:
"Mr. Padge, this is a SURPRISE." Dear Carrie, fearing
unpleasantness, said: "Oh! I suppose Mr. Padge has only come to
see the other Irving make-up." Mr. Padge said: "That's right,"
and took the best chair again, from which he never moved the whole
My only consolation is, he takes no supper, so he is not an
expensive guest, but I shall speak to Gowing about the matter. The
Irving imitations and conversations occupied the whole evening,
till I was sick of it. Once we had a rather heated discussion,
which was commenced by Cummings saying that it appeared to him that
Mr. Burwin-Fosselton was not only LIKE Mr. Irving, but was in his
judgment every way as GOOD or even BETTER. I ventured to remark
that after all it was but an imitation of an original.
Cummings said surely some imitations were better than the
originals. I made what I considered a very clever remark:
"Without an original there can be no imitation." Mr. Burwin-
Fosselton said quite impertinently: "Don't discuss me in my
presence, if you please; and, Mr. Pooter, I should advise you to
talk about what you understand;" to which that cad Padge replied:
"That's right." Dear Carrie saved the whole thing by suddenly
saying: "I'll be Ellen Terry." Dear Carrie's imitation wasn't a
bit liked, but she was so spontaneous and so funny that the
disagreeable discussion passed off. When they left, I very
pointedly said to Mr. Burwin-Fosselton and Mr. Padge that we should
be engaged to-morrow evening.
November 25.--Had a long letter from Mr. Fosselton respecting last
night's Irving discussion. I was very angry, and I wrote and said
I knew little or nothing about stage matters, was not in the least
interested in them and positively declined to be drawn into a
discussion on the subject, even at the risk of its leading to a
breach of friendship. I never wrote a more determined letter.
On returning home at the usual hour on Saturday afternoon I met
near the Archway Daisy Mutlar. My heart gave a leap. I bowed
rather stiffly, but she affected not to have seen me. Very much
annoyed in the evening by the laundress sending home an odd sock.
Sarah said she sent two pairs, and the laundress declared only a
pair and a half were sent. I spoke to Carrie about it, but she
rather testily replied: "I am tired of speaking to her; you had
better go and speak to her yourself. She is outside." I did so,
but the laundress declared that only an odd sock was sent.
Gowing passed into the passage at this time and was rude enough to
listen to the conversation, and interrupting, said: "Don't waste
the odd sock, old man; do an act of charity and give it to some
poor mar with only one leg." The laundress giggled like an idiot.
I was disgusted and walked upstairs for the purpose of pinning down
my collar, as the button had come off the back of my shirt.
When I returned to the parlour, Gowing was retailing his idiotic
joke about the odd sock, and Carrie was roaring with laughter. I
suppose I am losing my sense of humour. I spoke my mind pretty
freely about Padge. Gowing said he had met him only once before
that evening. He had been introduced by a friend, and as he
(Padge) had "stood" a good dinner, Gowing wished to show him some
little return. Upon my word, Gowing's coolness surpasses all
belief. Lupin came in before I could reply, and Gowing
unfortunately inquired after Daisy Mutlar. Lupin shouted: "Mind
your own business, sir!" and bounced out of the room, slamming the
door. The remainder of the night was Daisy Mutlar--Daisy Mutlar--
Daisy Mutlar. Oh dear!
November 26, Sunday.--The curate preached a very good sermon to-
day--very good indeed. His appearance is never so impressive as
our dear old vicar's, but I am bound to say his sermons are much
more impressive. A rather annoying incident occurred, of which I
must make mention. Mrs. Fernlosse, who is quite a grand lady,
living in one of those large houses in the Camden Road, stopped to
speak to me after church, when we were all coming out. I must say
I felt flattered, for she is thought a good deal of. I suppose she
knew me through seeing me so often take round the plate, especially
as she always occupies the corner seat of the pew. She is a very
influential lady, and may have had something of the utmost
importance to say, but unfortunately, as she commenced to speak a
strong gust of wind came and blew my hat off into the middle of the
I had to run after it, and had the greatest difficulty in
recovering it. When I had succeeded in doing so, I found Mrs.
Fernlosse had walked on with some swell friends, and I felt I could
not well approach her now, especially as my hat was smothered with
mud. I cannot say how disappointed I felt.
In the evening (SUNDAY evening of all others) I found an
impertinent note from Mr. Burwin-Fosselton, which ran as follows:
"Dear Mr. Pooter,--Although your junior by perhaps some twenty or
thirty years--which is sufficient reason that you ought to have a
longer record of the things and ways in this miniature of a planet-
-I feel it is just within the bounds of possibility that the wheels
of your life don't travel so quickly round as those of the humble
writer of these lines. The dandy horse of past days has been known
to overtake the SLOW COACH.
"Do I make myself understood?
"Very well, then! Permit me, Mr. Pooter, to advise you to accept
the verb. sap. Acknowledge your defeat, and take your whipping
gracefully; for remember you threw down the glove, and I cannot
claim to be either mentally or physically a COWARD!
"Revenons a nos moutons.
"Our lives run in different grooves. I live for MY ART--THE STAGE.
Your life is devoted to commercial pursuits--'A life among
Ledgers.' My books are of different metal. Your life in the City
is honourable, I admit. BUT HOW DIFFERENT! Cannot even you see
the ocean between us? A channel that prevents the meeting of our
brains in harmonious accord. Ah! But chacun 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 are all weak), but REACH THE TOP
RUNG OF THE LADDER I WILL!!! When there, my voice shall be heard,
for I will shout to the multitudes below: 'Vici!' For the present
I am only an amateur, and my work is unknown, forsooth, save to a
party of friends, with here and there an enemy.
"But, Mr. Pooter, let me ask you, 'What is the difference between
the amateur and the professional?'
"Stay! Yes, there is a difference. One is PAID for doing what the
other does as skilfully for NOTHING!
"But I will be PAID, too! For _I_, contrary to the wishes of my
family and friends, have at last elected to adopt the stage as MY
profession. And when the FARCE craze is over--and, MARK YOU, THAT
WILL BE SOON--I will make my power known; for I feel--pardon my
apparent conceit--that there is no living man who can play the
hump-backed Richard as I FEEL and KNOW I can.
"And YOU will be the first to come round and bend your head in
submission. There are many matters you may understand, but
knowledge of the fine art of acting is to you an UNKNOWN QUANTITY.
"Pray let this discussion cease with this letter. Vale!
I was disgusted. When Lupin came in, I handed him this impertinent
letter, and said: "My boy, in that letter you can see the true
character of your friend."
Lupin, to my surprise, said: "Oh yes. He showed me the letter
before he sent it. I think he is right, and you ought to
A serious discussion concerning the use and value of my diary.
Lupin's opinion of 'Xmas. Lupin's unfortunate engagement is on
December 17.--As I open my scribbling diary I find the words
"Oxford Michaelmas Term ends." Why this should induce me to
indulge in retrospective I don't know, but it does. The last few
weeks of my diary are of minimum interest. The breaking off of the
engagement between Lupin and Daisy Mutlar has made him a different
being, and Carrie a rather depressing companion. She was a little
dull last Saturday, and I thought to cheer her up by reading some
extracts from my diary; but she walked out of the room in the
middle of the reading, without a word. On her return, I said:
"Did my diary bore you, darling?"
She replied, to my surprise: "I really wasn't listening, dear. I
was obliged to leave to give instructions to the laundress. In
consequence of some stuff she puts in the water, two more of
Lupin's coloured shirts have run and he says he won't wear them."
I said: "Everything is Lupin. It's all Lupin, Lupin, Lupin.
There was not a single button on my shirt yesterday, but _I_ made
Carrie simply replied: "You should do as all other men do, and
wear studs. In fact, I never saw anyone but you wear buttons on
I said: "I certainly wore none yesterday, for there were none on."
Another thought that strikes me is that Gowing seldom calls in the
evening, and Cummings never does. I fear they don't get on well
December 18.--Yesterday I was in a retrospective vein--to-day it is
PROSPECTIVE. I see nothing but clouds, clouds, clouds. Lupin is
perfectly intolerable over the Daisy Mutlar business. He won't say
what is the cause of the breach. He is evidently condemning her
conduct, and yet, if we venture to agree with him, says he won't
hear a word against her. So what is one to do? Another thing
which is disappointing to me is, that Carrie and Lupin take no
interest whatever in my diary.
I broached the subject at the breakfast-table to-day. I said: "I
was in hopes that, if anything ever happened to me, the diary would
be an endless source of pleasure to you both; to say nothing of the
chance of the remuneration which may accrue from its being
Both Carrie and Lupin burst out laughing. Carrie was sorry for
this, I could see, for she said: "I did not mean to be rude, dear
Charlie; but truly I do not think your diary would sufficiently
interest the public to be taken up by a publisher."
I replied: "I am sure it would prove quite as interesting as some
of the ridiculous reminiscences that have been published lately.
Besides, it's the diary that makes the man. Where would Evelyn and
Pepys have been if it had not been for their diaries?"
Carrie said I was quite a philosopher; but Lupin, in a jeering
tone, said: "If it had been written on larger paper, Guv., we
might get a fair price from a butterman for it."
As I am in the prospective vein, I vow the end of this year will
see the end of my diary.
December 19.--The annual invitation came to spend Christmas with
Carrie's mother--the usual family festive gathering to which we
always look forward. Lupin declined to go. I was astounded, and
expressed my surprise and disgust. Lupin then obliged us with the
following Radical speech: "I hate a family gathering at Christmas.
What does it mean? Why someone says: 'Ah! we miss poor Uncle
James, who was here last year,' and we all begin to snivel.
Someone else says: 'It's two years since poor Aunt Liz used to sit
in that corner.' Then we all begin to snivel again. Then another
gloomy relation says 'Ah! I wonder whose turn it will be next?'
Then we all snivel again, and proceed to eat and drink too much;
and they don't discover until _I_ get up that we have been seated
thirteen at dinner."
December 20.--Went to Smirksons', the drapers, in the Strand, who
this year have turned out everything in the shop and devoted the
whole place to the sale of Christmas cards. Shop crowded with
people, who seemed to take up the cards rather roughly, and, after
a hurried glance at them, throw them down again. I remarked to one
of the young persons serving, that carelessness appeared to be a
disease with some purchasers. The observation was scarcely out of
my mouth, when my thick coat-sleeve caught against a large pile of
expensive cards in boxes one on top of the other, and threw them
down. The manager came forward, looking very much annoyed, and
picking up several cards from the ground, said to one of the
assistants, with a palpable side-glance at me: "Put these amongst
the sixpenny goods; they can't be sold for a shilling now." The
result was, I felt it my duty to buy some of these damaged cards.
I had to buy more and pay more than intended. Unfortunately I did
not examine them all, and when I got home I discovered a vulgar
card with a picture of a fat nurse with two babies, one black and
the other white, and the words: "We wish Pa a Merry Christmas." I
tore up the card and threw it away. Carrie said the great
disadvantage of going out in Society and increasing the number of
our friends was, that we should have to send out nearly two dozen
cards this year.
December 21.--To save the postman a miserable Christmas, we follow
the example of all unselfish people, and send out our cards early.
Most of the cards had finger-marks, which I did not notice at
night. I shall buy all future cards in the daytime. Lupin (who,
ever since he has had the appointment with a stock and share
broker, does not seem over-scrupulous in his dealings) told me
never to rub out the pencilled price on the backs of the cards. I
asked him why. Lupin said: "Suppose your card is marked 9d.
Well, all you have to do is to pencil a 3--and a long down-stroke
after it--in FRONT of the ninepence, and people will think you have
given five times the price for it."
In the evening Lupin was very low-spirited, and I reminded him that
behind the clouds the sun was shining. He said: "Ugh! it never
shines on me." I said: "Stop, Lupin, my boy; you are worried
about Daisy Mutlar. Don't think of her any more. You ought to
congratulate yourself on having got off a very bad bargain. Her
notions are far too grand for our simple tastes." He jumped up and
said: "I won't allow one word to be uttered against her. She's
worth the whole bunch of your friends put together, that inflated,
sloping-head of a Perkupp included." I left the room with silent
dignity, but caught my foot in the mat.
December 23.--I exchanged no words with Lupin in the morning; but
as he seemed to be in exuberant spirits in the evening, I ventured
to ask him where he intended to spend his Christmas. He replied:
"Oh, most likely at the Mutlars'."
In wonderment, I said: "What! after your engagement has been
Lupin said: "Who said it is off?"
I said: "You have given us both to understand--"
He interrupted me by saying: "Well, never mind what I said. IT IS
I receive an insulting Christmas card. We spend a pleasant
Christmas at Carrie's mother's. A Mr. Moss is rather too free. A
boisterous evening, during which I am struck in the dark. I
receive an extraordinary letter from Mr. Mutlar, senior, respecting
Lupin. We miss drinking out the Old Year.
December 24.--I am a poor man, but I would gladly give ten
shillings to find out who sent me the insulting Christmas card I
received this morning. I never insult people; why should they
insult me? The worst part of the transaction is, that I find
myself suspecting all my friends. The handwriting on the envelope
is evidently disguised, being written sloping the wrong way. I
cannot think either Gowing or Cummings would do such a mean thing.
Lupin denied all knowledge of it, and I believe him; although I
disapprove of his laughing and sympathising with the offender. Mr.
Franching would be above such an act; and I don't think any of the
Mutlars would descend to such a course. I wonder if Pitt, that
impudent clerk at the office, did it? Or Mrs. Birrell, the
charwoman, or Burwin-Fosselton? The writing is too good for the
Christmas Day.--We caught the 10.20 train at Paddington, and spent
a pleasant day at Carrie's mother's. The country was quite nice
and pleasant, although the roads were sloppy. We dined in the
middle of the day, just ten of us, and talked over old times. If
everybody had a nice, UNinterfering mother-in-law, such as I have,
what a deal of happiness there would be in the world. Being all in
good spirits, I proposed her health, and I made, I think, a very
I concluded, rather neatly, by saying: "On an occasion like this--
whether relatives, friends, or acquaintances,--we are all inspired
with good feelings towards each other. We are of one mind, and
think only of love and friendship. Those who have quarrelled with
absent friends should kiss and make it up. Those who happily have
not fallen out, can kiss all the same."
I saw the tears in the eyes of both Carrie and her mother, and must
say I felt very flattered by the compliment. That dear old
Reverend John Panzy Smith, who married us, made a most cheerful and
amusing speech, and said he should act on my suggestion respecting
the kissing. He then walked round the table and kissed all the
ladies, including Carrie. Of course one did not object to this;
but I was more than staggered when a young fellow named Moss, who
was a stranger to me, and who had scarcely spoken a word through
dinner, jumped up suddenly with a sprig of misletoe, and exclaimed:
"Hulloh! I don't see why I shouldn't be on in this scene." Before
one could realise what he was about to do, he kissed Carrie and the
rest of the ladies.
Fortunately the matter was treated as a joke, and we all laughed;
but it was a dangerous experiment, and I felt very uneasy for a
moment as to the result. I subsequently referred to the matter to
Carrie, but she said: "Oh, he's not much more than a boy." I said
that he had a very large moustache for a boy. Carrie replied: "I
didn't say he was not a nice boy."
December 26.--I did not sleep very well last night; I never do in a
strange bed. I feel a little indigestion, which one must expect at
this time of the year. Carrie and I returned to Town in the
evening. Lupin came in late. He said he enjoyed his Christmas,
and added: "I feel as fit as a Lowther Arcade fiddle, and only
require a little more 'oof' to feel as fit as a 500 pounds
Stradivarius." I have long since given up trying to understand
Lupin's slang, or asking him to explain it.
December 27.--I told Lupin I was expecting Gowing and Cummings to
drop in to-morrow evening for a quiet game. I was in hope the boy
would volunteer to stay in, and help to amuse them. Instead of
which, he said: "Oh, you had better put them off, as I have asked
Daisy and Frank Mutlar to come." I said I could not think of doing
such a thing. Lupin said: "Then I will send a wire, and put off
Daisy." I suggested that a post-card or letter would reach her
quite soon enough, and would not be so extravagant.
Carrie, who had listened to the above conversation with apparent
annoyance, directed a well-aimed shaft at Lupin. She said:
"Lupin, why do you object to Daisy meeting your father's friends?
Is it because they are not good enough for her, or (which is
equally possible) SHE is not good enough for them?" Lupin was
dumbfounded, and could make no reply. When he left the room, I
gave Carrie a kiss of approval.
December 28--Lupin, on coming down to breakfast, said to his
mother: "I have not put off Daisy and Frank, and should like them
to join Gowing and Cummings this evening." I felt very pleased
with the boy for this. Carrie said, in reply: "I am glad you let
me know in time, as I can turn over the cold leg of mutton, dress
it with a little parsley, and no one will know it has been cut."
She further said she would make a few custards, and stew some
pippins, so that they would be cold by the evening.
Finding Lupin in good spirits, I asked him quietly if he really had
any personal objection to either Gowing or Cummings. He replied:
"Not in the least. I think Cummings looks rather an ass, but that
is partly due to his patronising 'the three-and-six-one-price hat
company,' and wearing a reach-me-down frock-coat. As for that
perpetual brown velveteen jacket of Gowing's--why, he resembles an
I said it was not the coat that made the gentleman; whereupon
Lupin, with a laugh, replied: "No, and it wasn't much of a
gentleman who made their coats."
We were rather jolly at supper, and Daisy made herself very
agreeable, especially in the earlier part of the evening, when she
sang. At supper, however, she said: "Can you make tee-to-tums
with bread?" and she commenced rolling up pieces of bread, and
twisting them round on the table. I felt this to be bad manners,
but of course said nothing. Presently Daisy and Lupin, to my
disgust, began throwing bread-pills at each other. Frank followed
suit, and so did Cummings and Gowing, to my astonishment. They
then commenced throwing hard pieces of crust, one piece catching me
on the forehead, and making me blink. I said: "Steady, please;
steady!" Frank jumped up and said: "Tum, tum; then the band
I did not know what this meant, but they all roared, and continued
the bread-battle. Gowing suddenly seized all the parsley off the
cold mutton, and threw it full in my face. I looked daggers at
Gowing, who replied: "I say, it's no good trying to look
indignant, with your hair full of parsley." I rose from the table,
and insisted that a stop should be put to this foolery at once.
Frank Mutlar shouted: "Time, gentlemen, please! time!" and turned
out the gas, leaving us in absolute darkness.
I was feeling my way out of the room, when I suddenly received a
hard intentional punch at the back of my head. I said loudly:
"Who did that?" There was no answer; so I repeated the question,
with the same result. I struck a match, and lighted the gas. They
were all talking and laughing, so I kept my own counsel; but, after
they had gone, I said to Carrie; "The person who sent me that
insulting post-card at Christmas was here to-night."
December 29.--I had a most vivid dream last night. I woke up, and
on falling asleep, dreamed the same dream over again precisely. I
dreamt I heard Frank Mutlar telling his sister that he had not only
sent me the insulting Christmas card, but admitted that he was the
one who punched my head last night in the dark. As fate would have
it, Lupin, at breakfast, was reading extracts from a letter he had
just received from Frank.
I asked him to pass the envelope, that I might compare the writing.
He did so, and I examined it by the side of the envelope containing
the Christmas card. I detected a similarity in the writing, in
spite of the attempted disguise. I passed them on to Carrie, who
began to laugh. I asked her what she was laughing at, and she said
the card was never directed to me at all. It was "L. Pooter," not
"C. Pooter." Lupin asked to look at the direction and the card,
and exclaimed, with a laugh: "Oh yes, Guv., it's meant for me."
I said: "Are you in the habit of receiving insulting Christmas
cards?" He replied: "Oh yes, and of SENDING them, too."
In the evening Gowing called, and said he enjoyed himself very much
last night. I took the opportunity to confide in him, as an old
friend, about the vicious punch last night. He burst out laughing,
and said: "Oh, it was YOUR HEAD, was it? I know I accidentally
hit something, but I thought it was a brick wall." I told him I
felt hurt, in both senses of the expression.
December 30, Sunday.--Lupin spent the whole day with the Mutlars.
He seemed rather cheerful in the evening, so I said: "I'm glad to
see you so happy, Lupin." He answered: "Well, Daisy is a splendid
girl, but I was obliged to take her old fool of a father down a
peg. What with his meanness over his cigars, his stinginess over
his drinks, his farthing economy in turning down the gas if you
only quit the room for a second, writing to one on half-sheets of
note-paper, sticking the remnant of the last cake of soap on to the
new cake, putting two bricks on each side of the fireplace, and his
general 'outside-halfpenny-'bus-ness,' I was compelled to let him
have a bit of my mind." I said: "Lupin, you are not much more
than a boy; I hope you won't repent it."
December 31.--The last day of the Old Year. I received an
extraordinary letter from Mr. Mutlar, senior. He writes: "Dear
Sir,--For a long time past I have had considerable difficulty
deciding the important question, 'Who is the master of my own
house? Myself, or YOUR SON Lupin?' Believe me, I have no
prejudice one way or the other; but I have been most reluctantly
compelled to give judgment to the effect that I am the master of
it. Under the circumstances, it has become my duty to forbid your
son to enter my house again. I am sorry, because it deprives me of
the society of one of the most modest, unassuming, and gentlemanly
persons I have ever had the honour of being acquainted with."
I did not desire the last day to wind up disagreeably, so I said
nothing to either Carrie or Lupin about the letter.
A most terrible fog came on, and Lupin would go out in it, but
promised to be back to drink out the Old Year--a custom we have
always observed. At a quarter to twelve Lupin had not returned,
and the fog was fearful. As time was drawing close, I got out the
spirits. Carrie and I deciding on whisky, I opened a fresh bottle;
but Carrie said it smelt like brandy. As I knew it to be whisky, I
said there was nothing to discuss. Carrie, evidently vexed that
Lupin had not come in, did discuss it all the same, and wanted me
to have a small wager with her to decide by the smell. I said I
could decide it by the taste in a moment. A silly and unnecessary
argument followed, the result of which was we suddenly saw it was a
quarter-past twelve, and, for the first time in our married life,
we missed welcoming in the New Year. Lupin got home at a quarter-
past two, having got lost in the fog--so he said.
Begin the year with an unexpected promotion at the office. I make
two good jokes. I get an enormous rise in my salary. Lupin
speculates successfully and starts a pony-trap. Have to speak to
Sarah. Extraordinary conduct of Gowing's.
January 1.--I had intended concluding my diary last week; but a
most important event has happened, so I shall continue for a little
while longer on the fly-leaves attached to the end of my last
year's diary. It had just struck half-past one, and I was on the
point of leaving the office to have my dinner, when I received a
message that Mr. Perkupp desired to see me at once. I must confess
that my heart commenced to beat and I had most serious misgivings.
Mr. Perkupp was in his room writing, and he said: "Take a seat,
Mr. Pooter, I shall not be moment."
I replied: "No, thank you, sir; I'll stand."
I watched the clock on the mantelpiece, and I was waiting quite
twenty minutes; but it seemed hours. Mr. Perkupp at last got up
I said: "I hope there is nothing wrong, sir?"
He replied: "Oh dear, no! quite the reverse, I hope." What a
weight off my mind! My breath seemed to come back again in an
Mr. Perkupp said: "Mr. Buckling is going to retire, and there will
be some slight changes in the office. You have been with us nearly
twenty-one years, and, in consequence of your conduct during that
period, we intend making a special promotion in your favour. We
have not quite decided how you will be placed; but in any case
there will be a considerable increase in your salary, which, it is
quite unnecessary for me to say, you fully deserve. I have an
appointment at two; but you shall hear more to-morrow."
He then left the room quickly, and I was not even allowed time or
thought to express a single word of grateful thanks to him. I need
not say how dear Carrie received this joyful news. With perfect
simplicity she said: "At last we shall be able to have a chimney-
glass for the back drawing-room, which we always wanted." I added:
"Yes, and at last you shall have that little costume which you saw
at Peter Robinson's so cheap."
January 2.--I was in a great state of suspense all day at the
office. I did not like to worry Mr. Perkupp; but as he did not
send for me, and mentioned yesterday that he would see me again to-
day, I thought it better, perhaps, to go to him. I knocked at his
door, and on entering, Mr. Perkupp said: "Oh! it's you, Mr.
Pooter; do you want to see me?" I said: "No, sir, I thought you
wanted to see me!" "Oh!" he replied, "I remember. Well, I am very
busy to-day; I will see you to-morrow."
January 3.--Still in a state of anxiety and excitement, which was
not alleviated by ascertaining that Mr. Perkupp sent word he should
not be at the office to-day. In the evening, Lupin, who was busily
engaged with a paper, said suddenly to me: "Do you know anything
about CHALK PITS, Guv.?" I said: "No, my boy, not that I'm aware
of." Lupin said: "Well, I give you the tip; CHALK PITS are as
safe as Consols, and pay six per cent. at par." I said a rather
neat thing, viz.: "They may be six per cent. at PAR, but your PA
has no money to invest." Carrie and I both roared with laughter.
Lupin did not take the slightest notice of the joke, although I
purposely repeated it for him; but continued: "I give you the tip,
that's all--CHALK PITS!" I said another funny thing: "Mind you
don't fall into them!" Lupin put on a supercilious smile, and
said: "Bravo! Joe Miller."
January 4.--Mr. Perkupp sent for me and told me that my position
would be that of one of the senior clerks. I was more than
overjoyed. Mr. Perkupp added, he would let me know to-morrow what
the salary would be. This means another day's anxiety; I don't
mind, for it is anxiety of the right sort. That reminded me that I
had forgotten to speak to Lupin about the letter I received from
Mr. Mutlar, senr. I broached the subject to Lupin in the evening,
having first consulted Carrie. Lupin was riveted to the Financial
News, as if he had been a born capitalist, and I said: "Pardon me
a moment, Lupin, how is it you have not been to the Mutlars' any
day this week?"
Lupin answered: "I told you! I cannot stand old Mutlar."
I said: "Mr. Mutlar writes to me to say pretty plainly that he
cannot stand you!"
Lupin said: "Well, I like his cheek in writing to YOU. I'll find
out if his father is still alive, and I will write HIM a note
complaining of HIS son, and I'll state pretty clearly that his son
is a blithering idiot!"
I said: "Lupin, please moderate your expressions in the presence
of your mother."
Lupin said: "I'm very sorry, but there is no other expression one
can apply to him. However, I'm determined not to enter his place
I said: "You know, Lupin, he has forbidden you the house."
Lupin replied: "Well, we won't split straws--it's all the same.
Daisy is a trump, and will wait for me ten years, if necessary."
January 5.--I can scarcely write the news. Mr. Perkupp told me my
salary would be raised 100 pounds! I stood gaping for a moment
unable to realise it. I annually get 10 pounds rise, and I thought
it might be 15 pounds or even 20 pounds; but 100 pounds surpasses
all belief. Carrie and I both rejoiced over our good fortune.
Lupin came home in the evening in the utmost good spirits. I sent
Sarah quietly round to the grocer's for a bottle of champagne, the
same as we had before, "Jackson Freres." It was opened at supper,
and I said to Lupin: "This is to celebrate some good news I have
received to-day." Lupin replied: "Hooray, Guv.! And I have some
good news, also; a double event, eh?" I said: "My boy, as a
result of twenty-one years' industry and strict attention to the
interests of my superiors in office, I have been rewarded with
promotion and a rise in salary of 100 pounds."
Lupin gave three cheers, and we rapped the table furiously, which
brought in Sarah to see what the matter was. Lupin ordered us to
"fill up" again, and addressing us upstanding, said: "Having been
in the firm of Job Cleanands, stock and share-brokers, a few weeks,
and not having paid particular attention to the interests of my
superiors in office, my Guv'nor, as a reward to me, allotted me 5
pounds worth of shares in a really good thing. The result is, to-
day I have made 200 pounds." I said: "Lupin, you are joking."
"No, Guv., it's the good old truth; Job Cleanands PUT ME ON TO
January 21.--I am very much concerned at Lupin having started a
pony-trap. I said: "Lupin, are you justified in this outrageous
extravagance?" Lupin replied: "Well, one must get to the City
somehow. I've only hired it, and can give it up any time I like."
I repeated my question: "Are you justified in this extravagance?"
He replied: "Look here, Guv., excuse me saying so, but you're a
bit out of date. It does not pay nowadays, fiddling about over
small things. I don't mean anything personal, Guv'nor. My boss
says if I take his tip, and stick to big things, I can make big
money!" I said I thought the very idea of speculation most
horrifying. Lupin said "It is not speculation, it's a dead cert."
I advised him, at all events, not to continue the pony and cart;
but he replied: "I made 200 pounds in one day; now suppose I only
make 200 pounds in a month, or put it at 100 pounds a month, which
is ridiculously low--why, that is 1,250 pounds a year. What's a
few pounds a week for a trap?"
I did not pursue the subject further, beyond saying that I should
feel glad when the autumn came, and Lupin would be of age and
responsible for his own debts. He answered: "My dear Guv., I
promise you faithfully that I will never speculate with what I have
not got. I shall only go on Job Cleanands' tips, and as he is in
the 'know' it is pretty safe sailing." I felt somewhat relieved.
Gowing called in the evening and, to my surprise, informed me that,
as he had made 10 pounds by one of Lupin's tips, he intended asking
us and the Cummings round next Saturday. Carrie and I said we
should be delighted.
January 22.--I don't generally lose my temper with servants; but I
had to speak to Sarah rather sharply about a careless habit she has
recently contracted of shaking the table-cloth, after removing the
breakfast things, in a manner which causes all the crumbs to fall
on the carpet, eventually to be trodden in. Sarah answered very
rudely: "Oh, you are always complaining." I replied: "Indeed, I
am not. I spoke to you last week about walking all over the
drawing-room carpet with a piece of yellow soap on the heel of your
boot." She said: "And you're always grumbling about your
breakfast." I said: "No, I am not; but I feel perfectly justified
in complaining that I never can get a hard-boiled egg. The moment
I crack the shell it spurts all over the plate, and I have spoken
to you at least fifty times about it." She began to cry and make a
scene; but fortunately my 'bus came by, so I had a good excuse for
leaving her. Gowing left a message in the evening, that we were
not to forget next Saturday. Carrie amusingly said: As he has
never asked any friends before, we are not likely to forget it.
January 23.--I asked Lupin to try and change the hard brushes, he
recently made me a present of, for some softer ones, as my hair-
dresser tells me I ought not to brush my hair too much just now.
January 24.--The new chimney-glass came home for the back drawing-
room. Carrie arranged some fans very prettily on the top and on
each side. It is an immense improvement to the room.
January 25.--We had just finished our tea, when who should come in
but Cummings, who has not been here for over three weeks. I
noticed that he looked anything but well, so I said: "Well,
Cummings, how are you? You look a little blue." He replied:
"Yes! and I feel blue too." I said: "Why, what's the matter?" He
said: "Oh, nothing, except that I have been on my back for a
couple of weeks, that's all. At one time my doctor nearly gave me
up, yet not a soul has come near me. No one has even taken the
trouble to inquire whether I was alive or dead."
I said: "This is the first I have heard of it. I have passed your
house several nights, and presumed you had company, as the rooms
were so brilliantly lighted."
Cummings replied: "No! The only company I have had was my wife,
the doctor, and the landlady--the last-named having turned out a
perfect trump. I wonder you did not see it in the paper. I know
it was mentioned in the Bicycle News."
I thought to cheer him up, and said: "Well, you are all right
He replied: "That's not the question. The question is whether an
illness does not enable you to discover who are your TRUE friends."
I said such an observation was unworthy of him. To make matters
worse, in came Gowing, who gave Cummings a violent slap on the
back, and said: "Hulloh! Have you seen a ghost? You look scared
to death, like Irving in Macbeth." I said: "Gently, Gowing, the
poor fellow has been very ill." Gowing roared with laughter and
said: "Yes, and you look it, too." Cummings quietly said: "Yes,
and I feel it too--not that I suppose you care."
An awkward silence followed. Gowing said: "Never mind, Cummings,
you and the missis come round to my place to-morrow, and it will
cheer you up a bit; for we'll open a bottle of wine."
January 26.--An extraordinary thing happened. Carrie and I went
round to Gowing's, as arranged, at half-past seven. We knocked and
rang several times without getting an answer. At last the latch
was drawn and the door opened a little way, the chain still being
up. A man in shirt-sleeves put his head through and said: "Who is
it? What do you want?" I said: "Mr. Gowing, he is expecting us."
The man said (as well as I could hear, owing to the yapping of a
little dog): "I don't think he is. Mr. Gowing is not at home." I
said: "He will be in directly."
With that observation he slammed the door, leaving Carrie and me
standing on the steps with a cutting wind blowing round the corner.
Carrie advised me to knock again. I did so, and then discovered
for the first time that the knocker had been newly painted, and the
paint had come off on my gloves--which were, in consequence,
I knocked at the door with my stick two or three times.
The man opened the door, taking the chain off this time, and began
abusing me. He said: "What do you mean by scratching the paint
with your stick like that, spoiling the varnish? You ought to be
ashamed of yourself."
I said: "Pardon me, Mr. Gowing invited--"
He interrupted and said: "I don't care for Mr. Gowing, or any of
his friends. This is MY door, not Mr. Gowing's. There are people
here besides Mr. Gowing."
The impertinence of this man was nothing. I scarcely noticed it,
it was so trivial in comparison with the scandalous conduct of
At this moment Cummings and his wife arrived. Cummings was very
lame and leaning on a stick; but got up the steps and asked what
the matter was.
The man said: "Mr. Gowing said nothing about expecting anyone.
All he said was he had just received an invitation to Croydon, and
he should not be back till Monday evening. He took his bag with
With that he slammed the door again. I was too indignant with
Gowing's conduct to say anything. Cummings looked white with rage,
and as he descended the steps struck his stick violently on the
ground and said: "Scoundrel!"
Gowing explains his conduct. Lupin takes us for a drive, which we
don't enjoy. Lupin introduces us to Mr. Murray Posh.
February 8.--It does seem hard I cannot get good sausages for
breakfast. They are either full of bread or spice, or are as red
as beef. Still anxious about the 20 pounds I invested last week by
Lupin's advice. However, Cummings has done the same.
February 9.--Exactly a fortnight has passed, and I have neither
seen nor heard from Gowing respecting his extraordinary conduct in
asking us round to his house, and then being out. In the evening
Carrie was engaged marking a half-dozen new collars I had
purchased. I'll back Carrie's marking against anybody's. While I
was drying them at the fire, and Carrie was rebuking me for
scorching them, Cummings came in.
He seemed quite well again, and chaffed us about marking the
collars. I asked him if he had heard from Gowing, and he replied
that he had not. I said I should not have believed that Gowing
could have acted in such an ungentlemanly manner. Cummings said:
"You are mild in your description of him; I think he has acted like
The words were scarcely out of his mouth when the door opened, and
Gowing, putting in his head, said: "May I come in?" I said:
"Certainly." Carrie said very pointedly: "Well, you ARE a
stranger." Gowing said: "Yes, I've been on and off to Croydon
during the last fortnight." I could see Cummings was boiling over,
and eventually he tackled Gowing very strongly respecting his
conduct last Saturday week. Gowing appeared surprised, and said:
"Why, I posted a letter to you in the morning announcing that the
party was 'off, very much off.'" I said: "I never got it."
Gowing, turning to Carrie, said: "I suppose letters sometimes
MISCARRY, don't they, MRS. Carrie?" Cummings sharply said: "This
is not a time for joking. I had no notice of the party being put
off." Gowing replied: "I told Pooter in my note to tell you, as I
was in a hurry. However, I'll inquire at the post-office, and we
must meet again at my place." I added that I hoped he would be
present at the next meeting. Carrie roared at this, and even
Cummings could not help laughing.
February 10, Sunday.--Contrary to my wishes, Carrie allowed Lupin
to persuade her to take her for a drive in the afternoon in his
trap. I quite disapprove of driving on a Sunday, but I did not
like to trust Carrie alone with Lupin, so I offered to go too.
Lupin said: "Now, that is nice of you, Guv., but you won't mind
sitting on the back-seat of the cart?"
Lupin proceeded to put on a bright-blue coat that seemed miles too
large for him. Carrie said it wanted taking in considerably at the
back. Lupin said: "Haven't you seen a box-coat before? You can't
drive in anything else."
He may wear what he likes in the future, for I shall never drive
with him again. His conduct was shocking. When we passed Highgate
Archway, he tried to pass everything and everybody. He shouted to
respectable people who were walking quietly in the road to get out
of the way; he flicked at the horse of an old man who was riding,
causing it to rear; and, as I had to ride backwards, I was
compelled to face a gang of roughs in a donkey-cart, whom Lupin had
chaffed, and who turned and followed us for nearly a mile,
bellowing, indulging in coarse jokes and laughter, to say nothing
of occasionally pelting us with orange-peel.
Lupin's excuse--that the Prince of Wales would have to put up with
the same sort of thing if he drove to the Derby--was of little
consolation to either Carrie or myself. Frank Mutlar called in the
evening, and Lupin went out with him.
February 11.--Feeling a little concerned about Lupin, I mustered up
courage to speak to Mr. Perkupp about him. Mr. Perkupp has always
been most kind to me, so I told him everything, including
yesterday's adventure. Mr. Perkupp kindly replied: "There is no
necessity for you to be anxious, Mr. Pooter. It would be
impossible for a son of such good parents to turn out erroneously.
Remember he is young, and will soon get older. I wish we could
find room for him in this firm." The advice of this good man takes
loads off my mind. In the evening Lupin came in.
After our little supper, he said: "My dear parents, I have some
news, which I fear will affect you considerably." I felt a qualm
come over me, and said nothing. Lupin then said: "It may distress
you--in fact, I'm sure it will--but this afternoon I have given up
my pony and trap for ever." It may seem absurd, but I was so
pleased, I immediately opened a bottle of port. Gowing dropped in
just in time, bringing with him a large sheet, with a print of a
tailless donkey, which he fastened against the wall. He then
produced several separate tails, and we spent the remainder of the
evening trying blindfolded to pin a tail on in the proper place.
My sides positively ached with laughter when I went to bed.
February 12.--In the evening I spoke to Lupin about his engagement
with Daisy Mutlar. I asked if he had heard from her. He replied:
"No; she promised that old windbag of a father of hers that she
would not communicate with me. I see Frank Mutlar, of course; in
fact, he said he might call again this evening." Frank called, but
said he could not stop, as he had a friend waiting outside for him,
named Murray Posh, adding he was quite a swell. Carrie asked Frank
to bring him in.
He was brought in, Gowing entering at the same time. Mr. Murray
Posh was a tall, fat young man, and was evidently of a very nervous
disposition, as he subsequently confessed he would never go in a
hansom cab, nor would he enter a four-wheeler until the driver had
first got on the box with his reins in his hands.
On being introduced, Gowing, with his usual want of tact, said:
"Any relation to 'Posh's three-shilling hats'?" Mr. Posh replied:
"Yes; but please understand I don't try on hats myself. I take no
ACTIVE part in the business." I replied: "I wish I had a business
like it." Mr. Posh seemed pleased, and gave a long but most
interesting history of the extraordinary difficulties in the
manufacture of cheap hats.
Murray Posh evidently knew Daisy Mutlar very intimately from the
way he was talking of her; and Frank said to Lupin once,
laughingly: "If you don't look out, Posh will cut you out!" When
they had all gone, I referred to this flippant conversation; and
Lupin said, sarcastically: "A man who is jealous has no respect
for himself. A man who would be jealous of an elephant like Murray
Posh could only have a contempt for himself. I know Daisy. She
WOULD wait ten years for me, as I said before; in fact, if
necessary, SHE WOULD WAIT TWENTY YEARS FOR ME."
We lose money over Lupin's advice as to investment, so does
Cummings. Murray Posh engaged to Daisy Mutlar.
February 18.--Carrie has several times recently called attention to
the thinness of my hair at the top of my head, and recommended me
to get it seen to. I was this morning trying to look at it by the
aid of a small hand-glass, when somehow my elbow caught against the
edge of the chest of drawers and knocked the glass out of my hand
and smashed it. Carrie was in an awful way about it, as she is
rather absurdly superstitious. To make matters worse, my large
photograph in the drawing-room fell during the night, and the glass
Carrie said: "Mark my words, Charles, some misfortune is about to
I said: "Nonsense, dear."
In the evening Lupin arrived home early, and seemed a little
agitated. I said: "What's up, my boy?" He hesitated a good deal,
and then said: "You know those Parachikka Chlorates I advised you
to invest 20 pounds in? I replied: "Yes, they are all right, I
trust?" He replied: "Well, no! To the surprise of everybody,
they have utterly collapsed."
My breath was so completely taken away, I could say nothing.
Carrie looked at me, and said: "What did I tell you?" Lupin,
after a while, said: "However, you are specially fortunate. I
received an early tip, and sold out yours immediately, and was
fortunate to get 2 pounds for them. So you get something after
I gave a sigh of relief. I said: "I was not so sanguine as to
suppose, as you predicted, that I should get six or eight times the
amount of my investment; still a profit of 2 pounds is a good
percentage for such a short time." Lupin said, quite irritably:
"You don't understand. I sold your 20 pounds shares for 2 pounds;
you therefore lose 18 pounds on the transaction, whereby Cummings
and Gowing will lose the whole of theirs."
February 19.--Lupin, before going to town, said: "I am very sorry
about those Parachikka Chlorates; it would not have happened if the
boss, Job Cleanands, had been in town. Between ourselves, you must
not be surprised if something goes wrong at our office. Job
Cleanands has not been seen the last few days, and it strikes me
several people DO want to see him very particularly."
In the evening Lupin was just on the point of going out to avoid a
collision with Gowing and Cummings, when the former entered the
room, without knocking, but with his usual trick of saying, "May I
He entered, and to the surprise of Lupin and myself, seemed to be
in the very best of spirits. Neither Lupin nor I broached the
subject to him, but he did so of his own accord. He said: "I say,
those Parachikka Chlorates have gone an awful smash! You're a nice
one, Master Lupin. How much do you lose?" Lupin, to my utter
astonishment, said: "Oh! I had nothing in them. There was some
informality in my application--I forgot to enclose the cheque or
something, and I didn't get any. The Guv. loses 18 pounds." I
said: "I quite understood you were in it, or nothing would have
induced me to speculate." Lupin replied: "Well, it can't be
helped; you must go double on the next tip." Before I could reply,
Gowing said: "Well, I lose nothing, fortunately. From what I
heard, I did not quite believe in them, so I persuaded Cummings to
take my 15 pounds worth, as he had more faith in them than I had."
Lupin burst out laughing, and, in the most unseemly manner, said:
"Alas, poor Cummings. He'll lose 35 pounds." At that moment there
was a ring at the bell. Lupin said: "I don't want to meet
Cummings." If he had gone out of the door he would have met him in
the passage, so as quickly as possible Lupin opened the parlour
window and got out. Gowing jumped up suddenly, exclaiming: "I
don't want to see him either!" and, before I could say a word, he
followed Lupin out of the window.
For my own part, I was horrified to think my own son and one of my
most intimate friends should depart from the house like a couple of
interrupted burglars. Poor Cummings was very upset, and of course
was naturally very angry both with Lupin and Gowing. I pressed him
to have a little whisky, and he replied that he had given up
whisky; but would like a little "Unsweetened," as he was advised it
was the most healthy spirit. I had none in the house, but sent
Sarah round to Lockwood's for some.
February 20.--The first thing that caught my eye on opening the
Standard was--"Great Failure of Stock and Share Dealers! Mr. Job
Cleanands absconded!" I handed it to Carrie, and she replied:
"Oh! perhaps it's for Lupin's good. I never did think it a
suitable situation for him." I thought the whole affair very
Lupin came down to breakfast, and seeing he looked painfully
distressed, I said: "We know the news, my dear boy, and feel very
sorry for you." Lupin said: "How did you know? who told you?" I
handed him the Standard. He threw the paper down, and said: "Oh I
don't care a button for that! I expected that, but I did not
expect this." He then read a letter from Frank Mutlar, announcing,
in a cool manner, that Daisy Mutlar is to be married next month to
Murray Posh. I exclaimed, "Murray Posh! Is not that the very man
Frank had the impudence to bring here last Tuesday week?" Lupin
said: "Yes; the 'POSH'S-THREE-SHILLING-HATS' chap."
We all then ate our breakfast in dead silence.
In fact, I could eat nothing. I was not only too worried, but I
cannot and will not eat cushion of bacon. If I cannot get streaky
bacon, I will do without anything.
When Lupin rose to go I noticed a malicious smile creep over his
face. I asked him what it meant. He replied: "Oh! only a little
consolation--still it is a consolation. I have just remembered
that, by MY advice, Mr. Murray Posh has invested 600 pounds in
Marriage of Daisy Mutlar and Murray Posh. The dream of my life
realised. Mr. Perkupp takes Lupin into the office.
March 20.--To-day being the day on which Daisy Mutlar and Mr.
Murray Posh are to be married, Lupin has gone with a friend to
spend the day at Gravesend. Lupin has been much cut-up over the
affair, although he declares that he is glad it is off. I wish he
would not go to so many music-halls, but one dare not say anything
to him about it. At the present moment he irritates me by singing
all over the house some nonsense about "What's the matter with
Gladstone? He's all right! What's the matter with Lupin? He's
all right!" _I_ don't think either of them is. In the evening
Gowing called, and the chief topic of conversation was Daisy's
marriage to Murray Posh. I said: "I was glad the matter was at an
end, as Daisy would only have made a fool of Lupin." Gowing, with
his usual good taste, said: "Oh, Master Lupin can make a fool of
himself without any assistance." Carrie very properly resented
this, and Gowing had sufficient sense to say he was sorry.
March 21.--To-day I shall conclude my diary, for it is one of the
happiest days of my life. My great dream of the last few weeks--in
fact, of many years--has been realised. This morning came a letter
from Mr. Perkupp, asking me to take Lupin down to the office with
me. I went to Lupin's room; poor fellow, he seemed very pale, and
said he had a bad headache. He had come back yesterday from
Gravesend, where he spent part of the day in a small boat on the
water, having been mad enough to neglect to take his overcoat with
him. I showed him Mr. Perkupp's letter, and he got up as quickly
as possible. I begged of him not to put on his fast-coloured
clothes and ties, but to dress in something black or quiet-looking.
Carrie was all of a tremble when she read the letter, and all she
could keep on saying was: "Oh, I DO hope it will be all right."
For myself, I could scarcely eat any breakfast. Lupin came down
dressed quietly, and looking a perfect gentleman, except that his
face was rather yellow. Carrie, by way of encouragement said:
"You do look nice, Lupin." Lupin replied: "Yes, it's a good make-
up, isn't it? A regular-downright-respectable-funereal-first-
class-City-firm-junior-clerk." He laughed rather ironically.
In the hall I heard a great noise, and also Lupin shouting to Sarah
to fetch down his old hat. I went into the passage, and found
Lupin in a fury, kicking and smashing a new tall hat. I said:
"Lupin, my boy, what are you doing? How wicked of you! Some poor
fellow would be glad to have it." Lupin replied: "I would not
insult any poor fellow by giving it to him."
When he had gone outside, I picked up the battered hat, and saw
inside "Posh's Patent." Poor Lupin! I can forgive him. It seemed
hours before we reached the office. Mr. Perkupp sent for Lupin,
who was with him nearly an hour. He returned, as I thought,
crestfallen in appearance. I said: "Well, Lupin, how about Mr.
Perkupp?" Lupin commenced his song: "What's the matter with
Perkupp? He's all right!" I felt instinctively my boy was
engaged. I went to Mr. Perkupp, but I could not speak. He said:
"Well, Mr. Pooter, what is it?" I must have looked a fool, for all
I could say was: "Mr. Perkupp, you are a good man." He looked at
me for a moment, and said: "No, Mr. Pooter, YOU are the good man;
and we'll see if we cannot get your son to follow such an excellent
example." I said: "Mr. Perkupp, may I go home? I cannot work any
My good master shook my hand warmly as he nodded his head. It was
as much as I could do to prevent myself from crying in the 'bus; in
fact, I should have done so, had my thoughts not been interrupted
by Lupin, who was having a quarrel with a fat man in the 'bus, whom
he accused of taking up too much room.
In the evening Carrie sent round for dear old friend Cummings and
his wife, and also to Gowing. We all sat round the fire, and in a
bottle of "Jackson Freres," which Sarah fetched from the grocer's,
drank Lupin's health. I lay awake for hours, thinking of the
future. My boy in the same office as myself--we can go down
together by the 'bus, come home together, and who knows but in the
course of time he may take great interest in our little home. That
he may help me to put a nail in here or a nail in there, or help
his dear mother to hang a picture. In the summer he may help us in
our little garden with the flowers, and assist us to paint the
stands and pots. (By-the-by, I must get in some more enamel
paint.) All this I thought over and over again, and a thousand
happy thoughts beside. I heard the clock strike four, and soon
after fell asleep, only to dream of three happy people--Lupin, dear
Carrie, and myself.
Trouble with a stylographic pen. We go to a Volunteer Ball, where
I am let in for an expensive supper. Grossly insulted by a cabman.
An odd invitation to Southend.
April 8.--No events of any importance, except that Gowing strongly
recommended a new patent stylographic pen, which cost me nine-and-
sixpence, and which was simply nine-and-sixpence thrown in the mud.
It has caused me constant annoyance and irritability of temper.
The ink oozes out of the top, making a mess on my hands, and once
at the office when I was knocking the palm of my hand on the desk
to jerk the ink down, Mr. Perkupp, who had just entered, called
out: "Stop that knocking! I suppose that is you, Mr. Pitt?" That
young monkey, Pitt, took a malicious glee in responding quite
loudly: "No, sir; I beg pardon, it is Mr. Pooter with his pen; it
has been going on all the morning." To make matters worse, I saw
Lupin laughing behind his desk. I thought it wiser to say nothing.
I took the pen back to the shop and asked them if they would take
it back, as it did not act. I did not expect the full price
returned, but was willing to take half. The man said he could not
do that--buying and selling were two different things. Lupin's
conduct during the period he has been in Mr. Perkupp's office has
been most exemplary. My only fear is, it is too good to last.
April 9.--Gowing called, bringing with him an invitation for Carrie
and myself to a ball given by the East Acton Rifle Brigade, which
he thought would be a swell affair, as the member for East Acton
(Sir William Grime) had promised his patronage. We accepted of his
kindness, and he stayed to supper, an occasion I thought suitable
for trying a bottle of the sparkling Algera that Mr. James (of
Sutton) had sent as a present. Gowing sipped the wine, observing
that he had never tasted it before, and further remarked that his
policy was to stick to more recognised brands. I told him it was a
present from a dear friend, and one mustn't look a gift-horse in
the mouth. Gowing facetiously replied: "And he didn't like
putting it in the mouth either."
I thought the remarks were rude without being funny, but on tasting
it myself, came to the conclusion there was some justification for
them. The sparkling Algera is very like cider, only more sour. I
suggested that perhaps the thunder had turned it a bit acid. He
merely replied: "Oh! I don't think so." We had a very pleasant
game of cards, though I lost four shillings and Carrie lost one,
and Gowing said he had lost about sixpence: how he could have
lost, considering that Carrie and I were the only other players,
remains a mystery.
April 14, Sunday.--Owing, I presume, to the unsettled weather, I
awoke with a feeling that my skin was drawn over my face as tight
as a drum. Walking round the garden with Mr. and Mrs. Treane,
members of our congregation who had walked back with us, I was much
annoyed to find a large newspaper full of bones on the gravel-path,
evidently thrown over by those young Griffin boys next door; who,
whenever we have friends, climb up the empty steps inside their
conservatory, tap at the windows, making faces, whistling, and
April 15.--Burnt my tongue most awfully with the Worcester sauce,
through that stupid girl Sarah shaking the bottle violently before
putting it on the table.
April 16.--The night of the East Acton Volunteer Ball. On my
advice, Carrie put on the same dress that she looked so beautiful
in at the Mansion House, for it had occurred to me, being a
military ball, that Mr. Perkupp, who, I believe, is an officer in
the Honorary Artillery Company, would in all probability be
present. Lupin, in his usual incomprehensible language, remarked
that he had heard it was a "bounders' ball." I didn't ask him what
he meant though I didn't understand. Where he gets these
expressions from I don't know; he certainly doesn't learn them at
The invitation was for half-past eight, so I concluded if we
arrived an hour later we should be in good time, without being
"unfashionable," as Mrs. James says. It was very difficult to
find--the cabman having to get down several times to inquire at
different public-houses where the Drill Hall was. I wonder at
people living in such out-of-the-way places. No one seemed to know
it. However, after going up and down a good many badly-lighted
streets we arrived at our destination. I had no idea it was so far
from Holloway. I gave the cabman five shillings, who only
grumbled, saying it was dirt cheap at half-a-sovereign, and was
impertinent enough to advise me the next time I went to a ball to
take a 'bus.
Captain Welcut received us, saying we were rather late, but that it
was better late than never. He seemed a very good-looking
gentleman though, as Carrie remarked, "rather short for an
officer." He begged to be excused for leaving us, as he was
engaged for a dance, and hoped we should make ourselves at home.
Carrie took my arm and we walked round the rooms two or three times
and watched the people dancing. I couldn't find a single person I
knew, but attributed it to most of them being in uniform. As we
were entering the supper-room I received a slap on the shoulder,
followed by a welcome shake of the hand. I said: "Mr. Padge, I
believe;" he replied, "That's right."
I gave Carrie a chair, and seated by her was a lady who made
herself at home with Carrie at once.
There was a very liberal repast on the tables, plenty of champagne,
claret, etc., and, in fact, everything seemed to be done regardless
of expense. Mr. Padge is a man that, I admit, I have no particular
liking for, but I felt so glad to come across someone I knew, that
I asked him to sit at our table, and I must say that for a short
fat man he looked well in uniform, although I think his tunic was
rather baggy in the back. It was the only supper-room that I have
been in that was not over-crowded; in fact we were the only people
there, everybody being so busy dancing.
I assisted Carrie and her newly-formed acquaintance, who said her
name was Lupkin, to some champagne; also myself, and handed the
bottle to Mr. Padge to do likewise, saying: "You must look after
yourself." He replied: "That's right," and poured out half a
tumbler and drank Carrie's health, coupled, as he said, "with her
worthy lord and master." We all had some splendid pigeon pie, and
ices to follow.
The waiters were very attentive, and asked if we would like some
more wine. I assisted Carrie and her friend and Mr. Padge, also
some people who had just come from the dancing-room, who were very
civil. It occurred to me at the time that perhaps some of the
gentlemen knew me in the City, as they were so polite. I made
myself useful, and assisted several ladies to ices, remembering an
old saying that "There is nothing lost by civility."
The band struck up for the dance, and they all went into the ball-
room. The ladies (Carrie and Mrs. Lupkin) were anxious to see the
dancing, and as I had not quite finished my supper, Mr. Padge
offered his arms to them and escorted them to the ball-room,
telling me to follow. I said to Mr. Padge: "It is quite a West
End affair," to which remark Mr. Padge replied: "That's right."
When I had quite finished my supper, and was leaving, the waiter
who had been attending on us arrested my attention by tapping me on
the shoulder. I thought it unusual for a waiter at a private ball
to expect a tip, but nevertheless gave a shilling, as he had been
very attentive. He smilingly replied: "I beg your pardon, sir,
this is no good," alluding to the shilling. "Your party's had four
suppers at 5s. a head, five ices at 1s., three bottles of champagne
at 11s. 6d., a glass of claret, and a sixpenny cigar for the stout
gentleman--in all 3 pounds 0s. 6d.!"
I don't think I was ever so surprised in my life, and had only
sufficient breath to inform him that I had received a private
invitation, to which he answered that he was perfectly well aware
of that; but that the invitation didn't include eatables and
drinkables. A gentleman who was standing at the bar corroborated
the waiter's statement, and assured me it was quite correct.
The waiter said he was extremely sorry if I had been under any
misapprehension; but it was not his fault. Of course there was
nothing to be done but to pay. So, after turning out my pockets, I
just managed to scrape up sufficient, all but nine shillings; but
the manager, on my giving my card to him, said: "That's all
I don't think I ever felt more humiliated in my life, and I
determined to keep this misfortune from Carrie, for it would
entirely destroy the pleasant evening she was enjoying. I felt
there was no more enjoyment for me that evening, and it being late,
I sought Carrie and Mrs. Lupkin. Carrie said she was quite ready
to go, and Mrs. Lupkin, as we were wishing her "Good-night," asked
Carrie and myself if we ever paid a visit to Southend? On my
replying that I hadn't been there for many years, she very kindly
said: "Well, why don't you come down and stay at our place?" As
her invitation was so pressing, and observing that Carrie wished to
go, we promised we would visit her the next Saturday week, and stay
till Monday. Mrs. Lupkin said she would write to us to-morrow,
giving us the address and particulars of trains, etc.
When we got outside the Drill Hall it was raining so hard that the
roads resembled canals, and I need hardly say we had great
difficulty in getting a cabman to take us to Holloway. After
waiting a bit, a man said he would drive us, anyhow, as far as "The
Angel," at Islington, and we could easily get another cab from
there. It was a tedious journey; the rain was beating against the
windows and trickling down the inside of the cab.
When we arrived at "The Angel" the horse seemed tired out. Carrie
got out and ran into a doorway, and when I came to pay, to my
absolute horror I remembered I had no money, nor had Carrie. I
explained to the cabman how we were situated. Never in my life
have I ever been so insulted; the cabman, who was a rough bully and
to my thinking not sober, called me every name he could lay his
tongue to, and positively seized me by the beard, which he pulled
till the tears came into my eyes. I took the number of a policeman
(who witnessed the assault) for not taking the man in charge. The
policeman said he couldn't interfere, that he had seen no assault,
and that people should not ride in cabs without money.
We had to walk home in the pouring rain, nearly two miles, and when
I got in I put down the conversation I had with the cabman, word
for word, as I intend writing to the Telegraph for the purpose of
proposing that cabs should be driven only by men under Government
control, to prevent civilians being subjected to the disgraceful
insult and outrage that I had had to endure.
April 17.--No water in our cistern again. Sent for Putley, who
said he would soon remedy that, the cistern being zinc.
April 18.--Water all right again in the cistern. Mrs. James, of
Sutton, called in the afternoon. She and Carrie draped the
mantelpiece in the drawing-room, and put little toy spiders, frogs
and beetles all over it, as Mrs. James says it's quite the fashion.
It was Mrs. James' suggestion, and of course Carrie always does
what Mrs. James suggests. For my part, I preferred the mantelpiece
as it was; but there, I'm a plain man, and don't pretend to be in
April 19.--Our next-door neighbour, Mr. Griffin, called, and in a
rather offensive tone accused me, or "someone," of boring a hole in
his cistern and letting out his water to supply our cistern, which
adjoined his. He said he should have his repaired, and send us in
April 20.--Cummings called, hobbling in with a stick, saying he had
been on his back for a week. It appears he was trying to shut his
bedroom door, which is situated just at the top of the staircase,
and unknown to him a piece of cork the dog had been playing with
had got between the door, and prevented it shutting; and in pulling
the door hard, to give it an extra slam, the handle came off in his
hands, and he fell backwards downstairs.
On hearing this, Lupin suddenly jumped up from the couch and rushed
out of the room sideways. Cummings looked very indignant, and
remarked it was very poor fun a man nearly breaking his back; and
though I had my suspicions that Lupin was laughing, I assured
Cummings that he had only run out to open the door to a friend he
expected. Cummings said this was the second time he had been laid
up, and we had never sent to inquire. I said I knew nothing about
it. Cummings said: "It was mentioned in the Bicycle News."
April 22.--I have of late frequently noticed Carrie rubbing her
nails a good deal with an instrument, and on asking her what she
was doing, she replied: "Oh, I'm going in for manicuring. It's
all the fashion now." I said: "I suppose Mrs. James introduced
that into your head." Carrie laughingly replied: "Yes; but
everyone does it now."
I wish Mrs. James wouldn't come to the house. Whenever she does
she always introduces some new-fandangled rubbish into Carrie's
head. One of these days I feel sure I shall tell her she's not
welcome. I am sure it was Mrs. James who put Carrie up to writing
on dark slate-coloured paper with white ink. Nonsense!
April 23.--Received a letter from Mrs. Lupkin, of Southend, telling
us the train to come by on Saturday, and hoping we will keep our
promise to stay with her. The letter concluded: "You must come
and stay at our house; we shall charge you half what you will have
to pay at the Royal, and the view is every bit as good." Looking
at the address at the top of the note-paper, I found it was
"Lupkin's Family and Commercial Hotel."
I wrote a note, saying we were compelled to "decline her kind
invitation." Carrie thought this very satirical, and to the point.
By-the-by, I will never choose another cloth pattern at night. I
ordered a new suit of dittos for the garden at Edwards', and chose
the pattern by gaslight, and they seemed to be a quiet pepper-and-
salt mixture with white stripes down. They came home this morning,
and, to my horror, I found it was quite a flash-looking suit.
There was a lot of green with bright yellow-coloured stripes.
I tried on the coat, and was annoyed to find Carrie giggling. She
said: "What mixture did you say you asked for?"
I said: "A quiet pepper and salt."
Carrie said: "Well, it looks more like mustard, if you want to
know the truth."
Meet Teddy Finsworth, an old schoolfellow. We have a pleasant and
quiet dinner at his uncle's, marred only by a few awkward mistakes
on my part respecting Mr. Finsworth's pictures. A discussion on
April 27.--Kept a little later than usual at the office, and as I
was hurrying along a man stopped me, saying: "Hulloh! That's a
face I know." I replied politely: "Very likely; lots of people
know me, although I may not know them." He replied: "But you know
me--Teddy Finsworth." So it was. He was at the same school with
me. I had not seen him for years and years. No wonder I did not
know him! At school he was at least a head taller than I was; now
I am at least a head taller than he is, and he has a thick beard,
almost grey. He insisted on my having a glass of wine (a thing I
never do), and told me he lived at Middlesboro', where he was
Deputy Town Clerk, a position which was as high as the Town Clerk
of London--in fact, higher. He added that he was staying for a few
days in London, with his uncle, Mr. Edgar Paul Finsworth (of
Finsworth and Pultwell). He said he was sure his uncle would be
only too pleased to see me, and he had a nice house, Watney Lodge,
only a few minutes' walk from Muswell Hill Station. I gave him our
address, and we parted.
In the evening, to my surprise, he called with a very nice letter
from Mr. Finsworth, saying if we (including Carrie) would dine with
them to-morrow (Sunday), at two o'clock, he would be delighted.
Carrie did not like to go; but Teddy Finsworth pressed us so much
we consented. Carrie sent Sarah round to the butcher's and
countermanded our half-leg of mutton, which we had ordered for to-
April 28, Sunday.--We found Watney Lodge farther off than we
anticipated, and only arrived as the clock struck two, both feeling
hot and uncomfortable. To make matters worse, a large collie dog
pounced forward to receive us. He barked loudly and jumped up at
Carrie, covering her light skirt, which she was wearing for the
first time, with mud. Teddy Finsworth came out and drove the dog
off and apologised. We were shown into the drawing-room, which was
beautifully decorated. It was full of knick-knacks, and some
plates hung up on the wall. There were several little wooden milk-
stools with paintings on them; also a white wooden banjo, painted
by one of Mr. Paul Finsworth's nieces--a cousin of Teddy's.
Mr. Paul Finsworth seemed quite a distinguished-looking elderly
gentleman, and was most gallant to Carrie. There were a great many
water-colours hanging on the walls, mostly different views of
India, which were very bright. Mr. Finsworth said they were
painted by "Simpz," and added that he was no judge of pictures
himself but had been informed on good authority that they were
worth some hundreds of pounds, although he had only paid a few
shillings apiece for them, frames included, at a sale in the
There was also a large picture in a very handsome frame, done in
coloured crayons. It looked like a religious subject. I was very
much struck with the lace collar, it looked so real, but I
unfortunately made the remark that there was something about the
expression of the face that was not quite pleasing. It looked
pinched. Mr. Finsworth sorrowfully replied: "Yes, the face was
done after death--my wife's sister."
I felt terribly awkward and bowed apologetically, and in a whisper
said I hoped I had not hurt his feelings. We both stood looking at
the picture for a few minutes in silence, when Mr. Finsworth took
out a handkerchief and said: "She was sitting in our garden last
summer," and blew his nose violently. He seemed quite affected, so
I turned to look at something else and stood in front of a portrait
of a jolly-looking middle-aged gentleman, with a red face and straw
hat. I said to Mr. Finsworth: "Who is this jovial-looking
gentleman? Life doesn't seem to trouble him much." Mr. Finsworth
said: "No, it doesn't. HE IS DEAD TOO--my brother."
I was absolutely horrified at my own awkwardness. Fortunately at
this moment Carrie entered with Mrs. Finsworth, who had taken her
upstairs to take off her bonnet and brush her skirt. Teddy said:
"Short is late," but at that moment the gentleman referred to
arrived, and I was introduced to him by Teddy, who said: "Do you
know Mr. Short?" I replied, smiling, that I had not that pleasure,
but I hoped it would not be long before I knew Mr. SHORT. He
evidently did not see my little joke, although I repeated it twice
with a little laugh. I suddenly remembered it was Sunday, and Mr.
Short was perhaps VERY PARTICULAR. In this I was mistaken, for he
was not at all particular in several of his remarks after dinner.
In fact I was so ashamed of one of his observations that I took the
opportunity to say to Mrs. Finsworth that I feared she found Mr.
Short occasionally a little embarrassing. To my surprise she said:
"Oh! he is privileged you know." I did not know as a matter of
fact, and so I bowed apologetically. I fail to see why Mr. Short
should be privileged.
Another thing that annoyed me at dinner was that the collie dog,
which jumped up at Carrie, was allowed to remain under the dining-
room table. It kept growling and snapping at my boots every time I
moved my foot. Feeling nervous rather, I spoke to Mrs. Finsworth
about the animal, and she remarked: "It is only his play." She
jumped up and let in a frightfully ugly-looking spaniel called
Bibbs, which had been scratching at the door. This dog also seemed
to take a fancy to my boots, and I discovered afterwards that it
had licked off every bit of blacking from them. I was positively
ashamed of being seen in them. Mrs. Finsworth, who, I must say, is
not much of a Job's comforter, said: "Oh! we are used to Bibbs
doing that to our visitors."
Mr. Finsworth had up some fine port, although I question whether it
is a good thing to take on the top of beer. It made me feel a
little sleepy, while it had the effect of inducing Mr. Short to
become "privileged" to rather an alarming extent. It being cold
even for April, there was a fire in the drawing-room; we sat round
in easy-chairs, and Teddy and I waxed rather eloquent over the old
school days, which had the effect of sending all the others to
sleep. I was delighted, as far as Mr. Short was concerned, that it
did have that effect on him.
We stayed till four, and the walk home was remarkable only for the
fact that several fools giggled at the unpolished state of my
boots. Polished them myself when I got home. Went to church in
the evening, and could scarcely keep awake. I will not take port
on the top of beer again.
April 29.--I am getting quite accustomed to being snubbed by Lupin,
and I do not mind being sat upon by Carrie, because I think she has
a certain amount of right to do so; but I do think it hard to be at
once snubbed by wife, son, and both my guests.
Gowing and Cummings had dropped in during the evening, and I
suddenly remembered an extraordinary dream I had a few nights ago,
and I thought I would tell them about it. I dreamt I saw some huge
blocks of ice in a shop with a bright glare behind them. I walked
into the shop and the heat was overpowering. I found that the
blocks of ice were on fire. The whole thing was so real and yet so
supernatural I woke up in a cold perspiration. Lupin in a most
contemptuous manner, said: "What utter rot."
Before I could reply, Gowing said there was nothing so completely
uninteresting as other people's dreams.
I appealed to Cummings, but he said he was bound to agree with the
others and my dream was especially nonsensical. I said: "It
seemed so real to me." Gowing replied: "Yes, to YOU perhaps, but
not to US." Whereupon they all roared.
Carrie, who had hitherto been quiet, said: "He tells me his stupid
dreams every morning nearly." I replied: "Very well, dear, I
promise you I will never tell you or anybody else another dream of
mine the longest day I live." Lupin said: "Hear! hear!" and
helped himself to another glass of beer. The subject was
fortunately changed, and Cummings read a most interesting article
on the superiority of the bicycle to the horse.
Dinner at Franching's to meet Mr. Hardfur Huttle.
May 10.--Received a letter from Mr. Franching, of Peckham, asking
us to dine with him to-night, at seven o'clock, to meet Mr. Hardfur
Huttle, a very clever writer for the American papers. Franching
apologised for the short notice; but said he had at the last moment
been disappointed of two of his guests and regarded us as old
friends who would not mind filling up the gap. Carrie rather
demurred at the invitation; but I explained to her that Franching
was very well off and influential, and we could not afford to
offend him. "And we are sure to get a good dinner and a good glass
of champagne." "Which never agrees with you!" Carrie replied,
sharply. I regarded Carrie's observation as unsaid. Mr. Franching
asked us to wire a reply. As he had said nothing about dress in
the letter, I wired back: "With pleasure. Is it full dress?" and
by leaving out our name, just got the message within the sixpence.
Got back early to give time to dress, which we received a telegram
instructing us to do. I wanted Carrie to meet me at Franching's
house; but she would not do so, so I had to go home to fetch her.
What a long journey it is from Holloway to Peckham! Why do people
live such a long way off? Having to change 'buses, I allowed
plenty of time--in fact, too much; for we arrived at twenty minutes
to seven, and Franching, so the servant said, had only just gone up
to dress. However, he was down as the clock struck seven; he must
have dressed very quickly.
I must say it was quite a distinguished party, and although we did
not know anybody personally, they all seemed to be quite swells.
Franching had got a professional waiter, and evidently spared no
expense. There were flowers on the table round some fairy-lamps
and the effect, I must say, was exquisite. The wine was good and
there was plenty of champagne, concerning which Franching said he
himself, never wished to taste better. We were ten in number, and
a menu card to each. One lady said she always preserved the menu
and got the guests to write their names on the back.
We all of us followed her example, except Mr. Huttle, who was of
course the important guest.
The dinner-party consisted of Mr. Franching, Mr. Hardfur Huttle,
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Hillbutter, Mrs. Field, Mr. and Mrs. Purdick,
Mr. Pratt, Mr. R. Kent, and, last but not least, Mr. and Mrs.
Charles Pooter. Franching said he was sorry he had no lady for me
to take in to dinner. I replied that I preferred it, which I
afterwards thought was a very uncomplimentary observation to make.
I sat next to Mrs. Field at dinner. She seemed a well-informed
lady, but was very deaf. It did not much matter, for Mr. Hardfur
Huttle did all the talking. He is a marvellously intellectual man
and says things which from other people would seem quite alarming.
How I wish I could remember even a quarter of his brilliant
conversation. I made a few little reminding notes on the menu
One observation struck me as being absolutely powerful--though not
to my way of thinking of course. Mrs. Purdick happened to say "You
are certainly unorthodox, Mr. Huttle." Mr. Huttle, with a peculiar
expression (I can see it now) said in a slow rich voice: "Mrs.
Purdick, 'orthodox' is a grandiloquent word implying sticking-in-
the-mud. If Columbus and Stephenson had been orthodox, there would
neither have been the discovery of America nor the steam-engine."
There was quite a silence. It appeared to me that such teaching
was absolutely dangerous, and yet I felt--in fact we must all have
felt--there was no answer to the argument. A little later on, Mrs.
Purdick, who is Franching's sister and also acted as hostess, rose
from the table, and Mr. Huttle said: "Why, ladies, do you deprive
us of your company so soon? Why not wait while we have our
The effect was electrical. The ladies (including Carrie) were in
no way inclined to be deprived of Mr. Huttle's fascinating society,
and immediately resumed their seats, amid much laughter and a
little chaff. Mr. Huttle said: "Well, that's a real good sign;
you shall not be insulted by being called orthodox any longer."
Mrs. Purdick, who seemed to be a bright and rather sharp woman,
said: "Mr. Huttle, we will meet you half-way--that is, till you
get half-way through your cigar. That, at all events, will be the
I shall never forget the effect the words, "happy medium," had upon
him. He was brilliant and most daring in his interpretation of the
words. He positively alarmed me. He said something like the
following: "Happy medium, indeed. Do you know 'happy medium' are
two words which mean 'miserable mediocrity'? I say, go first class
or third; marry a duchess or her kitchenmaid. The happy medium
means respectability, and respectability means insipidness. Does
it not, Mr. Pooter?"
I was so taken aback by being personally appealed to, that I could
only bow apologetically, and say I feared I was not competent to
offer an opinion. Carrie was about to say something; but she was
interrupted, for which I was rather pleased, for she is not clever
at argument, and one has to be extra clever to discuss a subject
with a man like Mr. Huttle.
He continued, with an amazing eloquence that made his unwelcome
opinions positively convincing: "The happy medium is nothing more
or less than a vulgar half-measure. A man who loves champagne and,
finding a pint too little, fears to face a whole bottle and has
recourse to an imperial pint, will never build a Brooklyn Bridge or
an Eiffel Tower. No, he is half-hearted, he is a half-measure--
respectable--in fact, a happy medium, and will spend the rest of
his days in a suburban villa with a stucco-column portico,
resembling a four-post bedstead."
We all laughed.
"That sort of thing," continued Mr. Huttle, "belongs to a soft man,
with a soft beard with a soft head, with a made tie that hooks on."
This seemed rather personal and twice I caught myself looking in
the glass of the cheffoniere; for _I_ had on a tie that hooked on--
and why not? If these remarks were not personal they were rather
careless, and so were some of his subsequent observations, which
must have made both Mr. Franching and his guests rather
uncomfortable. I don't think Mr. Huttle meant to be personal, for
he added; "We don't know that class here in this country: but we
do in America, and I've no use for them."
Franching several times suggested that the wine should be passed
round the table, which Mr. Huttle did not heed; but continued as if
he were giving a lecture:
"What we want in America is your homes. We live on wheels. Your
simple, quiet life and home, Mr. Franching, are charming. No
display, no pretension! You make no difference in your dinner, I
dare say, when you sit down by yourself and when you invite us.
You have your own personal attendant--no hired waiter to breathe on
the back of your head."
I saw Franching palpably wince at this.
Mr. Huttle continued: "Just a small dinner with a few good things,
such as you have this evening. You don't insult your guests by
sending to the grocer for champagne at six shillings a bottle."
I could not help thinking of "Jackson Freres" at three-and-six!
"In fact," said Mr. Huttle, "a man is little less than a murderer
who does. That is the province of the milksop, who wastes his
evening at home playing dominoes with his wife. I've heard of
these people. We don't want them at this table. Our party is well
selected. We've no use for deaf old women, who cannot follow
All our eyes were turned to Mrs. Field, who fortunately, being
deaf, did not hear his remarks; but continued smiling approval.
"We have no representative at Mr. Franching's table," said Mr.
Huttle, "of the unenlightened frivolous matron, who goes to a
second class dance at Bayswater and fancies she is in Society.
Society does not know her; it has no use for her."
Mr. Huttle paused for a moment and the opportunity was afforded for
the ladies to rise. I asked Mr. Franching quietly to excuse me, as
I did not wish to miss the last train, which we very nearly did,
by-the-by, through Carrie having mislaid the little cloth cricket-
cap which she wears when we go out.
It was very late when Carrie and I got home; but on entering the
sitting-room I said: "Carrie, what do you think of Mr. Hardfur
Huttle?" She simply answered: "How like Lupin!" The same idea
occurred to me in the train. The comparison kept me awake half the
night. Mr. Huttle was, of course, an older and more influential
man; but he WAS like Lupin, and it made me think how dangerous
Lupin would be if he were older and more influential. I feel proud
to think Lupin DOES resemble Mr. Huttle in some ways. Lupin, like
Mr. Huttle, has original and sometimes wonderful ideas; but it is
those ideas that are so dangerous. They make men extremely rich or
extremely poor. They make or break men. I always feel people are
happier who live a simple unsophisticated life. I believe _I_ am
happy because I am not ambitious. Somehow I feel that Lupin, since
he has been with Mr. Perkupp, has become content to settle down and
follow the footsteps of his father. This is a comfort.
Lupin is discharged. We are in great trouble. Lupin gets engaged
elsewhere at a handsome salary.
May 13.--A terrible misfortune has happened: Lupin is discharged
from Mr. Perkupp's office; and I scarcely know how I am writing my
diary. I was away from office last Sat., the first time I have
been absent through illness for twenty years. I believe I was
poisoned by some lobster. Mr. Perkupp was also absent, as Fate
would have it; and our most valued customer, Mr. Crowbillon, went
to the office in a rage, and withdrew his custom. My boy Lupin not
only had the assurance to receive him, but recommended him the firm
of Gylterson, Sons and Co. Limited. In my own humble judgment, and
though I have to say it against my own son, this seems an act of
This morning I receive a letter from Perkupp, informing me that
Lupin's services are no longer required, and an interview with me
is desired at eleven o'clock. I went down to the office with an
aching heart, dreading an interview with Mr. Perkupp, with whom I
have never had a word. I saw nothing of Lupin in the morning. He
had not got up when it was time for me to leave, and Carrie said I
should do no good by disturbing him. My mind wandered so at the
office that I could not do my work properly.
As I expected, I was sent for by Mr. Perkupp, and the following
conversation ensued as nearly as I can remember it.
Mr. Perkupp said: "Good-morning, Mr. Pooter! This is a very
serious business. I am not referring so much to the dismissal of
your son, for I knew we should have to part sooner or later. _I_
am the head of this old, influential, and much-respected firm; and
when _I_ consider the time has come to revolutionise the business,
_I_ will do it myself."
I could see my good master was somewhat affected, and I said: "I
hope, sir, you do not imagine that I have in any way countenanced
my son's unwarrantable interference?" Mr. Perkupp rose from his
seat and took my hand, and said: "Mr. Pooter, I would as soon
suspect myself as suspect you." I was so agitated that in the
confusion, to show my gratitude I very nearly called him a "grand
Fortunately I checked myself in time, and said he was a "grand old
master." I was so unaccountable for my actions that I sat down,
leaving him standing. Of course, I at once rose, but Mr. Perkupp
bade me sit down, which I was very pleased to do. Mr. Perkupp,
resuming, said: "You will understand, Mr. Pooter, that the high-
standing nature of our firm will not admit of our bending to
anybody. If Mr. Crowbillon chooses to put his work into other
hands--I may add, less experienced hands--it is not for us to bend
and beg back his custom." "You SHALL not do it, sir," I said with
indignation. "Exactly," replied Mr. Perkupp; "I shall NOT do it.
But I was thinking this, Mr. Pooter. Mr. Crowbillon is our most
valued client, and I will even confess--for I know this will not go
beyond ourselves--that we cannot afford very well to lose him,
especially in these times, which are not of the brightest. Now, I
fancy you can be of service."
I replied: "Mr. Perkupp, I will work day and night to serve you!"
Mr. Perkupp said: "I know you will. Now, what I should like you
to do is this. You yourself might write to Mr. Crowbillon--you
must not, of course, lead him to suppose I know anything about your
doing so--and explain to him that your son was only taken on as a
clerk--quite an inexperienced one in fact--out of the respect the
firm had for you, Mr. Pooter. This is, of course, a fact. I don't
suggest that you should speak in too strong terms of your own son's
conduct; but I may add, that had he been a son of mine, I should
have condemned his interference with no measured terms. That I
leave to you. I think the result will be that Mr. Crowbillon will
see the force of the foolish step he has taken, and our firm will
neither suffer in dignity nor in pocket."
I could not help thinking what a noble gentleman Mr. Perkupp is.
His manners and his way of speaking seem to almost thrill one with
I said: "Would you like to see the letter before I send it?"
Mr. Perkupp said: "Oh no! I had better not. I am supposed to
know nothing about it, and I have every confidence in you. You
must write the letter carefully. We are not very busy; you had
better take the morning to-morrow, or the whole day if you like. I
shall be here myself all day to-morrow, in fact all the week, in
case Mr. Crowbillon should call."
I went home a little more cheerful, but I left word with Sarah that
I could not see either Gowing or Cummings, nor in fact anybody, if
they called in the evening. Lupin came into the parlour for a
moment with a new hat on, and asked my opinion of it. I said I was
not in the mood to judge of hats, and I did not think he was in a
position to buy a new one. Lupin replied carelessly: "I didn't
buy it; it was a present."
I have such terrible suspicions of Lupin now that I scarcely like
to ask him questions, as I dread the answers so. He, however,
saved me the trouble.
He said: "I met a friend, an old friend, that I did not quite
think a friend at the time; but it's all right. As he wisely said,
'all is fair in love and war,' and there was no reason why we
should not be friends still. He's a jolly, good, all-round sort of
fellow, and a very different stamp from that inflated fool of a
I said: "Hush, Lupin! Do not pray add insult to injury."
Lupin said: "What do you mean by injury? I repeat, I have done no
injury. Crowbillon is simply tired of a stagnant stick-in-the-mud
firm, and made the change on his own account. I simply recommended
the new firm as a matter of biz--good old biz!"
I said quietly: "I don't understand your slang, and at my time of
life have no desire to learn it; so, Lupin, my boy, let us change
the subject. I will, if it please you, TRY and be interested in
your new hat adventure."
Lupin said: "Oh! there's nothing much about it, except I have not
once seen him since his marriage, and he said he was very pleased
to see me, and hoped we should be friends. I stood a drink to
cement the friendship, and he stood me a new hat--one of his own."
I said rather wearily: "But you have not told me your old friend's
Lupin said, with affected carelessness: "Oh didn't I? Well, I
will. It was MURRAY POSH."
May 14.--Lupin came down late, and seeing me at home all the
morning, asked the reason of it. Carrie and I both agreed it was
better to say nothing to him about the letter I was writing, so I
evaded the question.
Lupin went out, saying he was going to lunch with Murray Posh in
the City. I said I hoped Mr. Posh would provide him with a berth.
Lupin went out laughing, saying: "I don't mind WEARING Posh's one-
priced hats, but I am not going to SELL them." Poor boy, I fear he
is perfectly hopeless.
It took me nearly the whole day to write to Mr. Crowbillon. Once
or twice I asked Carrie for suggestions; and although it seems
ungrateful, her suggestions were none of them to the point, while
one or two were absolutely idiotic. Of course I did not tell her
so. I got the letter off, and took it down to the office for Mr.
Perkupp to see, but he again repeated that he could trust me.
Gowing called in the evening, and I was obliged to tell him about
Lupin and Mr. Perkupp; and, to my surprise, he was quite inclined
to side with Lupin. Carrie joined in, and said she thought I was
taking much too melancholy a view of it. Gowing produced a pint
sample-bottle of Madeira, which had been given him, which he said
would get rid of the blues. I dare say it would have done so if
there had been more of it; but as Gowing helped himself to three
glasses, it did not leave much for Carrie and me to get rid of the
May 15.--A day of great anxiety, for I expected every moment a
letter from Mr. Crowbillon. Two letters came in the evening--one
for me, with "Crowbillon Hall" printed in large gold-and-red
letters on the back of the envelope; the other for Lupin, which I
felt inclined to open and read, as it had "Gylterson, Sons, and Co.
Limited," which was the recommended firm. I trembled as I opened
Mr. Crowbillon's letter. I wrote him sixteen pages, closely
written; he wrote me less than sixteen lines.
His letter was: "Sir,--I totally disagree with you. Your son, in
the course of five minutes' conversation, displayed more
intelligence than your firm has done during the last five years.--
Yours faithfully, Gilbert E. Gillam O. Crowbillon."
What am I to do? Here is a letter that I dare not show to Mr.
Perkupp, and would not show to Lupin for anything. The crisis had
yet to come; for Lupin arrived, and, opening his letter, showed a
cheque for 25 pounds as a commission for the recommendation of Mr.
Crowbillon, whose custom to Mr. Perkupp is evidently lost for ever.
Cummings and Gowing both called, and both took Lupin's part.
Cummings went so far as to say that Lupin would make a name yet. I
suppose I was melancholy, for I could only ask: "Yes, but what
sort of a name?"
May 16.--I told Mr. Perkupp the contents of the letter in a
modified form, but Mr. Perkupp said: "Pray don't discuss the
matter; it is at an end. Your son will bring his punishment upon
himself." I went home in the evening, thinking of the hopeless
future of Lupin. I found him in most extravagant spirits and in
evening dress. He threw a letter on the table for me to read.
To my amazement, I read that Gylterson and Sons had absolutely
engaged Lupin at a salary of 200 pounds a year, with other
advantages. I read the letter through three times and thought it
must have been for me. But there it was--Lupin Pooter--plain
enough. I was silent. Lupin said: "What price Perkupp now? You
take my tip, Guv.--'off' with Perkupp and freeze on to Gylterson,
the firm of the future! Perkupp's firm? The stagnant dummies have
been standing still for years, and now are moving back. I want to
go on. In fact I must go OFF, as I am dining with the Murray Poshs
In the exuberance of his spirits he hit his hat with his stick,
gave a loud war "Whoo-oop," jumped over a chair, and took the
liberty of rumpling my hair all over my forehead, and bounced out
of the room, giving me no chance of reminding him of his age and
the respect which was due to his parent. Gowing and Cummings came
in the evening, and positively cheered me up with congratulations
Gowing said: "I always said he would get on, and, take my word, he
has more in his head than we three put together."
Carrie said: "He is a second Hardfur Huttle."
Master Percy Edgar Smith James. Mrs. James (of Sutton) visits us
again and introduces "Spiritual Seances."
May 26, Sunday.--We went to Sutton after dinner to have meat-tea
with Mr. and Mrs. James. I had no appetite, having dined well at
two, and the entire evening was spoiled by little Percy--their only
son--who seems to me to be an utterly spoiled child.
Two or three times he came up to me and deliberately kicked my
shins. He hurt me once so much that the tears came into my eyes.