The Diary of a Nobody
Charles Pooter

May 9.—Still a little shaky, with black specks.  The Blackfriars Bi-weekly News contains a long list of the guests at the Mansion House Ball.  Disappointed to find our names omitted, though Farmerson’s is in plainly enough with M.L.L. after it, whatever that may mean.  More than vexed, because we had ordered a dozen copies to send to our friends.  Wrote to the Blackfriars Bi-weekly News, pointing out their omission.

Carrie had commenced her breakfast when I entered the parlour.  I helped myself to a cup of tea, and I said, perfectly calmly and quietly: “Carrie, I wish a little explanation of your conduct last night.”

She replied, “Indeed! and I desire something more than a little explanation of your conduct the night before.”

I said, coolly: “Really, I don’t understand you.”

Carrie said sneeringly: “Probably not; you were scarcely in a condition to understand anything.”

I was astounded at this insinuation and simply ejaculated: “Caroline!”

She said: “Don’t be theatrical, it has no effect on me.  Reserve that tone for your new friend, Mister Farmerson, the ironmonger.”

I was about to speak, when Carrie, in a temper such as I have never seen her in before, told me to hold my tongue.  She said: “Now I’m going to say something!  After professing to snub Mr. Farmerson, you permit him to snub you, in my presence, and then accept his invitation to take a glass of champagne with you, and you don’t limit yourself to one glass.  You then offer this vulgar man, who made a bungle of repairing our scraper, a seat in our cab on the way home.  I say nothing about his tearing my dress in getting in the cab, nor of treading on Mrs. James’s expensive fan, which you knocked out of my hand, and for which he never even apologised; but you smoked all the way home without having the decency to ask my permission.  That is not all!  At the end of the journey, although he did not offer you a farthing towards his share of the cab, you asked him in.  Fortunately, he was sober enough to detect, from my manner, that his company was not desirable.”

Goodness knows I felt humiliated enough at this; but, to make matters worse, Gowing entered the room, without knocking, with two hats on his head and holding the garden-rake in his hand, with Carrie’s fur tippet (which he had taken off the downstairs hall-peg) round his neck, and announced himself in a loud, coarse voice: “His Royal Highness, the Lord Mayor!”  He marched twice round the room like a buffoon, and finding we took no notice, said: “Hulloh! what’s up?  Lovers’ quarrel, eh?”

There was a silence for a moment, so I said quietly: “My dear Gowing, I’m not very well, and not quite in the humour for joking; especially when you enter the room without knocking, an act which I fail to see the fun of.”

Gowing said: “I’m very sorry, but I called for my stick, which I thought you would have sent round.”  I handed him his stick, which I remembered I had painted black with the enamel paint, thinking to improve it.  He looked at it for a minute with a dazed expression and said: “Who did this?”

I said: “Eh, did what?”

He said: “Did what?  Why, destroyed my stick!  It belonged to my poor uncle, and I value it more than anything I have in the world!  I’ll know who did it.”

I said: “I’m very sorry.  I dare say it will come off.  I did it for the best.”

Gowing said: “Then all I can say is, it’s a confounded liberty; and I would add, you’re a bigger fool than you look, only that’s absolutely impossible.”


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