November 15.—A red-letter day. Our first important party
since we have been in this house. I got home early from the City.
Lupin insisted on having a hired waiter, and stood a half-dozen of champagne.
I think this an unnecessary expense, but Lupin said he had had a piece
of luck, having made three pounds out a private deal in the City.
I hope he won’t gamble in his new situation. The supper-room
looked so nice, and Carrie truly said: “We need not be ashamed
of its being seen by Mr. Perkupp, should he honour us by coming.”
I dressed early in case people should arrive punctually at eight
o’clock, and was much vexed to find my new dress-trousers much
Lupin, who is getting beyond his position, found fault with my wearing
ordinary boots instead of dress-boots.
I replied satirically: “My dear son, I have lived to be above
that sort of thing.”
Lupin burst out laughing, and said: “A man generally was above
This may be funny, or it may not; but I was gratified to find
he had not discovered the coral had come off one of my studs.
Carrie looked a picture, wearing the dress she wore at the Mansion House.
The arrangement of the drawing-room was excellent. Carrie had
hung muslin curtains over the folding-doors, and also over one of the
entrances, for we had removed the door from its hinges.
Mr. Peters, the waiter, arrived in good time, and I gave him strict
orders not to open another bottle of champagne until the previous one
was empty. Carrie arranged for some sherry and port wine to be
placed on the drawing-room sideboard, with some glasses. By-the-by,
our new enlarged and tinted photographs look very nice on the walls,
especially as Carrie has arranged some Liberty silk bows on the four
corners of them.
The first arrival was Gowing, who, with his usual taste, greeted
me with: “Hulloh, Pooter, why your trousers are too short!”
I simply said: “Very likely, and you will find my temper ‘short’
He said: “That won’t make your trousers longer, Juggins.
You should get your missus to put a flounce on them.”
I wonder I waste my time entering his insulting observations in my
The next arrivals were Mr. and Mrs. Cummings. The former said:
“As you didn’t say anything about dress, I have come ‘half
dress.’” He had on a black frock-coat and white tie.
The James’, Mr. Merton, and Mr. Stillbrook arrived, but Lupin
was restless and unbearable till his Daisy Mutlar and Frank arrived.
Carrie and I were rather startled at Daisy’s appearance.
She had a bright-crimson dress on, cut very low in the neck. I
do not think such a style modest. She ought to have taken a lesson
from Carrie, and covered her shoulders with a little lace. Mr.
Nackles, Mr. Sprice-Hogg and his four daughters came; so did Franching,
and one or two of Lupin’s new friends, members of the “Holloway
Comedians.” Some of these seemed rather theatrical in their
manner, especially one, who was posing all the evening, and leant on
our little round table and cracked it. Lupin called him “our
Henry,” and said he was “our lead at the H.C.’s,”
and was quite as good in that department as Harry Mutlar was as the
low-comedy merchant. All this is Greek to me.
We had some music, and Lupin, who never left Daisy’s side for
a moment, raved over her singing of a song, called “Some Day.”
It seemed a pretty song, but she made such grimaces, and sang, to my
mind, so out of tune, I would not have asked her to sing again; but
Lupin made her sing four songs right off, one after the other.
At ten o’clock we went down to supper, and from the way Gowing
and Cummings ate you would have thought they had not had a meal for
a month. I told Carrie to keep something back in case Mr. Perkupp
should come by mere chance. Gowing annoyed me very much by filling
a large tumbler of champagne, and drinking it straight off. He
repeated this action, and made me fear our half-dozen of champagne would
not last out. I tried to keep a bottle back, but Lupin got hold
of it, and took it to the side-table with Daisy and Frank Mutlar.
We went upstairs, and the young fellows began skylarking. Carrie
put a stop to that at once. Stillbrook amused us with a song,
“What have you done with your Cousin John?” I did
not notice that Lupin and Frank had disappeared. I asked Mr. Watson,
one of the Holloways, where they were, and he said: “It’s
a case of ‘Oh, what a surprise!’”
We were directed to form a circle—which we did. Watson
then said: “I have much pleasure in introducing the celebrated
Blondin Donkey.” Frank and Lupin then bounded into the room.
Lupin had whitened his face like a clown, and Frank had tied round his
waist a large hearthrug. He was supposed to be the donkey, and
he looked it. They indulged in a very noisy pantomime, and we
were all shrieking with laughter.
I turned round suddenly, and then I saw Mr Perkupp standing half-way
in the door, he having arrived without our knowing it. I beckoned
to Carrie, and we went up to him at once. He would not come right
into the room. I apologised for the foolery, but Mr. Perkupp said:
“Oh, it seems amusing.” I could see he was not a bit
Carrie and I took him downstairs, but the table was a wreck.
There was not a glass of champagne left—not even a sandwich.
Mr. Perkupp said he required nothing, but would like a glass of seltzer
or soda water. The last syphon was empty. Carrie said: “We
have plenty of port wine left.” Mr. Perkupp said, with a
smile: “No, thank you. I really require nothing, but I am
most pleased to see you and your husband in your own home. Good-night,
Mrs. Pooter—you will excuse my very short stay, I know.”
I went with him to his carriage, and he said: “Don’t trouble
to come to the office till twelve to-morrow.”
I felt despondent as I went back to the house, and I told Carrie
I thought the party was a failure. Carrie said it was a great
success, and I was only tired, and insisted on my having some port myself.
I drank two glasses, and felt much better, and we went into the drawing-room,
where they had commenced dancing. Carrie and I had a little dance,
which I said reminded me of old days. She said I was a spooney