April 6.—Eggs for breakfast simply shocking; sent them back
to Borset with my compliments, and he needn’t call any more for
orders. Couldn’t find umbrella, and though it was pouring
with rain, had to go without it. Sarah said Mr. Gowing must have
took it by mistake last night, as there was a stick in the ‘all
that didn’t belong to nobody. In the evening, hearing someone
talking in a loud voice to the servant in the downstairs hall, I went
out to see who it was, and was surprised to find it was Borset, the
butterman, who was both drunk and offensive. Borset, on seeing
me, said he would be hanged if he would ever serve City clerks any more—the
game wasn’t worth the candle. I restrained my feelings,
and quietly remarked that I thought it was possible for a city
clerk to be a gentleman. He replied he was very glad to
hear it, and wanted to know whether I had ever come across one, for
he hadn’t. He left the house, slamming the door after
him, which nearly broke the fanlight; and I heard him fall over the
scraper, which made me feel glad I hadn’t removed it. When
he had gone, I thought of a splendid answer I ought to have given him.
However, I will keep it for another occasion.
April 11.—Mustard-and-cress and radishes not come up yet.
To-day was a day of annoyances. I missed the quarter-to-nine ’bus
to the City, through having words with the grocer’s boy, who for
the second time had the impertinence to bring his basket to the hall-door,
and had left the marks of his dirty boots on the fresh-cleaned door-steps.
He said he had knocked at the side door with his knuckles for a quarter
of an hour. I knew Sarah, our servant, could not hear this, as
she was upstairs doing the bedrooms, so asked the boy why he did not
ring the bell? He replied that he did pull the bell, but the handle
came off in his hand.
I was half-an-hour late at the office, a thing that has never happened
to me before. There has recently been much irregularity in the
attendance of the clerks, and Mr. Perkupp, our principal, unfortunately
choose this very morning to pounce down upon us early. Someone
had given the tip to the others. The result was that I was the
only one late of the lot. Buckling, one of the senior clerks,
was a brick, and I was saved by his intervention. As I passed
by Pitt’s desk, I heard him remark to his neighbour: “How
disgracefully late some of the head clerks arrive!” This
was, of course, meant for me. I treated the observation with silence,
simply giving him a look, which unfortunately had the effect of making
both of the clerks laugh. Thought afterwards it would have been
more dignified if I had pretended not to have heard him at all.
Cummings called in the evening, and we played dominoes.
April 12.—Mustard-and-cress and radishes not come up yet.
Left Farmerson repairing the scraper, but when I came home found three
men working. I asked the meaning of it, and Farmerson said that
in making a fresh hole he had penetrated the gas-pipe. He said
it was a most ridiculous place to put the gas-pipe, and the man who
did it evidently knew nothing about his business. I felt his excuse
was no consolation for the expense I shall be put to.
In the evening, after tea, Gowing dropped in, and we had a smoke
together in the breakfast-parlour. Carrie joined us later, but
did not stay long, saying the smoke was too much for her. It was
also rather too much for me, for Gowing had given me what he called
a green cigar, one that his friend Shoemach had just brought over from
America. The cigar didn’t look green, but I fancy I must
have done so; for when I had smoked a little more than half I was obliged
to retire on the pretext of telling Sarah to bring in the glasses.
I took a walk round the garden three or four times, feeling the need
of fresh air. On returning Gowing noticed I was not smoking: offered
me another cigar, which I politely declined. Gowing began his
usual sniffing, so, anticipating him, I said: “You’re not
going to complain of the smell of paint again?” He said:
“No, not this time; but I’ll tell you what, I distinctly
smell dry rot.” I don’t often make jokes, but I replied:
“You’re talking a lot of dry rot yourself.”
I could not help roaring at this, and Carrie said her sides quite ached
with laughter. I never was so immensely tickled by anything I
have ever said before. I actually woke up twice during the night,
and laughed till the bed shook.
April 18.—Am in for a cold. Spent the whole day at the
office sneezing. In the evening, the cold being intolerable, sent
Sarah out for a bottle of Kinahan. Fell asleep in the arm-chair,
and woke with the shivers. Was startled by a loud knock at the
front door. Carrie awfully flurried. Sarah still out, so
went up, opened the door, and found it was only Cummings. Remembered
the grocer’s boy had again broken the side-bell. Cummings
squeezed my hand, and said: “I’ve just seen Gowing.
All right. Say no more about it.” There is no doubt
they are both under the impression I have apologised.
While playing dominoes with Cummings in the parlour, he said: “By-the-by,
do you want any wine or spirits? My cousin Merton has just set
up in the trade, and has a splendid whisky, four years in bottle, at
thirty-eight shillings. It is worth your while laying down a few
dozen of it.” I told him my cellars, which were very small,
were full up. To my horror, at that very moment, Sarah entered
the room, and putting a bottle of whisky, wrapped in a dirty piece of
newspaper, on the table in front of us, said: “Please, sir, the
grocer says he ain’t got no more Kinahan, but you’ll find
this very good at two-and-six, with twopence returned on the bottle;
and, please, did you want any more sherry? as he has some at one-and-three,
as dry as a nut!”
April 25.—In consequence of Brickwell telling me his wife was
working wonders with the new Pinkford’s enamel paint, I determined
to try it. I bought two tins of red on my way home. I hastened
through tea, went into the garden and painted some flower-pots.
I called out Carrie, who said: “You’ve always got some newfangled
craze;” but she was obliged to admit that the flower-pots looked
remarkably well. Went upstairs into the servant’s bedroom
and painted her washstand, towel-horse, and chest of drawers.
To my mind it was an extraordinary improvement, but as an example of
the ignorance of the lower classes in the matter of taste, our servant,
Sarah, on seeing them, evinced no sign of pleasure, but merely said
“she thought they looked very well as they was before.”
April 30.—Perfectly astounded at receiving an invitation for
Carrie and myself from the Lord and Lady Mayoress to the Mansion House,
to “meet the Representatives of Trades and Commerce.”
My heart beat like that of a schoolboy’s. Carrie and I read
the invitation over two or three times. I could scarcely eat my
breakfast. I said—and I felt it from the bottom of my heart,—“Carrie
darling, I was a proud man when I led you down the aisle of the church
on our wedding-day; that pride will be equalled, if not surpassed, when
I lead my dear, pretty wife up to the Lord and Lady Mayoress at the
Mansion House.” I saw the tears in Carrie’s eyes,
and she said: “Charlie dear, it is I who have to be proud
of you. And I am very, very proud of you. You have called
me pretty; and as long as I am pretty in your eyes, I am happy.
You, dear old Charlie, are not handsome, but you are good, which
is far more noble.” I gave her a kiss, and she said: “I
wonder if there will be any dancing? I have not danced with you
I cannot tell what induced me to do it, but I seized her round the
waist, and we were silly enough to be executing a wild kind of polka
when Sarah entered, grinning, and said: “There is a man, mum,
at the door who wants to know if you want any good coals.”
Most annoyed at this. Spent the evening in answering, and tearing
up again, the reply to the Mansion House, having left word with Sarah
if Gowing or Cummings called we were not at home. Must consult
Mr. Perkupp how to answer the Lord Mayor’s invitation.
May 3.—Carrie went to Mrs. James, at Sutton, to consult about
her dress for next Monday. While speaking incidentally to Spotch,
one of our head clerks, about the Mansion House, he said: “Oh,
I’m asked, but don’t think I shall go.” When
a vulgar man like Spotch is asked, I feel my invitation is considerably
discounted. In the evening, while I was out, the little tailor
brought round my coat and trousers, and because Sarah had not a shilling
to pay for the pressing, he took them away again.
May 7.—A big red-letter day; viz., the Lord Mayor’s reception.
The whole house upset. I had to get dressed at half-past six,
as Carrie wanted the room to herself. Mrs. James had come up from
Sutton to help Carrie; so I could not help thinking it unreasonable
that she should require the entire attention of Sarah, the servant,
as well. Sarah kept running out of the house to fetch “something
for missis,” and several times I had, in my full evening-dress,
to answer the back-door.
The last time it was the greengrocer’s boy, who, not seeing
it was me, for Sarah had not lighted the gas, pushed into my hands two
cabbages and half-a-dozen coal-blocks. I indignantly threw them
on the ground, and felt so annoyed that I so far forgot myself as to
box the boy’s ears. He went away crying, and said he should
summons me, a thing I would not have happen for the world. In
the dark, I stepped on a piece of the cabbage, which brought me down
on the flags all of a heap. For a moment I was stunned, but when
I recovered I crawled upstairs into the drawing-room and on looking
into the chimney-glass discovered that my chin was bleeding, my shirt
smeared with the coal-blocks, and my left trouser torn at the knee.
However, Mrs. James brought me down another shirt, which I changed
in the drawing-room. I put a piece of court-plaster on my chin,
and Sarah very neatly sewed up the tear at the knee. At nine o’clock
Carrie swept into the room, looking like a queen. Never have I
seen her look so lovely, or so distinguished. She was wearing
a satin dress of sky-blue—my favourite colour—and a piece
of lace, which Mrs. James lent her, round the shoulders, to give a finish.
I thought perhaps the dress was a little too long behind, and decidedly
too short in front, but Mrs. James said it was à la mode.
Mrs. James was most kind, and lent Carrie a fan of ivory with red feathers,
the value of which, she said, was priceless, as the feathers belonged
to the Kachu eagle—a bird now extinct. I preferred the little
white fan which Carrie bought for three-and-six at Shoolbred’s,
but both ladies sat on me at once.
We arrived at the Mansion House too early, which was rather fortunate,
for I had an opportunity of speaking to his lordship, who graciously
condescended to talk with me some minutes; but I must say I was disappointed
to find he did not even know Mr. Perkupp, our principal.
I felt as if we had been invited to the Mansion House by one who
did not know the Lord Mayor himself. Crowds arrived, and I shall
never forget the grand sight. My humble pen can never describe
it. I was a little annoyed with Carrie, who kept saying: “Isn’t
it a pity we don’t know anybody?”
Once she quite lost her head. I saw someone who looked like
Franching, from Peckham, and was moving towards him when she seized
me by the coat-tails, and said quite loudly: “Don’t leave
me,” which caused an elderly gentleman, in a court-suit, and a
chain round him, and two ladies, to burst out laughing. There
was an immense crowd in the supper-room, and, my stars! it was a splendid
supper—any amount of champagne.
Carrie made a most hearty supper, for which I was pleased; for I
sometimes think she is not strong. There was scarcely a dish she
did not taste. I was so thirsty, I could not eat much. Receiving
a sharp slap on the shoulder, I turned, and, to my amazement, saw Farmerson,
our ironmonger. He said, in the most familiar way: “This
is better than Brickfield Terrace, eh?” I simply looked
at him, and said coolly: “I never expected to see you here.”
He said, with a loud, coarse laugh: “I like that—if you,
why not me?” I replied: “Certainly,”
I wish I could have thought of something better to say. He said:
“Can I get your good lady anything?” Carrie said:
“No, I thank you,” for which I was pleased. I said,
by way of reproof to him: “You never sent to-day to paint the
bath, as I requested.” Farmerson said: “Pardon me,
Mr. Pooter, no shop when we’re in company, please.”
Before I could think of a reply, one of the sheriffs, in full Court
costume, slapped Farmerson on the back and hailed him as an old friend,
and asked him to dine with him at his lodge. I was astonished.
For full five minutes they stood roaring with laughter, and stood digging
each other in the ribs. They kept telling each other they didn’t
look a day older. They began embracing each other and drinking
To think that a man who mends our scraper should know any member
of our aristocracy! I was just moving with Carrie, when Farmerson
seized me rather roughly by the collar, and addressing the sheriff,
said: “Let me introduce my neighbour, Pooter.” He
did not even say “Mister.” The sheriff handed me a
glass of champagne. I felt, after all, it was a great honour to
drink a glass of wine with him, and I told him so. We stood chatting
for some time, and at last I said: “You must excuse me now if
I join Mrs. Pooter.” When I approached her, she said: “Don’t
let me take you away from friends. I am quite happy standing here
alone in a crowd, knowing nobody!”
As it takes two to make a quarrel, and as it was neither the time
nor the place for it, I gave my arm to Carrie, and said: “I hope
my darling little wife will dance with me, if only for the sake of saying
we had danced at the Mansion House as guests of the Lord Mayor.”
Finding the dancing after supper was less formal, and knowing how much
Carrie used to admire my dancing in the days gone by, I put my arm round
her waist and we commenced a waltz.
A most unfortunate accident occurred. I had got on a new pair
of boots. Foolishly, I had omitted to take Carrie’s advice;
namely, to scratch the soles of them with the points of the scissors
or to put a little wet on them. I had scarcely started when, like
lightning, my left foot slipped away and I came down, the side of my
head striking the floor with such violence that for a second or two
I did not know what had happened. I needly hardly say that Carrie
fell with me with equal violence, breaking the comb in her hair and
grazing her elbow.
There was a roar of laughter, which was immediately checked when
people found that we had really hurt ourselves. A gentleman assisted
Carrie to a seat, and I expressed myself pretty strongly on the danger
of having a plain polished floor with no carpet or drugget to prevent
people slipping. The gentleman, who said his name was Darwitts,
insisted on escorting Carrie to have a glass of wine, an invitation
which I was pleased to allow Carrie to accept.
I followed, and met Farmerson, who immediately said, in his loud
voice “Oh, are you the one who went down?”
I answered with an indignant look.
With execrable taste, he said: “Look here, old man, we are
too old for this game. We must leave these capers to the youngsters.
Come and have another glass, that is more in our line.”
Although I felt I was buying his silence by accepting, we followed
the others into the supper-room.
Neither Carrie nor I, after our unfortunate mishap, felt inclined
to stay longer. As we were departing, Farmerson said: “Are
you going? if so, you might give me a lift.”
I thought it better to consent, but wish I had first consulted Carrie.
June 7.—A dreadful annoyance. Met Mr. Franching, who
lives at Peckham, and who is a great swell in his way. I ventured
to ask him to come home to meat-tea, and take pot-luck. I did
not think he would accept such a humble invitation; but he did, saying,
in a most friendly way, he would rather “peck” with us than
by himself. I said: “We had better get into this blue ’bus.”
He replied: “No blue-bussing for me. I have had enough of
the blues lately. I lost a cool ‘thou’ over the Copper
Scare. Step in here.”
We drove up home in style, in a hansom-cab, and I knocked three times
at the front door without getting an answer. I saw Carrie, through
the panels of ground-glass (with stars), rushing upstairs. I told
Mr. Franching to wait at the door while I went round to the side.
There I saw the grocer’s boy actually picking off the paint on
the door, which had formed into blisters. No time to reprove him;
so went round and effected an entrance through the kitchen window.
I let in Mr. Franching, and showed him into the drawing-room.
I went upstairs to Carrie, who was changing her dress, and told her
I had persuaded Mr. Franching to come home. She replied: “How
can you do such a thing? You know it’s Sarah’s holiday,
and there’s not a thing in the house, the cold mutton having turned
with the hot weather.”
Eventually Carrie, like a good creature as she is, slipped down,
washed up the teacups, and laid the cloth, and I gave Franching our
views of Japan to look at while I ran round to the butcher’s to
get three chops.
August 3.—A beautiful day. Looking forward to to-morrow.
Carrie bought a parasol about five feet long. I told her it was
ridiculous. She said: “Mrs. James, of Sutton, has one twice
as long so;” the matter dropped. I bought a capital hat
for hot weather at the seaside. I don’t know what it is
called, but it is the shape of the helmet worn in India, only made of
straw. Got three new ties, two coloured handkerchiefs, and a pair
of navy-blue socks at Pope Brothers. Spent the evening packing.
Carrie told me not to forget to borrow Mr. Higgsworth’s telescope,
which he always lends me, knowing I know how to take care of it.
Sent Sarah out for it. While everything was seeming so bright,
the last post brought us a letter from Mrs. Beck, saying: “I have
just let all my house to one party, and am sorry I must take back my
words, and am sorry you must find other apartments; but Mrs. Womming,
next door, will be pleased to accommodate you, but she cannot take you
before Monday, as her rooms are engaged Bank Holiday week.”
October 30.—I should very much like to know who has wilfully
torn the last five or six weeks out of my diary. It is perfectly
monstrous! Mine is a large scribbling diary, with plenty of space
for the record of my everyday events, and in keeping up that record
I take (with much pride) a great deal of pains.
I asked Carrie if she knew anything about it. She replied it
was my own fault for leaving the diary about with a charwoman cleaning
and the sweeps in the house. I said that was not an answer to
my question. This retort of mine, which I thought extremely smart,
would have been more effective had I not jogged my elbow against a vase
on a table temporarily placed in the passage, knocked it over, and smashed
Carrie was dreadfully upset at this disaster, for it was one of a
pair of vases which cannot be matched, given to us on our wedding-day
by Mrs. Burtsett, an old friend of Carrie’s cousins, the Pommertons,
late of Dalston. I called to Sarah, and asked her about the diary.
She said she had not been in the sitting-room at all; after the sweep
had left, Mrs. Birrell (the charwoman) had cleaned the room and lighted
the fire herself. Finding a burnt piece of paper in the grate,
I examined it, and found it was a piece of my diary. So it was
evident some one had torn my diary to light the fire. I requested
Mrs. Birrell to be sent to me to-morrow.
November 1.—My entry yesterday about “retired tired,”
which I did not notice at the time, is rather funny. If I were
not so worried just now, I might have had a little joke about it.
The sweep called, but had the audacity to come up to the hall-door and
lean his dirty bag of soot on the door-step. He, however, was
so polite, I could not rebuke him. He said Sarah lighted the fire.
Unfortunately, Sarah heard this, for she was dusting the banisters,
and she ran down, and flew into a temper with the sweep, causing a row
on the front door-steps, which I would not have had happen for anything.
I ordered her about her business, and told the sweep I was sorry to
have troubled him; and so I was, for the door-steps were covered with
soot in consequence of his visit. I would willingly give ten shillings
to find out who tore my diary.
November 11.—Returned home to find the house in a most disgraceful
uproar, Carrie, who appeared very frightened, was standing outside her
bedroom, while Sarah was excited and crying. Mrs. Birrell (the
charwoman), who had evidently been drinking, was shouting at the top
of her voice that she was “no thief, that she was a respectable
woman, who had to work hard for her living, and she would smack anyone’s
face who put lies into her mouth.” Lupin, whose back was
towards me, did not hear me come in. He was standing between the
two women, and, I regret to say, in his endeavour to act as peacemaker,
he made use of rather strong language in the presence of his mother;
and I was just in time to hear him say: “And all this fuss about
the loss of a few pages from a rotten diary that wouldn’t fetch
three-halfpence a pound!” I said, quietly: “Pardon
me, Lupin, that is a matter of opinion; and as I am master of this house,
perhaps you will allow me to take the reins.”
I ascertained that the cause of the row was, that Sarah had accused
Mrs. Birrell of tearing the pages out of my diary to wrap up some kitchen
fat and leavings which she had taken out of the house last week.
Mrs. Birrell had slapped Sarah’s face, and said she had taken
nothing out of the place, as there was “never no leavings to take.”
I ordered Sarah back to her work, and requested Mrs. Birrell to go home.
When I entered the parlour Lupin was kicking his legs in the air, and
roaring with laughter.
November 18.—Woke up quite fresh after a good night’s
rest, and feel quite myself again. I am satisfied a life of going-out
and Society is not a life for me; we therefore declined the invitation
which we received this morning to Miss Bird’s wedding. We
only met her twice at Mrs. James’, and it means a present.
Lupin said: “I am with you for once. To my mind a wedding’s
a very poor play. There are only two parts in it—the bride
and bridegroom. The best man is only a walking gentleman.
With the exception of a crying father and a snivelling mother, the rest
are supers who have to dress well and have to pay for
their insignificant parts in the shape of costly presents.”
I did not care for the theatrical slang, but thought it clever, though
I told Sarah not to bring up the blanc-mange again for breakfast.
It seems to have been placed on our table at every meal since Wednesday.
Cummings came round in the evening, and congratulated us on the success
of our party. He said it was the best party he had been to for
many a year; but he wished we had let him know it was full dress, as
he would have turned up in his swallow-tails. We sat down to a
quiet game of dominoes, and were interrupted by the noisy entrance of
Lupin and Frank Mutlar. Cummings and I asked them to join us.
Lupin said he did not care for dominoes, and suggested a game of “Spoof.”
On my asking if it required counters, Frank and Lupin in measured time
said: “One, two, three; go! Have you an estate in Greenland?”
It was simply Greek to me, but it appears it is one of the customs of
the “Holloway Comedians” to do this when a member displays
In spite of my instructions, that blanc-mange was brought
up again for supper. To make matters worse, there had been an
attempt to disguise it, by placing it in a glass dish with jam round
it. Carrie asked Lupin if he would have some, and he replied:
“No second-hand goods for me, thank you.” I told Carrie,
when we were alone, if that blanc-mange were placed on the table
again I should walk out of the house.
November 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
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!
January 5.—I can scarcely write the news. Mr. Perkupp
told me my salary would be raised £100! I stood gaping for
a moment unable to realise it. I annually get £10 rise,
and I thought it might be £15 or even £20; but £100
surpasses all belief. Carrie and I both rejoiced over our good
fortune. Lupin came home in the evening in the utmost good spirits.
I sent Sarah quietly round to the grocer’s for a bottle of champagne,
the same as we had before, “Jackson Frères.”
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.”
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 worth of shares in a really good thing. The result
is, to-day I have made £200.” I said: “Lupin,
you are joking.” “No, Guv., it’s the good old
truth; Job Cleanands put me on to Chlorates.”
January 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.
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 come
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.” 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 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.”
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.
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 more to-day.”
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 Frères,” 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.
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.