The Diary of a Nobody
George & Weedon Grossmith
The first post brought a nice letter from our dear son
Willie, acknowledging a trifling present which Carrie sent him, the
day before yesterday being his twentieth birthday. To our utter
amazement he turned up himself in the afternoon, having journeyed
all the way from Oldham. He said he had got leave from the bank,
and as Monday was a holiday he thought he would give us a little
August 5, Sunday.
We have not seen Willie since last Christmas,
and are pleased to notice what a fine young man he has grown. One
would scarcely believe he was Carrie's son. He looks more like a
younger brother. I rather disapprove of his wearing a check suit
on a Sunday, and I think he ought to have gone to church this
morning; but he said he was tired after yesterday's journey, so I
refrained from any remark on the subject. We had a bottle of port
for dinner, and drank dear Willie's health.
He said: "Oh, by-the-by, did I tell you I've cut my first name,
'William,' and taken the second name 'Lupin'? In fact, I'm only
known at Oldham as 'Lupin Pooter.' If you were to 'Willie' me
there, they wouldn't know what you meant."
Of course, Lupin being a purely family name, Carrie was delighted,
and began by giving a long history of the Lupins. I ventured to
say that I thought William a nice simple name, and reminded him he
was christened after his Uncle William, who was much respected in
the City. Willie, in a manner which I did not much care for, said
sneeringly: "Oh, I know all about that — Good old Bill!" and helped
himself to a third glass of port.
Carrie objected strongly to my saying "Good old," but she made no
remark when Willie used the double adjective. I said nothing, but
looked at her, which meant more. I said: "My dear Willie, I hope
you are happy with your colleagues at the Bank." He replied:
"Lupin, if you please; and with respect to the Bank, there's not a
clerk who is a gentleman, and the 'boss' is a cad." I felt so
shocked, I could say nothing, and my instinct told me there was
August 6, Bank Holiday
As there was no sign of Lupin moving at
nine o'clock, I knocked at his door, and said we usually
breakfasted at half-past eight, and asked how long would he be?
Lupin replied that he had had a lively time of it, first with the
train shaking the house all night, and then with the sun streaming
in through the window in his eyes, and giving him a cracking
headache. Carrie came up and asked if he would like some breakfast
sent up, and he said he could do with a cup of tea, and didn't want
anything to eat.
Lupin not having come down, I went up again at half-past one, and
said we dined at two; he said he "would be there." He never came
down till a quarter to three. I said: "We have not seen much of
you, and you will have to return by the 5.30 train; therefore you
will have to leave in an hour, unless you go by the midnight mail."
He said: "Look here, Guv'nor, it's no use beating about the bush.
I've tendered my resignation at the Bank."
For a moment I could not speak. When my speech came again, I said:
"How dare you, sir? How dare you take such a serious step without
consulting me? Don't answer me, sir! — you will sit down
immediately, and write a note at my dictation, withdrawing your
resignation and amply apologising for your thoughtlessness."
Imagine my dismay when he replied with a loud guffaw: "It's no
use. If you want the good old truth, I've got the chuck!"
Mr. Perkupp has given me leave to postpone my holiday a
week, as we could not get the room. This will give us an
opportunity of trying to find an appointment for Willie before we
go. The ambition of my life would be to get him into Mr. Perkupp's
Although it is a serious matter having our boy Lupin on
our hands, still it is satisfactory to know he was asked to resign
from the Bank simply because "he took no interest in his work, and
always arrived an hour (sometimes two hours) late." We can all
start off on Monday to Broadstairs with a light heart. This will
take my mind off the worry of the last few days, which have been
wasted over a useless correspondence with the manager of the Bank
Hurrah! at Broadstairs. Very nice apartments near the
station. On the cliffs they would have been double the price. The
landlady had a nice five o'clock dinner and tea ready, which we all
enjoyed, though Lupin seemed fastidious because there happened to
be a fly in the butter. It was very wet in the evening, for which
I was thankful, as it was a good excuse for going to bed early.
Lupin said he would sit up and read a bit.
I was a little annoyed to find Lupin, instead of
reading last night, had gone to a common sort of entertainment,
given at the Assembly Rooms. I expressed my opinion that such
performances were unworthy of respectable patronage; but he
replied: "Oh, it was only 'for one night only.' I had a fit of
the blues come on, and thought I would go to see Polly Presswell,
England's Particular Spark." I told him I was proud to say I had
never heard of her. Carrie said: "Do let the boy alone. He's
quite old enough to take care of himself, and won't forget he's a
gentleman. Remember, you were young once yourself." Rained all
day hard, but Lupin would go out.
Cleared up a bit, so we all took the train to Margate,
and the first person we met on the jetty was Gowing. I said:
"Hulloh! I thought you had gone to Barmouth with your Birmingham
friends?" He said: "Yes, but young Peter Lawrence was so ill,
they postponed their visit, so I came down here. You know the
Cummings' are here too?" Carrie said: "Oh, that will be
delightful! We must have some evenings together and have games."
I introduced Lupin, saying: "You will be pleased to find we have
our dear boy at home!" Gowing said: "How's that? You don't mean
to say he's left the Bank?"
I changed the subject quickly, and thereby avoided any of those
awkward questions which Gowing always has a knack of asking.
Lupin positively refused to walk down the Parade with
me because I was wearing my new straw helmet with my frock-coat. I
don't know what the boy is coming to.
Lupin not falling in with our views, Carrie and I went
for a sail. It was a relief to be with her alone; for when Lupin
irritates me, she always sides with him. On our return, he said:
"Oh, you've been on the 'Shilling Emetic,' have you? You'll come
to six-pennorth on the 'Liver Jerker' next." I presume he meant a
tricycle, but I affected not to understand him.
Gowing and Cummings walked over to arrange an evening
at Margate. It being wet, Gowing asked Cummings to accompany him
to the hotel and have a game of billiards, knowing I never play,
and in fact disapprove of the game. Cummings said he must hasten
back to Margate; whereupon Lupin, to my horror, said: "I'll give
you a game, Gowing — a hundred up. A walk round the cloth will
give me an appetite for dinner." I said: "Perhaps Mister Gowing
does not care to play with boys." Gowing surprised me by saying:
"Oh yes, I do, if they play well," and they walked off together.
August 19, Sunday
I was about to read Lupin a sermon on smoking
(which he indulges in violently) and billiards, but he put on his
hat and walked out. Carrie then read me a long sermon on the
palpable inadvisability of treating Lupin as if he were a mere
child. I felt she was somewhat right, so in the evening I offered
him a cigar. He seemed pleased, but, after a few whiffs, said:
"This is a good old tup'ny — try one of mine," and he handed me a
cigar as long as it was strong, which is saying a good deal.
I am glad our last day at the seaside was fine, though
clouded overhead. We went over to Cummings' (at Margate) in the
evening, and as it was cold, we stayed in and played games; Gowing,
as usual, overstepping the mark. He suggested we should play
"Cutlets," a game we never heard of. He sat on a chair, and asked
Carrie to sit on his lap, an invitation which dear Carrie rightly
After some species of wrangling, I sat on Gowing's knees and Carrie
sat on the edge of mine. Lupin sat on the edge of Carrie's lap,
then Cummings on Lupin's, and Mrs. Cummings on her husband's. We
looked very ridiculous, and laughed a good deal.
Gowing then said: "Are you a believer in the Great Mogul?" We had
to answer all together: "Yes — oh, yes!" (three times). Gowing
said: "So am I," and suddenly got up. The result of this stupid
joke was that we all fell on the ground, and poor Carrie banged her
head against the corner of the fender. Mrs. Cummings put some
vinegar on; but through this we missed the last train, and had to
drive back to Broadstairs, which cost me seven-and-sixpence.
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