The diary of a nobody, p.1
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The Diary of a Nobody

Transcribed from the 1910 J. W. Arrowsmith edition by David Price, emailccx074@pglaf.org


The Diary of a Nobody


BY GEORGE GROSSMITH AND WEEDON GROSSMITH


WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY WEEDON GROSSMITH


A NEW EDITION


* * * * *


BRISTOL J. W. ARROWSMITH, PRINTER, QUAY STREET


LONDON SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT & COMPANY LIMITED


INTRODUCTION BY MR. POOTER


_Why should I not publish my diary_? _I have often seen reminiscences ofpeople I have never even heard of_, _and I fail to see_—_because I do nothappen to be a_ ‘_Somebody_’—_why my diary should not be interesting_._My only regret is that I did not commence it when I was a youth_.


CHARLES POOTER.


_The Laurels_, _Brickfield Terrace_, _Holloway_.


CHAPTER I


We settle down in our new home, and I resolve to keep a diary. Tradesmentrouble us a bit, so does the scraper. The Curate calls and pays me agreat compliment.


My dear wife Carrie and I have just been a week in our new house, “TheLaurels,” Brickfield Terrace, Holloway—a nice six-roomed residence, notcounting basement, with a front breakfast-parlour. We have a littlefront garden; and there is a flight of ten steps up to the front door,which, by-the-by, we keep locked with the chain up. Cummings, Gowing,and our other intimate friends always come to the little side entrance,which saves the servant the trouble of going up to the front door,thereby taking her from her work. We have a nice little back gardenwhich runs down to the railway. We were rather afraid of the noise ofthe trains at first, but the landlord said we should not notice themafter a bit, and took £2 off the rent. He was certainly right; andbeyond the cracking of the garden wall at the bottom, we have suffered noinconvenience.


After my work in the City, I like to be at home. What’s the good of ahome, if you are never in it? “Home, Sweet Home,” that’s my motto. I amalways in of an evening. Our old friend Gowing may drop in withoutceremony; so may Cummings, who lives opposite. My dear wife Caroline andI are pleased to see them, if they like to drop in on us. But Carrie andI can manage to pass our evenings together without friends. There isalways something to be done: a tin-tack here, a Venetian blind to putstraight, a fan to nail up, or part of a carpet to nail down—all of whichI can do with my pipe in my mouth; while Carrie is not above putting abutton on a shirt, mending a pillow-case, or practising the “SylviaGavotte” on our new cottage piano (on the three years’ system),manufactured by W. Bilkson (in small letters), from Collard and Collard(in very large letters). It is also a great comfort to us to know thatour boy Willie is getting on so well in the Bank at Oldham. We shouldlike to see more of him. Now for my diary:—


* * * * *


APRIL 3.—Tradesmen called for custom, and I promised Farmerson, theironmonger, to give him a turn if I wanted any nails or tools.By-the-by, that reminds me there is no key to our bedroom door, and thebells must be seen to. The parlour bell is broken, and the front doorrings up in the servant’s bedroom, which is ridiculous. Dear friendGowing dropped in, but wouldn’t stay, saying there was an infernal smellof paint.


APRIL 4. Tradesmen still calling; Carrie being out, I arranged to dealwith Horwin, who seemed a civil butcher with a nice clean shop. Ordereda shoulder of mutton for to-morrow, to give him a trial. Carrie arrangedwith Borset, the butterman, and ordered a pound of fresh butter, and apound and a half of salt ditto for kitchen, and a shilling’s worth ofeggs. In the evening, Cummings unexpectedly dropped in to show me ameerschaum pipe he had won in a raffle in the City, and told me to handleit carefully, as it would spoil the colouring if the hand was moist. Hesaid he wouldn’t stay, as he didn’t care much for the smell of the paint,and fell over the scraper as he went out. Must get the scraper removed,or else I shall get into a _scrape_. I don’t often make jokes.


APRIL 5.—Two shoulders of mutton arrived, Carrie having arranged withanother butcher without consulting me. Gowing called, and fell overscraper coming in. _Must_ get that scraper removed.


APRIL 6.—Eggs for breakfast simply shocking; sent them back to Borsetwith my compliments, and he needn’t call any more for orders. Couldn’tfind 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 therewas 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 downstairshall, I went out to see who it was, and was surprised to find it wasBorset, the butterman, who was both drunk and offensive. Borset, onseeing me, said he would be hanged if he would ever serve City clerks anymore—the game wasn’t worth the candle. I restrained my feelings, andquietly remarked that I thought it was _possible_ for a city clerk to bea _gentleman_. He replied he was very glad to hear it, and wanted toknow whether I had ever come across one, for _he_ hadn’t. He left thehouse, slamming the door after him, which nearly broke the fanlight; andI heard him fall over the scraper, which made me feel glad I hadn’tremoved it. When he had gone, I thought of a splendid answer I ought tohave given him. However, I will keep it for another occasion.


APRIL 7.—Being Saturday, I looked forward to being home early, andputting a few things straight; but two of our principals at the officewere absent through illness, and I did not get home till seven. FoundBorset waiting. He had been three times during the day to apologise forhis conduct last night. He said he was unable to take his Bank Holidaylast Monday, and took it last night instead. He begged me to accept hisapology, and a pound of fresh butter. He seems, after all, a decent sortof fellow; so I gave him an order for some fresh eggs, with a requestthat on this occasion they _should_ be fresh. I am afraid we shall haveto get some new stair-carpets after all; our old ones are not quite wideenough to meet the paint on either side. Carrie suggests that we mightourselves broaden the paint. I will see if we can match the colour (darkchocolate) on Monday.


APRIL 8, Sunday.—After Church, the Curate came back with us. I sentCarrie in to open front door, which we do not use except on specialoccasions. She could not get it open, and after all my display, I had totake the Curate (whose name, by-the-by, I did not catch,) round the sideentrance. He caught his foot in the scraper, and tore the bottom of histrousers. Most annoying, as Carrie could not well offer to repair themon a Sunday. After dinner, went to sleep. Took a walk round the garden,and discovered a beautiful spot for sowing mustard-and-cress andradishes. Went to Church again in the evening: walked back with theCurate. Carrie noticed he had got on the same pair of trousers, onlyrepaired. He wants me to take round the plate, which I think a greatcompliment.



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