The Diary Of A Nobody

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CHAPTER XV

Gowing explains his conduct. Lupin takes us for a drive, which we don’t
enjoy. Lupin introduces us to Mr. Murray Posh.

FEBRUARY 8. It does seem hard I cannot get good sausages for breakfast.
They are either full of bread or spice, or are as red as beef. Still
anxious about the £20 I invested last week by Lupin’s advice. However,
Cummings has done the same.

FEBRUARY 9. Exactly a fortnight has passed, and I have neither seen nor
heard from Gowing respecting his extraordinary conduct in asking us round
to his house, and then being out. In the evening Carrie was engaged
marking a half-dozen new collars I had purchased. I’ll back Carrie’s
marking against anybody’s. While I was drying them at the fire, and
Carrie was rebuking me for scorching them, Cummings came in.

He seemed quite well again, and chaffed us about marking the collars. I
asked him if he had heard from Gowing, and he replied that he had not. I
said I should not have believed that Gowing could have acted in such an
ungentlemanly manner. Cummings said: “You are mild in your description
of him; I think he has acted like a cad.”

The words were scarcely out of his mouth when the door opened, and
Gowing, putting in his head, said: “May I come in?” I said: “Certainly.”
Carrie said very pointedly: “Well, you are a stranger.” Gowing said:
“Yes, I’ve been on and off to Croydon during the last fortnight.” I
could see Cummings was boiling over, and eventually he tackled Gowing
very strongly respecting his conduct last Saturday week. Gowing appeared
surprised, and said: “Why, I posted a letter to you in the morning
announcing that the party was ‘off, very much off.'” I said: “I never
got it.” Gowing, turning to Carrie, said: “I suppose letters sometimes
miscarry, don’t they, Mrs. Carrie?” Cummings sharply said: “This is
not a time for joking. I had no notice of the party being put off.”
Gowing replied: “I told Pooter in my note to tell you, as I was in a
hurry. However, I’ll inquire at the post-office, and we must meet again
at my place.” I added that I hoped he would be present at the next
meeting. Carrie roared at this, and even Cummings could not help
laughing.

FEBRUARY 10, Sunday. Contrary to my wishes, Carrie allowed Lupin to
persuade her to take her for a drive in the afternoon in his trap. I
quite disapprove of driving on a Sunday, but I did not like to trust
Carrie alone with Lupin, so I offered to go too. Lupin said: “Now, that
is nice of you, Guv., but you won’t mind sitting on the back-seat of the
cart?”

Lupin proceeded to put on a bright-blue coat that seemed miles too large
for him. Carrie said it wanted taking in considerably at the back.
Lupin said: “Haven’t you seen a box-coat before? You can’t drive in
anything else.”

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He may wear what he likes in the future, for I shall never drive with him
again. His conduct was shocking. When we passed Highgate Archway, he
tried to pass everything and everybody. He shouted to respectable people
who were walking quietly in the road to get out of the way; he flicked at
the horse of an old man who was riding, causing it to rear; and, as I had
to ride backwards, I was compelled to face a gang of roughs in a
donkey-cart, whom Lupin had chaffed, and who turned and followed us for
nearly a mile, bellowing, indulging in coarse jokes and laughter, to say
nothing of occasionally pelting us with orange-peel.

Lupin’s excuse—that the Prince of Wales would have to put up with the
same sort of thing if he drove to the Derby—was of little consolation to
either Carrie or myself. Frank Mutlar called in the evening, and Lupin
went out with him.

FEBRUARY 11. Feeling a little concerned about Lupin, I mustered up
courage to speak to Mr. Perkupp about him. Mr. Perkupp has always been
most kind to me, so I told him everything, including yesterday’s
adventure. Mr. Perkupp kindly replied: “There is no necessity for you to
be anxious, Mr. Pooter. It would be impossible for a son of such good
parents to turn out erroneously. Remember he is young, and will soon get
older. I wish we could find room for him in this firm.” The advice of
this good man takes loads off my mind. In the evening Lupin came in.

After our little supper, he said: “My dear parents, I have some news,
which I fear will affect you considerably.” I felt a qualm come over me,
and said nothing. Lupin then said: “It may distress you—in fact, I’m
sure it will—but this afternoon I have given up my pony and trap for
ever.” It may seem absurd, but I was so pleased, I immediately opened a
bottle of port. Gowing dropped in just in time, bringing with him a
large sheet, with a print of a tailless donkey, which he fastened against
the wall. He then produced several separate tails, and we spent the
remainder of the evening trying blindfolded to pin a tail on in the
proper place. My sides positively ached with laughter when I went to
bed.

FEBRUARY 12. In the evening I spoke to Lupin about his engagement with
Daisy Mutlar. I asked if he had heard from her. He replied: “No; she
promised that old windbag of a father of hers that she would not
communicate with me. I see Frank Mutlar, of course; in fact, he said he
might call again this evening.” Frank called, but said he could not
stop, as he had a friend waiting outside for him, named Murray Posh,
adding he was quite a swell. Carrie asked Frank to bring him in.

He was brought in, Gowing entering at the same time. Mr. Murray Posh was
a tall, fat young man, and was evidently of a very nervous disposition,
as he subsequently confessed he would never go in a hansom cab, nor would
he enter a four-wheeler until the driver had first got on the box with
his reins in his hands.

On being introduced, Gowing, with his usual want of tact, said: “Any
relation to ‘Posh’s three-shilling hats’?” Mr. Posh replied: “Yes; but
please understand I don’t try on hats myself. I take no active part in
the business.” I replied: “I wish I had a business like it.” Mr. Posh
seemed pleased, and gave a long but most interesting history of the
extraordinary difficulties in the manufacture of cheap hats.

Murray Posh evidently knew Daisy Mutlar very intimately from the way he
was talking of her; and Frank said to Lupin once, laughingly: “If you
don’t look out, Posh will cut you out!” When they had all gone, I
referred to this flippant conversation; and Lupin said, sarcastically: “A
man who is jealous has no respect for himself. A man who would be
jealous of an elephant like Murray Posh could only have a contempt for
himself. I know Daisy. She would wait ten years for me, as I said
before; in fact, if necessary, she would wait twenty years for me.”

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