Channelling a razor-sharp satire through the everyday mishaps of the immortal comic character Mr Pooter, George and Weedon Grossmith's The Diary of a Nobody is edited with an introduction and notes by Ed Glinert in Penguin Classics. Mr Pooter is a man of modest ambitions, content with his ordinary life. Yet he always seems to be troubled by disagreeable tradesmen, impertinent young office clerks and wayward friends, not to mention his devil-may-care son Lupin with his unsuitable choice of bride. In the bumbling, absurd, yet ultimately endearing character of Pooter, the Grossmith brothers created a wonderful portrait of the class system and the inherent snobbishness of the suburban middle-class suburbia - one which sends up the late Victorian crazes for Aestheticism, spiritualism and bicycling, as well as the fashion for publishing diaries by anybody and everybody.
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Arrowsmith , Printer , Quay Street. Why should I not publish my diary? My only regret is that I did not commence it when I was a youth. We settle down in our new home, and I resolve to keep a diary. Tradesmen trouble us a bit, so does the scraper. The Curate calls and pays me a great compliment. We have a little front 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 garden which runs down to the railway. He was certainly right; and beyond the cracking of the garden wall at the bottom, we have suffered no inconvenience. After my work in the City, I like to be at home.
I am always in of an evening. Our old friend Gowing may drop in without ceremony; so may Cummings, who lives opposite. My dear wife Caroline and I are pleased to see them, if they like to drop in on us.
But Carrie and I can manage to pass our evenings together without friends. Bilkson in small letters , from Collard and Collard in very large letters. It is also a great comfort to us to know that our boy Willie is getting on so well in the Bank at Oldham.
We should like to see more of him. Now for my diary:—. April 3. By-the-by, that reminds me there is no key to our bedroom door, and the bells must be seen to. April 4. Tradesmen still calling; Carrie being out, I arranged to deal with Horwin, who seemed a civil butcher with a nice clean shop. Ordered a shoulder of mutton for to-morrow, to give him a trial.
In the evening, Cummings unexpectedly dropped in to show me a meerschaum pipe he had won in a raffle in the City, and told me to handle it carefully, as it would spoil the colouring if the hand was moist. Must get the scraper removed, or else I shall get into a scrape. April 5. Gowing called, and fell over scraper coming in. Must get that scraper removed.
April 6. Sarah said Mr. 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.
I restrained my feelings, and quietly remarked that I thought it was possible for a city clerk to be a gentleman. 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 7. Found Borset waiting. He had been three times during the day to apologise for his conduct last night.
He said he was unable to take his Bank Holiday last Monday, and took it last night instead. He begged me to accept his apology, and a pound of fresh butter. He seems, after all, a decent sort of fellow; so I gave him an order for some fresh eggs, with a request that on this occasion they should be fresh. I am afraid we shall have to get some new stair-carpets after all; our old ones are not quite wide enough to meet the paint on either side.
Carrie suggests that we might ourselves broaden the paint. I will see if we can match the colour dark chocolate on Monday.
April 8, Sunday. I sent Carrie in to open front door, which we do not use except on special occasions. She could not get it open, and after all my display, I had to take the Curate whose name, by-the-by, I did not catch, round the side entrance. He caught his foot in the scraper, and tore the bottom of his trousers. Most annoying, as Carrie could not well offer to repair them on a Sunday. After dinner, went to sleep. Took a walk round the garden, and discovered a beautiful spot for sowing mustard-and-cress and radishes.
Went to Church again in the evening: walked back with the Curate. Carrie noticed he had got on the same pair of trousers, only repaired. He wants me to take round the plate, which I think a great compliment. Tradesmen and the scraper still troublesome. Gowing rather tiresome with his complaints of the paint.
I make one of the best jokes of my life. Delights of Gardening. Stillbrook, Gowing, Cummings, and I have a little misunderstanding. Sarah makes me look a fool before Cummings. April 9. The butcher, whom we decided not to arrange with, called and blackguarded me in the most uncalled-for manner. He began by abusing me, and saying he did not want my custom. I shut the door, and was giving Carrie to understand that this disgraceful scene was entirely her fault, when there was a violent kicking at the door, enough to break the panels.
It was the blackguard butcher again, who said he had cut his foot over the scraper, and would immediately bring an action against me. Arrived home tired and worried. Putley, a painter and decorator, who had sent in a card, said he could not match the colour on the stairs, as it contained Indian carmine. He said he spent half-a-day calling at warehouses to see if he could get it. He suggested he should entirely repaint the stairs. It would cost very little more; if he tried to match it, he could only make a bad job of it.
It would be more satisfactory to him and to us to have the work done properly. I consented, but felt I had been talked over. Planted some mustard-and-cress and radishes, and went to bed at nine. April He seems a very civil fellow. He says he does not usually conduct such small jobs personally, but for me he would do so. I thanked him, and went to town. It is disgraceful how late some of the young clerks are at arriving. I told three of them that if Mr. Perkupp, the principal, heard of it, they might be discharged.
You cannot argue with people like that. In the evening Gowing called, and repeated his complaint about the smell of paint. Gowing is sometimes very tedious with his remarks, and not always cautious; and Carrie once very properly reminded him that she was present. To-day was a day of annoyances.
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. 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. 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.
The Diary of a Nobody
Arrowsmith , Printer , Quay Street. Why should I not publish my diary? My only regret is that I did not commence it when I was a youth. We settle down in our new home, and I resolve to keep a diary. Tradesmen trouble us a bit, so does the scraper.
Book Review | ‘The Diary of a Nobody’ by George Grossmith
Arrowsmith, Bristol. This fictitious diary details fifteen months in the life of Mr. Charles Pooter, a middle aged city clerk of lower middle-class status but significant social aspirations, living in the fictional 'Brickfield Terrace' in London. The diary was written by George Grossmith and his brother Weedon Grossmith who also contributed the illustrations. It first appeared in Punch magazine through the years — 89, and was first printed in book form in Due to much of the humour deriving from Mr.
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The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith. Meet Mr. Charles Pooter , perfectly average in every way. And believe you me there are plenty of those in this book! All in all rather funny in a quaint way. I feel sorry for Mr.