The Diary of a Nobody

Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see — because I do not happen 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

One of the perks of being unemployed and idle is having acres of free time to read. I have just discovered The Diary of a Nobody which is the fictitious diary of a late 19th century city clerk, Charles Pooter. Much like a modern-day blogger, Pooter records the mundane events which occur in his life and that of his wife Carrie, his son Lupin, and his friends Mr Gowing and Mr Cummings. Pooter is pompous, obsequious and class obsessed in a uniquely British way, and continuously (and unwittingly) commits social gaffes which he diligently records in his diary – something of an Inspector Clouseau-type buffoon. All in all he is a joy. An excerpt for your delectation:

April 29. — I am getting quite accustomed to being snubbed by Lupin, and I do not mind being sat upon by Carrie, because I think she has a certain amount of right to do so; but I do think it hard to be at once snubbed by wife, son, and both my guests.
Gowing and Cummings had dropped in during the evening, and I suddenly remembered an extraordinary dream I had a few nights ago, and I thought I would tell them about it. I dreamt I saw some huge blocks of ice in a shop with a bright glare behind them. I walked into the shop and the heat was overpowering. I found that the blocks of ice were on fire. The whole thing was so real and yet so supernatural I woke up in a cold perspiration. Lupin in a most contemptuous manner, said: ‘What utter rot.’
Before I could reply, Gowing said there was nothing so completely uninteresting as other people’s dreams.
I appealed to Cummings, but he said he was bound to agree with the others and my dream was especially nonsensical. I said: ‘It seemed so real to me.’ Gowing replied: ‘Yes, to you perhaps, but not to us.’ Whereupon they all roared.
Carrie, who had hitherto been quiet, said: ‘He tells me his stupid dreams every morning nearly.’ I replied: ‘Very well, dear, I promise you I will never tell you or anybody else another dream of mine the longest day I live.’ Lupin said: ‘Hear! hear!’ and helped himself to another glass of beer. The subject was fortunately changed, and Cummings read a most interesting article on the superiority of the bicycle to the horse.

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