And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

10 April

Vasco da Gama,

‘On Tuesday, when weighing anchor to enter the port, the captain-major’s vessel would not pay off, and struck the vessel which followed astern. We therefore again cast anchor. When the Moors who were in our ship saw that we did not go on, they scrambled into a zavra attached to our stern; whilst the two pilots whom we had brought from Moçambique jumped into the water, and were picked up by the men in the zavra. At night the captain-major “questioned” two Moors whom we had on board, by dropping boiling oil upon their skin, so that they might confess any treachery intended against us. They said that orders had been given to capture us as soon as we entered the port, and thus to avenge what we had done at Moçambique. And when this torture was being applied a second time, one of the Moors, although his hands were tied, threw himself into the sea, whilst the other did so during the morning watch.

About midnight two almadias, with many men in them, approached. The almadias stood off whilst the men entered the water, some swimming in the direction of the Berrio others in that of the Raphael. Those who swam to the Berrio began to cut the cable. The men on watch thought at first that they were tunny fish, but when they perceived their mistake they shouted to the other vessels. The other swimmers had already got hold of the rigging of the mizzen-mast. Seeing themselves discovered, they silently slipped down and fled. These and other wicked tricks were practised upon us by these dogs, but our Lord did not allow them to succeed, because they were unbelievers.

Mombaça is a large city seated upon an eminence washed by the sea. Its port is entered daily by numerous vessels. At its entrance stands a pillar, and by the sea a low-lying fortress.Those who had gone on shore told us that in the town they had seen many men in irons; and it seemed to us that these must be Christians, as the Christians in that country are at war with the Moors.

The Christian merchants in the town are only temporary residents, and are held in much subjection, they not being allowed to do anything except by the order of the Moorish King.

It pleased God in his mercy that on arriving at this city all our sick recovered their health, for the climate (“air”) of this place is very good.

After the malice and treachery planned by these dogs had been discovered, we still remained on Wednesday and Thursday.’

Cloves, cumin, ginger


John Evelyn,

‘This night, a sudden and terrible fire burned down all the buildings over the stone gallery at Whitehall to the water side, beginning at the apartment of the late Duchess of Portsmouth (which had been pulled down and rebuilt no less than three times to please her), and consuming other lodgings of such lewd creatures, who debauched both King Charles II. and others, and were his destruction.’

A most excellent person


David Elisha Davy,

‘Walked from Wrentham to Brampton Church 4 Miles. Went into the church, took some few notes, before omitted, & from the head stones in the churchyard:

Returned by Uggeshall 1 1/2 Mile, to look again at the inscription on the Steeple, & to see whether I had copied it correctly. To Wrentham 3 Miles.’

Many little matters


Polly Lavinia Crandall Coon,

‘Reached the Mississippi at Eagle Ferry 2 miles above Dubuque found a number of teams in wait to go over.’

We hope for better times


Taylor Beatty,

‘Rode out to a review of Hardee’s troops to-day - the troops did very well - weather was good but ground dusty - A great many spectators especially ladies - for whom Genl Hardee has given the entertainment - he has several at his house - and this is the second or third time they have come up from Huntersville. The report is that the fight at Charleston is still going on.’

Manliness of the soldier


Frederic Remington,

‘Sketched all day - Mountain and horses beautiful weather fine sunsets on pine tress. Picture ‘The dead cow boy and outlaw horse’ . . . Henry wants to go Grand Canyon.’

The Broncho Buster


Pierre Gilliard,

A “full sitting” of our guard, at which the Bolshevik commissary reveals the extent of his powers. He has the right to have anyone opposing his orders shot within twenty-four hours and without trial. The soldiers let him enter the house.’

State of mental anguish


Marya Zaturenska,

‘Dear Horace’s birthday and the first day of real spring weather. The gold, the brightness of the green utterly astonishing. One is taken by surprise every year.

Muriel is giving a birthday party for Horace today. Dread facing people. Wish only to be with Horace. The rest of the world is full of horror, murder, poisonous spirits; the air drips blood, the ground is wet with it and the streets smell like a jungle.

Took a bus ride to town with Joanna, very lively, pretty and gay. We met Horace in front of the Forty-second Street library looking a little guilty because he had bought a new English ash walking stick at a sale. My poor dear, he needs a stick badly and he has bought almost nothing for himself.

Waiting for Horace to come home. The hours drag. I wait for his footsteps - his breathing - this long day at the college must be very exhausting. I feel ready to burst into tears with loneliness and worry.’

Waiting for Horace


Alexander Cadogan,
civil servant

‘Went to ‘Something for the Boys’ at the Coliseum. An American musical show, slick without being tuneful, well-drilled and quite uninteresting. There was one good tune. The rest was jazz, which all sounds alike to me - a pulsating noise, such as one hears when one has run upstairs too fast . . . Shall have an awful fortnight with the P.M. in charge [of the F.O.], complicated by Stettinius [US Under-Secretary of State], but hope to get through.’

Went to see P.M. (in bed)


Tina Brown,

‘I am here in NYC at last, brimming with fear and insecurity. Getting in late last night on British Airways, I suddenly felt the enormousness of New York City, the noise of it, the speed of it, the lonely obliviousness of so many people trying to get ahead. My London bravado began to evaporate. I wished I was with Harry, who I knew would be sitting at his computer in front of his study window, in Kent, furiously pounding away about Rupert Murdoch.

I am staying at the Royalton Hotel on West Forty-Fourth Street, opposite the Algonquin Hotel. It’s a bit of a fleapit but in walking distance to the Conde Nast HQ at 350 Madison Avenue. The man at the desk seemed half-asleep when I checked in and there was no one around to haul my bag to the elevator. All the way in from JFK in the taxi, a phone-in show was blaring a woman with a rasping German accent talking in excruciating detail about blow jobs. The instructions crackling from the radio to “tek it in the mouth und move it slowly, slowly up und down” got so oppressive I asked the cabdriver what the hell he was listening to. He said it was a sex therapist called Dr. Ruth who apparently gives advice on the radio and has an enormous following.

As soon as I woke up I rushed to the newsstand on the corner to look for the April issue of Vanity Fair. The second edition is even more baffling than the first one I saw in London in February. The cover is some incomprehensible multicolored tin-man graphic with no cover lines that will surely tank on the newsstand. Some stunning photographs - they can afford Irving Penn and Reinhart Wolf, which made me pine with envy, and they don’t disappoint - but the display copy is nonexistent, so it’s not clear why they are there. There’s a brainy but boring Helen Vendler essay next to an Amy Clampitt poem, a piece headed (seriously) “What’s Wrong with Modern Conducting?” and a gassy run of pages from V. S. Naipaul’s autobiography. All this would be fine in the Times Literary Supplement, but when it’s on glossy paper with exploding, illegible graphics, it’s a migraine mag for God knows whom. Plus I learned today the Naipaul extract cost them seventy thousand dollars! That’s nearly a whole year’s budget at Tatler!

The question is, how long can Richard Locke survive as VF’s editor?

Leo Lerman, the old features legend at Vogue, heard I was in town and called me at the Royalton early this morning. He twittered on about last night’s screening, then asked me to think of a piece to write for Vogue, so that’s a relief. It means that leaving Tatler in the UK so abruptly hasn’t alienated the US Condé Nast powers as I feared.’

Tina Brown’s Vanity Fair


Alan Clark,

‘I was in vile mood this morning, even on arrival. I had done a lot of washing-up, drying, wiping, etc., at Albany, and I always find this enervating. I do it so badly and so slowly. For someone as great and gifted as me it is the most uneconomic possible use of time.

Then, triumphantly ‘marked up’, a page of Mediascan was pushed under my nose. Impending sackings (!!). Named were Arthur Cockfield, David Mitchell, Bob Dunn, John Butcher and myself. Flushed and shocked I became.

Either way it’s a bore
(a) that anyone should believe that I am a candidate
(b) it becomes self-feeding (journalists draw from each other)
(c) a plant from Ingham and Downing St

As long ago as 6 February I wrote in my Day Diary, on the space for 23 April (when we come back from the Easter break) ‘Am I free today?’ But now that I am actually faced with the prospect of being dropped as - allegedly - no good, I don’t like it. All the gabblers are of course immune. As always, AS ALWAYS, Heseltine and that podgy life-insurance-risk Kenneth Clarke are approvingly tipped. Apparently (this is what makes me think there is a bit of Ingham in it) the changes will not take place at Easter, but during the Whitsun break. Or (much worse) in September, after a summer of travail and misery.

I am going on Question Time in a couple of days. Might gallop.’

They are real diaries


Axel Lindén,

‘A couple of the mums - we call them ‘mums’ when they’ve just had lambs - keep shoving their lambs away so they can’t get at the teat. We have to hold these mums still a couple of times a day. I was absolutely furious with them at first but now I’ve come to terms with the fact that they’re just being sheep. You can’t identify with these animals. They are utterly unlike us.’

I hope the ewes heard me


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In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

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