And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

25 April

William Lambarde,

‘At the quarter sessions at Maidstone we certified all the said recognizances for peace, alehouses, etc., and delivered in the record of the said riot, etc.’

Virtuous William Lambarde


Mary Coke,

‘Mr Walpole called at my house, and approves of all I have done since he was here. He has given me a design for some frames to be placed over the doors in my book-room, and repeated to me the epilogue he made for Mrs Clive which she spoke last night on quitting the stage. ‘Tis like everything he has ever wrote, extremely pretty. Nobody has his genius. He gave me a play [The Mysterious Mother] of his own writing. I once heard him repeat some scenes that I thought very fine.’

Violent, absurd and mad


Benjamin Haydon,

‘I felt this morning an almost irresistible inclination to go down to Greenwich and have delicious tumble with the Girls over the hills. I fancied a fine, beamy, primy, fresh, green spring day (as it was), a fine creature in a sweet, fluttering, clean drapery, with health rosing her shining cheeks, & love melting in her sparkling eyes, with a bending form ready to leap into your arms. After a short struggle, I seized my brush, knowing the consequences of yielding to my disposition, & that tho’ it might begin today, it would not end with it.’

Thirst after grandeur


Mary Browne,
young woman

‘We arrived at London about eleven o’clock: all the hotels we enquired at being full, we drove to the British Hotel, Jermyn Street. We passed through Cavendish Square, which was very pretty, but I was rather disappointed at not seeing London till I was in it. After we had rested, we walked through Burlington Arcade: it was quite cool and pleasant, although the weather was as hot as the middle of summer. There were rows of shops along each side, which had many pretty things in them, particularly artificial flowers; not far from this is the Egyptian Temple, which has sphinxes, etc., carved on it: we saw the Opera House, which is a very fine building. Regent’s Street and Waterloo Place are built of white stone. Regent’s Street (when finished) is to extend a long way; at the bottom of it is Carlton House, which is very much blackened by the smoke: there is a great contrast between it and St. James’s Palace, the latter being built of red brick, and looks like a prison. In the evening we saw the lamps in Regent’s Street, which was lighter than any other street I saw; one house was illuminated. We saw Waterloo Bridge.’

The French lack of delicacy


Gideon Mantell,
doctor and scientist

‘My family removed to Southover and I to lodgings on the Steyne. My collection to be arranged for public exhibition for two and three-quarter years - but I am sick of the cold-blooded creatures I am surrounded by - a change of circumstances with me is but a change of troubles - I will not record them! [From this point on, and at the cost of his home life, Mantell’s house on The Steine was given over to the Institution and museum entirely.]’

Gideon Mantell - geologist


Miguel de Unamuno,
writer and philosopher

‘Quasimodo Sunday. A conventional Mass at the parish church, a sermon by the priest about the fact that many believe that going to church is doing God a favor, when it is we who need God, not He us.

How is it that I imagine myself to be a great personage, one destined to create a sensation in the Church, my conversion providing a model for others? How many ways has pride of surviving!’

Go and wash and see


Aubrey Herbert,

‘I got up at 6.30. Thoms, who shared my cabin, had been up earlier. There was a continuous roll of thunder from the south. Opposite to us the land rose steeply in cliffs and hills covered with the usual Mediterranean vegetation. The crackle of rifles sounded and ceased in turns. . . Orders were given to us to start at 8.30 a.m. . . The tows were punctual. . . We were ordered to take practically nothing but rations. I gave my sleeping-bag to Kyriakidis, the old Greek interpreter whom I had snatched from the Arcadia, and took my British warm and my Burberry. . . The tow was unpleasantly open to look at; there was naturally no shelter of any kind. We all packed in, and were towed across the shining sea towards the land fight. . . We could see some still figures lying on the beach to our left, one or two in front. Some bullets splashed round.

As we were all jumping into the sea to flounder ashore, I heard cries from the sergeant at the back of the tow. He said to me: “These two men refuse to go ashore.” I turned and saw Kristo Keresteji and Yanni of Ayo Strati with mesmerized eyes looking at plops tha the bullets made in the water, and with their minds evidently fixed on the Greek equivalent of “Home, Sweet Home.” They were, however, pushed in, and we all scrambled on to that unholy land. The word was then, I thought rather unnecessarily, passed that we were under fire.’

Herbert goes to war


Pierre Gilliard,

‘Shortly before three o’clock, as I was going along the passage, I met two servants sobbing. They told me that Yakovlef has come to tell the Czar that he is taking him away. What can be happening? I dare not go up without being summoned, and went back to my room. Almost immediately Tatiana Nicolaievna knocked at my door. She was in tears, and told me Her Majesty was asking for me. I followed her. The Czarina was alone, greatly upset. She confirmed what I had heard, that Yakovlef has been sent from Moscow to take the Czar away and is to leave to-night.

State of mental anguish


Earl Mountbatten of Burma,
sailor and viceroy

‘H.R.H. and the more devout members of his Staff, as well as those whose duty it was to go, attended Divine Service at the cathedral [Auckland]. The chief diversion during the service was caused by the entrance of a small dog who trotted up between the choir, sat down, and proceeded to scratch himself. Having relieved himself of his fleas, he smiled at H.R.H. and positively laughed at the choir. This was his doom, for a choirman rushed out and seized him, pushing him into the organ, where he proved of great assistance to the organist.’

Mountbatten - young and lighthearted


Joseph Goebbels,

‘I had a long talk with Governor General Dr. Frank. He described conditions in the General Government. They are extremely complicated. Dr. Frank and his collaborators have succeeded absolutely in balancing the budget of the General Government. He is already squeezing all sorts of money out there. The food situation, too, has been brought into equilibrium. Frank is convinced that much more could be got out of the General Government. Unfortunately we lack manpower everywhere to carry out tasks like these. He must get along with a minimum of help.’

The Nuremberg ten


David Coulthard,

‘In morning practice I was quickest, by eight tenths of a second over Mika, even though I spent much of the session working with different set-ups to try to reduce the understeer I had been experiencing while turning into the corners.

After the first qualifying runs I was fastest. Then, when we changed the set-up to reduce the understeer so I could attack the corners harder, Mika nipped ahead. For my third run we returned my car to its original settings. Three quarters of the way through the lap I was a couple of tenths slower than Mika’s time, so I threw everything I had into the final sector and finished up on pole by a tenth of a second over Mika.

It was my second pole in succession and very satisfying to get it. There was an element of relief to it because I had made it hard work for myself. Near the end, I knew Mika had improved, and that it was always going to be tight. So it was a good feeling to go out and do what I had to do, and react positively to the pressure of qualifying.’

When you win


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And so made significant . . .
is the world’s greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

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Notes and Cautions
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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Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

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The Diary Junction is one of those wonderful privately maintained public resources for which the Internet is justly celebrated: a database of information about celebrated and obscure diaries[over 500] from all historical periods, with referrals to the dates the diaries cover, where the originals are held and bibliographic information on published versions.’ Laura Miller, Salon

The Diary Review, hosted by Blogger, publishes magazine-style articles on diaries and diarists, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.