And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

25 April

1587
William Lambarde,
antiquarian

‘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

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1769
Mary Coke,
noblewoman

‘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

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1813
Benjamin Haydon,
artist

‘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

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1821
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

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1897
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

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1915
Aubrey Herbert,
diplomat

‘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

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1920
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

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1942
Joseph Goebbels,
politician

‘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

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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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