And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

7 April

1810
Mirza Abul Hassan Khan,
diplomat

‘In the morning it was reported that most of the ministers’ and councillors’ houses were stoned and damaged last night, including those of the Prime Minister [. . .]. The King’s Army was called out to quell the rioting and soldiers of the cavalry and infantry are posted in the city.

I left the house to go riding as usual. I met some English friends and acquaintances who tried to discourage me from going out today. [. . .] I met Mrs Perceval, wife of the Prime Minister, riding in a handsome carriage. She, too, advised me against being out of doors and warned me that today’s rioting was worse than last night’s. [. . .] I did not heed her advice and when I encountered the soldiers they all took off their hats to me as a sign of respect. When I asked why the rioting had not yet been suppressed, they said that the councillors were still deliberating and that without a warrant from the Council they could not remove the criminal from his house to the King’s prison.

I was utterly amazed! If such a situation had lasted for several days in one of Iran’s cities, 2,000 or more people would have been executed by now.’

I was utterly amazed!

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1909
William Butler Yeats,
writer

‘Portofino Vetta April 7th. I have been ill for five months since I bled from the lung in London, four out of the five of Malta fever, and a couple of weeks ago the doctor told me it would be three months before I had received strength. But eight days ago we came from Rapallo to this hotel at Portofino Vetta some fifteen feet above the sea and I am almost well again. I work at the new version of The Vision every morning, then read Swift’s Letters and only take to detective stories in the evening, and would be wholly well if my legs were stronger. Here I can slip in and out as I please, free from the stage fright I had at Rapallo whenever George brought me to the little Café by the sea. After all there may be something in climate which I have always denied. Here no mountains shut us in; I think three weeks should make well as ever.’

The poet’s labour

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1925
Arnold Bennett,
writer

‘Max Beerbohm, with others, dined here last night. [. . .] He said he had no feeling for London. He liked to visit it, but only on the condition that he could leave it and return to Rapallo [in Northern Italy]. He said that he couldn’t possibly have the romantic feeling for London that I have, because he was born in it. “The smuts fell on his bassinette.” Whereas I could never lose the feeling of the romanticalness of London. He told me that I was in his new series of “Old Celebrities meeting their younger selves”, shortly to be see at the Leicester Galleries.’

A half-crown public

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1932
Nettie Palmer,
writer

‘THIS island, now we’re here, is a flat oval of jungle-covered coral sand (almost forty acres, they say) on the inner edge of the Great Reef. Not even eight feet above sea-level, it’s protected from the outer seas by an irregular circling reef that encloses a lagoon - shallow enough to wade through when the tide’s out, but deep enough to float a small fleet when the tide rushes back again through the narrow opening. There’s always five or six feet of water at the end of the long ricketty jetty that gives a berth to the Cairns launch bringing the Sunday crowd of holidaymakers - and our supplies and mail. Our camp is on the sheltered side of the island, looking toward the mainland. Sometimes at high tide the water softly laps the roots of the great trees that lean over our tent and down over the beach.

Before I came here I’d imagined the Barrier Reef as a great wall running along the line of the coast - a rampart of pure coral rising from the depths. Now, looking out from our knob on its edge, it seems a straggling assortment of honeycomb reefs in all stages of growth, varied by fragments of sunken mainland, such as the great hump of Fitzroy Island to the south. Our island is one of the coral cays that have come to maturity. It has fully emerged from the sea, collected its cover of humus, created a beautiful safe jungle in which you can lie unaware of the sea, though never fifty yards from the beach.

This gleaming little forest of vines and evergreens can seem at times even more wonderful than the coral reef itself. There’s a gentleness about it - no thorns, poisonous reptiles, stinging insects. Instead, there are the unafraid birds - tiny silver-eyes, ground-pigeons with lustrous wings of dark-green - and the bright, flickering butterflies, all seemingly sure of being in some forest fastness.’

N. tinkering with diaries

**************************************************************************************

1981
Roy Strong,
historian

‘The opening of the exhibition of ballet costumes, Spotlight, went off with aplomb. Princess Margaret in gold embroidered ethnic red did an hour’s tour. We couldn’t find Fred Ashton, who turned up after she’d gone, seated at the bottom of a statue quaffing champagne which he loves. There was a wonderful encounter between Marie Rambert and HRH, a rare occasion when the person being presented was shorter. Spotlight is a gorgeous spectacle and everyone loves it, apart from complaints either about the lights and/or the loudness of the music.’

Happy Birthday Roy

**************************************************************************************

1986
Anthony Powell,
writer

‘Main reviews of The Fisher King are now in; a generally satisfactory press, important thing is to let people know book is out, what it is about. Reviewers mostly approving, tho’ one is always struck by the ingrained philistinism, illiteracy, humourlessness, their fear and hatred of literary references. [. . .]

British reviewers tend to hate writing as such. This also applies to most interviewers. I always say the same thing to interviewers, because they always ask the same banal questions. They subsequently write facetiously, desperately anxious to show they are not in the least impressed by anyone or anything.’

Speaking of The Possessed

**************************************************************************************

2003
Clare Short,
politician

7 April 2003

‘Atmospherics in No. 10 hostile to me, maybe not stay long in government after all.’

No. 10 hostile to 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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