And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

12 August

Samuel Pepys,
civil servant

‘The people die so, that now it seems they are fain to carry the dead to be buried by day-light, the nights not sufficing to do it in. And my Lord Mayor commands people to be within at nine at night all, as they say, that the sick may have liberty to go abroad for ayre.’

In celebration of Pepys


William Byrd,

‘I had a quarrel with my wife about her servants who did little work. I wrote a long and smart letter to Mr Perry, wherein I found several faults with his management of the tobacco I sent him and with mistakes he had committed in my affairs. My sloop brought some tobacco from Appomattox. Mr Bland came over and dined with us on his way to Williamsburg. I ate roast shoat for dinner. In the afternoon Mr Bland went away and I wrote more letters. I put some tobacco into the sloop for Captain Harvey. It rained and hindered our walk; however we walked a little in the garden.’

A planters life!


Elizabeth Percy,

‘Glasgow . . . is extreamly large & well paved & most magnificently built. It is by far the finest Town I ever saw. It is very populous, its Inhabitants being computed at 36,000. Both the people & the Town are remarkably clean & neat & the former handsomer than any I saw in the Lowlands. We had a very good Inn here.

We were visited by ye Ld Provost & all the Magistrates & the Commg Officer. We walk’d to see the flax Manufacture. Then we went to the University where we were joyned by all the Professors &c. We saw the Pictures & afterwards the Boys painting & the Library which is a good plain Room. We then went to Foulis’s Shop where we recd an Express from Ld Warkworth, informing us of the Battle of Warbourg & his safety. We then adjourned to the Town Hall with Ld Provost, Magistrates, Professors, Scholars, Officers &c where a parson said a very long Grace to ye drink.

A thousand Toasts were drank & my Lord was made a freeman of the City. The Town Hall is a very Noble Room it is 54 Feet long & 27 broad & high. The Chimney piece wch was made at London is a very fine One of Statuary Marble with 2 entire figures of Women. We came back to ye Inn where Mr Campbell the Advocate & we had for Supper a Bird I had never seen before call’d the Tormachin [Ptarmigan]. It is a kind of Moor fowle, White on the back, of a very highest flavour. They feed on the Tops of the very highest Rocks far above where the heather grows.

Commerce & Arts flourish much in Glasgow. Their chief Exports are Linen, Herrings & Tobacco, & their Imports French, Spanish, Portuguese & Madeira Wines & Rum. They have not yet got the Art of adulterating their Wines, so have them all in perfection. Madeira sells for 36 S/- the Pipe. Turtle is no more unknown to the Magistrates of Glasgow than to the Aldermen of London. The Sabbath is very strictly observ’d here, insomuch that the Post is not permitted to come in till Evening Service is over, nor are people suffered to walk out, & Civilizers go about to all the Houses to see that no Business or Amusements are carried on, & not a soul, except going to or from Church, is ever seen on the Streets on a Sunday. All the people here seem very industrious.’

Of Edinburgh and Glasgow


Caroline Powys,

We went to pay a visit to Mrs. Annesley, Bletchingdon House, Oxon. In this part of our county there are more fine houses near each other than in any, I believe, in England. We were reckoning nineteen within a morning’s airing worth seeing. I must say something of that we were at, as Mr. [Capability] Brown would style it, “A place of vast capabilities,” stands high, the ground lays well, and the views round it far preferable to most in that county. Mrs. Annesley’s is large, tho’ only seven windows in front, the present approach thro’ a fine stone gateway with iron rails, you ascend a large flight of steps into a large hall, opposite you a second flight carries you into a second or larger hall, in which fronts you by far the noblest staircase I ever saw. ’Tis of Manchineale wood, and after going up about twenty steps it turns to the right and left, making a gallery at the top which looks down into the hall, this gallery leads to all the chambers. On the ground floor are four parlours, library, and state bedroom; many rooms were fitted by the Lord Anglesey who built it, but which Mr. Annesley was going to finish, but his sudden death prevented, and as his lady justly observes, it would be absurd in her to lay out money there, as her eldest son will have so immense a fortune, it would only be injuring her younger children, and she is too good a mother to do that; indeed, hers and their happiness seem’d centr’d in each other. I think I never felt more for any one than I did for her at hearing an account of his death (tho’ now years since), from a lady who is there every year, and was at the time. I own I am always foolish with regard to dreams, and now from these worthy good people, whose veracity I cannot doubt, I fear I shall in future be still more superstitious.

Mr. and Mrs. Annesley were a most happy couple, had known each other from childhood, had been married, I suppose, about ten years, had two sons and two daughters. She waked herself and him one night with crying so violently in her sleep that he was quite alarm’d. He insisted on knowing what dream she had had; she only said she had dreamt he was not well, but it was, that he fell down in a fit. He laughed at her as she lay crying for an hour or two, and going to sleep again, she again dreamt the same. ’Tis impossible, the lady says, to tell her anxiety the whole next day, he laughing it off, and at dinner he said, “Well, my dear. I’m not sick yet, I think, for I never was so hungry in my life;” she answered, “Indeed I am very foolish, but I shall be better in a day or two.” That night pass’d over, but, poor man, next day at tea-time he was nowhere to be found; when she heard this, she flew about like a wild creature into every room. Going into their bedchamber and not seeing him, she was running out of it when the youngest child says, “Mamma, perhaps papa is in the closet,” and throwing open the door, there he lay dead; she immediately fainted, and what she must that instant have felt is hardly to be imagined. She has never been in that room or the library since, and if anybody mentions dreams, only says, “Pray don’t talk on that subject.” We spent a most agreeable week there, there being a good deal of company, fourteen of us in the parlour, but tho’ our party was large, it did not hinder our seeing places every day we were there, and the first place, as the nearest, we went to was Blenheim. . . . The environs of Blenheim have been amazingly improved by Brown since I was last there, many rooms furnish’d and gilt, and as there are many fine pictures, must be always worth seeing. A fine ride round the park of five miles which we went, and afterwards three round the shubbery. The Duke, Duchess, and many of their children, with other company, were driving about in one of those clever Dutch vehicles call’d, I think, a Waske, a long open carriage holding fifteen or sixteen persons. As forms are placed in rows so near the ground to step out, it must be very heavy, but that, as it was drawn by six horses, was no inconvenience, and ’tis quite a summer machine without any covering at the top.’

Such interesting anecdotes


Mary Shelly,

‘Write my story and translate. Shelley goes to the town, and afterwards goes out in the boat with Lord Byron. After dinner I go out a little in the boat, and then Shelley goes up to Diodati. I translate in the evening, and read Le Vieux de la Montagne, and write. Shelley, in coming down, is attacked by a dog, which delays him; we send up for him, and Lord Byron comes down; in the meantime Shelley returns.’

Write. Read Homer


John William Horsley,

‘I wonder if this flower-girl, aged 18, used to sing the popular song, “We are a happy family.” She is in for assaulting her mother with a poker, and has twice previously been in for drunkenness: the mother is living apart from her husband, and has spent ten months out of twelve in Millbank doing short terms for drunkenness: a younger brother and sister have been sent to Industrial Schools. Yet the wonder is that any members of some families do right, and not that many do wrong. On what a pinnacle of virtue, inaccessible to a countess, is the daughter of a convict father and gindrinking mother who keeps straight!

Twice this week have I written to the Reformatory and Refuge Union to set their special officer on children that I find to be living in houses of ill-fame, of which the denizens or keepers come here. In one case, at any rate, there seemed a dereliction of duty on the part of the police, who, when they apprehended the mother, should have rescued the children.

Fate is the convenient scapegoat of those whose “can’t” is a shuffling substitute for “won’t” or “don’t like.” This man is in for theft from a public-curse; he is badly consumptive through drinking long and heavily; his father died of alcoholic phthisis; he has often tried to abstain, but never for more than six weeks; he has been warned by a physician at a hospital of how he is committing suicide; but he “supposes it is Fate.” ’

State-created crime


Jean-Martin Charcot,

‘It is agreed that I will give a few medical consultations; they implored me to do so. A few people have been referred by the consul, or by M. Alvans, the military envoy, who never tires of being helpful.

Here come the patients, 5 or 6 of them, all Jews. They file into the patio. I sketch one who presents a beautiful case of Parkinson’s. Nothing very interesting from the point of view of diagnosis. But all are nervous cases. Yesterday, on the square, they showed me a Jew who remained mute, so they say, during his entire childhood but who eventually began to speak. Was he a case of hysteria?

The consultation is over. I must see the town some more so as to take with me an indelible visual impression. Along the way, on one of the most densely inhabited streets, we hear in the distance a sort of chanting, mixed and monotonous at the same time: the voices of men. They appear in a cortege of about a hundred persons; they are walking quickly, they seem to be in a hurry. “The dead go quickly.” In fact it is a burial. The deceased is carried on a kind of cot, nude in a white shroud which hides him completely, the head too. It seems to me that no one stirs nor extends greetings. We don’t either: that is not the custom here. We let the cortege pass, we will meet it again momentarily, in the cemetery.’

The father of neurology


Jean Sibelius,

‘This business of concerning yourself with practical affairs when you are a creative artist. Think of all the time and energy you waste on them every day. For you this is corrosive. But press on, in spite of all the derision and abuse. Worked well today on the development of the first movement. Don’t lose the sense of life’s pain and pathos!’

An inner confession


Ima Hogg,

‘Off Friday morning. Went by trolley then to Milverton.

Arrived in Kenilworth 10:40.

Drove a mile and a half to the castle /6 d. These romantic and very beautiful ruins we saw to the best advantage, for after a walk about them, we drove on the way to the station, with the tilting ground, had a fine view of the whole castle, where the lake used to be. Merwyn Tower was the scene of Amy’s life in the castle.

In Warwick, by the way, he & the Earl of Leicester are buried.

Left Kenilworth 12:25 noon.

After innumerable changes arrived in Ambergate at 4:30 P.M. to find that we should have to go farther in order to coach to Haddon Hall, & Chatsworth. We spent the time there until 6:18 P.M. - walked, drank tea and admired this promising beginning of the Peak - Bought tickets to Rowsley, but decided to get off in Matlock, 6:40 P.M. A mountainous and beautiful place - and a nice hotel - “New Bath” - with a pleasant garden. So many of the lower classes seem to be traveling hereabouts - just tiny little journeys. There is a grand piano here in Matlock. I am aching to touch it!’

First Lady of Texas


Hamlin Garland,

[New York] ‘I left at 3 p.m. for the city in the midst of the most amazing collection of New York City Hebrews. Pink, brown, hook-nosed, straight-nosed, young, old - all chattering or bawling. They mobbed the train. They shoved, elbowed, pulled and pushed for seats, clamoring, shouting, all in perfect good humor. They were not poor, nor illiterate, but they were without a particle of reserve or politeness. Their nasal voices silenced all other outcry. The few “Americans” on the train were lost in this flood of alien faces, forms and voices. The women [were] mostly all short, many with handsome features but no grace of body. From a humanitarian point of view I should have been glad of their number for they were returning from a happy outing but as I was lame, their jostling greediness made me angry and their lack of the ordinary civilities of life disgusted me. I was glad when I got to the flat and to bed.’

A son of the middle border


Viktor Petrovich Savinykh,

‘A communications session was held and I watched the clock, and such is the picture I saw. My mother in a bright rural cottage and guests gathering. Today is my daughter’s birthday. Grandmother has pirogies. And our work proceeded, the day is going excellently.’

Holiday on our Earth


Pikle - The Diary Review - The Diary Junction - Contact

And so made significant . . .
and its companion websites -
The Diary Review
and The Diary Junction - are maintained privately without any funding or advertising. Please consider supporting their author/editor by purchasing one or more of his books: the memoir, Why Ever Did I Want to Write, and the Not a Brave New World trilogy.
Thank you.

Why Ever Did I Want to Write is a patchwork of themed stories about one man’s early life, embracing highs and lows but driven by a desire to make the most of being alive, to experience, to feel, and above all to understand. Reminiscent of Karl Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family and Theodore Zeldin’s An Intimate History of Humanity, this memoir, often based on diaries, sees Lyons reflecting on a repressed childhood, exploring the world through years of travelling, and searching for meaning and excitement in the arts and love affairs – an archetype of the counterculture in the 1970s and 1980s.

Not a Brave New World is an extraordinary fictional memoir, a trilogy in three wives, spanning the whole of the 21st century: one man’s - Kip Fenn’s - frank account, sometimes acutely painful and sometimes surprisingly joyful, of his three partners, and his career in international diplomacy working to tackle the rich-poor divide.

GILLIAN - Book 1 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn’s first love is in a coma. His father suddenly isn’t his father. After formative trips to Brussels and Brazil, Kip wins a civil service job. Unfortunately, a media baron discovers his sexual weakness and is blackmailing him for government secrets. If only Kip could find solace in his wife’s arms or joy in his children.

DIANA - Book 2 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn is a success: his career has taken off within a major UN agency trying to spread wealth from the rich to the poor. But all is not well with the world - the golden age of oil and chips is now over, and unsustainable development is leading to social turmoil, and to world war. Kip has found love and a new family, but he can find no way to stop his older children self-destruct; nor does he realise his partner’s deceit.

LIZETTE - Book 3 - Amazon (US/UK)
Third time lucky - Kip Fenn finds true love. His UN career though is ending with a whimper. Another terrible war is cut short by the devastating Grey Years, and while nations rebuild many individuals turn Notek. In restless retirement, Kip’s lifelong passion for vintage photos sees him launching a new arts institution. But who is the mysterious visitor by his bedside, and how will she affect his planned deathday?


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.

in diary days



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.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

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.

SITE DEVISED by Paul K Lyons

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.