And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

14 August

1592
Duke of Württemberg

‘His Highness and suite went in wherries [gondolas] to the beautiful and large royal church called Westminster, situated at the end, outside the city. In order to inspect the same. It is a very large structure, and in particular has a chapel within it which was built eighty years ago by King Henry VII, arched over with carved stone, so elegantly wrought that its equal is not easily to be found: there are inside some beautiful tombs of deceased Kings and Queens, covered all over with gilding, and executed in a most beautiful manner.

In front of this chapel, outside in the choir, are many other monuments of Kings made of marble, of all kinds of curious colours; [ . . .] In this choir stands also the chair in which, for several centuries past, all the Kings and Queens have been crowned: underneath lies a large stone, which is said to be the very one upon which the patriarch Jacob reposed when he saw the angels ascending and descending a ladder reaching to heaven. In the same choir was also shown the sword which King Edward III is said to have carried and used in battle and war; it is an immense blade, like a double-handed sword, so heavy that one can scarcely lift it. [. . .] In this beautiful church the English Ministers, who are dressed in white surplices such as the Papists wear, sang alternatively, and the organ played.’

34 heads on London Bridge

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1792
William Bagshaw Stevens,
teacher

‘All went to Chee Tor, a most romantic, lovely spot - dined on the grass by the head of a Spring - ‘Lady Burdett, You have not performed your promise. You have not given me Fanny’s Picture.’ ‘That’s not my fault. You should have asked me for it.’

Jones and I were to go to the Isle of Man the next day - postponed our Journey that I might get Fanny’s Picture copied. It was agreed to leave Buxton on Saturday and go all together to Foremark. Lady Burdett hoped I would go with them to Tunbridge.’

A disappointed man

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1814
Mary Shelly,
writer

‘At four in the morning we depart from Troyes, and proceed in the new vehicle to Vandeuvres. The village remains still ruined by the war. We rest at Vandeuvres two hours, but walk in a wood belonging to a neighbouring chateau, and sleep under its shade. The moss was so soft; the murmur of the wind in the leaves was sweeter than Aeolian music we forgot that we were in France or in the world for a time.’

Write. Read Homer

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1885
John William Horsley,
priest

‘One does not lose the sound of Bank Holiday (nor of Derby Day) rapidly in prison. A woman in yesterday for being drunk and violent had been a teetotaller for nine months up to Bank Holiday. A man who cut his throat after Bank Holiday spent in a public-curse was only yesterday well enough to be brought up and remanded.

Went last night to get the police in a certain district to take up a scandalous case of a girl, about 13, living with and being taken out nightly by her mistress, a notorious prostitute. Suggested that the case might have been dealt with any time this last four years under the Industrial Schools Act Amendment Act (which will go down to posterity as Miss Ellice Hopkins’ Act, as the Criminal Law Amendment Act will be called Mr. Stead’s). But the inspector had never heard of the Act. Quite courteous and willing to take up the case, of which he knew a great deal, but was ignorant of the Act under which scores of children in London alone have been rescued from immoral surroundings. The fact is, if the police know that those at head-quarters desire that an Act should be enforced, they can and will enforce it; if they do not know, or know the contrary, they don’t.’

State-created crime

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1944
Abel J Herzberg,
lawyer

‘Hut 13 is being punished. During roll-call, they had not stood orderly and still. Once again roll-call had lasted one and a half hours because someone miscounted in hut 28. Apparently hut 13 had got tired. Now they must stand in the cold, because it is chilly today [. . .]

Here civilisation no longer exists and consequently no sophistication either. As for eating, all I have to say is: there is hunger one side of our body, namely the inside, and fodder on the outside. Now the problem is: how to make the fodder reach the stomach. That is all. You have a fodder dish which is brown. It is a little impractical for a snout, else it could easily be used for pigs. You have a spoon, why? Because if you slurped from the your fodder dish you might make a mess, and that would be a pity.’

Civilisation no longer exists

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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.

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.

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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, usually several every week. The blog has been publishing for over five years, and is the secondary source for the diary extracts in this online anthology.