And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

20 August

1637
Robert Woodford,
lawyer

‘I prayed alone and I and my deare wife prayed in private this morninge to beseech the Lord for his blessing uppon the sacrament of Baptisme to our poore child this that the inward grace might goe a longe with the outward signe &, and that the Lord would make it an Instrument of some service to him in his Church in time to come and a Comfort to us the parents and surely the Lord hath heard us in m[er]cye we prayed not to be hindred in our sanctifcacon of his Sabath this day & to order Conveniences &. Mr ffisher preached in the morninge, but my hart somewhat heavy Lord p[ar]don my dulnes.’

I pray increase my estate

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1804
Thomas Asline Ward,
young man

‘Mr Dalby and I walked to Hungerford Stairs, where we took a boat, and landed near Billingsgate. Having inspected this famous fishmarket, we walked to the Tower, where we saw wild beasts kept there, the regalia and the armouries. The ancient armour is interesting, and the modern is beautiful; for the swords, pistols, musquets, etc. quite clean and ready for service, are ranged in the most perfect order, and with the nicest art are placed so as to imitate columns, stars, and other devices.

After seeing the curiosities of the Tower, we sailed to the new docks, appropriated for the vessels in the West India trade, of which 300 homeward bound may lie in the basin at one time, and a dock for those outward bound is making. The fleet was arrived only 2 or 3 days, and we saw an immense crowd of them pressing towards the yards to discharge their lading. The buildings are of stone, 7 stories high, built very strong to contain the heavy stores which are frequently put in them. A moat, wall, and palisade surround the whole, and sentinels are placed to prevent depredations. The circumference is great, but I cannot guess at it.’

City of virtue and vice

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1892
Beatrix Potter,
writer

‘Still somewhat disposed. After breakfast taking Mr. Benjamin Bunny to pasture at the edge of the cabbage bed with his leather dog-lead, I heard a rustling, and came a little wild rabbit to talk to him, it crept half across the cabbage bed and then sat up on its hind legs, apparently grunting. I replied, but the stupid Benjamin did nothing but stuff cabbage. The little animal evidently a female, and of a shabby appearance, nibbling, advanced to about three strap lengths on the other side of my rabbit, its face twitching with excitement and admiration for the beautiful Benjamin, who at length caught sight of it round a cabbage, and immediately bolted. He probably took it for Miss Hutton’s cat.’

Beatrix and Benjamin

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1961
Robertson Davies,
writer

‘Lay late reading Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh. Dye my beard too dark - must look into this. Loafed all day never stirring from the place and found this very refreshing: my condition of mind asks for inactivity; worked on my speech. I am indeed changing: trying to purge my writing of ornament and mere eccentricity and my thinking of bile, emotionalism, and vulgarity. Oh! that I may make some progress in these things!

Robertson Davies as diarist

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1978
Edith Roller,
cult victim

‘I was up at 8.00.

Read news from the pavilion boards. For breakfast pancakes and coffee worked on journal items.

At 12.00 I worked in the African map in the pavilion. I completed the outline for all countries, though there are some loose ends to be tied up. I still have a problem in the seacoast area where Zaire and Angola join. I plan to cut out the outlines of all the countries have a game in class in which the students looking at atlas maps can pin the outlines of the separate countries on a sheet, thus learning the position of some of them. Also we will be able then to ascertain where the map is insufficiently accurate. At the same time we can get a complete list of each country.

Had a shower and shampooed my hair.

Sewed, continuing with my skirt.

Ate dinner at 5.00 and we had rice with pork, okra, french fried eggplant in a batter.

I sewed.

Mark Gosney was giving Edith Cordell trouble; she had a cold. She turned him over to Vern Gosney.

The guest was expected tomorrow and entertainment was being prepared for him in the Pavilion. Intended to go up about 8;00, people were gathering but I didn’t hear any music so assumed he had not arrived yet. Then I heard Jim in the loudspeaker. He was annoyed because people were waiting in the pavilion instead of being in the library studying the news.

I finished sewing about 9.30. I went up to the library, read as much of the news I could over the heads of the crowd. Dick Tropp and Jack Beam were explaining the backgrounds of some of the news. As the guest had not yet arrived I went home and went to bed but I didn’t sleep.

Then we received orders to come to the pavilion. I went up. I expected to find it difficult to get a seat but Jim had earlier ordered young people to get up and give their seats to seniors. A young man led me to seat in front, asking the little boy occupying it to sit on the floor with the other children. The guest, a young looking man, was seated with those assigned to talk to him at a table in the middle of the pavilion. A musical program was given.

We were dismissed at 2.00. A heavy rain fell.’

Life at Jonestown

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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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