And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

26 December

1836
Henry Crabb Robinson,
lawyer

‘Brighton. This was a remarkable day. So much snow fell, that not a coach either set out for or arrived from London - an incident almost unheard of in this place. Parties were put off and engagements broken without complaint. The Masqueriers, with whom I am staying, expected friends to dinner, but they could not come. Nevertheless, we had here Mr Edmonds, the worthy Scotch schoolmaster, Mr and Mrs Dill, and a Miss Robinson; and, with the assistance of whist, the afternoon went off comfortably enough. Of course, during a part of the day, I was occupied in reading.’

Weeds don’t spoil

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1846
George Brinton McClellan,
soldier

‘Marched 20 miles to San Fernando where we arrived a little after sunset. Road level until we arrived within about 5 miles of San Fernando, when it became rocky and hilly but always practicable. About 4 miles from San Fernando we reached the summit of a hill from which we beheld a basin of hills extending for miles and miles - not unlike the hills between the Hudson and Connecticut opposite West Point. About two miles from San Fernando are some wells of pretty good water - the men were very thirsty - Gerber offered a volunteer half a dollar for a canteen full of water. My little mare drank until I thought she would kill herself. The Alcalde and his escort met General Patterson at this place. He was all bows, smiles and politeness. Murphy of whom more anon had the honor of taking San Fernando by storm. He was the first to enter it, mounted on his gallant steed. We first saw San Fernando as we arrived at the summit of a high hill, the last rays of the sun shining on its white houses, and the dome of the “Cathedral” gave it a beautiful appearance. It was a jewel in the midst of these uninhabited and desert hills. We encamped in a hollow below the town had a small eggnog and dreamed of a hard piece of work we had to commence on the morrow. Mañana [tomorrow morning] por la mañana.’

McClellan’s war in Mexico

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1920
Thomas Cairns Livingstone,
bookkeeper

‘Went to church this morning, after my usual manner. Agnes got a touch of the cold and is a little fatigued after her labours, so she did not go out. After dinner I took a walk round the town. Tommy at Sunday School. Gave the clocks their final wind-up of the year.’

The turkey we didn’t have

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1942
Harold Nicolson,
politician and writer

‘A cold slate-grey day. I write an article on Parliament in 1942. I weed the lime-border in the afternoon. Viti is at work on her poem The Garden. She is finding it very difficult, and alternates between depression and elation.

Darlan has been assassinated by a Frenchman with an Italian mother. Giraud says he hopes de Gaulle will join him.’

For one’s great-grandson

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

1943
Harold Nicolson,
politician and writer

‘We go over to Long Barn. I walk sadly in the damp fog thinking of all the happy days of youth passed among those poplars and meadows. Fifteen years was Long Barn my dear home, and now it is to be sold to a film magnate called Soskin. It is looking very pretty. Viti and I rather sadly measure furniture to see what we shall take to Sissinghurst. Afterwards the refugee children sing carols for us.’ [Long Barn was used during the war for displaced children.]

For one’s great-grandson

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

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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.