And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

28 December

1809
Mirza Abul Hassan Khan,
diplomat

‘Because I was feeling bilious and sad, Sir George Ouseley took me out to a place called Hyde Park: it is a vast open field, which in spring becomes a flower-garden with green lawns two miles square. Paths surround it, where men and women may walk for pleasure and relaxation. Other paths are reserved for horse-riders and carriages.

It happened that my horse shied and I almost fell to the ground; but my mehmandar [official guide/escort] skilfully managed to control it. He said that tomorrow he would arrange for me to have a gentler mount. They have truly splendid horses in England; but it is a pity they clip short their manes and tails.’

I was utterly amazed!

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1836
Henry Crabb Robinson,
lawyer

‘The papers to-day are full of the snow-storm. The ordinary mails were stopped in every part of the country.’

Weeds don’t spoil

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1846
George Brinton McClellan,
soldier

‘Crossed the stream before sunrise under orders to move on with the Tennessee horse one day in advance of the column in order to repair a very bad ford at the next watering place - Las Chomeras. Very tiresome and fatiguing march of about 22 miles. Road pretty good, requiring a few repairs here and there. Water rather brackish. Very pretty encampment. Stream about 20 yards wide and 18 inches deep. No bread and hardly any meat for supper.’

McClellan’s war in Mexico

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1881
George Whitwell Parsons,
lawyer and banker

‘Was much provoked at Capt H this AM and told I was sorry to have ever met him. I have stood more than any of his friends and have had enough. Was quite short with him. Hohstadt cannot seem to get him out of town. Every liquor saloon is a stumbling block. Bad times in office too. I wish whiskey was all poured in gutter.

Tonight about 11:30 Doc G had just left and I tho’t couldn’t have crossed the street - when four shots were fired in quick succession from very heavily charged guns, making a terrible noise and I tho’t were fired under my window under which I quickly dropped, keeping the dobe wall between me and the outside till fusilade was over. I immediately tho’t Doc had been shot and fired in return, remembering a late episode and knowing how pronounced he was on the Earp-Cow-boy question. He had crossed through and passed Virgil Earp who crossed to west side of 5th and was fired upon when in range of my window by men 2 or 3 concealed in the timbers of the new 2 story adobe going up for the Huachuca Water Co. He did not fall, but recrossed to the Oriental and was taken from there to the Cosmopolitan being hit with buck shot and badly wounded in left arm with flesh wound above left thigh.

Cries of ‘there they go’, ‘head them off’ were heard but the cowardly apathetic guardians of the peace were not inclined to risk themselves and the other brave men all more or less armed did nothing. Doc had a close shave. Van and I went to the hospital for Doc and got various things. Hotel well guarded, so much so that I had hard trouble to get to Earps room. He was easy. Told him I was sorry for him. ‘It’s hell, isn’t it!’ said he. His wife was troubled, ‘Never mind, I’ve got one arm left to hug you with,’ he said.’

Gunfight at OK Corral

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1886
Robert Earl Henri,
painter

‘I do not think time spent at a good theatre is wasted. Good actors can present to the artist’s eye scenes that in life are only once in a lifetime.’

Make the draperies move

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1937
Aldo Leopold,
ecologist

‘Explored the Crack Canyon region for the first time. Saw a large number of deer and the country looks very workable. No turkey sign.’

The sweetest fish ever eaten

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1941
Harold Nicolson,
politician and writer

‘Feeling much better. I do a Spectator article on keeping diaries, in which I lay down the rule that one should write one’s diary for one’s great-grandson. I think that is a correct rule. The purely private diary becomes too self-centred and morbid. One should have a remote, but not too remote, audience.

The Russians continue to nibble at the German lines. In Libya we are ‘mopping up’, but it is not clear what has really happened. The public seem to have lost all interest in Libya.

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.