And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

10 February

1685
John Evelyn,
writer

‘Being sent to by the Sheriff of the County to appear and assist in proclaiming the King, I went the next day to Bromley, where I met the Sheriff and the Commander of the Kentish Troop, with an appearance, I suppose, of about 500 horse, and innumerable people, two of his Majesty’s trumpets, and a Sergeant with other officers, who having drawn up the horse in a large field near the town, marched thence, with swords drawn, to the market place, where, making a ring, after sound of trumpets and silence made, the High Sheriff read the proclaiming titles to his bailiff, who repeated them aloud, and then, after many shouts of the people, his Majesty’s health being drunk in a flint glass of a yard long, by the Sheriff, Commander, Officers, and chief gentlemen, they all dispersed, and I returned.’

Virtues and imperfections

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1811
Henry Martyn,
missionary

‘Somewhat of a happy Sabbath; I enjoyed communion with the saints, though far removed from them; service morning and night in the cabin.’

My unprofitable life

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1862
King Edward VII

‘The anniversary of my Parents Wedding Day, what a sad day for poor Mama! We started at 10 A.M. sight seeing. We went first to the Palace which is a handsome building. The “Shönheits Gallerie” is well worth seeing, & the portraits are well painted, the pictures of Lady Ellenborough & Lady Milbanke (wh. are amongst them) are very good. The Ballroom is very handsome & so is the “Shlachten Saal.” The Queen was kind enough to receive me in her boudoir, wh. was very prettily arranged. She seems a very nice person, & must have been very pretty; I also made the acquaintance of her two sons, who seem nice, unaffected lads. We saw the two Theatres wh. adjoin the Palace, & a very pretty “Winter garten” with foreign plants & birds in it. From the Palace we visited the studios of Kaulbach, Pilaty [sic], Shraudolph [sic], Anschütz & Schwind. The two first are the two most celebrated painters. Kaulbach, showed us a beautiful fresco of the “Reformation” wh. he is painting & also a completed fresco of the “Battle of Salamis” wh. I admired immensely. Piloty, who painted the celebrated picture of Nero at the burning of Rome, which I saw last year at the Exhibition of pictures at Cologne, had not much in his studio, but the few things he had, we admired very much. We divided our day by lunching at 1.50. & Count Perponcher, who is now Prussian Minister at Munich, came to luncheon. After having eaten our fill, we proceeded in carriages to see the “Bavaria,” which is a monster female figure in bronze, cast out of the French guns wh. were taken in 1814 & 15. We went up inside the figure, & 7 of us could sit in the head, & 2 in the nose & eyes. From thence we visited the studio of Adam who paints animals, & very well too, we looked into Schwantaler’s [sic] studio were [sic] there were some good statues, but he was not at home. We then saw the Basilica, a very beautiful Church in Bysantine [sic] architecture, with a good deal of gold inside; it was built by King Louis of Bavaria (who has now abdicated) before going home we saw some excellent photographs, at a photographers called Albert. Mr. Bonar dined with us - & after dinner Louis, Keppel, Meade & I took a short walk. There was a very pretty ball going on at our Hotel, & Louis & I peeped into the room fr. a staircase, it seemed very gay & the ladies were well dressed & were decidedly pretty.’

Bertie in the Middle East

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1864
William Cory,
poet and teacher

‘School, the last chapter of both Timothies - half the boys got punishments for being late - this is one of the results of our hateful irregularities; for if we began every day with a regular lesson or prayers no one would be late. I railed. Took refuge in the good and steady lads who have too much self-respect to be late, and read with them; expounded the peculiarly ecclesiastical nature of these epistles, the liturgical flow of some passages, the germs of a Creed found herein, the obscure nature of the evidence about the government of the early Church, &c., &c. . .

8.45. Times at the fireside; F. W. late for breakfast because of prayers at 9.0.

Took it easy by way of keeping Lent: did some exercises, read Latin and Greek for Rawlins, which I found more edifying than the curses of the Jewish law. . .’

A peculiar pleasure

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1869
Charles Darwin,
biologist

‘Finished 5th Edit of Origin: has taken me 46 days.’

Darwin and his diaries

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1908
August Strindberg,
playwright

‘Today, the eagle was removed, which Harriet and I bought for our home. (It was, however, an eagless.) At the same moment, I broke a Japanese vase; dry rose petals fell to the floor.’

H-t was with me

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1938
John Rabe,
businessman

‘Fukui, whom I tried to find at the Japanese embassy to no avail all day yesterday, paid a call on me last night. He actually managed to threaten me: “If the newspapers in Shanghai report bad things, you will have the Japanese army against you”, he said. [. . .] In reply to my question as to what I then could say in Shanghai, Fukui said “We leave that to your discretion.” My response: “It looks as if you expect me to say something like this to the reporters: The situation in Nanking is improving everyday. Please don’t print any more atrocities stories about the vile behavior of Japanese soldiers, because then you’ll only be pouring oil on fire of disagreement that already exists between the Japanese and Europeans.” “Yes”, he said simply beaming, “that would be splendid!” ’

The Schindler of China

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1974
Edward Abbey,
writer

‘Married once again and - I swear - for the final time [This was his fourth marriage.]. If this one fails, for any reason, I shall resign myself forever to the call of solitude, wander the world with my Suzi [his daughter by his third marriage] and maybe a small friendly homely dog.

But it won’t. Renee is the right one, at last, after twenty seven years (!) of searching. Very young - eighteen now, sixteen when I met and fell in love with her - she is not only beautiful and sweet and gentle and full of love for me, but also - so to speak - unspoiled, free of all those neurotic tics and nervous fears that older women invariably reveal after the honeymoon begins to fade. Spoiled, mostly, by men of course, by mistreatment or what they imagine is mistreatment. Anyway I’ve found the one I want. And by Gawd, I’m going to keep her.’

As big as the West

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1975
Mochtar Lubis,
journalist

‘Food rations at Nirbaya are no better than during the Old Order [Suharto was the Old Order, Sukarno was the New Order]. The rations for the Gestapu/PKI detainees [those allegedly involved in the abortive coup of October 1965] are worse. Hariman and I still get one piece of scrambled egg for lunch, and once in a while a perkedel [potato-based dumpling] in the morning or in the evening, with some cooked vegetables. But the Gestapu/PKI prisoners get only one piece of tempeh [fermented soybean cake] or bean curd with vegetables morning, noon and night.’

Mochtar Lubis in prison

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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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