And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

14 February

John Evelyn,

‘The King [Charles II had died on 6 February] was this night very obscurely buried in a vault under Henry VII’s Chapel at Westminster, without any manner of pomp, and soon forgotten after all this vanity, and the face of the whole Court was exceedingly changed into a more solemn and moral behavior; the new King [James II] affecting neither profaneness nor buffoonery. All the great officers broke their staves over the grave, according to form.’

A most excellent person

Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville,
sailor and explorer

‘I continue to follow the tracks of the Indians, having left at the place where I spent the night two axes, four knives, two packages of glass beads, a little vermillion; for I was sure that two Indians who came at sunrise to watch me from a distance of 300 yards would come there after we left. [. . .] I noticed a canoe crossing over to an island and several Indians waiting for it there. They joined five other canoes, which crossed over to the land to the north. As the land where I was was separated from them by a bay 1 league wide and 4 leagues long, I got into my canoe and pursued the canoes and overtook them as they were landing on the shore. All the Indians fled into the woods, leaving their canoes and baggage [. . .] I found an old man who was too sick to stand. We talked by means of signs. I gave him food and tobacco; he made me understand that I should build a fire for him. This I did and, besides, made a shelter, near which I placed him along with his baggage and a number of bags of Indian corn and beans that the Indians had in their canoes. I made him understand that I was going half a league from there to spend the night. My longboat joined me there. I sent my brother and two Canadians after the Indians who had fled, to try to make them come back or to capture one. Toward evening he brought a woman to me whom he had caught in the woods 3 leagues from there. I led her to the old man and left her, after giving her several presents and some tobacco to take to her men and have them smoke.’

Dried bear’s meat


John Newton,
sailor and priest

‘Went to meet the little society at M. Mole’s. The Lord has been pleased to awaken several young persons of late, and to incline their hearts to meet together.’

The extraordinary Mr Newton


Axel von Fersen,
soldier and diplomat

‘Very fine and mild. Saw the King at six o’clock in the evening. He does not want to leave and because of the extremely strict guard he would be unable to do so; but the real reason is that he has scruples since he has promised so often to stay, because he is a man of honour. He has, however, agreed to go through the woods with the smugglers after the arrival of the Allied Armies, accompanied by a detachment of light troops.’

For the love of Marie


Francis Lieber,
philosopher and teacher

‘I write down my plan for a geographical, statistical, and ethnographical periodical. Letter from Carey. He says he has already printed four thousand copies of the first volume of the “Americana.” ’

Lieber’s Life and Letters


Frances (Fanny) Seward,
young woman

‘I remember running back, crying out ‘Where’s Father?,’ seeing the empty bed. At the side I found what I thought was a pile of bed clothes - then I knew that it was Father. As I stood my feet slipped in a great pool of blood. Father looked so ghastly I was sure he was dead, he was white & very thin with the blood that had drained from the gashes about his face & throat. Fred was in the room till after Father was placed on the bed. Margaret says she heard me scream ‘O my God! Father’s dead.’ I remember that Robinson came instantly, &: lifting him, said his heart still beat - & he, with or without aid, laid him on the bed. Notwithstanding his own injuries Robinson stood faithfully at Father’s side, on the right hand - I did not know what should be done. Robinson told me everything - about staunching the blood with cloths & water. He applied them on the right side, & I, kneeling on the bed, on the left, put them on a wound on that side of the neck. Father seemed to me almost dead, but he spoke to me, telling me to have the doors closed, & send for surgeons, & to ask to have a guard placed around the house. [. . .]

It was then that I first heard about the President, one of the gentlemen telling Mother that he was shot. As this group stood there Father related in a clear, distinct manner, his recollections of the whole scene - between each word he drew breath, as one dying might speak, & I feared the effort might cost his remaining strength. I think we gave him tea in the night - at his own request. I was in constant apprehension of some fatal turn in his symptoms.’

Lincoln and Fanny Seward


Isabella Augusta Persse Gregory,

‘Westminster Abbey - Eyton - Dinner here - W. B. Yeats - Sir H. H. & Lady Johnston - Sophie Lyall - Alfred Cole - Barry O’Brien - Sir A. Clay - Very pleasant, at least I enjoyed it myself very much, liking them all - & they got on well - An argument at dinner as to who Conan Doyle had meant in a speech the night before by “the greatest man this century has produced.” B. O’Brien was for Napoleon, Sir H. Darwin - Yeats for Goethe - A. Cole stirring them all up - but as none wd agree on the premisses, I had to intervene at last -’

Yeats very charming


Nicholas II,

‘We have had to reduce our expenses significantly for food and servants because the use of personal capital is reduced to only 600 rubles a month. All the last few days we have been occupied calculating the minimum which we would be allowed to take, all in all.’

Hope remains above all


Korney Chukovsky.

‘With Lunacharsky. I see him nearly every day. People ask why I don’t try and get something out of him. I answer I’d feel bad taking advantage of such a gentle child. He beams with complacency. There is nothing he likes more than to do somebody a favor. He pictures himself an omnipotent benevolent being, dispensing bliss to all: Be so good, be so kind as to . .. He writes letters of recommendation for everybody, signing each, with a flourish, Lunacharsky. He dearly loves his signature. He can’t wait to pick up his pen to sign. He lives in a squalid little flat off a nauseating staircase in the Army and Navy House opposite the Muruzi House. There is a sheet of paper (high-quality, English) on the door that says “I receive no one here. You may see me from such-and-such a time to such-and-such a time at the Winter Palace and at such-and-such a time at the Commissariat of Education, etc.” But no one pays the slightest attention to it: he is constantly barraged by actors from the imperial theaters, former emigres, men with harebrained schemes or out for easy money, well-meaning poets from the lower classes, officials, soldiers, and more - to the horror of his irascible servant, who rages each time the bell rings: “Can’t you read?” Then Totosha, his spoiled and handsome young son, runs in, shouting something in French - never Russian - or the ministerially unceremonious Madame Lunacharskaya. It is all so chaotic, good-natured, and naive that it seems a comedy act. [ . . . ]

Lunacharsky is late for his appointments at the Commissariat of Education: he gets involved in a conversation with one person and makes others wait for hours. To show how liberal he is, he has a portrait of the Tsar hanging in his office. He calls in his visitors two by two, seating them on either side of himself, and while he talks to one of them the other can admire the Minister’s statesmanlike acumen. It is a naive and harmless bit of swagger. I asked him to write a letter to the Commissar of Post and Telegraph Offices, Proshian, and he willingly picked out a letter on his typewriter to the effect that I was such-and-such a person and he would be delighted if Proshian agreed to reopen Kosmos. [ . . . ]’

Light, motley, whimsical


Rywka Lipszyc,

‘Mr. Zemel came and delivered a speech, or rather he repeated what the Chairman had said before. And: those who are to be deported but are hiding are being aided by other people. This is forbidden … Apparently, this is going to be some kind of easy labor.

But who knows? What’s more, during the working hours between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. nobody will be allowed to walk in the streets. The ghetto is turning into a Arbeits Lager [Labor Camp}.. The apartments will have to be locked. Only the bed-ridden with medical certificates will be able to stay inside. Nobody else. Now I don’t know what’s going to happen to Saturdays … after all, an apartment can be locked with a padlock. What’s going to happen with attendance at the workshops? God! What’s going to happen? Only You know.’

I don’t feel like living


Joe Randolph Ackerley,

‘A dreadful, dreadful week of worry and self-torment. I have not been able to sleep at night without aspirins, and only patchily then. It has gradually emerged, from phone conversations with Brodie, that Nancy’s present condition is little better than that of a lunatic, that she can hardly walk or hold her water, has gone quite out of her mind. She is having this electrical convulsion treatment. Dr Brodie would not let me see her; he told me that he would send me word when I might go if I would keep in touch with him.

Alas, in my guilty mind, I see what happened as surely as though I had deliberately willed it to come to pass. She has been accusing me lately of never being the same, as always being different whenever she sees me; and of course it is true. I am deeply attached to her, my sister, in my way, and in emergencies, when I am deeply touched by her, or frightened for her, as when I took my letter down to Worthing after Haywards Heath, or burst into tears in Worthing Hospital, or saw her, so gentle and sweet in Chichester, I can love her and am ready to do or promise anything. But then I leave her, and remember the past, and become worried and anxious, and see, for instance, old Bunny, quietly and uncomplainingly packing up her gear to go and live elsewhere, and my consideration and affection or feeling turn elsewhere, or simply withdraws, and Nancy sees it going, and feels it gone.’

Ackerley and his women


Jim Elliot,

‘Just came in from Otavalo. Gwen was tired so left us with supper and dishes alone. I am waiting for Rob to come home (he has gone to some school affair) having just kissed Betty good night at the door of her room. She was sleepy tonight - went dozing off while I was reading in this diary and then in my arms and later in my lap. She surprises me sometimes as a lover - a gay ardency, a girlishness I see in her few other times. And oh, how glad I am she knows just how much of herself to give. I could still ask that she be more aggressive with my body, but from what I already know, she will in time do very acceptably. The other night, Tuesday, I believe, we had a lunch together at the bodega and afterward a long discussion about limits to engagement relations - everything from touching her breasts to intercourse. And when I came home so I spoke, “A garden shut up is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed” (Song of Sol. 4:12). She is that until marriage, by her present attitudes. The following night at the bodega she told me that we would not lie down again, choosing a variant restriction I had suggested. We came home, and at the gate she cried - for not having had enough of me that day. We walked up to the fountain and wall above Guápalo and sat on the steps. Thursday we went to Tingo with McCullys and Emma, and in the evening she and I bought wine together. I know I cannot live without her now.

Pondering downtown Romans 1:1: “Set apart unto the gospel of his Son.” Paul was separated from a family (wife and “play loving”), a business, the church fellowship in Antioch, and who knows what else, for the progress of the Gospel. How far am I “separated unto the Gospel”?

Massacre in Ecuador


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And so made significant . . .
is the world’s greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

in diary days



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, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.