And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

16 February

1909
Dorothy Shakespear,
artist

‘ “Ezra”. Listen to it - Ezra! Ezra! - And a third time - Ezra!. He has a wonderful, beautiful face, a high forehead, prominent over the eyes; a long, delicate nose, with little, red, nostrils; a strange mouth, never still, & quite elusive; a square chin, slighly cleft in the middle - the whole face pale; the eyes gray-blue; the hair golden-brown, and curling in soft wavy crinkles. Large hands, with long, well-shaped, fingers, and beautiful nails.

Some people have complained of untidy boots - how could they look at his boots, when there is his moving, beautiful face to watch? Oh! fools, fools! They are the fools one cannot “suffer gladly”. I do not think he knows he is beautiful.

At first he was shy - he spoke quickly, (with a strong, odd, accent, half American, half Irish) he sat back in his chair; but afterwards, he suddenly dropped down, cross-legged, with his back to the fire: then he began to talk - He talked of Yeats, as one of the Twenty of the world who have added to the World’s poetical matter - He read a short piece of Yeats, in a voice dropping with emotion, in a voice like Yeats’s own - He spoke of his interest in all the Arts, in that he might find things of use in them for his own - which is the Highest of them all.

“Have you ever seen things in a crystal?” I asked - And he looked at me, smiling, & answered “I see things without a crystal”. He suggested the Great Inspiration he was waiting for. That he wished above all things to be in readiness, open-minded and waiting, on the Great Day when it should come. For he evidently believes it will come. “You should never get up from a book tired” - he said. [. . .]

Oh! Ezra! how beautiful you are! With your pale face and fair hair! I wonder - are you a genius? or are you only an artist in Life?

How can people look at his boots, instead of his face - It is they who impossible, not he - not the beautiful Ezra. He said of one college, that it was only another tract of the barren waste - and suffered that which is untellable.’

Are you a genius?

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

1950
Guy Liddell,
intelligence officer

‘I then asked BURGESS what his next move was. He said that there was a serious accusation on his file, which he considered to be ill-founded, and that if it stood against him his career in the Foreign Office would, to say the least, be seriously blighted. He wondered, therefore, whether, in view of his explanations, the whole thing could be expunged from the record. I said that as far as I was concerned I could not answer for the Foreign Office, but that I would certainly let them know about the specific charges which I had made and BURGESS’s replies.’

He shines in the dark

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

1983
Paul K Lyons,
journalist and writer

‘Completion Day. The nervous lanky solicitor kept ringing me up all morning to clarify the position of the keys. She’s on her way to Kilburn as though Kilburn were north of Newcastle. 13 Aldershot Road, NW6. Keep it simple. Like it simple. Never was a house owner before.

A nervous sort of tension has kept me high and arrogant for days with little peace of mind to sit and write. The new house has kept me more preoccupied than the thought of the new job at McGraw-Hill.

I pack slowly in an effort to sift my jumble of belongings. There is little of value and little of quality from one end of them to the other, from scalfs to furniture, from cutlery to enlarger. Despite a tingling excitement about the new house, I am also acutely aware that it will be full of the same possessions. Books are a bind. They fill endless boxes and make them heavy. Why do I keep such books, old Penguins, hard back copies of Dickens, compilations of 50s photographs, Time Life books on the sea and the like. And trousers. What do I do with those baggy flares that swallow up the carpet as well as my feet? Will they ever come back into fashion? Chuck ’em. And those new trousers with a waist too tight for my stomach line. Do I keep old jumpers with holes in to work on the car. Chuck ’em, Chuck ’em not, Chuck ’em . . .’

Chuck ‘em

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

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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.

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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.