And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

31 January

Elizabeth Inchbald,

‘Mr Inchbald went to the Flag _ then I called at my Sisters and my Bro: walked with me to Mr Inchbald then he and I called at the [Fary’s] _ George Inchbald drank tea here _ then Mr Inchbald went to the Flag and I saw a piece of the B Opera in Mr Diggcs Box _ my Bro:received a Letter from my Mother much about me _ my French Master called then I saw some of the Deserter Mrs [Baris] first appearance.’

We came home we had Words


William Daunt,

‘For a fortnight nothing has occurred to diversity the monotony of existence. Planting, thinning, and pruning as usual, and teaching my daughter to read, spell, etc.

The Irish Difficulty


John Ruskin,
writer and artist

‘To Mr. Melville’s. Wrote a little. Numbered Chamouni drawings. Quiet evening writing Giotto. Summary of month: nearly got Giotto done; Mr. Brown’s MS. a little, 13 pages only of Modern Painters, but house quite in order and everything set going, and a great deal done in learning MS. at Brit[ish] museum.’

John Ruskin’s birthdays


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,

‘Prescott’s funeral at the Chauncey-Place Church, at three in the afternoon. It was very impressive and touched me very much. I remember the last time I spoke with Prescott. It was only a few days ago. I met him in Washington Street, just at the foot of Winter Street He was merry, and laughing as usual. At the close of the conversation he said, “I am going to shave off my whiskers; they are growing gray.” “Gray hair is becoming,” I said. “Becoming,” said he; “what do we care about becoming, who must so soon he going?” “Then why take the trouble to shave them off?” “That’s true,” he replied with a pleasant laugh, and crossed over to Summer Street. So my last remembrance of him is a sunny smile at the comer of the street!’

Gabrielle, Celestine or Evangeline?


Lucy Cavendish,

‘A very notable week of Parliamentary events. The “debate” on leave to bring in the Coercion Bill began afresh on Monday, and the House sat for 41 1/2 hours. The Speaker and Dep. Speaker (Dr. Playfair) relieved each other, and the House divided itself as before into relays. On Tues. night F. was to sit up, and to go to bed at 8 on Wednesday morning the 2nd Feb. Instead of which, when he turned up at that hour, he announced that after some breakfast and a tub he was to go back again, as a coup d’état was decided on. The Speaker had gone on patiently calling the wretches to order over and over again, and about midnight the Tories made a dead set at Dr. Playfair, who had taken the Chair, to “name” one of the lot. He wouldn’t do what the Speaker had declined to do, and a bear-garden ensued. The Front Opposition bench all stalked out of the House, and rest took to shouting. Only poor Mr. Childers was on the Government bench at the time; but after a bit Bright came in and made a good speech which quieted them. Meanwhile F. went off in a cab to Devonshire House and pulled unlucky Hartn. out of bed at 1 when he had just got there and was sound asleep. The rest of the night passed peacefully. Very few even of the Government knew what was planned between the Speaker, Uncle W., and Sir Stafford; but some notion of a decisive step impending must have prevailed, for at 9 a.m. the House was pretty full. I hurried matters at home, but couldn’t omit Prayers for any coup d’état! so that I was just in time at 9.30 to be too late. The Speaker took Playfair’s place at 9, and without sitting down made a stately little speech as to the obstructed condition of things, and proceeded to say that under the exceptional circumstances he should call on no member to speak, but should at once call for the division. Biggar, one of the most offensive of the Irish, like a hunched-back toad to look at, who was comfortably expecting to resume his speech (interrupted by Playfair’s leaving the Chair), was thus left high and dry! and, before any of them could say Jack Robinson, the division was taken and leave given to bring in the Coercion Bill, which was immediately read a 1st time. When I got there, a bit of the business was being got thro’ and then came the announcement that the House do adjourn (for only 2 1/2 hours!), received by a worn-out cassé cheer of joy as the hapless M.P.s rushed out of the House and home to bed. We came across Sir Bow-wow Harcourt and Cavendish by Westminster Hall in high feather, Sir Bow-wow saying that it was the 1st time in history that Cavendish had been known to be in bed at 1, and then he was pulled out of it! F. went to bed, but had to be back by 12. Motions for adjournment went on just as if nothing had happened, and so came 6 with no progress made. Uncle W. then gave notice of Anti-Obstruction Resolutions.’

Lord and Lady Cavendish


Isabelle Eberhardt,

‘Bou Saada. We arrived here from El Hamel yesterday at three in the afternoon.

Every time I see Lella Zeyneb I feel rejuvenated, happy for no tangible reason and reassured. I saw her twice yesterday in the course of the morning. She was very good and very kind to me, and was happy to see me again.

Visited the tomb of Sidi Muhammad Belkassem, small and simple in that large mosque, and which will be very beautiful by the time it is finished. I then went on to pray on the hillside facing the grave of El Hamel’s pilgrim founders.

I did some galloping along the road, together with Si bel Abbes, under the paternal gaze of Si Ahmed Mokrani. Some women from the brothel were on their way back from El Hamel. Painted and bedecked, they were rather pretty, and came to have a cigarette with us. Did fantasias in their honour all along the way. Laughed a lot. . .

The legend of El Hamel’s pilgrims appeals to my imagination. It must be one of Algeria’s most biblical stories . . .

I began this diary over in that hated land of exile, during one of the blackest and most painfully uncertain periods in my life, a time fraught with suffering of every sort. Today it is coming to an end.

Everything is radically different now, myself included.

For a year now I have been on the blessed soil of Africa, which I never want to leave again. In spite of my poverty, I have still been able to travel and explore unknown regions of my adoptive country. My Ouïha is alive and we are relatively happy materially.

This diary, begun a year and a half ago in horrible Marseilles, comes to an end today, while the weather is grey and transparent, soft and almost dream-like here in Bou Saada, another Southern spot I used to yearn for over there!

I am getting used to this tiny room of mine at the Moorish bath; it is so much like me and the way I live. I will be staying here for a few more days before setting off on my journey to Boghar, through areas I have never seen; living in this poorly whitewashed rectangle, a tiny window giving out on the mountains and the street, two mats on the floor, a line on which to hang my laundry, and the small torn mattress I am sitting on as I write. In one corner lie straw baskets; in the opposite one is the fireplace; my papers lie scattered about . . . And that is all. For me that will do.

There is no more than a vague echo in these pages of all that has happened these last eighteen months; I have filled them at random, whenever I have felt the need to articulate. . . For the uninitiated reader, these pages would hardly make much sense. For myself they are a vestige of my earlier cult of the past. The day may come, perhaps, when I will no longer record the odd thought and impression in order to make them last a while. For the moment, I sometimes find great solace in rereading these words about days gone by.

I shall start another diary. What shall I record there, and where shall I be, the day in the distant future when I close it, the way I am closing this one today?

“Allah knows what is hidden and the measure of people’s sincerity!” ’

The magnificent Sahara


A C Benson,
teacher and writer

‘I reflected sadly today how I tended to squabble with my women-friends. Here have I dropped out of all or nearly all my feminine friendships. I never see Lady P., I hear nothing of Countess B. I have lost sight of B. M. I have insulted M. C., alienated Mrs L., shut up Mrs S. - and so on. I have had rows with Howard, but he is more feminine than most of my friends. I think it is a certain bluntness, frankness, coarseness, which does not offend men, but which aggravates women. The thing which has tended to terminate my women-friendships is that at a certain juncture they begin to disapprove and to criticise my course, and to feel a responsibility to say disagreeable things. One ought to take it smilingly and courteously; and one would, if one liked the sex - but I don’t like the sex. Their mental processes are obscure to me; I don’t like their superficial ways; their mixture of emotion with reason. [. . .] I don’t want to excuse myself, because I think it is a vital deficiency in me; but it is so vital and so instinctive that I don’t see how to cure it, and I cannot even frame an effective desire to do so.’

A C Benson’s inner life


Harold Nicolson,
politician and writer

‘There is a dead and drowned mouse in the lily-pool. I feel like that mouse - static, obese and decaying. Viti is calm, comforting and considerate. And yet (for have I not been reading a batch of insulting press-cuttings?) life is a drab and dreary thing. I had a great chance. I have missed it. I have made a fool of myself in every respect.

Surely there was a time I might have trod
The sunlit heights, and from life’s dissonance
Struck one clear chord to reach the ears of God? [Oscar Wilde lines]

Very glum. Discuss finance. Viti keeps on saying that we have got enough to go on with. But when one goes into it, that enough represents only two months. I must get a job. Yet all the jobs which pay humiliate. And the decent jobs do not pay. Come back to Long Barn. Arrange my books sadly. Weigh myself sadly. Have put on eight pounds. Feel ashamed of myself, my attainments, and my character. Am I a serious person at all? Vita thinks I could make £2,000 by writing a novel. I don’t. The discrepancy between these two theories causes me some distress of mind.’

For one’s great-grandson


Zorina Gray,

‘Buttermilkday - slept badly. Had nightmares [English] before I went to sleep because of the show. Everybody expects and predicts such a success for me that it scares me. Otherwise, rehearsals at the Gaiety - Jack Donahue’s waistband broke in the middle of the adagio so that he stood there nearly naked among the howling chorus girls.’

My knees felt like macaroni


Ludwig Wittgenstein,

‘I feel as if my intellect was in a very labile equilibrium: so as if a comparatively minor jolt could bring it to snap over. It is like when one sometimes feels close to crying, feels the approaching crying fit. One should then try to breath quite calmly, regularly, deeply until the fity dissipates.’

A labile equilibrium


Renia Spiegel,

‘Why did I decide to start a diary today? Has something important happened? Have I discovered that my friends are keeping diaries of their own? No! I just want a friend. Somebody I can talk to about my everyday worries and joys. Somebody who will feel what I feel, believe what I say and never reveal my secrets. No human being could ever be that kind of friend.

Today, my dear diary, is the beginning of our deep friendship. Who knows how long it will last? It might even continue until the end of our lives.

In any case, I promise to always be honest with you. In return, you’ll listen to my thoughts and concerns, but you’ll remain silent like an enchanted book, locked up with an enchanted key and hidden in an enchanted castle. You will not betray me.’

I just want a friend


Pikle - The Diary Review - The Diary Junction - Contact

And so made significant . . .
and its companion websites -
The Diary Review
and The Diary Junction - are maintained privately without any funding or advertising. Please consider supporting their author/editor by purchasing one or more of his books: the memoir, Why Ever Did I Want to Write, and the Not a Brave New World trilogy.
Thank you.

Why Ever Did I Want to Write is a patchwork of themed stories about one man’s early life, embracing highs and lows but driven by a desire to make the most of being alive, to experience, to feel, and above all to understand. Reminiscent of Karl Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family and Theodore Zeldin’s An Intimate History of Humanity, this memoir, often based on diaries, sees Lyons reflecting on a repressed childhood, exploring the world through years of travelling, and searching for meaning and excitement in the arts and love affairs – an archetype of the counterculture in the 1970s and 1980s.

Not a Brave New World is an extraordinary fictional memoir, a trilogy in three wives, spanning the whole of the 21st century: one man’s - Kip Fenn’s - frank account, sometimes acutely painful and sometimes surprisingly joyful, of his three partners, and his career in international diplomacy working to tackle the rich-poor divide.

GILLIAN - Book 1 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn’s first love is in a coma. His father suddenly isn’t his father. After formative trips to Brussels and Brazil, Kip wins a civil service job. Unfortunately, a media baron discovers his sexual weakness and is blackmailing him for government secrets. If only Kip could find solace in his wife’s arms or joy in his children.

DIANA - Book 2 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn is a success: his career has taken off within a major UN agency trying to spread wealth from the rich to the poor. But all is not well with the world - the golden age of oil and chips is now over, and unsustainable development is leading to social turmoil, and to world war. Kip has found love and a new family, but he can find no way to stop his older children self-destruct; nor does he realise his partner’s deceit.

LIZETTE - Book 3 - Amazon (US/UK)
Third time lucky - Kip Fenn finds true love. His UN career though is ending with a whimper. Another terrible war is cut short by the devastating Grey Years, and while nations rebuild many individuals turn Notek. In restless retirement, Kip’s lifelong passion for vintage photos sees him launching a new arts institution. But who is the mysterious visitor by his bedside, and how will she affect his planned deathday?


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.

SITE DEVISED by Paul K Lyons

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.