And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

7 January

Jonathan Edwards,

‘When I am giving the relation of a thing, remember to abstain from altering either in the matter or manner of speaking, so much, as that if every one, afterwards, should alter as much, it would at last come to be properly false.’

Sinking so exceedingly


John Bartram,

‘Clear morning; thermometer 36. Set out from Cabbage-bluff, so called from the great number of palm or cabbage-trees growing there; after some miles rowing round several points of the compass, it being generally good reed-marsh and sonic cypress-swamps, we came to the middle lake, 1, 2, or 3 miles broad, and 8 long; its general course is S. E. at the N. E. end is high ground, producing oak, palm, myrtle, bay, and a fine new evergreen, something like the purple-berried bay, but the leaves grow alternately, and the berries close to the stem, like myrtle; here is a pretty stream of sweet water, small enough to run through the bung-hole of a barrel, and at about 200 yards distance from it runs out a large stream of water, so warm as to support the thermometer at 71 in it, feels warm to a coolish hand, tastes more loathsome than the others beforementioned of the same kind, and may be smelt at some roods distant; hereabout is drove on shore, the most delicate crystalline sand I ever saw, except what is got on an island near our capes, though this is still finer: A few hundred yards from the last 

spring is another much like it in taste, but much larger, and near 30 yards broad, having three heads within 30 yards; the water is very loathsome and warm, but not so hot as one’s blood: This differs from the other in having most of its surface covered with duck-meat; its banks full of shelly stone of the snail-shell kind, and running level with the river; the last had some fall; they are not above 200 yards from the lake. Set out and arrived at a rocky bluff, at the entrance of the head of the river, which was two or more miles wide, but gradually narrowed; this bluff is composed of snail and muscle-shells, indurated into hard rocks, which would break or split for building or burning into lime; but a bluff we landed at in the forenoon was more remarkable; for as the bank was perpendicular, we had a better opportunity of searching deeper; we saw about 3 foot above the water a mass of clustered sea-shells, as periwinkles, cockles, and clams, the very productions of the sea, and to what depth they went is unknown; but this I believe, that they reach all under this whole low country at uncertain depths, and support the superior soil, under which the prodigious sulphureous and saline fountains run, which are continually fed by the slow settling of rain-water.’

The father of American botany


Sanford Fleming,

‘Pretty cold this morning but we must get the carriage repaired, which broke down last night about 12 oclock. Managed to get to the polling place about an hour and half before it closed. This is my birthday, it is now 21 years since I came into this world. “Adieu to my youth - ” ’

Adieu to my youth


Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake,

‘I must begin to write again if I don’t mean to lose the knack ... and so ought to go on with Hertford House or write something... I want partly to write for the money, now why, I wonder? Honestly, why? I have plenty of everything. In a handsome if not luxurious home, 6 servants all much at my orders, lots of rides, a most loving Mother, tender father, almost every wish gratified, £30 a year clear, and lots of presents, almost at will, why I should write for money unless I am avaricious or spendthrift I don’t exactly know. Partly for the pride of earning it, of knowing myself as well able to earn my bread as my inferiors. Surely, though, I ought least of all in my list of comforts - blessing, should I say? to omit my most happy, most snug nutshell of a room, with its handsome furniture, cosy fire, and thoroughly comfortable arrangements. How truly loving my most precious pearl of a Mother has been to me in this especially...

I have conceived a rather wild idea of writing to Miss M. for counsel and sympathy... But how get a letter to her? And, if I did, would she think it a bore? I think not. Send the letter to her publishers? Sure not to be opened? Then what to say if I do write? What do I want? Don’t exactly know.

Well, leave it.

Now for the more important at least more solemn part of todays journal. And I must make this some use. Just heard a sermon from Mr. Vaughan on ‘Truth,’ Gehazi being the scape-goat of warning. He spoke strongly of allowing ourselves to say more on religious subjects than we feel, calling it a dangerous deception and leading to worse. But does that include speaking a word - earnest and sincere at least - about the souls of others, tho’ our own may not be safe? Often at school I have felt driven to speak very solemnly to girls about their souls when I feel I am not worthy to say a word, for mine is perhaps as lost as theirs, and often and often have risen in my throat, ‘Lest when I have preached to others I myself become a castaway.’ Yet if I am, oh, fearful word, I can hardly write it, if lost (oh, God, save me!) can it, would it not console, if consolation were possible, to know I had warned others from the pit into which I fell. And I hope I may have done some little good... And how happy I have felt - and better in myself too, if I have even for a moment led some to think of Jesus else forgotten...

Dearest Mrs. Teed is dead. ‘Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.’ ‘Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!’...’

Pioneering women’s education


Gerard Manley Hopkins,

‘Fine and freezing; snow at night.’

Sunset of rosy juices


Earl Silas Tupper
, businessman

‘If I can get a little money ahead, I’ll show the world some real inventions. [. . .] I let my imagination play to-day . . . on what I would buy if I had only . . . $10,000 to spend. (Boy! - it was tough getting back to the depression).’

Tupper the tinkerer


Marie Vassiltchikov,

‘We are still searching painfully for jobs. We have decided not to ask any friends to help, but to turn directly to business acquaintances.’

A Russian princess in Nazi Berlin


Bill Haley,

‘Started second day on picture at 9.30 am. Everything going well. Saw some re-runs on first scenes. I look terrible I think, but everyone is giving me compliments. Hope we get through this. Quite an experience. Glad to have Cuppy with me.’ [Bill Haley and His Comets were with a large entourage in Hollywood to star in a film named after their greatest hit - Rock Around The Clock.]

The rock and roll life


Harold Frederick Shipman,

‘A new year, a visit from [wife]. Still no money off DHSS. . . If this year doesn’t get anywhere I know it is not worth the effort. I have to lock down this overwhelming emotion or else I’d be on a suicide watch or drugs.’

I’m looking at dying


Eric Morecambe,

‘Waldorf Astoria, New York, It’s thick snow outside. It’s thick hammers inside my head. However it’s show time this morning - got to get down to the Sullivan Theatre for 9.15am. Now to try and be funny at that time in the morning - believe me, there’s no such time. But it’s got to be done. This trip the weather has been really cold - fifteen below. I hope the plane will take off tomorrow. It could have cleared by then. Ern and I do the Sullivan again tonight. We will do the Marvo & Dolores [spoof magic act] bit. All the crew think it’s very funny. I think it will die, but I have been wrong before. We rehearse and hang about the theatre all day. Fred comes round before the show. The show is over, they say it’s gone well. I’m not happy about it nor is the Boy Wonder [Ernie], but they are - so much so, Ed asks us out to dinner with him that night. We go to Danny’s Hideaway on Lexington and have a very informal and most enjoyable evening. Bed around 12am.’

Hammers inside my head


Andres Tarand,

’The horizon is getting darker. Some days ago we heard about Ristlaan’s vicious speech at the Radio House, where he, among other things, had emphasized that the people who do not understand how hostile the letter is would have no place in an ideology establishment. I am not responsible for the wording but the atmosphere at the radio has been whipped to fine froth and some exaggerations are easily born in this situation. The idiocy embraced also the 1 January concert of the Ellerhein chamber choir the last song of which was announced as an English folk song Night. Actually, the beautifully performed song that was heard was Silent Night. Somebody, obviously the Central Committee employee Toomas Leito, “told the ones who needed to know“ and the event and song were declared to be dirt. And that despite the fact the the whole programme was made up of spiritual music of the seventeenth century. This clearly shows that not religion but cultural coherence is under attack, just like 40 years ago people who had the so-called English orientation were deported to Siberia or nothing can be heard of the “third way“ in 1944.

This is some general background. More concrete steps are summons to top men again. Fred Jü ssi had been summoned to Slutsk, Ita Saks to Jõ eruüü t. Juhan Viiding was at Kuusberg‘s already yesterday. These are the first blossoms of the third round.

Late at night the phone rang. Rein Saluri sounded a bit more sober than he actually was. When I had gone up to his flat, it became clear at once what he was trying to talk about. His mixed up phrases and fragmentary sentences summed up as a lament how difficult it was for him and Jõ eruüü t to condemn Ita Saks at the party bureau session. This was given as a reason why both men were drinking excessively. Another worry seemed to be that the authors of the letter have carelessly given a blow to the Estonian culture in general, as now the journal Keel ja Kirjandus (Language and Literature) was being investigated. The pillars of culture, he said, were extremely busy saving the Estonian culture and they were irreplacable as there were so few of them. This was about Kuusberg as the secretary of the Writers‘ Union among others. The emphasisis laid on the differences between him as a pillar and me as a second-rate figure made me angry for a while and my reply was that Saluri’s inner tensions and ambiguity between the party life and culture should not be extended to culture in general. Piret Saluri was obviously embarrassed about her husband‘s proclamations and the next day she tried to explain his outbursts by the undue influence Jo eru u t had on Saluri.

Evidently at the same time another conversation like that took place in Tartu between Hans Trass and another student of his - Martin. These two men discussed the possible sad fate of the Botanic Gardens thanks to the unworthy behaviour of the vice director. It is only a supposition and Martin should be more than medium-drunk to admit it.’

The horizon is getting darker


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And so made significant . . .
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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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