And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

1 July

1826
Richard Hurrell Froude,
priest

‘I have got into a bad way, by writing down the number of hours. It makes me look at my watch constantly, to see how near the time is up, and gives me a sort of lassitude, and unwillingness to exert my mind.

I think it will be a bettor way to keep a journal for a bit, as I find I want keeping in order about more things than reading. I am in a most conceited way, besides being very ill-tempered and irritable. My thoughts wander very much at my prayers, and I feel hungry for some ideal thing, of which I have no definite idea. I sometimes fancy that the odd bothering feeling which gets possession of me is affectation, and that I appropriate it because I think it a sign of genius; but it lasts too long, and is too disagreeable, to be unreal. There is another thing which I must put down, if I don’t get rid of it before long: it is a thing which proves to me the imbecility of my own mind more than anything; and I can hardly confess it to myself; but it is too true.’

I have been relapsing

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1893
George Bernard Shaw,
playwright

‘Art and Literature Dinner at the Mansion House. Left the Mansion House with Norman, with whom I walked to Blackfriars. I could not eat; my feelings as a musician and vegetarian were too much for me; and save for some two or three pounds of ice pudding I came away empty.’

GBS dines out

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1898
Anna Klumpke,
artist

‘After the sitting this afternoon, Rosa Bonheur stretched out on her lounge chair for a smoke while I kept on working. She scolded me for rushing: ‘Ah! that Miss Anna! she doesn’t ever stop. True, I used to be like that. Now I tend to dawdle, doing less but thinking more. Also, I did more studies. I didn’t just start a huge canvas without having gathered all the documents I needed.’

She watched me wipe my palette and went on: ‘I don’t work like that. I never wipe it off till I’ve scraped with a knife and poured on some turpentine. That way the wood stays clean. This palette, for example, looks practically new, yet God knows how long I’ve been using it for skies. Take it for your touchups. I’ll even sign it for you.

She grabbed a brush and wrote: ‘A souvenir for Anna Klumpke. May my palette bring you good luck. Rosa Bonheur.’ ’

Let the paint dry

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1916
Ernst Jünger,
soldier and writer

‘In the morning I went to the village church where the dead were kept. Today there were 39 simple wooden boxes and large pools of blood had seeped from almost every one of them, it was a horrifying sight in the emptied church.’

Storm of Steel

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1953
Hermann Buhl,
mountaineer

‘Camp 4

Set off for Camp 4 at 6 a.m., Walter, Hans and I with three porters. Otto stays at Camp 3 for another day. He does not feel very well and wants to rest up for another day and follow on with Madi the next day. Wonderful weather, no clouds as far as you can see, haze in the valley, best indication of a lasting period of good weather. Minus 20 degrees in the morning, deep snow, difficult to break trail.

Three walkie-talkie calls with Base Camp. Order to retreat; we should rest and then follow new orders for attack. Do not say what those orders are. We don’t even consider climbing down, we’ve never been in such good shape.

Aschenbrenner still at Base Camp. He’s still officially the mountaineering leader, although he handed the task over to Walter days ago. Conversations with a very agitated Ertl end with the message “kiss my arse,” and we continue. Ertl makes us aware that they will have cause to thank us one day . . . Midday at Camp 4. Totally snowed up, first have to dig everything out, very arduous. Then Hans and I each take a 100 m rope and climb up the Rakhiot Face with them, fix them on the traverse to the Moor’s Head and climb down again, while Walter busies himself with the porters, fitting crampons, etc. Back at Camp 4 again at 7 p.m. Slept well all night.’

Scenery fantastic - like home

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1959
Carolina Maria de Jesus,
rubbish collector

‘I am sick and tired of the favela. I told Senhor Manuel that I was going through hard times. The father of Vera is rich, he could help me a little. He asked me not to reveal his name in the diary, and I won’t. He can count on my silence. And if I was one of those scandalous blacks, and went there to his office and made a scene? “Give me some money for your child!” ’

There’s nothing to eat

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2002
Clare Short,
politician

‘TB said in ’97, no one must think ‘we are masters now’. We must focus on our duty to serve - or something similar. The reality of his behaviour is ‘I am master now’. There is a complete arrogance in the way he runs the government and No. 10. My experience of it recently in his effort to press us to misuse and to get asylum seekers returned to their countries is a minor example but very much the style of his government.’

No. 10 hostile to me

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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.

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, 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.